Thursday, January 26, 2012

Retail nightmares

Though I'm not crazy about my current job, it's definitely not the worst I've ever had. That honor goes to the job I had as a sales associate/cashier/service desk associate for two year, for a large big-box store. You know the one - the world's largest retailer; it begins with the letter "W."

I worked there in college. Ironically, I took the job because my abusive boyfriend wanted to get me away from my mall job - and all the friends who were encouraging me to get out of the relationship. I met X at the retail job, and broke up with Jerk-Face a couple months after changing employers. Everything really does happen for a reason. 

I have about a million stories I could tell about why it was a tough place to work: No breaks, we worked for hours after closing with no real scheduled "end" time, and I won't even get into how they handled the fact that I was dating another associate (which was frowned upon at that time). 

For my last year at "W" I worked at the service desk. I was that employee who you would talk to about returning merchandise. It was a job no one wanted - long hours, no real relief and cash drawers that almost never balanced. I worked for hours on end without so much as a bathroom break, never mind a chance to eat a meal. Once, a person being escorted out by police threw a phone at me, just because she was angry. 

For my trouble, I made .25 extra an hour. 

To this day, I don't shop at "W." Over the years, I've wandered in there to save some money (though never to the store where I worked), but in the past 10 years or so, I've really stopped going altogether. When I think of how I was treated, I just can't stomach the idea of giving them my money. 

Something else I really don't like is when people are rude to retail workers. Listen, not all retail workers have a great work ethic. But it's no different than any other profession. Not all government employees are lazy, and neither are all sales people, even if it does seem that way sometimes. Plenty of retail employees are hard-working, motivated, smart people trying to work their way through school, or jump-start a career in retail management. Plenty are happy to help - but just like anyone else, they're much more likely to help those who treat them with some respect and courtesy. 

On my last night at "W," I had an incredibly long line at the service desk. It was wrapped around the counter, and nearly out the front door. A woman said to me angrily, "Can't you get some help?"

I thought to myself, "Don't you think if I could, I would?" It was 10:30 at night, I'd been standing there since 5:30 without sitting down, eating dinner or going to the ladies room. There was no end in sight, and this person thought I was doing that to myself?

Since it was my last night, I let my edit-chip fly, and I said to her, "If I could, I would. I'm not any happier about this line than you are." 

She was quiet after that, and so was everyone else on that line. I have not complained to a retail worker since, even though I haven't been one in almost 15 years. 

1 comment:

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