Retail Me Not

Please. I beg you.

Never, ever, EVER work in retail. Ever. If you have the choice, avoid it. Choose anything else but that, for if you do, you’ll regret it the second you start. Trust me; it’s advice from a retail worker herself. Don’t get sucked into the black hole of selling stuff to others. The negatives outweigh the positives by far–well, unless maybe you’re working in a Gucci shop. Buuut, I’m pretty sure you have to be Italian in order to do so, so…

Anyways, those of you who either are currently working or who have worked at some point in time in retail know exactly why I’m advising against it: 99.999% of the time, it’s a nightmare. Literally.

Most of the time, it’s laborious and irksome work that just isn’t worth it. Even if you love what you’re selling, the everyday encounters you have ruin it. They’re frustrating and frequent, and they just get old. There are much better ways to earn money than slaving in a store!

Like stripping.


But enough of me simply telling you how much retail sucks. Let’s get some real evidence up in here! Some proof! Support! Yeah!

I’m gonna stop nerding out over persuasive techniques now.

Note: The following is not merely me complaining. Below are the facts. THIS STUFF HAPPENS, and it happens every single day. Consider it wisely before applying at the retailer nearest you!

1. People

I love people. Seriously. I love people. Being around others and making others happy is incredibly enjoyable for me. Actually, it’s one of the biggest joys of my life, which is why I thought retail would be good for me.

But no. I was wrong.

Sure, there are a lot of great people in this world. And any given day, some of them will wander their way into your store. But for every awesome person, there is also an equal and opposite human being to match him or her (Newton!). And they seem to end up shopping more often than any of the cool ones who you wish would come in everyday.

Many people are grouchy or angry or impatient or irritable (for whatever reason), and they take it out on you. They can’t find their size in that new shirt or there’s no more orange juice with pulp, and suddenly the whole world is ending, the entire sky is falling, and you–yes, you, the closest worker to the travesty–is now Satan himself, the cause of all of this first-world evil as well as every other evil that’s out there.

How dare you let there be no more size twelves? How dare you let there be no more pulp??


And even when you try to reason with said angry customer, things only get worse, most likely ending with a very one-sided and awkward conversation that leads to an extremely loud, “I’m never shopping here again!”

They then storm out like the Big Bad Wolf himself in a flurry of huffs and puffs–only to return a few days later.

What, you couldn’t find another store in the area with your favorite orange juice? 

Capitalism: 1. You: 0.

But, honestly, I would take the angry, unreasonable customer ANY DAY over the other type of people who frequent stores: the weirdos.

Yup, working in retail is just like high school; you have the few nice guys, the many bullies, you, and the weirdos. There’s always the weirdos…

Oh, the weirdos are just the worst!

They make everything awkward and unmanageable and inappropriate, and you just want to run away and hide in a corner until they give  up and go home. But you can’t, firstly because it’s your job to not do so and secondly because they find you. THEY HUNT YOU DOWN AND MAKE THEIR PRESENCE KNOWN.

Oh, do they make their presence known…

I’m not even gonna go into details. I’m getting the heebee jeebees just thinking about it!

So, needless to say, after about a month, you come up with a very long mental list of faces to avoid. You see them coming from a mile away, and you brace yourself for the unpleasantness that is bound to ensue (and try to avoid them at all costs, even if futile).

Just for some insight, here’s a few of the lovely individuals on my list: A dude who won’t stop hitting on me no matter how much shade I throw; a middle-aged blonde woman with a stick up her butt who doesn’t keep anything for more than a week and complains about everything she possibly can (yet still keeps coming to our store!); an old Indian woman who barely speaks English, apparently works at Sears, and doesn’t understand that haggling prices does not exist in Big Momma America; and a strange, strange man who talks about crotches every time he buys a pair of pants.

People aren’t as fun as they seem, my friend. They’re weird and mean, and when you work in retail, you can’t even do anything about it!


My frustration is great.

2. Cleaning

Because, apparently, stores also double as garbage cans!

Yeah, even if you like cleaning, you’ll hate the cleaning that you have to do in the store. It isn’t so much the dusting and mopping that I don’t like; that’s easy and okay. What I hate is having to clean up after the rest of the human population that was APPARENTLY RAISED IN A BARN.

No, that shelf is not where you should leave your grimy, grody, empty Starbucks cup.

No, the floor is not where that shirt gets hung up.

No, the size twelve is not in the middle of that pile. It’s on the bottom with all the other labeled size twelves.

No, that pile that you just destroyed in your search for the twelve does not belong on the other side of the table in a ball.

No, that blouse you no longer want does not get draped across the suit jackets in the men’s department.

Seriously, are people really this rude? I have never, ever, not once in my life left a store messier than when I first came in! Maybe it’s the type-a in me, but if my coffee was empty, I would throw it in the trash bin inside/outside of the store or ask a worker if there is a trash in which they can throw it into. Because that’s their job. That’s my job, to be asked if I can throw something away and then either do so or direct you to the nearest trash can.



And as for everything else, take the two extra seconds to put it back! Literally, picking up the plastic vase you knocked down or re-hanging the coat you tried on takes two seconds! Put it back! Be considerate and just put the gosh darn thing back! Or don’t touch it in the first place! Or ask a worker for help! But don’t just leave it on the floor or set it in a random spot hoping that the little elves will fix it later. Gaaah!!!! THERE ARE NO ELVES! IT’S JUST US WORKERS!

