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Retail Etiquette: From a Current Retail Employee

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at App State chapter.

Like many other students, picking up a part-time job while in college is a necessary part of life. For me, retail was my part-time job of choice, and I truly enjoy my job. Merchandising new shipments allows me to be creative and I enjoy helping customers find outfits for special occasions such as job interviews, weddings, or even prom! I also work with a fun team and have been lucky to meet some really great friends who I get to socialize with while working. While this job can be fun, like any job it can also be somewhat draining. As a retail employee myself, when I walk into a store to shop for clothes I always do a few things to help out my fellow retail warriors. If you’ve ever wondered how you can easily make their days a little better, then you’re at the right place. 

First things first, the fitting room. I personally LOVE it when stores allow me to try on the clothes that I’m thinking about buying. However, this is where things can go awry for retail workers. If you’re a customer in a retail store, it is really important to not leave the clothing on the floor when you’re done trying it on. This is not only respectful to the employees but also to those who may be trying on the clothes after you. Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to wash the clothes after someone tries them on, and while we do clean the floors every night, this is still gross. Some of these garments are suit jackets, silk skirts, and flowy dresses that aren’t necessarily cheap, so either hang them back up in the fitting room or set them on a bench or chair if available. 

Next, if something is out of stock, try not to get frustrated with the frontline cashier worker. Unfortunately, the employees that work in most corporate businesses don’t have control over what is sent in shipments, therefore reprimanding them only brings stress and tension into the mix. After a busy weekend, it is likely that the store may not have a particular size so it’s important to always keep that in mind when shopping at a brick-and-mortar store rather than through a business like Amazon. 

Finally, try your best to avoid going in less than five minutes before the store closes. Those employees have been there all day, and they have families, pets, spouses, and homework to attend to when they arrive home. Since most retail stores are open seven days a week, it might be best to come back the next day when they open again. I understand sometimes this is unavoidable, as everyone has their own work and life schedules and sometimes you just have to pop in for a moment to grab something quickly or make a return. If this is the case, it can be helpful to greet the employee and inform them that you’ll only be a few minutes when you enter the store. The employees will likely be very understanding. This small statement can mean a lot to us retail employees because it shows that you value our time as we try to value our customers’ time!

I understand that retail employees do get paid to serve customers, which most are happy to do! But these super simple tips can make for a positive experience and a more relaxed retail worker. Above all, retail employees and customers alike need to remember that we are all human, with desires, struggles, and experiences of our own. Just remember to be kind and courteous, and all will be well.

Morgan Pierce

App State '24

I am a senior Public Relations major with a minor in Digital Marketing. Throughout my time at App State, I've found a love for storytelling in a variety of formats including writing. I am a member of PRSSA and AppTV at App State.