Why Working In Retail Is Hell On Earth

Why Working In Retail Is Hell On Earth

No, the customer isn't always right. Sometimes they just don't read.

First jobs aren’t supposed to be enjoyable. Whether it be babysitting, lawn mowing, or dog sitting, first jobs are sweaty, unpleasant and exhausting. But at least you could take pride in your work at the end of the day.

Once you start working retail, those days are long gone.

Sure I may not be exhausted from doing physical labor, but the mental effort of dealing with the entitled and blatantly stupid side of humanity takes a serious toll.

My first retail experience was at a trendy women’s boutique, where I was required to dress to their standards and interact with all customers in a friendly and relaxed manner. Since I hadn’t been exposed to the agonizing horrors of retail work yet, I was generally excited my first few days. Oh the days of blissful ignorance.

As a newbie, I was relegated to the greeter position, which required me to stand in the front of the store in the blazing heat, repeating the same string of phrases to each new person in a nice cheery demeanor. Do you ever notice retail workers have a sort of dead nothingness in their eyes when you see them? That's because for six hours straight, we are forced to maintain a constant positive attitude and smile, no matter how frustrating a customer is we interact with. A lot of customers when approached either ignore my greeting completely or go into a long string of demands without warning. The worst part of this job is the constant repetition of sales to customers even though they’re posted all over the store, because apparently customers can’t or refuse to read the sign postings.

On one particular occasion when we had our semi-annual sale, a customer approached me to ask about the sales going on (like they aren’t already posted on every surface) and as I tell her the difference between the items that are BOGO and those that are 70% off, she gets confused and upset that there are so many different sales going on and complains to me that this doesn’t make any sense. As I try to politely explain the sales again, she demands to speak to the manager, to which my manager told her the exact same thing. So she left.
Every part of retail requires customer interaction, but none is as terrible as the fitting room. I must directly face the annoyances of customers at all times and be there to assist them in any way. However, to customers this means I am expected to act as each one's own personal attendant who slaves away without complaint. On a regular day, an average of six different customers per hour expect me to drop everything I'm doing and run all over the store collecting clothing items for them. To handle this almost-impossible task, I could do one of three things:

1. I could politely tell them I'm helping others at the moment and will be with them soon in which case, the customer(s) get impatient, leaves without buying anything and I get a nice, stern yelling at from my manager.

2. I could over-attend to one or two who I think will buy the most and suggest items for an outfit, but then they get upset anyways and resent me for pushing sales on them.

3. Or I could avoid all responsibilities and sit in the back, hoping my co-workers will handle it.

Even then, I could put in all that work- my sweat, blood, and tears (in some cases, literally)- to make them happy with the clothes, and they walk out of the store without thanking anyone and without buying anything. Though that may make me want to pull my hair out, I must be perpetually cheery and friendly while on my shift and am forced to internalize my frustration.

See? You can't really win with shoppers.

Even when customers are acting somewhat decently, you have the select few that decide to ruin an entire team's week. It’s hard enough to deal with paying customers but shoplifters are the absolute scum of the earth to us associates. My co-worker was in the fitting room, attending to two high school girls who had collected a fair amount of clothes and were taking a long time trying them on. Though my co-worker suspected something suspicious, she had to deal with other customers before she could investigate. And while she was occupied, these degenerates slipped out of the fitting room and out the door with $300 worth of clothes. That put a serious dent in our goal earnings for the week and the associates had to pick up the slack just to make the weekly quota.

Oh, how working in customer service has demolished my faith in humanity.

I've even found so-called "people persons" running from some of the most dreaded customers. I once found my co-worker hiding behind the last clothing rack in the back room, avoiding a customer that was so demanding that she asked for something we didn’t sell but she wouldn’t leave until she got what she came for.

As my torture comes a close (aka my shift ends), I am still not granted a final sweet relief because illiterate or blatantly inconsiderate customers meander into the store right as it closes, forcing all associates to stay past their hours to clean up. Like why is anyone still shopping at 11:30?! Go home, customer, you’re the worst.

Finally, even though you may make plans for a day off, your manager will call you in for another day of pure hell. But at the end of the day, at least you’re getting paid.


Popular Right Now

Remember To Be Kind To Theme Park Cast Members This Holiday Season

They make the magic for you.

For those of you who have traveled to a theme park during the holidays, you know what you are in for.

The weeks right before and after Christmas are some of the busiest times of the year to visit, making the parks extremely crowded and wait times higher than usual. Yet, this time is so popular since it is fun to experience the magic of the season with your family during the special Christmastime celebrations at the parks that bring something extra to your holidays.

