After working in retail for almost 10 years, I could write the book on why it's the worst position ever, and also one of the easiest if you're in a pinch for money.
But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, I don't need 20, 10 or even two reasons why I will never return to retail because my number one trumps everything else.
I will never return to retail again because people are f*cking assh*les.
I’ve had various jobs throughout my 24 years, and they have all included some customer/client interaction.
Regardless of the fact that I generally despise people, I’m pretty good at faking it, thus doing well in these positions.
I most likely despise people because I’ve always worked with them.
I’ve encountered all types of people, from those who call me at a law office while drunk or drugged up at 9 am, to the super sweet old ladies shopping for their grandkids, who talk your ear off for an hour because they think you want to listen.
I’ve seen it all — literally — and retail is where I’ve seen, met and worked for some of the most horrible and disrespectful human beings in my life.
Here are just a handful of the things I’ve experienced over the years:
I’ve been flashed.
Okay, when working in a women’s boutique, you’re bound to get flashed every once in a while on accident; that’s life.
However, when you’re working at the cash wrap at a large city store for all genders, you’re not expecting to see a penis when you walk around the corner.
In my case, there was no corner. There was no avoiding eye contact when, in the middle of a gorgeous day, a homeless man walked through the front entrance and just dropped trousers.
There was no warning. Thankfully our massive security guard got a handle on things, but the image has been forever seared into my brain.
I’ve been screamed at.
Clients, coworkers, bosses — apparently everyone thinks they can just take all their hate and anger out on the poor little retail associate because she has nothing going on in her life.
I’m down with some constructive criticism, but I’m not okay with being shouted at for not having something in stock.
Clothing has been thrown at me.
I’m not talking about “casually tossing” at item toward me. Straight up piles of clothing have been thrown into my face because a client just didn’t like anything she tried on, and clearly it was my fault.
My favorite is when the hangers come with the pile of clothes and you get jabbed in the face.
I’ve been scared for my life.
Imagine closing for a small neighborhood store alone at night while some seedy dude decides it’s the perfect time to “browse.” Oh and the cameras don’t work yet? Even better. This is where I die.
I’ve been treated like a lowlife.
Hi, I have a bachelor’s degree from a good school and this job is merely helping me pay my bills, so back up off me, bitch.
Men have hit on me.
And have done so while buying items for their wives (all of whom I knew) or mistresses.
Sometimes, they would even have the audacity to buy their wife and mistress the exact same gift, all while throwing a line at me. Triple points if their kids were in tow.
I’ve been asked rude questions.
A woman literally asked me once if I “ate food,” like, at all.
She didn’t even think it was rude until her daughter stepped in and told her that you just can’t ask people that. She proceeded to explain that she only asked because I looked “too skinny.” Please, woman, keep throwing the compliments my way.
I’ve had to ask dumb questions.
“Would you like a pair of jeans to go with the flip flops you have there in your purse?”
What a clever way of telling teens that you know they are stealing, but there’s really nothing you can do about it. Good idea corporate!
People have stolen from me.
Technically, they were stealing from the store, but when it ultimately gets taken out of my paycheck, then yes, my sh*t got stolen. I hope the cheap graphic tee was worth it.
I have been used and abused.
Twelve-hour shifts with one 15-minute break? Why not? Sixty plus hours per week when I clearly stated that I could only work part-time? Definitely. Oh, you want lunch, too? I got it, boss.
Sure, sh*t happens, but when sh*t happens in retail and you want to keep your job, you have to put up with it and keep a smile on your face.
Have you ever smiled at someone who has insulted you? It’s the worst feeling in the world, especially because it’s not an “IDGAF what you think” smile, but one that just sits on your face because you know you can’t react.
It’s not worth it. It’s especially not worth it when you don’t even get a discount. I quit!