Ah, retail. As someone who had never worked retail prior to college, I truly had no clue what I was in for.
Working in a store is one thing, but working in a store in the mall is a whole other entity. People are stressed out to the max, the number of customers in the store can get overwhelming most days, and, yes, "mall walkers" are all too real. Even though some days are more stressful than others, a lot can be learned from a job in retail. You have a very strong appreciation for your coworkers and an even stronger appreciation for sitting down after standing for hours on end. So, without further ado, here are some of the things I've picked up from working in retail so far.
Your voice WILL be tired
Customer service is a HUGE part of the retail experience, and you have to be on your A-game when it comes to speaking. Many stores highly encourage customer service above all else, so you have to be ready to talk... literally all day.
Sitting down is the BEST feeling ever
You are constantly on your feet when working retail, so take advantage of the 10 minute breaks. It might just be the only time in your shift you can have a sec to sit.
You and your coworkers are in this together
Team-building is huge in retail, ESPECIALLY during the holidays. Since most stores demand all hands on deck for the holidays or Black Friday, you will build very strong bonds with your coworkers. Take advantage of the relationships you make, you could find your best friends.
People can be downright rude
Let's face it: people can be EXTREMELY rude to retail workers. I never fully understood this until I was behind the register rather than in front of it. Not every customer is going to be happy, and not every customer is going to appreciate your hard work.
How you react means EVERYTHING
While customers can be awful at times, the way you react to situations makes all the difference. Retail involves a lot of conflict resolution and critical thinking because you CANNOT just act on a whim in high-strung situations. They may piss you off, but your job is to sell your brand. Relax, breathe, and don't let one bad attitude affect yours.
WEAR! COMFY! SHOES!
Like I said before, you are on your feet for HOURS. What you wear on your feet is VERY important. If your store lets you wear any shoe you want, go for comfort and not fashion. I wore a cute pair of booties ONCE to work, and after the blisters I got on my feet, you will always catch me in tennis shoes.
You will have SOOOOO many stories to tell
The kinds of shoppers you will encounter in retail will baffle you. It's amazing how many odd questions or requests you will get, not to mention the kinds of people you will run into. If you ever wanted to work in an industry that will give you LOTS of memories, retail is right up your alley.
People will try to use you for your discounts - don't let them
Sure, the discounts are GREAT and should be shared with others, but not all the time. Make sure you're using your employee discount for stuff YOU want, not just what your friends want. After all, you put in the hard work and willpower to deal with people all day. Treat yo' self.
Your clothes-folding skills will be AMAZING
If you work in a clothing store, you will never revert to your old ways of folding clothes ever again. It will seriously change you, and you may even find yourself changing the folds of clothing in other stores (habit, sorry).
There is always something to be doing, even when the store is dead
There's no such thing as "standing around" in retail. Most of the time, there will always be things to put back on the racks or rooms that need to be cleaned up a bit. For a busy body like me, constantly doing something is one of my favorite parts of working retail.
Retail can be stressful and will test you in more ways than one. However, retail has been such a fun experience so far, and I highly encourage ANYONE and EVERYONE to give it a go!