A is for apple, B is for boy, C is for cat, or so the alphabet song goes. As you get older, the tune changes—especially when you work in retail, or any other job specializing in customer service. In the spirit of things, I have decided to do the same. Today’s letter—S…as in S is for sales associate…not slave.
I work at a popular clothing store; many of you probably shop here twice a month because of our constant commercials promoting a new sale. But this article isn’t about what we are selling. It’s about you, or someone you know. You see, my job is to make your shopping experience one that will make you come back. The hard thing about that is me not wanting you to come back when you leave me with a sour taste in my mouth wondering how God could tolerate humans for as long as he has. Alas, this isn’t about me either, so here are a few things you should now when you spend a day shopping.
If you have never worked retail before, try it. It’s not all bad. There are people out there who are the reason why I’ve come to love the job. They are the ones who have actually been in my position. As for the ones who haven’t. Imagine this: you have been folding a wall of t-shirts all day—a kind of organization any obsessive compulsive person would salivate over—when out of nowhere a mother and her daughter come up beside you and manage to pick through each meticulously folded shirt. You can’t help but wonder whether that pink small is a tad larger than the orange small, or no…the white, brown, grey or blue are different too! Amazing, right? BUT, since you are on the clock you have to smile and ask if everything is working out ok, instead of saying where they could shove those shirts.
Side note: The Bible says God tests us everyday. If you want to be tested every five minutes, work in retail…especially on the weekends.
The fitting room is a new form of hell. I was born in the South, where people still say yes ma’am/sir, open doors for females and say grace before every meal. Now how come those semblances of manners don’t apply to picking up after yourself? I have always wondered how people could put on something, decide it wasn’t cute, then take it off and leave. I’m pretty sure when you walked in, I said I could take everything that didn’t work out. That doesn’t mean leaving a nice stack for me in your dressing room to clean up. Does it not cross anyone’s mind to put back what you don’t want? People complain all the time about fitting rooms being a mess. How can you point the finger at someone when you are the person leaving that mess behind for us to straighten up?
Register etiquette. I’ll make this short and sweet. If I make small talk—ask how your day is going and what your preference is for bagging your clothes, please answer. Otherwise, as your cashier I will be obligated to stuff the clothes—and your receipt—in the bag, dismiss you, and turn my bright smile to someone who will talk to me and appreciate what I do. #thatisall
Retail isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s actually a reality show gone wrong—ahem, Jersey Shore. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I just wish others would experience what associates have to go through on an everyday basis. Respect your space, and others.