Sunday, May 24, 2009

This is where I rant about working retail...

I have worked in customer service since I was 14 years old, with the exception of one year (2007) when I worked in an office (at a college actually) and did very little customer service. I don't think there are many jobs out there that don't involve some sort of customer service, right? Well, I have been in the retail end of it for awhile now. I started in retail management after receiving my Bachelors in Fashion Merchandising and figured out that I would have to move very far from home if I wanted to do anything with my degree that wasn't some sort of retail.

While I was in school my friends and I always said we would never be the ones working at the mall. Well, here I am and you know what? I love it. Absolutely love it. Most days.

I love managing a team, I love teaching people new things, and I love helping customers (mainly children) find the perfect pieces for their wardrobes! I also love numbers and I love analyzing my sales. I can stare at the sales results for hours to figure out what we need to do, to be better.

Some people would say I'm not using my $40,000 education, but I beg to differ. If I hadn't gone to school I wouldn't completely understand how to read a profit and loss statement or know what open to buy means or understand mark up cost and mark down cost. I definitely wouldn't feel as confident about my decision making as I do today.

There are definitely days where I want to scream though. Like today. For the most part people are very friendly and respectable, but there are definitely those people that make it obvious they think they're better. I usually let it roll off my back and it doesn't bother me, but sometimes it really gets to me. They can think all they want that I am just a high school graduate (or not even!) and that I make very little money. Neither is true. I am well educated and make great money with the potential to make more if my sales are good. Sure my hours aren't attractive, but I can say I have tried both a Mon-Fri job and a "crazy hours" job and I actually prefer what I have now. I love having random days off during the week because I'm able to get so much more done without the crowds! If I go to Target on a Saturday, I'm basically in shock at how busy it is just because I never go on those days!

I'm not knocking Monday - Friday office jobs, it just wasn't for me.

This weekend was kind of blah for customers though. It's weird, they seem to come in waves. We will have a day of amazing, friendly customers then we will have a day of rude customers one after another. Annnd, there are those days when people walk right by without a word after you have said hi, or speak to you without even looking at you. Those people are the ones that I want to slap and be like, "who raised you?" Get some manners! It's just disrespectful and rude!

I don't understand why people think being bitchy is going to help them get what they want. I'm more likely to offer a discount to someone that is friendly and understanding verses the one that is awful to my associates. I'm pretty relaxed with the discounts too, I know people have choices and I appreciate their business. Unless they are rude, if they are rude or make my associates cry (it's happened) I will not hesitate to ask them to leave and not come back. How can someone feel good about themselves after making a 16 or 17 year old girl feel about two feet tall and make them cry? Seriously? Are you that low? I just don't understand.

At the end of the day, I love my job. I love what I do and I know I have a career ahead of me that will span out further than this with the same company. I'm happy where I'm at now, and hope to continue doing this for several years. There's just those days where sometimes I want to vent! So, thanks for listening reading! And, remember, if you come across someone the next time you're shopping, a simple "Hi, how are you?" is so delightful to the people working. Trust me, you'll be one of the few that ask!

Oh yeah, one more thing. Never use the pole yourself to get something down that is too high to reach, and don't call it a stick either. Sticks are found outside, not in a cute children's shop.

How many of you deal with customers on a daily basis? Have you ever worked retail? What were your pet peeves?


Anonymous said...

i have never worked in retail but i do applaud your career choice & am thankful for you and others out there! i do however work with a very rude co-worker who is extremely rude to our "clients" (they are inmates/probationers but still people none the less) and i want to smack her... being polite and nice will get you a lot farther in this world, no matter what anyone else thinks!

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I worked retail for almost two years when I was in college and my pet peeve is when people would throw their change on the counter and you'd have to pick it up.

Amber said...

OH, I KNOW! That is so rude! Sometimes, I just smile sweetly and set their change on the counter instead of handing it to them. Maybe then they will realize that what they did was very rude. If they don't want to touch my hand, I understand that, but we have hand sanitizer literally an inch from the register FOR THEM. The only time I don't mind is if it's a child, they don't know any better ;)

The Last Single Girl said...

I have never worked retail, but I did work the front desk at a hotel for a couple of years in college. Those people were way rude and a little crazy. I always seemed to get yelled at by guests for things that were obviously not my fault. I just answer the phone and check you in. I don't run the whole hotel, damn.

Also I seemed to get hit on a lot by older men. Ugh. And often they were very blunt. Want to have my babies? UMMM-how about no!!

Pursuit of Matching Accessories said...

Oh boy... I worked in retail in the wireless industry for a year and that was hell incarnate. Because you're typically dealing with hundreds of dollars and people's credit ratings... you can imagine. I just hated the people who acted like it was MY fault when they had an insanely high deposit because they had terrible credit. But such is life.

I work in customer service now, though not retail. It's very different and very professional. I like it. I have to agree with you on hours, though... Totally love having an "off" schedule.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I worked retail for 8 years and for the most part LOVED it! There were those customers who were jerks and it was hard but most of the time I just let it go. I've thought about going back, but the hours and holidays are so yuck! I'll have to email you my list I made when I was at Hat World/Lids -- you'll probably get a laugh out of it!

Scintillating Salmagundi said...

I can honestly say you are right about hotel jobs. Stacking 12 years of retail against 6 months at the front desk...I can say the people were way worse at the hotel. They think you are some kind of servant. Oh the stories I have... :)

Anonymous said...

I’ve never worked retail, but I have worked in customer service for 6 years and I cant wait to get away from it- altho everything is customer service if you think about it. And yes, I wonder the question of “who raised you?” all the time. I think the human race is doomed in the manners book. I think they forget we are real people.

Shoshanah said...

I've never really worked in customer service. Throughout most of high school and college I worked as a camp counselor, and while dealing with the parent's of campers isn't quite the same, there are similarities.