8 Feelings All Retail Worked Can Relate To

8 Feelings All Retail Workers Can Relate To

No, the customer really isn't always right. In fact, the customer is never right.


When I was searching for my first job ever at the ripe young age of 15, I dreamt of working in retail. It seemed like the perfect first job. My retail dreams were delayed, however, as I worked in the infamous fast food industry for a couple of years before landing a job at a popular clothing retailer at 18.

Although I love my job and my coworkers dearly, some days are better than others. However, I have the privilege of being able to say that I've never come home from work crying. Nonetheless, some days make me want to hand in my two weeks and live comfortably until my bank account is empty.

1. When the customer asks, "Did you scan that correctly?"


To be honest with you, I don't know how one would scan an item incorrectly. By scanning it twice? Or not at all? To be fair, there are sometimes discounts and deals a cashier would need to apply that don't show up on the screen until the very end, so a customer will commonly step in in this situation.

Still, don't worry because I did not forget to take the $5 off of your t-shirt, because I had to do it for all 50 of the customers that were in front of you, I promise.

2. Working fitting rooms on a Saturday is the closest you'll get to Hell On Earth.


I'm not sure anything compares to screaming kids, lines out the door, impatient customers waiting for rooms to open up and endless amounts of clothes to rehang. It almost seems never-ending, but just think about the paycheck at the end of it all.

You're probably still upset because working on commission is still extremely rare in retail for some reason.

3. Realizing you have another six hours to work even though it feels like you've been working for 10 already.


When you're three hours into your shift and you check the time to realize that it's only actually been 23 minutes has got to be the worst feeling in the world.

4. When you're asked to stay a few extra hours and you just can't refuse.


Your heart wants to say no but the guilt won't let you. There go your plans to lay in bed watching "Friends" reruns until you have to go back in tomorrow.

5. Realizing chores are easier when you're an expert at folding clothes.


Folding a basket of laundry? No problem, I can do that in my sleep.

6. Doing the same thing every single day is the worst.


Your job consists of three things: cashing people's items out, folding clothes and answering a million (sometimes mind-boggling) questions. Once in awhile, there will be the occasional poop-in-the-fitting-room situation or an angry customer, but it's almost always the same.

7. When you have to explain the return policy for the 53rd time that day.


It's on the receipt, it's on the sign behind us. It's such a simple return policy that when customers complain or ask about it, it becomes a painfully scripted repetition.

8. Coming home after an 8 hour shift is the closest thing you'll get to Heaven On Earth.


Clothes off, Netflix on and try not to think about the fact that you have to do it all over again the next day.

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5 Companies That Still Use Slave Labor

Let's talk about the modern slave trade.

Growing up in a country where freedom is always a right and expectation — whether you live in the United States or one of the other 86 "free" countries — it is easy to believe that, compared to the well-known 1800s slave trade, we are doing pretty well when it comes to civil liberties, freedom, and overall social welfare. Documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) have been approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, meaning that the vast majority of nations have agreed that every individual has the right to basic human dignity.

Despite this significant progress, however, there are 45.8 million people enslaved today, more than any other time in world history. The United States Department of Homeland Security has launched the Blue Campaign in light of this growing industry, hoping to raise awareness of the human trafficking that persists in local communities. Additionally, you can watch this video for a summary on the Global Slavery pandemic. I will write about the problem of human trafficking in the United States on another day; however, global slavery affects us whether it is in our city or halfway around the world. In fact, companies that you purchase from every single day use slave labor for their work instead of paying employees a fair wage.* Don't believe me?

Here are five companies that are using slave labor to make their products TODAY, and where you should shop instead.


Nestle is one of the largest companies that has consistently carried out human rights violations all over the world. Not only did they illegally take water from California during the drought in 2015, but in the 1970s they got third-world mothers to use infant formula by selling it at reduced prices, and then when the mothers could no longer breastfeed, they raised the price of formula so much that many children were malnourished and starving.

Their most recent problems revolve around slavery in the cocoa industry. In 2009 several former child slaves sued Nestle because they were trafficked and forced to work on Nestle farms in Cote d'Ivoire. Another suit was filed by former child slaves in 2014, stating that "Studies by International Labour Organization, UNICEF, the Department of State, and numerous other organizations have confirmed that thousands of children are forced to work without pay in the Ivorian economy." In 2016, the Fair Labor Association executed an assessment of Nestle in Cote d'Ivoire. They claimed that 70% of Nestle farms were not trained on the prohibition of forced labor. Further, they stated that "there is no process in place to monitor, report, and remediate cases of forced labor at the farms." With this in mind, they did find evidence of potential forced and uncompensated labor. Additionally, they found evidence of child labor—many of these children never enrolling in school — in which children were getting paid little to nothing, and often working in dangerous conditions.

INSTEAD: buy from Ben & Jerry's or Theo. They will satisfy your sweet tooth and are Fair-Trade guaranteed.


