The Struggles Of Awkwardness In Retail

The Struggles Of Awkwardness In Retail

Why would anyone want to be greeted while shopping? Leave me alone!

Everyone knows that working in any kind of customer service position can be a frustrating nightmare full of rude people, unreasonable demands, and never seeming to be able to fulfill some people's every last wish, but what I find the most difficult more than anything in retail (as someone who was recently hired at their first job ever) is speaking to customers period. Really. If I had a dollar for every time someone walked into my work while I stared blankly at them scrambling for something to say, I'd have enough money to buy the merchandise myself and actually meet one of my selling goals for once.

I've embarked on a journey of Wikihow articles and Youtube videos trying to find the best strategies for selling in retail, and all of my ventures have been very unsuccessful. Every article says to never ask "how can I help you" because a person's instant reaction will be to say "I'm just looking". Well then, what ARE you supposed to ask? No one can give me a solid answer other than talking about the weather or complimenting them. I'd rather just leave people alone, but when no sales means no hours, I have no choice but to be that annoying sales person with boundary issues that awkwardly greets everyone who enters the store, tries to sell the customers everything we have when they obviously only came in for one thing, and be the loudest person in the room (which, as an social anxiety-ridden introvert, is horrific.)

I'm constantly being asked "why are you so quiet?" Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that whenever I go shopping, I prefer to be left the hell alone. But, of course, in retail, you CAN'T leave people alone because there are actually people who like to be talked to when they enter a store. (I know, I was shocked too when I found out.)

Why would anyone want a complete stranger to approach them when they fully know that person is only speaking to them because of the money in their pocket and not because they actually care about you or have any desire to genuinely connect with you? If I walk into a store, I will see something that I like and buy it, or I will leave if I don't. I don't need some sales associate telling me about products that I can plainly see, or if I pick out something to buy to have them try to sell me a million other things that I don't want. Now, for the first time, I am finally that annoying sales associate, and it is the most humiliating and uncomfortable thing I have ever done.

People say I'll get used to it and that dealing with customers gets easier, but even if it does, I don't enjoy the feeling of knowing that I'm persuading people to spend their hard earned money on things they don't really need. I hate the feeling of walking up to people the same age as me and seeing the "don't talk to me or approach me" look in their eyes and having to do it anyway for a paycheck.

Retail may help me overcome my shyness, but it'll also make me feel like a pushy, impatient workerbee that doesn't know societal etiquette when interacting with other human beings.

Maybe retail isn't a long term career path for me, but I can at least say I have 10x more respect for the people who shamelessly do it while judgy customers who've never been in their shoes ridicule them for it. For all my fellow sales associates out there, I know your pain and have felt your weirdness, and I hear you. I will never judge any of you again.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend


Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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