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What you Learn from Working in Retail

Shopping (Photo Credit: Hamza Butt Via flickr)

Oxford Street, London. (Photo Credit: netpalantir Via flickr)
Oxford Street, London. (Photo Credit: netpalantir Via flickr)

Retail work is a job sector that is seriously undermined unless you have worked in it. It is probably one of the toughest jobs out there and you have to be a certain type of person to be able to survive it. I myself worked in retail for two years and the best way to describe it was character building. If you have or do work in retail you will probably relate to the following points:

  • Learning to smile no matter the situation. When you deal with people all day everyday, not all of them are going to be nice and friendly; as a worker you have to be nice and polite no matter what.
  • You learn to adapt to crazy hours. Unlike other jobs, retail never sleeps. Chances are the store is opened seven days a week; early in the morning until late at night. Your shifts are constantly changing and it does take some getting used to.
  • Retail can double as a workout. This might seem strange until you realise that ever store has a stockroom and depending on the products being sold; spending four hours lifting boxes full of real leather bags for men is just as good as lifting weights at the gym.
  • The staff discounts are a blessing…and a curse. It’s all fun and games when you get 50% off everything, until you have the exact same item in all five colours. You may as well let them keep your paycheck; it’s only going to be spent in store anyway.
  • Unfortunately the saying that ‘The customer is always right’ is true. You have to put on a brave face, listen to their problems even though you know they are wrong. Don’t let it get to you. If you can deal with people like that and still stay composed and polite then you are the real winner.
  • Your cow-workers in retail can become a family. You all have to deal with the public and work the tough shifts. They are the ones that genuinely get how you feel if your friends and family don’t.
Shopping (Photo Credit: Hamza Butt Via flickr)
Shopping (Photo Credit: Hamza Butt Via flickr)

For some, retail is their calling and for others, not so much. Being successful in retail involves having many character traits, such as determination, charisma, stubbornness and not letting things get to you easily. Anyone who has the opportunity to work in retail should do it because not only will you learn a lot but you become a stronger person from it too.

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