Honest Stories from My Experiences in Retail

Hello my cute readers! Hope you are all doing well, because its FRIDAY baby! I wanted to come at you guys with a bit of a story time post. Kind of like story time videos on YouTube? I don’t know, I’m gonna try this out and I hope you enjoy! So I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this too much on my blog, but since I was 18, I’ve worked retail every year seasonally. Whether that’s helping out with a major sale in the summer, sales during Christmas, or if a company simply needs more employees at a random time. I don’t know if it’s alright for me to say which company, but there is one that I’ve gone back to for a few years now. It’s considered quite a high end company and my time with them has been amazing each time. My manager has always been extremely nice and the other employees have usually always been delightful. Even with such a caring and customer centered company, there will always be setbacks. I’ll be talking about those experiences in this post, so keep on reading!

My very first job working retail (and my first job EVER) was when I was 18. It was an amazing job that I received because I did an internship with them while I was in high school. It would be the start of many seasonal jobs with this company that I am grateful for and would still love to go back to. But even though I worked for this amazing company at such a young age, that doesn’t guarantee customers will be nicer or more understanding. I remember my very first encounter with an angry customer. One sentence to describe that exchange: absolutely scaring the living sh*t out of my little 18 year old self. An older woman came into the store and I ended up ringing her up for her items. All went well with the new cash register system I had just learned to use…except for the simple task of printing the receipt. I don’t remember the exact details, as this happened three years ago now, but long story short, I couldn’t print her out her receipt and I had to get the help of customer service in the back. Yes of course, this could definitely be a little annoying to a customer and I was very apologetic. This lady though you guys….she was not having it. She ended up going off on me saying “I have to drive 45 minutes, I don’t have this time to waste!” I had never seen someone act this horribly and this annoyed in public before and honestly I was appalled at her behavior. I felt awful for putting her in such a “horrible” position and it felt like ages before customer service got her the receipt. At one point I thought I was going to break down in tears because of the way she acted towards me. Looking back now though with all the retail experience I have up my sleeve, these situations are 100% not the fault of the employee (and I’m talking about a hard working employee who cares about customers). When a customer gets truly heated over something small when the employee is working their butt off trying to make them happy, it is the negativity of that customer that makes it such a horrible situation. They are not responding correctly to the efforts of that worker and honestly making them feel horrible. Of course in sales, the customer is always right. But in a moral situation, sometimes they aren’t. If you get stuck in a situation like this, remember the employees are (normally) trying their best to make you happy and sometimes you just have to be understanding and patient. We appreciate patience more than you know.

A couple years back with the same company I had another run in with an angry customer. I had just started the seasonal job again, and I worked the floor officially for the first time. My very first retail job was strictly a cashier position, not a selling position. So I was a bit unfamiliar with the protocols between employees and customers. I was new at it and learning from trail and error with each customer I helped. I was also simultaneously trying to learn the merchandise. Finding out what types of clothes work best for different body types, which number represent small, medium, or large, and even remembering where each items sits in the store. It was all brand new and I was trying to learn as fast as I could. One day a customer came in to try on some bathing suits and she listed all the required things that needed to be checked off to find her the perfect bathing suit. I mentioned and gave her all the items I thought would fit her needs and gave her a fitting room. I gave her everything I thought she would like and opened a fitting room for her. A few minutes come by and she ends up buying a few things. Again, being new, I needed some help at the register from one of my fellow employees. This woman ends up saying to my coworker, “Will you please take credit for this sale? Because she (talking about me) wasn’t helpful. I was in the dressing room and she didn’t bring me any new things to try on.” I was so shocked and honestly a little hurt by this considering I thought long and hard about what I thought she would like. It’s also hard when you barely know the merchandise yet. I wasn’t about to bring her one of every item in the store! And yes, of course, if I think a customer will like something I have absolutely no problem bringing it to them! But honest to God, I thought I had done my job to the best of my ability, but she thought otherwise. She ended up complaining to my coworker about me for a couple minutes before she left. Once she was gone, my coworker apologized to me about her behavior and told me not worry about it, that I wasn’t to blame. She said these kinds of things happen to everyone and not to feel too bad about it. I really appreciated her concern for me, I think she could tell I was a little torn up about it, especially because I only want to make customers happy and satisfied. Again, I learned I can do my very best and even so, sometimes you won’t appease everyone.

Another company I worked for (and for a very short time I might add, it ended up not being the right place for me) had a very opposite mentality from the other company I worked for. This place seemed almost annoyed by their customers! When I was working the floor during one of my first weeks here, I basically shadowed another employee to learn the ropes. Customers would come up and ask a question and she would simply point to where they could find what they were looking for or say, “You’ll just have to look around to find it.” After the customer would leave she would say, “It’s not my job to shop for them. They just want me to be their personal shopper.” However, I found this a little conflicting considering it’s your job to answer any question of the customer and to assist them or walk them to where they need to go. At least, that’s been my experience with retail before this place and I’ve ALWAYS been told how important it is to satisfy the customer. This particular place didn’t seem to care much about that though, and it almost came off a little rude. I could tell the customers would get confused by some of the employees responses and frankly I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t hold their customers in a high regard. The customer is everything and even if they are morally off in certain situations, you still must make them happy to get the sale. Because in the end, their sale benefits YOU, and you can go home to complain about that person to your roommate later, lol.

These are just a few experiences I wanted to share with you guys. Let me know your thoughts or if you’ve had any weird retail experiences as well. Retail can be a great start to a future career path and I’m very glad my work experience has been in retail. Through the ups and downs it’s taught me a lot, shown me not to sweat the small stuff (including bad attitudes), and made me an even harder working person. Especially since I enjoy fashion and beauty so much, it’s usually been a great environment for me! Anyways, go ahead and comment below your thoughts and experiences, I’d love to hear them! Talk to ya soon! xx

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12 thoughts on “Honest Stories from My Experiences in Retail

  1. I had a brief stint working at a high-end cookware store (pots, pans, skillets, etc). Our product had a lifetime warranty. I had a customer come in with a small skillet with scrambled eggs burnt to the bottom of the pan and wanted to exchange the skillet for a new one. So weird!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ive had people talking down to me because I look quite young and then start talking a completely different way when my manager walks out! It honestly bugs me because I’m 20 years old and deserve to be given respect. Ive also had people question my qualifications as if I havent had to go through the same training as a fellow male colleague!!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am actually starting a retain job next Tuesday and it is great that you have given an honest overview of your experience! I am definitely going to go in prepared to witness some unpleasant customers lol as I will be working in a busy store, but hopefully the nicer ones will balance it out:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. congratulations! I’m sure you’ll have a great time. don’t be too afraid, there are plenty more kind and patient customers than there are mean ones. plus its very easy to make friends with your coworkers in that environment! good luck, i hope you love it! xx

      Liked by 1 person

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