The Joy of Working in Retail

Retail jobs suck. Customers can suck. But the bosses suck most of all.


 

The assumption that because you are in a menial job means you have minimal brain just pisses me off. Many people I know who work retail, hospitality and even security are also putting themselves through uni. Even if the person behind the cash register isn’t putting themselves through uni it doesn’t actually mean there are brain dead or that you have a right to be mean to them you know.

Anyway hospitality is a laugh, there are good times to be had after the hard work is done. Not always conducive to excellent study patterns admittedly but fun. I know people who ended up making a career out of hospitality and they have never really had to grow up. But retail that is soul destroying. No matter where you work you eventually come to the realisation that you are selling crap people don’t need at prices they wouldn’t have to pay on the internet. Unless it is food and then you just know you are part of a corporate duopoly that is raping the farmers and killing small independent businesses.

But the thing that kills me in retail is the boss breathing down your neck about your daily sales figures. I have been in retail for a fuck of a long time, I have been the most successful salesperson on my counter I have made my bosses very happy, on those days. My intricate, clever, tricksy formula for good sales; say hello and be friendly and available and willing to help the customer should they want it.

And then there are days where I have had no sales and the clock drags and you haven’t done the target you were meant to and you have to report to the boss. What did you do differently that day? Nothing. Except maybe get a little desperate for sales or maybe been a bit too eager when a few people did finally walk through the door. Perhaps customers can smell the desperation for sales on you? All I know is that a bad day just seems to get worse and your boss will blame it on you Not on the customers through the door, not on the stock they have or haven’t got, not on the fact they gave you no product knowledge training , not on the weather or the footy finals or the holidays.

Good sales are a little on you and the bad are all on you. I call bullshit on that, good sales come from having a great day with great customer interaction and bad sales come from bad days with little or no customers while the pressure to make the sales builds. You can’t change anything. And yet although you do exactly the same things on good days and bad your boss will blame you for the bad ones At some point you will think, “Who needs your stupid products and your stupid patronising rude customers (The ones who think that because I am behind a shop counter I am a second class citizen)? Who needs your crap about what I should do to improve my sales and what is wrong with me( Things that last week were all fine because my sales figures were great)” and you will tell your boss to stuff it, walk out and start all over again in yet another retail job. Or go back to hospitality.

My advice before you get the next job;

  • To be treated the worst by customers, work behind a cash register.
  • To really know you are selling overprice rubbish work in clothing.
  • To feel like you have really sold out sell cosmetics.
  • To enjoy yourself, work for a small successful business preferably selling something everybody needs all the time.

But whatever you do finish that degree and get out of retail because the Internet is here.

Words by Emma Sachsse