Retail Therapy: Confessions of a Sales Associate

Working in a department store is, I imagine, similar to curating a music festival: despite the variety of clothing available in store, people will still gripe about how you don't have the ONE THING they desperately need. I've been working in some sort of office environment for nearly four years, but I've been in retail again since February; it's not too bad - I love the store itself and most of my co-workers are great - but there are many things that grate on me. These are some of the thoughts that go through my head during a shift:

  • It would be super helpful if you could tell me "debit" or "credit" when you're ready to pay instead of just flashing me the back of your card and looking expectantly at the pin pad.
  • If your (usually unattended) child falls because s/he was climbing one of our racks/fixtures, I will probably laugh. Is it really that hard to hold their hand?
    • Likewise, it takes a lot of will power not to shush a loud child who is being ignored by a parent.
  • No matter how long merchandise sits forlorn and untouched on a rack, the second you try to move it to another display eighteen people will appear to look at it/get in your way.
  • Depending on your age, you're either neck deep in in-store drama or you're standing cautiously (but curiously) to the side.
  • At some point, a customer will make fun of an item that you personally love within your hearing and you'll feel sad. Conversely, at some point a customer will squeal in delight over the ugliest article of clothing in the store and you'll walk away, shaking your head. 
  • Sometimes you want to punch the really skinny girls who complain that the extra-extra-small skirt is still too loose while you're standing there adjusting the same skirt - in a large - over your hips.
  • There's something oddly soothing about folding a button-down blouse, especially if the creases are still visible.
  • The metallic scent of hangers will linger in your nostrils for the rest of your life (or at least until the bruises on your hands from the hanger hooks disappear).
  • Closing shifts are the work of the devil and any customer who lingers after 9pm should be forcibly removed and possibly banned from ever coming back.
  • By the time you re-fold the same t-shirt for the seventh time in ten minutes, you'll be mentally apologizing to every sales associate you've ever inconvenienced in the slightest way possible over the years.