When I was fifteen I printed off my wildly unimpressive résumé, put on my most professional jeans, and asked my mom to drive me to the mall. I applied at every store I could think of, from shoe stores to the ice-cream kiosk. Two weeks later I received a phone call from a lingerie store; it was on that day that I signed my soul away to the devil that is retail. Almost five years later, and I haven’t looked back.
The lifestyle at one point was appealing, as a 15 year old kid employee discounts and a fancy name tag made me feel like a grown up. However after working almost three years at a lingerie store and several other clothing retailers, I would like to warn every one of the love/hate career path that is retail.
These are the things that have not been put in the job description, but are painstakingly real for any retail worker.
- Say Good-Bye To Family Holidays: The mall is open later during the holiday season, Boxing Day will make you feel ill and black Friday calls for black coffee.
- Say Good-Bye To Your Pay-Check: I can’t be alone in my shopping habits! It seems impossible to not purchase new arrivals at a discounted rate.
- You Better Have Thick Skin: Customers are angry and contrary to popular belief, they are usually wrong.
- You Will Get Tired of Hearing, “Wait so what is on sale?”, “Last week this was cheaper!” and “Can I speak to a manager?”
- Early Mornings: The mall may not open until ten but it is your job to maintain a clean store, and place the new product… morning shifts are a killer!
- Your friends will think you are their personal shopper.
- No one wants to work fitting rooms.
- Customers will try to flirt with you for discounts.
- Children will ALWAYS make a mess of a freshly folded pile.
- Your store’s playlist will eventually drive you crazy.
- You deserve WAY more than minimum wage.
- You often play therapist for customers who are in a rush and are having a bad day.
- Technology sucks and your computer system will crash daily, and customers will blame you.
- January is the month of infinite returns.
- Customers will stay in the store and shop even if you are closed.
- Once You Go Retail, You Never Go Back: You will never be able to enjoy a desk job again. The fast paced, intense environment is unlike any other.
- You will hate it.
- But you will love it.