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Who Knew, Retail Work Can Actually Teach You Something

Everyone should work retail at least once in his or her life. If you have never worked retail, you are missing out on some of the most important lessons of your life.

One of the most important things I have learned throughout my years working retail is that people are very self-entitled.

On Christmas Eve, a woman decided that she had to stay in the store until 15 minutes after we closed.  She didn’t care that it was Christmas Eve and most of us wanted to go home to spend time with our families; she still needed to buy presents, so we all had to wait around to serve her.

I also learned that people are creepy.

As a woman working in retail, men old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan was still president have hit me on. Because I was paid to be polite to these people, I had to smile and nod as they stared at my boobs.

Additionally, I found out that people can be very destructive.

There were many nights that we were stuck cleaning the store for over an hour after people left it in a state of utter destruction. I don’t know how people managed to knock entire racks over and leave them for us to clean up, but they definitely managed.

Finally, I learned that people can plain old suck sometimes.

I have dealt with people who have tried to return stolen items. I have watched as people ran through our security doors with armfuls of clothes, not realizing that their theft led to cuts in our paychecks. I have seen people show blatant disregard for other humans and the work they are doing to make their shopping experience better.

But through retail, I have also learned that sometimes people can be really great.

Right after Christmas, I was stuck doing returns for my entire eight hour shift. I ended up serving this woman who was excessively polite, which was an amazing break in a line of people who were entitled, creepy, destructive and sucky.  She ended up asking me if I liked a local frozen yogurt place, and when I said I did she gave me a 10 dollar gift card there. She couldn’t use it, and decided that my day seemed crappy and I deserved something to make it better.

I will always remember her kindness towards a complete stranger and how she gave me a tiny bit of faith in humanity after retail work took so much of that away.

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