Newsflash: It is not a retail worker’s job to reinforce laziness. It is our job to make you buy things, to be nice to you and help you in your shopping journey. There is nothing in that description that says we must pick up after inconsiderate individuals! SO DON’T BE INCONSIDERATE!

But that’s wishful thinking. People will never not treat stores like trashcans–which is why I’m telling you to avoid employment in one.

3. Fitting Rooms

I would kill to work in a store without fitting rooms. KILL.

Because, like I said before, apparently EVERYONE ON EARTH WAS RAISED IN A BARN!

You’ll get annoyed at fitting rooms on your very first day. They’ll irk you on your second, and by the third, you’ll completely despise them. Fitting rooms are what my nightmares are now composed of. No joke here.

People throw their clothes in a ball on the floor. Like, all of their clothes. Every single garment in the whole freaking store ends up in a ball on the floor of the fitting rooms, with the hangers scattered and tangled among them.

Oh, and don’t forget the empty Starbucks cups!

Who in the world ever said that was okay?

Again, it is not my job to pick up after your horrible manners, lazy disposition, and general ignorance. It is my job to take care of those clothes that you so rudely dropped onto that filthy floor. I am supposed to love them and make them look nice so that others will buy them. It is not my job to clean up after your disgusting habits. Fine if you do that at home, but this is not your house, and I am not your mother. Hang your clothes back up, and place them on the racks that are in the fitting rooms. That’s what they’re there for!! It takes ten extra seconds per garment. TEN!

Is that really too much to ask?


But if this whole fitting room dilemma doesn’t turn you off from retail, then keep this in mind: Fitting rooms, apparently, to the general public, also occasionally double as rest rooms.


You learn right quick to never take your shoes off when you try on clothes.

4. Shopping for Others

Now, I’m not talking about helping someone find their size or advising what the best appliance is or showing someone a shirt that matches their new shoes. I’m talking about the people who come in and say, “Excuse me, do you sell shoes?”

Um, well, maybe if you turned your head slightly to the right, you would see the wall full of shoes.

You kindly point out the shoes and add that there are more sprinkled in throughout each section.

“But, do you have, like, shoes. You know, like, that I could wear out?”

I’m sorry, but aren’t all shoes for wearing out?

You kindly ask the customer if they mean out at night, say, for clubbing.

“Yeah! Like that!”

And, again, you point out the shoe wall, saying that you carry some very stylish flats as well as a few pairs of heels.

But, of course, the customer demands you–yes, you–help her pick out this next new pair–all of which she hates, of course–because you are the stylish slave employed in this facility to help the hopelessly lost souls who probably couldn’t even find their way around a paper bag.

“Where are your dresses?”

Right in front of your face.

“Do you sell men’s clothing?”

Do you not see the left half of the store?

It gets very old very quickly.

My other favorite instances of shopping for others when you should be doing your actual job are the people who try to describe something either from the online store or from a completely different store altogether to try and see if we have it/anything similar.

“There was this black skirt online. Do you think you have it?”


But, looking around? That would be too hard, now wouldn’t it?

In other words, if you don’t have patience for laziness/stupidity, don’t work in retail.

5. Babysitting

Side Note: Not only are you responsible for taking care of the whole store and all that is within it, including the grown adults, but you are also responsible for the children and babies that they bring within! You’ll get very used to using (but also very annoyed with) the phrases, “Excuse me, sweetie, but you can’t climb on the mannequin/tables/racks/in the window. You’ll hurt yourself,” and “Go on, go get your parents!”

You’ll also become very familiar with the intense feeling that goes along with holding back the words, “MY STORE ISN’T A FREAKING JUNGLE GYM, YOU ANIMAL WHO IS CLEARLY BEING RAISED IN A BARN!”


I’m seriously thinking about charging a five dollar fee for every family who lets their kids run around my store.

Consider how much you like unsupervised babies doing whatever the heck they want before applying.

6. Payments

As if everything leading up to the transaction wasn’t already heck enough!

Checking people out is the absolute worst. You have your rude individuals who don’t say hi back or acknowledge your compliments. You have the little awkward kids who are clearly making their first transactions and have no idea what to do, which only ends up prolonging the line and making even more angry customers who will be rude and ignore your hellos. You also have the awkward mumblers who you have to keep asking to repeat themselves–as well as the clearly intoxicated, who you must do the same for. And, finally, you have the people who try to use other people’s credit cards and proceed to throw a hissy-fit when you don’t let them.

Yes, I’m looking at you, children with your parents’ cards. Stop crying and get a job! Who even let you into this store alone anyways?

Ringing people up is the worst, especially when those ones who just spent the last hour destroying your store suddenly become micromanaging perfectionists. Because heaven forbid their items aren’t beautiful!

You need really high tolerance levels to not rage quit at the register.

7. Theft

Why spend money when you could get the five finger discount?!

There’s four reasons why I hate theft. One: We lose money and look bad, which affects my job/salary. Two: The garments that they don’t take then have huge holes/stains in/on them where the sensors were and therefore can no longer be sold. Again, my job/salary is affected. Three: Stealing IS A SIN. Four: Ink packs on sensors don’t only stain the clothes. They stain the hands of the person who has the joy of removing them from the scene of the crime.

I hate it when I get blue smurf hands.


My favorite, though, is when young parents bring their toddlers into the store and try to get them to steal for them.

People literally are raised in barns…

Well, there you have it: The cons of working in retail. Like I said earlier, they outweigh the pros. Don’t do it if you have a choice.

And, I don’t mean to bust the economy or boost unemployment or anything like that, but, uh, there is this thing called “online shopping,” you know.

I’m just saying.



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