Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

5 Things... I Hate About Working In Retail

1 - The fact that I have the early shift, which means I am usually out of bed at 4:30am, three days a week. I am a night owl by nature, and am generally asleep no earlier than 1am. I'm always tired. Always. I really don't understand why there is this need to open a grocery store/newsagents at 6am, seven days a week. My place has maybe half a dozen customers in the first hour on a Sunday morning, so it hardly seems worth it. Weekdays I get, what with builders and other tradesmen out and about, but on Sundays most people with an ounce of sense are still in bed at that time of the morning. Possibly my lack of understanding for opening at 6am on a Sunday stems from the fact that I am jealous of all those that get to have a lie-in, but still...

2 - When customers expect you to serve them when they are too busy nattering on their mobile phones to even bother to look at you. That really bugs me, it's the height of ignorance.

3 - The brevity of traditional holidays, which are sacrificed in order for most shops to be able to open so that they can squeeze a few more pounds out of the paying public. Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, Bank Holidays... these used to mean that every single shop on the high street was closed. Not any more. Not only are the holidays practically made null and void, the poor people who work in retail usually have no choice but to work on these days, thus spoiling any holiday festivities that they may have had planned.

4 - The general attitude towards people who work in retail. Just because we operate the checkouts or spend the day putting out stock, it doesn't mean we are brainless idiots who don't know how to do anything else. I've had customers come into the shop who are obviously business men/women, with their smart suits and jingly watches and mobile phones, and the way they sneer- yes, sneer - at me makes my blood boil.

5 - Rude, obnoxious customers. There are a huge range of these monsters lurking in the general public, from the people who practically throw their money at you, yet expect you to count their change back into their open hands, to the people who seem to think it is their purpose in life to blame you for the 'scandalous' price of a box of eggs. Then there's the bloke who thinks that if he rants at you for a few minutes, you may be able to magically conjure the newspaper that he wants, despite having been told that they haven't been delivered yet. The list is endless. Customers can be a horrible breed.

This was originally going to be a '10 Things' post, but I soon realised that most of my 'things' were customer related, so I was swiftly reduced to '5 Things' instead. That's still five more things than I'd like, though...

Still, it's job, and luckily I like the people I work with, so it's not all bad. Now, if I could just manage to get through the day without any customer interaction, I'd almost be happy.

Alarm clock image permission.


  1. Oh hell yes... I have a sign on my bedroom door that says "Show me someone with a deep and abiding loathing for the human race, and I'll show you someone who works in retail." Sums it up, eh?

  2. Having worked in retail ages ago I can completely understand. UGH is all I can say about the some people act in stores.

  3. I've worked retail and it often sucks.
    I always try to say something nice to the person ringing up my purchases, even if it's just 'Have a blessed day.' And those people on the cell phone are just rude!

  4. Funny--almost all of these apply to the restaurant business, too. I served my time there--then it was open until 1am instead of by 6, but still, blame lousy hours... and the customer complaints... URGH! I think everyone should be forced to do 2 years in the service industry before proclaiming themselves adults because it sure changes your perspective.

  5. I hate to tell you this but even government jobs are shifting to a retail attitude. We take the same kind of crap. I worked at BnN and I have the same kind of Sh** at the library as I did there. Except holidays. I would like to have some early shifts once in a while though...

    I have an award for you on my blog.

  6. Leanne - I need a sign like that to put up in the office at work!

    Weesa - Yup, the general public can be very, very scary.

    Alex - See, if everyone did what YOU do, then working in retail would be a much nicer experience. :)

    Tami - Great idea. I think if everyone was forced to work in the public sector then people would soon realise that rude behaviour just doesn't fly.

    Danette - Hello and welcome! Thanks so much for the award! I think the Burrow will accept and pass along as a group rather than individually. :) And yup, the crap isn't restricted to retail - any job where you have to deal with the public carries the same drawbacks.

  7. Join the club...