Nike has REALLY cleaned up their act in the last several years, but with a standard of no slave labor, they still have quite a way to go. In 1992, activist Jeff Ballinger published an exposé in "Harpers" that revealed the story of a child in Indonesia working in disgusting conditions, and for a mere 14 cents per hour (far below the minimum wage in Indonesia at the time).

Since then, Nike has begun to report supply chain information. The most recent report claims that, in 2016, only 86% of their factories were up to the minimum standards they set. Though they give a good indication of how far the company has come, these standards are set by Nike and assessed internally, making it difficult to compare standards to a universal one.

INSTEAD: shop at Patagonia! All products here are Fair Trade Certified!


Starbucks claims a mission for ethical sourcing, meaning their company policy requires them to abide by a standard of "ethical sourcing" that they have created. They only have two Fair-Trade coffees available for purchase. After the development charity Oxfam reported that Starbucks was depriving Ethiopian coffee growers of $90 million every year, Starbucks was challenged by the public eye to “clean up their act,” and did so by creating their own “ethical sourcing” standards, that they implement themselves, and certify 99% of their coffee with. Whether or not these standards are viable, they are not Fair Trade Certified at this time.

The U.S. Department of Labor has a list of locations and goods that use forced and child labor. Starbucks lists coffees from countries such as Guatamala, Kenya, Costa Rica and Panama; however, none of these single-sourced coffees are certified by them as “Fair Trade.” Rather, they are all regions that are known to use child labor.

INSTEAD: buy the Starbucks Italian Roast and Café Estima; they are certified by Fair Trade! You can also order online from Café Justo, Jurang and Equal Exchange —entire companies dedicated to producing Fair Trade coffee.


A 2016 report stated that as of December 31, 2015, 31 out of 72 H&M suppliers were using illegal contracts. In other words, these contracts allowed for wrongful termination. Now I know what you are thinking: the current system of hiring/firing in the U.S. is full of problems, and it takes way too much work to fire a bad employee in most cases. Well, the situation in countries like Cambodia and India are a little different. Often times, employees of H&M will be forced to work for excessive overtime hours—far beyond the legal limit—with no increase in their weekly take home pay. They are also often working in sweatshop conditions, with no breaks and unsanitary environments. Moreover, the contracts allow the factory to fire a worker for refusing to work these long hours. In fact, a garment worker in Cambodia stated: "We often get sick around once a month. We don’t eat enough and work too much trying to maximize the piece rate. Also, we don’t stop to go to the bathroom. We often work through lunch breaks or go back into work early, so there is hardly any time to rest."

INSTEAD: shop at one of these other retailers that are guaranteed to have fair-trade labor!


Well, this one is probably the least suprising yet. According to a 2016 report by the Wage Alliance on Walmart's value chain, Walmart refused to sign the 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh that 200 companies signed following the collapse of Rana Plaza. It also stated that all 14 factories in Cambodia were studied, and they all violated local overtime laws consistently, with some forcing 14 hour work days without overtime pay "in sweltering heat, without adequate supply of clean drinking water or any breaks." These same conditions were expressed by workers in factories in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The report continued to list countless instances of workers given severely less than they were promised, or even cases where owners of factories fled without paying workers at all.

INSTEAD: OK, I know it's hard to pass up Walmart prices. However, here is a full list of companies that are fair trade. Even if you start small, I know you can find a way to cut back on your slavery footprint! Want to know how many slaves work for you now? Visit the Slavery Footprint mission to find out.

*I use the term “fair wage” because many people who are enslaved are trapped in a cycle of debt bondage. This means that an individual or family works for pennies per hour to pay off an ever-increasing debt. Oftentimes this debt is passed down for generations. To learn more about debt bondage and other forms of slavery, visit the non-profit End Slavery Now, here.

Cover Image Credit: iragelb / Flickr

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10 Thoughts Every College Girl Has While Spending Way More Than $10 At Target

Target is a death trap.


We've all been to Target, with the sole purpose of only getting ONE damn thing.

Yet we know what seems like 5 minutes actually turns into 2 hours and you end up leaving with a cart full of stuff you never really needed, and a receipt a mile long.

Don't try to hide it, you either 1) nodding your head agreeing to this statement or 2) you're in denial. But if I can tell you one thing you have probably had these thoughts while at Target.

"1. You are only here for ONE item."

2. "Getting a cart won't hurt anything. Right?"

Remember, carrying a basket is like carrying a weight. Ain't no one got time for that.

3. "Do I really need this?"

*Throws item in the cart anyway*

4. "It's only the dollar section."

So many cute things for one dollar, you heard that right, just a dollar.

5. "Where's my sister I want to Kick her butt at the video games."

Loser buys popcorn.

6. "Popcorn smells so good right now."

I'm sure you can smell it now.

7. "Again, do I need this?"

8. "Do I have a gift card?"

90% of the time you know you don't, but wonder anyway.

9. "Of course I have to check out the clearance."

Except that's about 50% of the store if you know where to look.

10. "I failed again."

You were supposed to get one thing.

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