I’ve been working in retail for three months now and it was my first retail job and comparing it to my last job in customer service and fast food, it’s a very different atmosphere.
I work in the stationary store Paperchase and you get a certain type of customer, so I’m lucky that I don’t have any particularly bad customer experiences but people still treat you all kinds of ways. There was a woman who kept me for about ten minutes once just to tell me how she didn’t like any of the notebook designs and I should pass it on to my managers… like we have anything to do with designing the products… so that was fun!
The only instance where customers really don’t want to be bothered is loyalty cards. We’re not supposed to call them loyalty cards, they’re ‘Treat Me’ cards and they’re actually really great (no joke), you get money on your birthday and discounts and vouchers left, right and centre, it does literally take a minute to set up and they’re actually really useful cards. But people don’t want them, I know that but I have to ask if you want one! We get scored based on how many cards we issue or scan against how many transactions we make so I have to ask, I’m not trying to slow you down or irritate you!
The thing that annoys me the most about working in retail is when someone decides they no longer want something and they just dump it on the nearest shelf. That’s not where it goes is it? It clearly doesn’t belong in that range and it’s my job to keep the store tidy, though I suppose it gives me something to do while the store isn’t massively busy and there’s no stock to put out.
Don’t get me started on how messy the card wall is, but if I started tidying that I’d spend literally all day there. It’s so messy.
Another part of my job is greeting and engaging with customers – I didn’t expect this to be part of my job description when I started at Paperchase because that’s something I never expected or recalled encountering at the store before, but it’s part of being a Sales Assistant so I have to say hello to everyone and offer my assistance to anyone who could need it.
It’s mostly just ‘do you have these cards’ or ‘do you have this specific product’ and occasionally someone buying a present for a partner or relative and not quite being sure where to start. But if someone asks you if you need any help and you don’t, a polite ‘I’m fine thanks’ is okay – no need to be snappy because I’m doing my job.
And I think that’s what is the best thing to take away from this – whether someone is working in retail, customer service or waiting tables in a restaurant they’re just doing their job. If something they do annoys you, it’s unlikely it’s personal and it’s probable their manager asked them to (I know in fast food, I had to ask if every meal ordered was a large and 90% of the time people would say no).
Treat staff respectfully, because they’re just doing their job.
Thank you for reading!
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/