I have been working retail since high school. It was my first job and I’ve even had it as a second job after office hours are over for my adult jobs. Anyone who works retail understands the hardships it has. Sure, the job itself usually isn’t hard to comprehend and do. But the job itself isn’t the tough part; it’s dealing with the shoppers and everyone who enters the store. There are some naturally hard parts of the job that get old or irritating after a while. You’ve got your co-workers to relate to and complain to but sometimes it isn’t enough. Besides that, a part-time retail job can teach someone some very important life lessons. I believe it’s important for everyone to work at least one retail job, especially through the holidays, in their life.
A retail job is where I first learned to be truly responsible. Parents try to get their kids to be responsible by buying them pets or assigning them chores to do, but that only works half the time. Forgetting to empty the dishwasher or letting your new puppy pee in the house is bad but a quick scold from mom and a reminder to do it on time next time is never enough. The most that happens is that you get yelled at again so this kind of slacking can keep happening. But forgetting to do something at work can have real consequences, worse than a scold from your parents. Especially in high school, this can help kids become responsible for their actions and teach them what happens when they don’t do something that they’re paid to do.
A retail job can also help you take responsibility for something you did wrong. I’ve made plenty of mistakes at work and at first I used to hide my mistakes and try to cover them up. Then I learned that it’s better to own up to your mistake and admit you did something wrong. This is helpful to learn before landing that first office job with a big company after college. A boss can appreciate an employee that can admit when they’re wrong. This can also be a teaching moment for employees which, again, employers like to see. You’re willing to learn from your mistakes so next time you do it right. The consequences of your actions in a retail job may be bad but in an important job after college, they can be worse.
The biggest thing I think a retail job can do is teach everyone respect. How many times have you gone into a store and felt irritated at an employee or gotten mad at them because they were slow or took too long to help you with something? Whenever I go into a store, I am always very patient and calm with the employees. I know the kind of day they may be having because I’ve been there; plenty of times. I understand the frustration they feel when a customer tries to belittle their job or tell them to do it better. No matter what, retails workers are still human and deserve to be treated as such.
The truth is, retail workers work very hard to try to please every customer but sometimes there’s no pleasing customers. They want what they want and get mad at people who may not even be the reason why they’re mad. It helps to be kind to the employees because they do do their very best for customers, no matter what. I never demand something of an employee, I ask politely because when I help customers I want to be respected so I treat other workers the same way.
As a human being, we all know that everyone makes mistakes. This includes retail workers, they’re human too. Instead of getting mad next time, try to understand that these things happen to everyone. Since I’ve worked retail, I never begrudge the employee at a store for a mistake because it’s very likely that they didn’t do it on purpose. The worker will probably apologize a hundred times for the mistake but instead of telling them how this has ruined your entire day, just be understanding. If you’ve every made a mistake in retail, you know how much this kind of customer reaction can hurt or feel in a personal way. By working retail, you will be understanding the next time something goes wrong in a store because you’ll be personally aware of how the employee may be feeling about the situation.