Awful Ideas – Retail Work

Today: Retail Work

In my short working life, I’ve done a lot of different things. Different odd jobs in different areas. Things I never thought I’d do. Places I never thought I’d go. And assholes to deal with that I generally wouldn’t deal with. Out of all of these jobs, one particular area has stood out as particularly awful.

Retail Work

Unless you really have a passion, it is a seriously soul crushing line of work. Generally retail work is really easy – a bit of restocking here and there, money counting and suppressing your soul customer assistance. Then you go home and count the money you made doing sweet FA (depending on how busy your particular shop is obviously).

Admittedly I’ve only really worked one true retail job, but I think the requirements to do the work will fit any other retail job just as well.

1) You must be able to suppress your soul and project an image of someone who just loves to help others in their trivial purchasing decisions. An incorrect price tag that means a price difference of 20c? Better make sure you can bend over backwards to discount, because (especially if they are British) you better believe you’ll get complained about! And smile if you aren’t happy! Deep down your contempt for them grows ever deeper…

2) You must be able to cope with long periods of doing sweet FA. While you might be sitting there going, “Well I can sit at home all day and do nothing, so why not get paid for it!”, I can assure you the job is not that glamorous. At home you have things called “distractions”. These “distractions” keep you occupied in your otherwise mundane life.

At a standard retail job, if you have completed your duties in terms of restocking shelves and the like and you don’t have an easily accessible computer with internet, you are boned. You can only tidy the place up so much before the urge to kill yourself grows ever higher. As well as that, if it’s the kind of retail job where you’re manning the shop solo, your boredom and contempt for the work and people grows ever higher and faster than it would if you had someone to talk to.

3) You must be able to live inside your head. If you are mostly by yourself as I mentioned previously, you need to have a strong mind. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to deal with the same regular customers buying the same shit every day, saying, doing, breathing, walking and acting the same every damn day.

If you do the retail work as most of your working week, oh how I feel for you. In my experience, I’ve spent alot of days alone, reliving groundhog day. But if you can put up with it and find somewhere to channel your oppressed anger and contempt for your customers rather than over the counter at them, then you are doing very well.

And finally:

4) You must be able to hide your contempt and loathing of your customers. Sure, alot of people are very genuine and courteous during your dealings with them since they generally are only with you for a short part of their forgettable days. But maybe you just cant stand the look of them. Maybe you just don’t like that they say exactly the same thing everyday. And if they aren’t regulars, maybe you just can’t stand having the same conversation with everyone.

“So, busy day mate?… Oh yeah it looks like a storm might be coming this arvo!… Okay take it easy bloke!”. If you ever say “bloke” instead of “mate”, or other assorted, semi-polite “I don’t know your name but I’ll say this instead” kind of names… end everything.

Regardless, you must hide that emotion and try not to make it obvious. Direct your sinking feelings of contempt and loathing towards that place you created inside your head to channel the rest of your anger. Ready to boil over in 20 years when you are so bitter and twisted that you just can’t deal with it anymore…


One thought on “Awful Ideas – Retail Work

  1. This is all so terribly true…and true of pretty much my whole working life! I had one interview yesterday for a video store, thinking ‘sweet lazy arse job for christmas…perfect!’ but no… at the interview they GRILL you about customer service and ask (at a group interview) ‘what does customer service mean to you’ ‘what does teamwork mean to you’ ….pretty sure it’s a fucking video store! WHO CARES??!!! So by the time its your turn to answer…you’re either saying the exact same bullshit that every other person has already said which only demonstrates your ability to parrot what has just been said….OR you say something slightly different and end up looking like you didn’t understand the question! UGH!

    People suck.


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