The Horrors of Working in Retail

First Customers - Photo Credit stavos (Flickr)
First Customers - Photo Credit stavos (Flickr)

Working part time in my local grocery store has opened my eyes about many things in life: it has made me come to the conclusion how much I loathe 80% of people. If you have ever worked in retail you will understand where I am coming from.

First Customers - Photo Credit stavos (Flickr)
First Customers – Photo Credit stavos (Flickr)

The customers who ask the most obvious and stupid questions.

The back of my work jacket may say: “I am here to help!” …but when you’re asking me the price of a bottle of Sprite when it is flashing under your nose in enormous red writing, I can’t help but roll my eyes at you.

Constantly pulling items forward.

Pulling those biscuits and crisps forward on the shelf to make the store look more tidy. Customers taking some of the items for their basket. Maybe putting a carton of milk they do not want in it’s place. You come and clean up again. Another unwanted item lands in it’s space.

It is a vicious cycle.

The awkward small talk.

I’m not that pernickety when it comes to talking, it sometimes can make the transaction go that little quicker… but when you hear, “Jaysus, there’s a fierce stretch in the evenings” about ten thousand times within the same day, it does get a little tiring. Every single time you make that fake smirk or laugh you feel a part of your soul dying inside.

Leaving a closing shift and doing the opening shift the next day.

It speaks for itself. Grim.

The last minute shoppers  when you are closing up.

It is 9:58pm. Two more minutes left until closing time. You can almost taste the freedom… then you hear the rattle of a trolley getting closer. They step up to the till. They can see your face crumble, and they bask in that moment.

Opening and Closing times - Photo Credit Edward Webb (Flickr)
Opening and Closing times – Photo Credit Edward Webb (Flickr)

Parents who let their kids run loose in your store.

This is not a playground. Picking the items off the shelves and throwing them on the ground is not cute, it is very frustrating.

“Can I speak to the supervisor/manager?”

It speaks for itself. Yikes.

The customers who don’t believe that everything is in the store.

You’ve stated that whatever is on the floor is all that is left. You can order some in if it is possible, but the dreaded: “can you go out the back and check if there is any left?” question peeps its ugly head. Do you realise that that requires a lot of effort?

Making 99s.

It is early April, the summer time is drawing ever nearer. You see the dreaded whipped ice cream machine being rolled in. You remember last summer, trying to balance five cones in two hands, while still trying to work the machine, because the family you have made the whippys for “will wait and eat them out in the car.” It is a technique that will never be mastered without at least one falling.

We all scream for ice cream - Photo Credit Stuart Caie (Flickr)
We all scream for ice cream – Photo Credit Stuart Caie (Flickr)

Working hungover.

“Ah, sure, I only live once!” I say the night before. I highly regret it the next day. I don’t want to be hanging bananas, I want a McDonalds and my bed.

Customers complaining to you about the price.

“This is cheaper in the shop across the road.” Then go over there and stop pestering me!

Secret shoppers.

Everyone and anyone is a suspect, and you don’t know who to trust.

“Stop complaining! At least you have a job!”

I’d love to see you last a day in this living hell.



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