‘Tis the season, family and friends! Black Friday has commenced for you to spend, spend, SPEND!
The joy that the holidays brings for all of us but the attitude among holiday shoppers are inevitable. I have worked retail for about four years and trust me, it was a challenging job. Once you’re on the clock, you represent the company you are working for, so it was expected to keep the mission of the company in mind. Even when customers are being difficult with you, you have to suck it up and deal with it. Everyday in retail is different and difficult but those on the outside don’t see this.
By scrolling through Facebook, I came across a shared post from one of my friend called, “23 Things people always get completely wrong about retail workers.” It was from BuzzFeed and I immediately had to see for myself if they were accurate. Of course, BuzzFeed did not fail me. First on their list was,
“The idea that retail workers are somehow lazy or stupid is demeaning.”
This may sound one-sided but retail workers are not lazy (unless they don’t their job completely) and assuming that they’re stupid is pretty low (that’s pretty rude, don’t you think?) Retail workers find solutions to problems that their customers cannot solve. For example, in clothing retail, if you can’t find or see your size on the sales floor, we will gladly check to see in the back or call a neighboring store that may carry the item in your size. Honestly, all a customer needs to do is ask and we will gladly check.
It’s also perceived that we only have one dedicated task when working. Number nine on the list was,
“And while keeping the store nice and tidy is part of their job, retail workers have plenty to do besides cleaning up after messy customers.”
From what I remember, my general tasks while working retail consisted of assisting in monthly morning floor sets (sometimes overnight,) calculating the sales goal for the day and keeping track of it throughout the shift, restocking items, and finding solutions to problems that may occur throughout the day. It’s not easy. There are times where you would be caught up with tasks and the store gets busy. It’s all about multitasking at that point.
However, retail may be perceived as mediocre and a job that is looked down at, but we learn a great deal of people skills. It requires patience and understanding with customers. Interpersonal skills improve because we strive to build a connection and relationship with our customers. Thankfully the National Retail Federation (NRF) has launched a social media campaign called “This is Retail.” It highlights different retail workers in their federation that share life-changing stories while working retail. At least there is an organization out there to support the efforts of retail employees.
Connecting the BuzzFeed post and the NRF, we see that the what is assumed about retail workers from the outside are primarily not true. The NRF helps in relieving the stigma created about retail workers and are putting continuous efforts in highlighting these employees for their impact with everyday people.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the next time you shop, be nice to the employees. They are everyday people just like you and all they want to do is give you outstanding customer service.