I hate working retail. Of all the jobs–by category–that I’ve had, this ranks the worst. Why, you ask? I could give you many, but we’d be here tell the end of time. So, I’ll give you my top five.
Customers (Redundant or Hostile)
I will start with the customers. I dislike dealing with people in general, but two types top my list. The first is the Redundant Customer. This is an individual who comes up to me and asks if we carry something. I tell them no and their immediate response is to inform me that we do carry it and that they know it’s here. If they’re so sure of that, why ask me if we carry it in the first place? The other type is the Hostile Customer. This is the person who becomes angry and upset at me when I cannot fill their request, or tell them–convincingly–that we do not carry a product. Hey! It’s not my fault. Go speak to a manager.
Managers are another issue for me. While that’s a job title that’s hard to escape in the work environment, I’ve had particular difficulty with those in retail. The problem stems from being the low woman on the totem pole. Everyone with that word in their job title is a lord and master that has to be obeyed. Night stockers didn’t put out all the freight? I get told to do it. A department looses their zoner? I get to take care of it. Toys department doesn’t have enough people for Christmas? Bingo! I get hauled in. Then, when you can’t get your work done for obvious reasons, you get chewed out. And the reasons aren’t reasons at all, but excuses and you better get it done. OR ELSE! In fact, the only managers I’ve tended to have serious issues with have been in retail. Perhaps there’s something to it.
Holidays are crazy at any job where you have to work them, either on the day, or before. Customers are thicker than weeds, incredibly rude, and rather inconsiderate. When Black Friday hit the store I’m working at it was insane. People pressed within extreme proximity to each other, carts packed together closer than the Houston rush hour, and people fighting over forty dollar sets of generic dish sets. Christmas is especially bad and only gets worse the closer you get to it. I’m running around like a headless chicken, trying–and failing–to keep my departments looking neat and going up to the front every thirty minutes–instead of every few hours–to get full baskets of returns to take care of. A lovely time all around.
This is another crossover area, but one that I’ve blown particular steam with retail. Every so often, the powers on high come up with these policies that–for some inconceivable reason–they think are good ideas. One at my current job jumps out. A few years ago the company I work for decided that it would mandate a vest–in the color and with the logo of the company–for all associates to where. Why? That has never been explained to me and seems pointless. After all, the employees where a uniform, have a badge, and are the ones straightening the shelves and not wrecking them. You’d think we’d be easy to spot. Apparently, someone didn’t think so, and they in force it to the hilt. When I forgot to bring my vest once I got ambushed and asked a bunch of rapid fire questions that ended with them letting me borrow a new vest. I put my foot down when they tried to get me to wear a used one. Heaven only knows where that thing’s been.
As I mentioned above, I dislike dealing with people. That undoubtedly makes you question my job choice, but I have a reason. First, you can’t hop, skip, or spit without hitting a job that requires dealing with customers. And when the retail position you have is one of the best paying companies in a town of 8,000 people, you can’t be picky. The second is because I’m Autistic and my greatest challenge has always been interacting with people socially. No matter how much I try to behave in a socially acceptable manner and be polite, I inevitably offend someone–sometimes explosively. This leads to confrontations, which leads to complaints, which leads to me sitting down with a manager and getting into a load of trouble. You can see why I don’t like talking to people.
With all this you probably think I’m crazy for working in retail and you’re probably right. But as I’ve already mentioned, it’s one of the best paying employers in a small town and not far from my house.
Besides, beggars can’t be choosers.
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.