17 things you’ll know if you’ve worked in retail

night out photo, three girls

The customary work night out photo - young faces, plastic tumblers of cheap booze and taken in an 80s bar.

Let’s face it, we’ve all done our time in jobs which aren’t quite the dream. From aged 16 to 21, I worked in retail alongside my studies, four years of that were in clothing retail, one year in a convenience shop at my university and both were incredibly different experiences. However, here are the things you’ll know if you’ve worked in retail.

1. You learn pretty fast that getting politer as a customer gets increasingly irate is the most fun game in the world.
2. Customers are shameless. Returning full price items to buy them back then and there at sale price? Seen it 100 times before. Trying to change over earrings in multipacks so you get the selection you want for the cheaper price? Caught them. Luckily 99% of the stock had security tags on or at the very least those excessively sticky labels that stop customers opening things they shouldn't. 
3. Lovely customers can make your day. Knowing you’ve gone above and beyond to get someone the products they need will leave you with a happy glow. I still remember securing a customer the wedding shoes she was desperate for which had gone in the sale and I begged someone at another store to hold them which was against company policy. I just wanted her to get the shoes, OK?
4. There are faces you recognise. Usually faces which come in 10 minutes before you’re due to close for a 20 minute browse.
5. Doing your first tannoy across the shop makes you want to shit yourself a bit.
6. Shoplifters are all kinds of excitement. 
7. There will nearly always be someone from your year at school or younger who ends up senior to you when you go back for the holidays from university. Weirdly, you just get on with it.
8. Preparing for a sale will leave you stressed to high hell and yet it’s the only time you’ll ever see every staff member mucking in after hours. And when I say ‘every’, we all know that one person who never pulled their weight.
9. Working the first day of a big sale (especially when it starts at 5am), will have you running on adrenalin after you left at 11pm the night before and have only had 3 hours sleep between shifts. Despite this, they’re the shifts which go the fastest as you just don’t stop.
10. Shop floor hangovers are the worst. Standing all day under hot lights trying to pretend to be helpful when all you’re bothered about is not smelling of alcohol is not the dream.
11. When you have to ask a manager before going to the toilet, getting a drink or taking your break, it starts to feel like you’re at school still.
12. And on that note, serving your teachers is nothing short of awkward.
13. That job actually provides you with the most disposable income you’ll probably ever have until you’re at least 30. I miss the rent-free days when I could get a new dress for every night out.
14. Work nights out take place every payday and are fuelled by whatever drinks are on offer, dirty RnB and gossip when someone finally snogged someone inappropriate (we’ve all been there).
15. Gossip spreads like wildfire. When you’re working so closely in such a close-knit and often very young environment, you learn to trust nobody.
16. The drama is endless. There were times when I thought I was on The Only Way is Next with the amount of shit that went on.
17. You’ll make friends for life. Whether it’s fitting room chats, late night stock takes or heart to hearts when the shop is empty, you get to know everyone pretty damn fast.

So, who’s worked in retail? Did you love it or loathe it? Let me know in the comments!

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