Retail; Behind The Scenes


I cannot tell you how many times I have written massive amounts here and then deleted it. I get to a really good point I want to express and then realise you don’t want to hear all the boring shit before it. This is all that matters.

There is this utterly disrespectful view people seem to have on retail and retail assistants. All those ‘funny’ memes and videos on social media actually offend me 9 out of 10 times. I have been in retail for a fair few years now and love it for all the right reasons. I think by the end of this you can probably guess; but I’ll probably tell you point-blank anyway.

First, I greet you to actually make you feel comfortable, welcome and so you know I am physically there to help. You can tell when someone isn’t genuine but i love the fact that my job is all about talking with and getting to know other people. I will chit-chat with anyone so I love it.

Second, you would not believe how small my store is. The back room consists of a tiny corner desk for us to have our bags, eat lunch, sit for conference calls, all pending whether we have stock there because there is nowhere else. There is a pole hanging to hang some extra backpacks and towels and a whole wall covered in the shoe boxes in all sizes. Oh and can’t forget about the boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of havi thongs, caps and socks. (Thongs as in flip-flops for all you non Aussie readers)
When a customer asks me to look out the back for extra sizes I go and look to be polite because of this stupid idea that our back room is our warehouse. I assure you mine is not, we can’t even fit a chair to sit on, we have one that folds up so it can sit against the wall and the walking area is so tight I kick and knock over the chair every single time.

Thirdly, why people think we run from customers when we’re on lunch drives me insane! I very rarely have a full hour for lunch because I will either be walking through the store to go to the bathroom and I’ll see a customer alone so I will stop and assist. Sometimes I will hold my wee for hours because I will keep catching a customer on my way out. Sometimes I will be walking out to actually get food and same thing will happen. By the time I have no customers in the store it’s time for my team member to finish for the day and there goes my break. When you see me snack on m&ms from the top draw that’s why. These examples are just this week, today was my day off and I stopped in to make sure my new 2ic was doing okay and they were so busy so i pushed my trolley full of groceries aside and helped a lady find sizes in tees for her grandson. She had no idea i wasn’t even working today. Not even to mention it was my first day off in two weeks, not the usual thing to happen but we had issues that resulted in me needing to work my day off last week.
My point to this is my customers always come first, I will gladly put my life on hold and help.

I think lastly, unless I come up with more things to rant about.
At this time of year I get to hear about thoughtful gifts and contribute to them and their holiday plans. I live vicariously through my customers at christmas time. Due to being in retail I cannot take time off pretty much from November to end of Jan. Also because i am a manager i put in a lot of extra hours including early mornings, late nights and working my weekend off because it’s the weekend before christmas itself. During December this gives me one weekend with my husband and we have one weekday together, so in a month i can make plans with my husband three days out of a whole month.

I don’t want pity or sympathy or time off, I just want people to appreciate the time with their families this month, it has been about six years since I have had christmas with someone other than my husband; not my sister, brothers, mum and dad, grandparents and none with my husband’s family too. I’m not sure if any of them really understand how hard that is for me. Every year I act like I hate christmas so i don’t remember all the family i wont see.
This is not mine and my husbands first rodeo though, we both get so full on with work we understand each others need to be at work and the exhaustion we have when we come home. These three days together will either be jam-packed adventure together or chilling out relaxing in the hammock, either way we appreciate that time and don’t take it for granted. Secretly hoping I get next christmas off due to maternal reasons 🙂

If you walked into my store and you saw my genuine smile, would you think of any of this? I appreciate my customers, please appreciate me.


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