How To Survive Working In Retail

How To Survive Working In Retail

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I have been working in retail for almost a year now, and I’ve learned a few “tricks of the trade,” if you will. I would like to begin by stating that I genuinely enjoy my job, and I am so lucky to have such an amazing manager and co-workers. I understand that not everyone is as privileged when it comes to obtaining a job in retail, so I would like to give you some tips on how to survive working in retail.

Smile. Always.

Just do it. It doesn’t matter how bad of a day you may have had, or if you didn’t get much sleep, or you have a headache and you just do not want to be there, whatever it may be, you have to smile. Your shift will go a lot more smoothly. When a customer walks in the door and is greeted with a smiling sales associate (as long as you’re not being creepy) they will feel more at ease and will hopefully be in a good mood. You don’t want a cranky customer. Don’t just smile when you greet them, but also when you go to check them out at the register. It’s simply being a polite sales clerk. This is followed by…

Always apologize when a mistake is made.

It doesn’t matter if it was your fault or not. Apologize. “You rung me up for $19.99 but the sale tag says it’s $16.99.” “Oh, I’m sorry about that. Let me fix that for you.” Or, “I was here earlier today and was sold a pair of shoes but they are two left shoes.” “I’m so sorry about that. I’ll take care of that for you.” Mistakes happen; we’re human. Most of the time the customers will understand that and sometimes they won’t. Just apologize, take care of the problem, and move on with your life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Seriously. To be able to work in retail all you really need is to be of legal age to work and watch a few training videos. This means you are not prepared for every obstacle that may come your way. For example, the register may decide to stop working and you have a line full of impatient customers. If you have never had this happen then you’re going to have to ask for help. Stuff happens.

Learn where everything is in your store.

This is a must. Your manager should tell you when you first get hired where the bathroom is, men section, women’s, kids’, etc. Just make sure you are paying attention to where all the merchandise is so when a customer asks you where something is you’re not just standing there with a blank expression. Also, know where the emergency alarms are at in all ends of the store. Know where the key to the restroom(s) is/are (employees and public). Know where the cleaning supplies are, extra staplers, scissors, promo signs...just know your store inside and out.

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

Just kidding. I was just making sure that you’re still paying attention. Most of the time the customer is not right, but you still need to keep that smile I told you about on your face. I have seen customers put clearance tags on merchandise that is definitely not a clearance item. Or wanting to exchange a well-worn and completely inextinguishable pair of shoes for a brand new pair of shoes. Or the customers who try to use an expired coupon. "I just got this in the mail so you should be able to take it."

Do not get mad when a customer makes a mess.

At least don’t make it obvious to the customer. The way they see it, it’s your job to clean up after them, and you have absolutely nothing else to do than to clean up their messes. They wreck your displays, pull shoes off the shelves, unfold the shirts you just folded, etc. It happens. Deal with it.

Prepare for this joke that customers love to use...

Accept that you will sometimes have to stay late and work holidays.

You work in retail. You will be working holidays. There is no way around it. Also, some nights you will have to stay late. There will be customers who come in 3 minutes to close and stay until 15 minutes after and then you will have to clean up after them and then continue with everything you have to do when closing the store.

You and your friends will be on completely different schedules.

Say goodbye to your social life.

Window displays and sign work will be the bane of your existence.

That is all I'm going to say about that.

Once your shift is over do not think about your job.

My manager tells us, “When you’re at work you focus on work. Once you leave the store don’t think about it.” She’s right. If you leave work stressing about how you could have handled something differently, then you’re just going to ruin your night and dread going back to work the next day. It isn't often that you have a crazy customer who wants to yell at you until he gets his way. Most days you deal with normal people who just want to shop and go along about their lives. You can do this.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.ixdaily.com/grind/703e15ce9db9e3f45cd3f2fb1987ed66bdbee367

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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