I've been working retail for 4 years, and if I'm being completely honest, it hasn't been the greatest or easiest 4 years. However, I have learned the most important life skills because of working retail. I probably wouldn't have acquired those skills if it wasn't for retail. Here they are:
Working retail requires a high level of patience. You're constantly with people, and they aren't always the easiest. You can't show that you're annoyed or frustrated when you're dealing with a bothersome person.
2. How to solve problems effectively
Let's face it. Customers constantly come to us with their problem, and expect us to have an immediate solution. Sometimes we may have an answer right away, and sometimes we need to do more research or consult with someone. These problem solving skills can be used in your everyday life.
3. How to act in public
Since you're constantly with the public, you probably see the craziest things. Surprisingly, a lot of adults and older adults don't know how to act in a store. They throw things on the floor, yell, swear, disrespect employees, and this list can go on forever. Not many people have respect for the store. Since us retail employees see people trash the store, when we go out to stores we tend to keep it neat, and if there's a mess we clean it up. There's times I'm shopping at a store and I see shoes or clothes on the floor, I pick it up. I also treat the retail employees with respect.
4. Interpersonal skills
In retail there's a lot of talking to people. You learn how to speak to people, and what is acceptable to tell strangers, and what isn't acceptable. You also need to build relationships with customers so they will come back. Working in retail teaches you this! You probably wouldn't have learned this skills anywhere else, no person or a book can teach you. You need to gain experience.
Sometimes when people are yelling or swearing at you, you're probably thinking about things you want to do or say but don't since you're expected to be nice. Retail teaches you how to kill people with kindness. I've had customers get so mad at me and yell and when they're ready to leave the store I tell them to "have a great day." Retail makes you not take things personally.