4 Reasons Working in Retail Will Drive You to Suicide
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2 Comments
To be successful, you need to persevere to achieve your goals. Just kidding, it’s all about who you know – and you can’t deny that fact. So what happens when losers like me don’t have the right connections? Well, the world is full of throw-away jobs, and they will be your primary source of income until you gain friends in high places. But for now, you’re stuck faking a smile to people who spend a fortune and drive away in a brand new Porsche.
4) Mingling with the 1%
This doesn’t apply to the majority of retail stores, but it’s certainly something that you’ll have to deal with if you’re like me. I currently work at a popular designer clothing store, which I won’t name for the sake of my employment. The mall that I work at is in an affluent area, so every five or so cars you see will be a Mercedes or a Lexus, with a few Ferraris and Maseratis thrown in for good measure. The place reeks of money.
These rich people come into my store already carrying Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton bags, and then they go on to spend more money in one transaction than I make in two months. When I first witnessed this, I thought to myself, “Wow, it must be nice to be that well off.” But after a few thousand times, my thought process shifted to “I’ll never be that successful. I’m such a goddamned failure.” However, this doesn’t mean the 1% are arrogant pricks like you’d expect. Some of the nicest customers I’ve encountered were among this demographic. The only reason I hate interacting with them is because their mere existence makes me feel like a waste of life. It many not sound like something that will affect you, but after a while, you’ll be reaching for the nearest bottle of booze and the nearest gun after every shift.
3) Dealing with Terrible Human Beings
Bad customers are a mainstay in the universe. It doesn’t matter whether you work at Wal-Mart or Prada, you’re going to encounter the annoying bastards who think it’s your fault that the company charges so much. I refer to them as Price Nazis. These people are mad that they can’t get a discount on a DVD, or a reduced price on a t-shirt that they clearly sabotaged and claim it was like that when they found it.
They’re going to vent this unparalleled rage upon you, and there’s nothing you can do but tell them “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.” When you say this, it will only make them angrier. They’ll ask to speak with your manager, who will tell them the exact same thing. If you’re lucky, they’ll just roll their eyes and storm out of the store. If you’re not lucky, they’ll throw every single curse word in the English language at you, brag about how much better they are than you because you’re still working in retail, and they might even approach other customers and loudly tell them that your customer service is horrible. I’m not exaggerating, because I’ve seen it before.
On a similar vein as the Price Nazis, the Discount Fetishists love nothing more than grabbing everything in the store, shoving it in your face and asking for a discount. When you say no, they get a look in their eye resembling someone who just learned they have colon cancer. When you direct them to the sale section of the store, they don’t bother looking for anything because to them, a mark-down is just not the same as a discount. Eventually, they’ll leave without annoying you further – unless they’re the Barterers.
The name is pretty self-explanatory for these people. They’ll continue to try to convince you to bring the prices down. Some of them will even try to offer services in exchange for your coveted employee discount. One customer in particular seriously offered me a pair of Beats headphones if I bought some items for him with my discount. I obviously declined his offer, and sternly told him to go find someone who is dumb enough to risk their job over such a meager bribe. Honestly, there are only a handful of people I’d risk my employment for, and they are Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johanssen, Mila Kunis and Mila Kunis.
2) Insane Hours
If you’re unlucky enough to have open availability, you are going to be scheduled for shifts that can literally kill you. Last month, I worked from 4pm-1am one night rearranging the store. The next day I had to come in at 5am to finish what we started doing the previous night. I live roughly 25 miles away from my store, so I have to leave about an hour early to beat the morning commute traffic on I-880. So that meant I had to wake up at 3:30am to get to work on time. Do the math. I seriously was only able to get a half hour of sleep that night before I had to wake up and get ready again. And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this. One of my managers lives A FUCKING HOUR away from our store, so you can imagine the how awesomely horrible her days are.
There is no reason to be physically and mentally tormented to such a degree. The only silver lining for this situation is a bigger paycheck, so tha–oh wait, retail pays CLOSE TO NOTHING. In exchange for years being taken off of your life due to sleep deprivation, you get just enough money to pay the bills. Sometimes.
1) No Future
If everything I’ve already mentioned isn’t enough to make you snap, this one certainly will. Every entry-level employer will tell you “this isn’t a job, it’s a career!” If you don’t feel the powerful urge to punch them in the throat when they say this, congratulations, you’re fucking insane. It’s a safe bet that the employees don’t want to work there, and none of them see it as a career. This applies to all retail stores, to fast-food restaurants, and any other job that doesn’t require a college degree. Seriously, the next time you find yourself at one of these locations, observe the employees. Do they seem like they truly enjoy being there?
And don’t think it’s any better for the managers and bosses. I’ll guarantee that exactly none of them grew up with the goal of becoming the manager or the district head-honcho. While their pay might be somewhat decent, the amount of work they have to endure just isn’t worth it. But the worst part? This is their CAREER. This is what defines them. If they were to be killed by a drunk driver tomorrow, the newspapers would say “Target Store Manager Killed In Car Accident.,” or “Macy’s Employee Hit By Car.” It doesn’t matter if they’ve been there for years and worked their asses off to move up, they’ll still be ridiculed for not having “a real job.”
Now imagine how it is for us regular employees. If I were to be killed while employed at my current job, my family would probably feel shame for my lack of accomplishments rather than sorrow.
So the moral of this story: go to college.