Confessions Of A Retail Worker

While we may not have it as bad as this little guy, your typical retail worker will definitely answer “Do you like your job?” with a bit of hesitation. 

Working in customer service jobs like retail can be very rewarding, but unfortunately the bad can sometimes outweigh the good. And, in the hopes of making customers happy, there's a lot that has to be held in. Read on to find out just what retail associates wish they could say on the job.

We don’t always know where everything is.  If you happened to catch one of us out of our section or if we just got a new shipment in, it’s not guaranteed that we know what you’re talking about or where it is.  Sure, we try our best to, but when the store layout just changed, your guess is as good as mine.

We can usually tell what kind of customer you’ll be based on your appearance and behavior.  And that determines whether the “customer voice” comes out or not. 

The nicer you are to us, the nicer we’ll be to you.  To be completely honest, you’ll probably get better service if you treat us like an actual human being.  Will we be rude to customers who are rude to us?  No, of course not.  But we won’t go above and beyond for them either. 

We have jobs assigned to us in between working with customers.  Yes, we heard you ask for help and no, we’re not ignoring you.  We’re either busy helping another customer or getting to a stopping point in our other tasks so that we can help you.

“You don’t work for companies, you work for people” is totally true.  Coworkers and customers can make the difference between an “eh” day and a fantastic one.

We notice when customers slip in the door five minutes before closing.  Please…we just want to close the store so we can go home…now is really not the time to try on half the store and ask me, with your arms full of merchandise, when we close.

“Oh, no, I’m just browsing” is music to our ears.  Refer back to #1. We try our best, we really do, but there’s always the lingering fear of getting that one customer that makes a huge scene. 

The sale section is a modern-day treasure hunt and an absolute blessing.  Customers aren’t the only one who keep an eye on which deals are coming up.  Retail therapy is just the same for us as it is for you.

If we say something isn’t in the back, don’t tell us that it is.  Chances are, there’s a lot less back there than you think. 

We have nothing to do with the pricing, selection, or the sizing of our merchandise.  And there’s nothing we can do about it.

Getting to organize the displays is actually really fun.  It makes the store look so much nicer and it helps us scope out our next buys (hello, employee discount).  

If we go in the fitting room with you, or you think we’re following you around the store, it’s incredibly unlikely that we actually think you’re stealing.  Sometimes we’ll carry your things into the fitting room for you, sometimes we’re just following our training.  And noticing the same associate around you is simply a coincidence.  There’s only so much space in our assigned section for us to walk around in, and if you see us more than once, it’s time for us to make another lap.  It’s just as awkward for us as it is for you.  Similarly:

We don’t like having to suggest more things for you to buy.  Again, it’s awkward and incredibly transparent.  You know what we’re trying to do, and we know you know. 

If you ask me to help you and I say I’m on my break, I really, really can’t help you.  Once I’m clocked out, it’s illegal for me to do anything else.  I’m not being lazy, I’m not making excuses, and I can’t help you with one “quick little thing.”  It could get me fired and get my managers in big trouble.

We aren’t mind readers.  If you want help, please ask us.  As previously mentioned, we’re a lot busier on the job than we may seem, and we may not notice your confusion.  Just ask, and we’d be happy to help!

Happy shopping, Collegiettes!