Career Day Friday: As a retail worker bee

At one point in your life, did you work at a store-level business?

Five years of my professional life was spent working at a store-level business. I worked at a department store, a boutique, a major chain store, and a home decor store, all of which have different methods of doing business.

This experience provided me with great personal and professional lessons, one of which was how to deal with people that come from all walks of life. This is where I learned how to talk to people, how to engage them in conversation, how to figure out what they like and don’t like, and best of all how to pacify them when they feel that they’re not being heard.

It’s not the most glamorous experience too. Everyday that you walk in the store, you have to bring your A game no matter what because,

a. You have to be able to adjust to the trends that are happening in the business, for example, if the business is not making enough money that day, you will be sent home because business has to make the payroll budget.

b. You also have to be prepared to deal with large amounts of people that come in your store and you have to juggle the heck out of your tasks because there’s only you and another person in the store.

c. When it’s closing time, you have to be able to fold down the store and make it look pretty for the next business day. This is not easy especially when you had a huge rush before closing; everything is crumpled in a messy pile and again there’s only you and another person. By the way, you have to be able to make the whole store look pretty in 30 minutes, because going over that time will just mess up your payroll budget.

d. You have to deal with an irate customer because they don’t agree with the return policy that the store has.

So you see, store-level workers work REALLY hard, sometimes EXTRA hard on certain days (BLACK FRIDAY or the whole month of December). They get by on minimum wage salary and sometimes less because again PAYROLL is of utmost important in every store-level business.

Do you think that this profession gain the respect it deserves?

My opinion on this matter is on the neutral side. There are some companies who are driven by the revenue they need to make (don’t blame them, it’s the game of ANY business), and if goals aren’t met, store-level employees get the brunt of that.

Others, treat their store-level employees like they would treat their external customers, which is so much better because employees who are treated fairly will work harder, this in turn will drive business revenue.

On the flip side, some outsiders just downright insults this type of profession, while others respects what they do and how they do it.

My advice to everyone out there — respect these profession — because it is a VALID professional experience. People in this line of work works really hard to be a productive member of society and to make a living for themselves, just like others who earn $100,000.

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2 Comments

  1. I agree that some respect should be given. I have been working in retail for the last 2 years and it’s not easy at all. I think the thing that frustrates me the most is when people think we’re uneducated. I have a Bachelor’s Degree, but just haven’t found any luck with a “real” job. Thank you for writing this post!
    http://confessionsofasalesassociate.wordpress.com/blog/

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      I know what you mean. Keep at it with your job search. I know it’s a long process, I myself am in the middle of one so I know how it feels. I’m sure you’ll find one!

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