An Ode to the Retail Worker

Because you just don’t get the credit you deserve.

9am. The floor is vacuumed. The door is opened. Someone puts their music on. You hope it’s not the girl who plays country tunes and Pop Goes Punk. Oh wait. It is. It’s going to be a long day.

The first customer walks in. You start chatting, touching shelves, moving clothes around. They don’t want to speak to you. “I’m just looking.” Classic.

Don’t get us wrong. There are some lovely people in retail. That favourite customer that always comes in – always a buyer, always a chatter. Hairdressers always say they are like psychologists, but we here at Fashion Journal just don’t think retail workers get the credit they deserve. Every retail worker has at least one crazy story to share. Here’s why.

First of all usually a retail worker must be wearing something from the store. That’s all very well and good, unless you really don’t like what you are selling. 

Second of all, there are lots of different and interesting people in this world. And you’ll encounter most of them working retail. There are over-sharers, unnervingly quiet people, vague people, strangely specific people, charmingly lovely people, cute crumb creating children, extremely flamboyant people, interesting people with great stories and worst of all “I want to speak to the manager” people. 

Nothing beats the satisfaction of having your manager tell someone exactly what you just did. It’s a day maker. 

Third and lastly, you MUST smile through it all. Number one rule of retail. Smile and nod, always. Even if a woman is telling you about her affair with her gardener. 

But working in retail can also be very rewarding. It’s not all listening to peoples problems and trying to sigh your way to the end of the day. Finding a customer something they like and building a relationship with them to the point where they come back and see you to bring Wagon Wheels for the staff is a lot of fun. 

Plus, retail is a great first stepping stone of any career fashion based. So stick with it, work your way up and jump at every opportunity you get. Apply for every promotion, ask for more (the worst answer you can get is no) and be on the look out for your golden moment. You are not wasting your time – even though it may feel like it occasionally.

Unless of course you want to be an astronaut. Then get out. 

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