I appreciate you all for being patient as I was sick and needed a week to get myself together.
I began working retail in 2010 as a sales associate at Bath & Body Works in one of Atlanta's busiest malls—Lenox Square. From there, my side hustle became the retail jobs I would work in the evenings and on weekends. Target, Loft, Charming Charlie—the list goes on. Working in these stores, you grow a thick layer of skin. From the anxiety of finding parking during peak shopping hours so that you aren't late for your shift to being yelled at for the store not having the latest LOL doll in stock.
The goal from this week's post is to remind us about kindness.
Many shoppers are in such a rush to get the best deals on Black Friday, that they don't even consider the person that has to leave Thanksgiving dinner early to work the store. Now, by all means, this is not a complaint or pity post for us that choose to work retail, however, it seems as though some customers have no respect for the average retail worker. Being on both sides of the cash register, we all have an off day or two. I have been lucky to have managers that train the staff well making it a rarity for our team to receive complaints. Of course, there are always a few customers that expect you to turn water into wine.
The Beyond Bargain Betty that always asks for a coupon on items already marked down; The "I know I bought this somewhere but can't remember if this was the store" shopper; The "I will ask seventeen questions and take five samples just to say no thanks" shopper; or my all-time favorite "I spoke to another salesperson two weeks ago and they said you would honor this expired coupon" shopper. (We all know no one told you that, but let it slide anyway.)
I promise retail workers are not out to get you as a customer. Many stores have sales goals and it is the job of the cashier to upsell. No one actually enjoys asking every person if they want to sign up for the rewards program. It is also VERY likely that the salesperson you choose to have an attitude with is a college-educated individual, working part-time to pay down debt, have extra spending money, or just make ends meet in an already fluctuating economy. There is no need to belittle a person regardless of the circumstances. You would think that goes without saying but I am saying it now just to be crystal clear.
The poor customer service experienced while shopping may be attributed to poor management. I have had multiple managers that simply had no idea how to lead and manage a team and it was a disservice to everyone that upper-level management did not notice these shortcomings.
Now there are a few associates that do not possess the je ne sais quoi to work in retail. These are the people that cannot smile, make eye contact, or speak in a pleasant manner. THOSE are the people you ask for their names, and let the manager know to handle them accordingly. Please do not catch a case over a disagreement.
With that being said, I have had an opportunity to meet some amazing people and even have conversations with some very special people while working my retail job. I am thankful for all the memories and lessons the retail world has given me. It was definitely a means to an end. Just remember "retail therapy" is not something a salesperson should need after a long shift at work.
Thank you for reading this week!
xo Mia Shantel