One of the most important things to remember during this time of year is to be nice to the cast members!

Families that come to the parks during this time have so much to remember and so much to do; unfortunately, something that is often forgotten during a vacation is to be thankful for those who have to work during this time of year.

The cast members and team members who work during the holidays are doing so at the expense of spending time with their own families. They are sacrificing their Christmas celebrations at home to be at work making your vacation magical.

Some of these workers are hundreds if not thousands of miles away from their families and may not have seen them for weeks or even months. Yet, they are here in Orlando working in a job that they are passionate about because they love making happiness for their guests

Making magic and spreading happiness is something that is important to us and why we love what we do. However, it is still really hard to be away from our families at Christmas.

Think it is hard to be a guest when the parks are crowded?

It's even more difficult for the cast members who are working as hard as they can, for 8-15 hour shifts, when things happen that are out of our control. We too dislike long waits, telling your child that he is too short to ride or the fact that a ride is temporarily closed. These things make our jobs difficult too, just as they may be a huge setback in your vacation plans.

So focus on the positive things and appreciate the time you can spend with your families and friends rather than dwelling on the things that may be small setbacks during an overall wonderful holiday vacation. Please be patient this holiday season. Give the cast members a smile and a pleasant "thank you" or "Merry Christmas". We are here for you and we want you to have a wonderful vacation, but it still makes an incredible difference to know that our work is appreciated.

At this time of year, it is important to spread Christmas cheer and we are excited to celebrate with you and your families!

Cover Image Credit: Park Troopers

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

7 Reasons 'Starset' Deserves To Get Big

The main reason they deserve success is that they love everything they do.


Starset consists of four members, Dustin Bates, Ron DeChant, Brock Richards, and Adam Gilbert. The band was formed in Columbus, Ohio in 2013. Their music has influenced my and several others lives.

Here are a few reasons why they deserve to go down as one of the biggest bands in history.

1. They're the most original band I've heard in awhile.

Starset's content is unlike any other band I've heard or seen before. They classify themselves as "space rock", creating a type of music that many have never heard of before. They use your regular guitar, bass, and drums, but they also incorporate the use of violins, cellos, and synthesizers to create the unique, one of a kind sound. The lead singer, Dustin Bates, even created his own microphone that distorts his voice to use in live shows, so that you feel as though he's speaking to you through a radio in a space station.

2. They're all a bunch of nerds/dorks.

Starset is the kind of band that you'd love to be friends with. Not only are they wicked smart, they also have an amazing sense of humor. They incorporate their knowledge into the songs that they write, leaving you wanting to learn more about what it is they write in their songs.

3. Their songs are lyrically and melodically beautiful.

Ricochet is one of their most impactful and meaningful songs. When you first listen to it you can hear the emotion in Dustin's voice, but as you take a minute to listen to the lyrics, you realize it has so much more meaning than what you assumed. It represents the struggle of a relationship gone sour, the internal struggles within yourself, and the effect it has on both people in the relationship. It's a song that a lot of people can relate to, and I find that amazing.

4. They interact with and care about their fans.

Nyah Kite

Before their shows, they do eat and greets where they hang out with their fans, eat pizza, perform some acoustic songs, and take pictures with them. They have genuine conversations with them, asking us our names, what we like to do, and just keep up small talk. My brother, pictured here, had a conversation with Ron, the bassist, before the show started and they got along phenomenally. I don't know many bands who take that much time to get to know their fans and they even interact with them on Twitter.

5. Have comics with Marvel.

The Prox Transmissions - Marvel Comics


Not only does Starset create music, they also have their own comics with Marvel. The comics are based on an alternate world they created through their music. Each album has a story, but now it's come to life through their comic, The Pros Transmissions. How dope is that?

6. Created their own society to inform the world of various things.

The Starset Society is a mission, created by Starset, to inform others of the up-coming technological advances happening in the world today. The main goal of this society is to make sure we're well aware of the things happening in the world, and it's not just aimed for the fans of Starset. It's influenced by the idea of Thomas Jefferson that says the first step toward a guided future is an informed public.

7. They love what they do.

Nyah Kite

The main reason they deserve success is that they love everything they do. They put so much work into making their shows interactive and enjoyable, and they spend years working on albums so that they and their fans are pleased with the final product. Knowing that they put so much passion and effort into their work makes it obvious that they deserve to be one of the biggest bands in history.

After learning more about this amazing, influential band, aren't you intrigued to hear more of their music? To learn more about their society and their comics? They're great people with a great purpose driving them to continue creating some of the most unique, epic rock sounds in history. Check out Starset. You won't regret it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments