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Quirks of Working in the Children’s Department

Much like The Hunger Games, the fast-paced and uncertain environment of retail makes it a site of chaos and entertainment. Its stressing-inducing nature is doubled, however, when working in the children’s department. Not only are you required to exhibit a high degree of emotional labour, especially when interacting with younger customers, but also behave in a professional and mature manner. With this ingrained, there are several peculiarities that arise on the job.

 

1. The shorter you are, the more likely you’ll be used as a measuring chart for customers.

Most parents prefer shopping without their children to avoid the tension that comes from unsolicited remarks. While this eases their minds, it makes the task of finding sizes and styles taxing, even though associates provide several options for them to choose from. I’ve noticed that parents feel reassured that they’re making the right choices when they have someone for size comparison. Being petite in stature, I’m asked whether I can, in fact, fit into children’s clothes and what size. But, what often happens is that parents approach me to place the item of clothing in front of my body to visualize what it’d look like on their child.  

2. You’ll memorize the store’s playlist inside and outside.

Due to the brand catering to children, an oversanitized playlist is necessary to reinforce this fact. The overwhelming positivity embedded in several songs becomes redundant, and quite frankly, reduces it into idle background noise. Yet, it becomes second nature knowing the sequence in which songs are played. Shamefully, I anticipate hearing “Sorry Not Sorry” just so I can belt out into song.

3. Children are more observant than adults think.

I’ve engaged with customers of all ages and the most honest responses are from children. They irreproachably comment on every minuscule thing — the abundance of pink, glitter, tutus — you name it! Despite parents profusely apologizing for their child’s unfiltered thoughts, it’s refreshing to hear what they really think about the products. After all, the brand is catered for them and they should feel confident in what they’re wearing.

4. Finding substitutions for curse words.

 

The expectation is that the language used should be profanity-free as the image that is being portrayed is one of purity and innocence. However, the presence of fixtures, display tables and countertops not only increases the chances of getting bruises, but also uttering curse words, in rapid succession. To reduce the risk of customers, especially children from hearing the use of profanity, I’ve created a system that replaces almost every curse word in the English vernacular. The two most common ones that you’ll hear me say are: “fladoodle” and “what a mess!”

 

 

Note: All opinions expressed are my own and are in no way associated with the company. I recognize that every retail worker’s experience is different. Therefore, I am not making generalizations of all companies.

 

Raquel is currently pursuing a BA in English Literature with an interest in 20th century literature. When she's not stressing about academics, Raquel spends an unhealthy amount of time browsing the web for aesthetically-pleasing restaurants, cafes and landscape sceneries for her Instagram profile.
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