Retail sucks. There, I said what thousands of people are thinking on a weekly or even daily basis. However, it doesn't totally suck. Here are the pros and cons of working retail.
1. Pro: No two days are ever the same. The crew you work with varies on a day-to-day, shift-to-shift basis. The dynamics change, and so do the customers.
Con: The customers are the bane of any retail worker's existence. They literally destroy the store with everything they touch. They constantly wreck neatly folded shirts, put things back in the most bizarre places, and rearrange every rack that they touch. However, as the amazing sales associates that we are, we simply smile and fix everything the way that it is supposed to be.
2. Pro: There are discounts, discounts, and more discounts. In the retail world, there's this amazing little thing called "employee discount," which allows you to get all the items you want at a fraction of the cost.
Con: You are always broke. The merchandise too affordable to pass up, so inevitably half of your paycheck goes to that sundress you fell in love with while unpacking the mountain of boxes in the stock room.
3. Pro: Working in retail is seriously the best diet/workout. Seriously, you can drop down two or more sizes by carting items around all day.
Con: Due to the fast-paced nature of retail, there are few breaks. It is a nonstop, always moving, praying-for-it-to-end shift.
4. Pro: Coworkers. In any work environment, there are the people we can call our best friends at work. These angels usually start around the same time as you. It's as if they are like your pledge sisters or brothers of the workplace.
Con: Then there are the older members of the staff. They consider themselves to be wayyy above you in the office hierarchy when, in fact, they have been there for a year or more, yet they are still a sales associate. Just. Like. You. These people it's OK to love to hate, as long as you can fake being sweet to their face. Just call your big sister to complain about that person later. It'll be a good laugh down the road.
5. Pro: Much like working in a restaurant, most retail stores boast of having "flexible" hours. They claim to be willing to work with both your class and extracurricular schedule. Some stores may do this, and it's a fabulous set up for you. (And quite frankly I'm jealous of your "perfect" college job.)
Con: However, this is the real world, people. Most stores get X amount of hours to assign to employees per week based on the number of sales generated by the store. For example, Ariel may have been promised approximately 20 hours a week by Ursula. However, this week our Ariel got only four hours. Seem flexible only to benefit Ursula, right? Oh well. That's retail for ya, ladies and gents.
Even with all the highs and lows of retail, a paycheck is a paycheck. Let's be real. Those of us stuck in these jobs learn a major life skill: how to be nice to jerks. Everybody needs to learn retail workers are not maids and that pretty smile is just a fake. We're all praying you destroy those clothes in the wash.