I started working when I was 16 at the local concert hall in Naples. I spent four years there as an usher and worked my way up to be a Floor Captain. I had more responsibility and made sure to assist my fellow ushers with any patron-related issues.
I started working at this place because I wanted to help people further enjoy the world-renowned live entertainment that would visit the popular venue. Had I known then that people were going to make me see the world differently, I probably would've avoided retail and customer service for as long as I possibly could.
I know that being a young adult with no experience makes getting a job in retail a lot easier than trying to work in an office as an assistant or a temp. It's easy to train people at our age and we don't complain about paychecks as much as the average 30-year-old employee would.
However naive and young we are, though, we are still human and we do have feelings. We tend to feel hurt when customers talk back to us, insult our work ethic, or are just straight up rude. But who wouldn't?
I have been called some nasty names, whether it was from the time I worked at a retail clothing store or at a grocery store. Being a cashier is probably the most painful torture we have to endure.
Having to stand all day, sometimes without a mat to cushion the hard tile beneath us, having to hear the complaints of our "terrible" store, or having to call a manager when the customer begins to make us feel a little too worthless.
The worst part is, I was always told I'd be perfect for retail or customer service because I was personable, I wanted to make the customer as comfortable as possible, and because I had a warm and welcoming disposition. So I thought, I must be able to do really well in a job where I have to smile and help people.
And then I got hired and all my predisposed notions of helping people and smiling and making their time at our establishment worthwhile went right out the window. Sometimes the hardest part to handle is when you try your best to fix the problem they come to you with, and then they dismiss your idea.
Don't get me started on managers. Let's say that a customer is returning an item and wants another item that is defective for half price. You explain that because they're the same price, you can exchange them and they'd still be getting the item for free.
However simple this explanation is, they would rather have it their way. As soon as you call a manager to set the customer straight, they undermine you and make you out to be the bad guy. That makes a lot of sense, right?
Sometimes I want to work in a small cubicle with only my colleagues surrounding me so it's not a surprise what I may have to deal with every day. Working in customer service or retail has disappointed me thoroughly and I only wish I could have the same vigor I had for wanting a job in this type of business.
I know I'll have to endure the pain just a little longer, but one day I'll be able to look back at the lousy times I had in retail and thank the lucky stars that I'll never have to hear, "Do you work here?" Especially when I'm wearing a uniform and nametag.