Hey, Hi, Hello there, just me again…
I’m writing this in work, like literally, no bullshit, its dead as Hell in here and the idea of wasting time makes me nauseous- So, I’m multi-tasking. Although, I’m 100% sure it isn’t debilitating my ability to ask old women if they need assistance, lets keep this on the down low, okay? A little background. I work in retail, in a shoe store where literally everyone is overworked and underpaid – this led up to a build of stress almost killing me. So, I’m not saying I hate retail but, I very severely dislike it to be modest. Even though I have learned quite a lot of my time trapped in Hell. Sit back, relax and get comfy as I quickly teach you how to survive retail.
Lesson One: Literally NO-ONE wants me be here.
No one, not one of them at all want to be standing around all day bored out of their mind, If they do, they’re lying. Firstly, I’d say over half the retail and service industry in fact is completely comprised of students. Now, I’m not knocking it, I adore my student colleagues. It’s nice to spend copious hours with someone who knows how to have a laugh -especially on stock room shifts, God Damn stock room shifts. At the end of the day, people are there for the dollar, no one cares. Learn to have fun, how to do a little more than small talk and deal with the fact you’re not going to enjoy it. My advice, make friends with the chattier students it does make standing around a little more exciting to say the least.
Lesson Two: Refraining from punching angry old women in the face is harder than expected.
The old women facing me, is almost fossilized and currently screaming at the top of the dust bags she calls lungs because I don’t have a size four sandal. It’s in these moment that I have to remind myself I will get sacked if I shout back – this scene isn’t an unusual one. You know that saying ‘The customer is always right’? Yeah, its bullshit. All you can do is smile and hope she fucks off to shout at someone who is more willing to listen.
Lesson Three: Small talk is a language of its own.
Lovely weather we’re having.
I know, beautiful isn’t it – strange for March.
Oh, just wait, it’ll be raining again before you – blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
The amount of pointless conversation you are forced to endure with passing strangers is positively barbaric but, it is the language of retail. Learn to chat idly with customers about the weather, their kids, how hit it is in the store, anything to make them feel little more at ease and in turn more likely to buy shit. Get chatty or it gets awkward.
Lesson Four: You like Christmas? Not anymore.
Surviving Christmas in retail is like surviving a family gathering: impossible. Serving 25 customers at once, unpacking a delivery and getting shouted at by a disgruntled customer simultaneously, becomes second nature. Shifts get so much longer, people get increasingly stressed and it gets worse as the season progresses. Oh, and that’s not mentioning the fact you’ll have to listen to the same four songs on repeat, prepare to form a deep hate for Mariah Carey, Wham! and John Lennon.
Ay, as much as I’ll openly moan about retail, I guess its all a necessary evil, I mean people do have to buy stuff after all. One thing I will say is that working in retail did give me confidence. It helped me improve my problem solving, an it did bloody wonders for my patience that’s for sure. So I guess its all not bad.
Until next time,
– Elliot Kray.