Working in Retail

8:00 AM

Hi y'all,

Is working in retail worthless?

I'll be the first to say, that sometimes it feels that way. We often get paid too little, and often aren't given the respect we deserve (from both customers and our employers).

It's often easy to find a job in retail (they're one of the most frequently hiring businesses around). However, it is a lot harder to know if you'll keep your job. Often times, I've found that management is not open about your performance. Plus, some people aren't afraid to cut you from the schedule without any explanation (often it is simply because they don't like you).

While there are definitely childish and tasteless tactics being used, you can also have your bff or your next great recommendation as your manager. This has really only happened to me three times, with about 6 different managers, in the three stores I have worked for.

Depending on the type of store you're working for you're voice might not be heard. I found it much harder to work in a chain retail store compared to boutique retail. I will say that often times it depends on the owners in boutique retail in how much they listen. Not that anyone asked my opinion, but if I think it is wise to take advice and suggestions from the people who work on the sales floor every day.

I will say that if you don't have a servant's heart, working in retail will be very difficult. You're goal as a sales associate or a manger is to make sure the customer is pleased. This can sometimes be hard to do. Customers can be hard to get along with and sometimes even impossible to get along with. However, they can also be your best friend. But you definitely have to be okay with getting the customer what they need and sometimes talking to a brick wall.

Each company has a different structure (and if you move between stores, you might even find a different structure between stores). I have always found it hard to understand how a company functions when one store does something one way but others do it a different way.

It is also entirely too easy to spend your entire pay check at your place of work. Retail stores give their employees a discount (most don't disclose it to the public; however, some retailers are very open about it). Some even allow a certain number of employee "gift" purchases. I think setting a budget (which is something I need to work on) is important.

I will say that working in retail bettered my people skills (I'm still awkward, but  I make it work for me). It helped me become better at technology and explore a field I considered going into post college (I currently run the social media for my location of the store I work for). Working in retail helped me create new friendships. One of my friends I reconnected with (we had gone to preschool together and were admitted to the same college), but we really became friends after working together for almost a year in retail. It helped me create new friendships and encourage people to look at CNU and ADPi. It really is shocking how much colleges and greek life come up in conversations (then again, I live in a college town so maybe I shouldn't be so shocked). Working in retail taught me to value my goals and to make sure I am always working towards them. I think it is hard for some people to understand and I know a lot of retailers refuse to talk about goals outside of their store (because obviously their store is the only place you can work). I think it is important for people to understand their goals are valued and that they're supported (but again, no one asked me).

Working in retail taught me that I will definitely stick to my style. I can't say I've really ever branched out from it. Working in retail taught me that it is okay to believe what you do, and not everyone is going to value you at the rate you should be valued (whether monetarily or as a human being). It taught me to stand up for myself and that change can be for the best (I wouldn't almost be a teacher if I hadn't quit my last retail job). I value people more, and I am far more patient when shopping (that doesn't mean I won't get upset if the employees are simply not doing their job). I value my free time, and the nights and weekends I do get to spend at home.

I will never say working retail was a bad thing. It was never demoralizing or horrible (minus a few time periods where management was truly awful). Working in retail gave me many life lessons, and at the end of the day that means I don't have many regrets.


with southern grace,
Lindsey


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Reading your comments absolutely make my day, thanks for writing one!
with southern grace,
Lindsey