I worked in retail for over 6 years. I'm not just talking about being an associate somewhere. I've done it all; management, sales, shipment, you name it (in retail), I've probably done it. This is why I always have extraordinary levels of sympathy for anyone working in that industry.
To be honest, it really isn't as easy as people who have never worked retail seem to think it is. People can be incredibly rude and oftentimes treat you like you are somehow less than human simply because you are standing behind a cash register. Sometimes I could swear the universe was just sending people into my stores to piss me off because it got a kick out of my reaction.
Seeing as I'm someone who exhibits a great deal of understanding and empathy, it takes a lot to make me frustrated with a business' service. I shop with my boyfriend frequently, who has never worked retail in his life, and I find myself frequently having to keep him from freaking out at a sales associate for being slow or rude or one of the million things that retail employs seem to do "wrong".
Very rarely do I get to the point where I ask to speak to a supervisor, but when I do, you should know it's probably pretty necessary.
What really bothers me most about having to be the "Can I speak to your manager?" lady is the fact that it's almost always a really simple problem to fix or request to fulfill, but the associate is too lazy to take the steps to help me out.
Let me remind you, I understand how retail works. I know that an associate can't do everything and may sometimes need approval, but if you are going to just totally disregard a customer because you don't feel like helping, well maybe you should get out of an industry that has "service" in the title.
I went to IKEA this week because a piece of furniture I ordered in the mail contained the wrong panel and I needed to switch it for the right panel. Long story short, they had the piece I was missing (which I found in the store myself after being told it was out of stock) but the associate helping me didn't want to go through the effort of opening the box and getting me the piece.
I put on my best effort to be peaceful but was basically told to drive back (IKEA is 40 minutes and a $20 toll from my apartment) sometime later in the week. I couldn't believe the complete disregard for a customer who up until this point had been nothing but understanding.
Suffice to say this retail pro got her missing piece after a lovely conversation with a supervisor named Justin (you the real MVP in this story Justin!) but I just wish that first associate had simply held it down.
It was well within their power to help me out, but they decided they didn't feel like it and that's pretty shitty.
I guess really what I'm getting at here is that in retail (like all parts of life) you should just treat people the way you want to be treated. Your work day will go faster, your shopping experience will be more enjoyable and maybe, just maybe, you won't hate going to the store so much.