I am twenty years old and I have been working in retail since I was seventeen. Having said that, in my short three years of retail work, I have experienced some of the worst treatment of my life.
Now, typically this treatment is not from the company itself. Sure there are coworkers I'm not fond of, but that is something everyone in every field of work deals with.
The people who specifically treat me and my coworkers horribly are the customers. This is not to say that every customer that comes into my store is evil, but there are some that have put a damper on many of my shifts.
First off, there is this notion in this country that people who work in customer service do not deserve basic human respect, or we are seen as less than. There is also a common understanding that people who are working in customer service must have done something wrong in their life to be in that job.
Let's clear a few things up. Customer service workers are people too. They have feelings like everyone else and they are not robots without emotions. Assuming that because they are in a lower paying job that customers have the right to yell at them or talk down to them is honestly inhumane.
As a person who is working to pay for my bills while I am earning my degree, I absolutely detest the idea of people talking down to me just because I work in customer service.
What contributes to a lot of the treatment that customer service workers endure is the expectations that we as a society have placed on retail culture. Ideas like "the customer is always right" perpetuates the foul treatment of those who are working to keep them pleased.
To be frank, the customer is not always right.
The idea that the customer can do no wrong and that the people working in customer service deserve this kind of treatment is barbaric and it points to the issues we have at the roots of our society.
There is no reason that a total stranger should be okay with making another total stranger cry: something I have witnessed many a time in retail. There is no reason retail workers should dread coming to work because they know how they will be treated by customers.
It is time to realize that there is nothing wrong with working in customer service. Actually... without those who work in customer service this country couldn't even function properly and the economy would decline.
I encourage anyone who enjoys eating out or shopping to consider this... the people serving you are people to and they deserve respect just like any other human.