Monday, 1 July 2013

The Confessions Of Working In Retail...

Last night I met up with an old friend I used to work with at my local supermarket. I left said supermarket after 2 years to go to uni. My friend however still remains as she is training in personal fitness. Anyways, to the point, I sat there listening to her moan about life at said supermarket. I thought to myself '2 years have gone by and still nothing has changed in that place.' So I thought I'd amuse you with what it's like as a customer assistant with five very valid points:

1. Dealing with the crazies. You want to know where all the crazy people are in the world? They're in supermarkets running around harassing and scaring customer assistants. I used to work in the clothing department and as one of my roles I was asked to stand on the fitting rooms. Every Monday evening without fail the same man would come in with a basket piled high of clothes from the women's section. Yes you read that right, the women's section. He would then approach me as though all was completely normal, present me with the clothes he wished to try on and head on through. He would then spend around 20-30 minutes in the fitting room. After this whole routine he would never buy a single thing. He was just a crazy guy trying on women's clothing. The strength I held within to remain composed throughout the weekly process knows no boundaries.

Whilst standing on the fitting rooms I've also had to give my opinion to old women dressing like 21 year olds in tight, short, body-con dresses. When they ask me of my opinion I can't exactly respond with 'Erm, I think the mutton dressed as lamb look isn't on trend this year. You might want to try Marks & Spencer next door, they've got a lovely range in the 'classic' section' 

Crazy, creepy and even drunk. I've seen it all. And occasionally been hugged by said drunks. Mentally scarred doesn't cover it.

2. Nothing is store made. You get that folks? Now remember that next time you try on a size 12 dress, because you are a size 12, yet it doesn't fit. Or when you get annoyed because you really like that shirt but we don't have your size in the back. It may surprise you to know we don't sit in the warehouse at the back on sewing machines whipping up outfits for your demand. The amount of times I've been given the 'Are you kidding me? Why don't you stock it?' look/conversation as though they expect me to make one out of thin air. The best is when a customer doesn't fit into their normal size and they automatically assume it is your fault. Like I said, I didn't make the dress so don't get sassy with me. Amen.

3. You master the ability to become invisible. Well that's what it feels like when customers repeatedly run you over with trolleys on wide clear isles. Or when customers knock things off rails right in front of you when they can clearly see you working your under appreciated butt off trying to tidy the shop floor. Every time you place something in the wrong place or just 'dump' an item anywhere in store because you don't want it anymore, somewhere in the world, the soul of a retail assistant dies.



4. Children are the devil in disguise. Don't get me wrong, I adore children. However it seems they receive a personality transplant when they walk through the door of a store and suddenly become your arch nemesis. Nothing is more soul destroying then watching a child dismantle a whole display of shoes that you've just spent three quarters of your shift replenishing and perfecting. Keep them on a leash people.

5. I don't own the store so take your beef elsewhere. You know what sucks more then the past 4 points put together? When a customer comes along with an issue and takes it out on you. I'm a student focusing on my education using a part time job to fund my social life. I'm not the owner of the store, nor the company nor do I know the owner of the company. So when you've got an issue, take it like a man and contact customer service. Don't yell at the poor shop assistant, who believe it or not, has a life past the current four walls.



If you have found yourself guilty of any of the 5 points above please do the working world a favour and stick to online shopping and give the retail assistants in the world a much deserved break.

L.Bel xoxo



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