As a mall employee, I’ve seen enough bad attitude, rudeness, and false sense of entitlement from shoppers to last a lifetime.
It can be extremely draining to maintain the same “work voice” and composure throughout the day when a select few try to bully you for basically doing your job. Whether your jobs requires you to stick to certain annoying policies or dismiss expired coupons, people tend to take it as somewhat of an injustice and will personally hold you responsible for their unhappiness.
Luckily, this is usually the case with only a handful of customers.
While most mall employees simply follow a script or procedure, shoppers might sometimes act like each cashier is secretly the CEO of the company and has the power to do whatever they want. This part of the job is definitely not the highlight but that doesn’t mean that working at a mall, even during the Holidays, is all a frantic blur of long lines and accumulating Starbucks points.
There is a great deal of valuable experience and skill that comes with the territory of dealing with crowds of people on a daily basis during one of the busiest times of the year.
If you’re a business major like me, this may become uniquely useful training for the future. You learn how to phrase inconveniences, like informing customers of a sold out item, in a way that lessens the blow and still makes their shopping experience a good one. Offering alternatives, keeping your voice pleasant, and making sure to ask a guest exactly what they want go a long way in strengthening your people skills and avoiding unpleasant encounters.
Needless to say, working at the mall definitely has its perks. You become friends with the barista at Starbucks and often get told about upcoming deals before they are put out on the floor at your favorite retail stores. There’s usually a ten percent discount for mall employees at the food court and sometimes food court employees might remember your order and double up on some of your food.
There’s an unspoken understanding between mall employees about helping each other out where you can. This doesn’t mean giving away freebies but maybe just discretely getting an order in first while they’re on break, waiting until a line dies down before asking for a drink change, or simply not skimping out on the samples being distributed. Not everyone follows this unstated code but the ones who do make working at the mall seem like being part of this pretty cool community of tired yet sympathetic people.
The best benefit of being a mall employee, in my opinion, is that you spend enough time window shopping to become acutely aware of the difference between a genuine discount and a promotional scam.
While working at a mall during the Holidays may sound stressful (and it can be), learning about the maintenance lady’s three dogs and hanging out in formerly restricted areas sorta make up for it.