6 Things You Learn Working In Retail

Having concluded my time working in retail after nearly 6 years I have decided to compile a list of the lessons I have learnt during my time serving the British Public. 

1. The Customer is NEVER right.... 98% of the time. 
Yet still you have to smile and be all pleasant until you can prove to the screaming, yelling, red faced customer that actually they are very wrong. Usually with the hard proof in front of their face they still insist they are right. And we have to admit defeat...

2. It is always somehow your fault that the customer bought the wrong colour/ size/ item. 
I have an amazing talent of psychically steering customers (on my days off too!) to buy the wrong item. I can only apologise and take the abuse with a smiley happy face when it comes to refunding the bright pink jeans I subconsciously made them buy instead of the purple. 

3. On that note... You are not a psychic. 
"Do you sell that pink fluffy thing?" they ask. Umm.........

4. It's a hypocritical world...
It is fine for customers to be on the phone the ENTIRE time they are with you but God forbid you say something to a colleague during that time... Similarly, they can shout and scream at you as much as they want, but you so much as raise your voice and you are being violent and confrontational. 

5. You will never meet all your targets.
Retail isn't just about serving customers anymore, underneath all the smiles retail workers work to strict unseen targets. It might be speed, number of people signed up to certain things, number of items sold, % scores in mystery shops. The chances are you can never meet 100% of them all the time. You get over it. 

6. Nice customers can make your day
Having a pleasant customer makes the day. This is my plea to you, the readers of Life's Cup of Tea, if you get a chance to leave feedback about your service do it! It only takes a few minutes and could really make someones day (especially if getting good feedback is one of your silly targets, see point 5)

So there we are. It's been enlightening. Educating. Have you / Do you work in retail? What's your pet hate?

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  1. OMG people are so so rude!! I'd never behave like that .. infact I like to have a chat to whoever is behind the till when I go shopping! I don't know how you put up with it! x

  2. People suck, it's that simple!
    But well done, you've definitely paid your dues.
    M x Life Outside London

  3. Urgh you're so right. Retail makes you hate Christmas by November and yeah I find it's my fault when people stick in the wrong address on ebay and paypal and their items never turn up. Having an ebay store these days (I can't bare to deal with face to face retail working any more) I've actually taken to printing off the nice happy customer emails and pinning then up so when I have to deal with an incredibly hard buyer, I have that happy time email to fall back onto!

  4. Totally agree with all of these! Don't forget that customers never read the fine print on signage or coupons!

  5. I used to hate working in retail! Nothing against people that do but it simply wasn't for me it's really hard when you get rude customers who treat you crap and you have to smile and put up with it. I think from working in retail it's made me that little more understandable as a customer when my order's not right or there's a long queue! :)


  6. So true! I don't even deal with people in person, it's all online and my shop. People are unbelievably rude and try to blame their mistakes on you. It definitely pisses them off so much more when you are just nice back.

  7. Completely 100% true!
    I've worked retail for a few years before going to Uni and my gosh, is it a giant pain in the arse. But I really enjoyed my job outside of the negatives, I go back to retail any day right now to get of the job I have.

  8. Hah, this made me smile and all so completely true!
    Definitely the whole psychic things as well - I did 5 and half years working with the public in a library and the amount of times someone would come in and say "do you have that book? you know, the one with the blue cover, with the story about thimumajig?"
    I think the greatest skills working in customer service are definitely acting skills and knowing how to wheedle information out of people! :-) x


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