5 Things I Learned Working In Retail
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It Only Took A Few Short Weeks For Me To Realize Working Retail Was Sh*t, But These 5 Tips Keep Me Sane

I've gained a whole new appreciation for people who pay in exact change.

It Only Took A Few Short Weeks For Me To Realize Working Retail Was Sh*t, But These 5 Tips Keep Me Sane

A few short months ago, as my first year of college came to an end, I found myself wondering what I was going to do with the three and a half months of summer that was rapidly approaching. Lying around on the couch all summer was an option, though not one that my parents were too fond of. After much deliberation, application processes and interviews, however, I finally found something to do with my summer: a retail job.

I had spent all four years of high school with a "job," but it was only for a few hours once a week taking care of children. So not only was this job my first real job, but it was also my first experience in retail. I was super intimidated at first, but in retrospect, I definitely learned a lot (and have a lot of stories to tell, but that's a whole different article). Here are just a few lessons I've learned from behind the cash register.

1. Be as friendly as possible.


There are multiple reasons why it's beneficial to put on a smile on your face as often as you can muster. For one, the customers will generally react better to what you're saying and maybe even have a nice conversation with you. Also, if you're a tad sensitive like I am, sometimes keeping a smile on your face is the only thing keeping you from bursting into tears after an especially unpleasant interaction with a guest.

2. The customer isn't always right.


A definite cliche of retail is the "the customer is always right" line. I don't recall a single time during my training for this job where anyone told me that the customer is unerringly correct about things. In fact, sometimes, customers will even try and push to see just how much money they can shave off of their total by insisting that the register is wrong. These situations can be hard because the last thing you want to do is anger the guest, but you also know that there is no way that the $200 suitcase they're trying to purchase was only $50 on the rack.

3. Exact change is the best.


Back before I worked in retail, I always assumed the cashier just wanted me out of their way as quickly as possible, so I never took the time to hunt down exact change even when I knew I had it. Now I wish I had taken the few extra seconds to hunt down that nickel in my wallet because as a cashier I appreciate the heck out of people who pay with exact change. I don't mind standing around for 15 extra seconds while you gather up some pennies. Just please don't be that guy who pays with $30 worth of nickels and dimes. That's a different story.

4. You can't take things personally.


Customers are going to be rude and mean just because. Its's the unavoidable truth. But 99.9% of the time, it's not going to be about you. Just because their unnecessary anger is being directed at you does not mean that it's a personal attack or that you did anything wrong. It's not fair for them to be rude to you because of something going on in their lives, but you've got to realize that that's all it is.

5. Working in retail is harder than it looks.


I've gained a whole new appreciation for retail workers and the stuff they go through every day. Be nice to people who work in your favorite stores because at the end of the day, they're people, too. They have to deal with so much more that you think they do, and standing behind a register is a lot more demanding than it may look from your perspective.

The experiences I've gained working in retail have taught me a lot about working and life in general. I've gotten to talk to so many new people, pleasant and not-so-pleasant alike. So next time you venture out to your favorite shopping spots, make sure to be nice to those working there.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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