After nearly two years of being back in retail, I decided enough was enough. I decided to look for another job. Granted I was looking in other areas of retail but more back of house so not dealing with the public so much. But thanks to still having emails and contacts within job centres an offer came up that I took a chance on and it paid off. And boy did it pay off. I will soon be working in an administration/receptionist roll and I cannot wait.
Since the age of 19 I have worked in retail in one form or another and that’s nearly half my life dealing with people who we have to respect no matter how they treat us, how we’re feeling at the time and to just carry on regardless providing a service which is sometimes impossible when the resources aren’t there.
In retail communication is key but unfortunately the one thing a customer never wants to hear (me included) is no, no they can’t have it, no it’s not available, no the technology has crashed…card system down, computer down, printer jam. And that’s when the trouble starts.
As a toddler, young child, if we don’t get what we want we throw a paddy, lie on the floor kicking and screaming until we’re told off, given what we wanted or picked up and carried off. As adults we just verbally abuse each other. Everyone is selfish (including me) and the way adults respond to not getting what they want is to shout, scream, swear, you name it to get what they want even if it’s a unicorn.
The ‘magic’ words are lost in the world of retail. Rarely do you hear someone say ‘I would like to order a ‘blank’ please’. ‘It’s more ‘I need a ‘blank’ and I want it now’. When people are overwhelmed by the product and service provided it’s nearly off the Richter scale in how they respond and it comes so rarely its like a shower of glitter has just exploded.
In retail the technology as advanced too much too quick in my mind and when it breaks it’s not always a simple case of turning it on and off again. At certain points in my working day when the centre I work in gets busy and everyone’s phones are connecting to the wi-fi and for some magical reason all the printers and computers seem to form a pact and go ‘now guys, she’s not looking lets disconnect and drive her potty for 5 mins’.
This in fact happened yesterday. We’ve had network problems with the printers and just on cue the small printer decided it didn’t like a sheet of 5×7 paper and refused to print. I told the customer 20 mins so I could break off serving and fix the issue. But because he stood and waited, no way did the printer want to work again, so I had to find an alternative and print something smaller while I turned everything else off to check the concetions….again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the job I am in. Always have, I have been very lucky. I was wrote off at school and although I don’t have anything to show family wise, no kids no partner I at least have an interesting career path and I was able to put my degree to some use. I have loved my job of 7+ years and I’ll be sad to leave it but I don’t feel safe working in retail anymore. I maybe oversensitive I don’t know but I don’t see why I need to take abuse off a customer because something that is out of my control is stopping them from an enquiring their product at that very moment.
One customer told me not to worry after one occasion this happened, I simply went to apologise for the wait and all hell broke loose. A guy had got really aggressive while I was working alone and I simply burst into tears as I had been stressed out and it was nearly the end of the day and there was no quick fix. I understand fully how as humans we have to respect each other, we never know truly what goes on in other people’s little world’s but to react as this guy did, just made me lose faith in human beings and left me scared to be at work. After this incident, I sometimes find myself reading the customers body language before approaching and if need be pass them straight onto a male colleague when I can. Other times I worry my accent hampers things or that the simple fact is I’m female working with technology and that I’m quite capable of fixing and sorting things. But who knows. Humans are fickle things.
So, a new journey,adventure whatever you might call it its a different sector of the working force and I am so proud and excited to be doing it. I simply can’t wait to learn new skills, meet new people and have a structured week and weekends off.
So thank you to the retail sector. I hope I don’t have to see you again, but if I do, I know what to expect, and at least I can take away with me the fact that for someone who doesn’t have a lot of patience, somehow I’ve built it up through the years and I’m grateful to you for that. So thank you for teaching me some life lessons and I wish you well.
Thank you for reading