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We Need to Talk

To begin with, I am a soon-to-be 34-year-old woman who has not had a ‘traditional’ job in over a decade. The last job I had was at a gas station, where I worked for one month before leaving due to a toxic work environment cultivated by the boss and perpetuated by other employees… but, I digress. Once again, I have a ‘traditional’ job. Working 40+ hours a week as a retail associate has really opened my eyes to how jaded I’ve been about the world – more specifically, the people who inhabit it.

I have placed way too much faith in the basic decency of others. The amount of entitled and just plain rude customers I meet on an hourly basis is astounding and incredibly sad. The people I work with have been pretty wonderful, thankfully. But, it’s a very demanding job. I’m pulled from one department to another, from one task to another. Many times, I don’t even have the right tools for the job, or the tools I do have don’t work properly. Add into this, the fact we’re usually understaffed, and you have yourself a very stressful and tiring 8-10 hours.

What’s really frustrating about working in this position is not having the authority to take action when needed (i.e. shoplifting, or replacing missing/incorrect labels) or implement ideas to help things run more efficiently. I understand there’s a policy for everything, but you’d think they’d incorporate things into the policy when the people on the floor, experiencing the difficulties, are telling them how helpful it’d be.

But those are minor frustrations compared to the migraines brought on by some of the more ‘particular’ customers. Trust me when I say, I fully believe in 100% customer service. I give my most polite and cheerful responses to every customer. I genuinely like just about everyone. But, when you are rude to me for no reason other than I am literally PAID to put up with it… I feel bad for the people around all that toxicity on a daily basis. I just don’t understand the thought process behind going off on me. And my face doesn’t hide it. I may be cheerful and polite when I respond, but my face is cursing like a sailor. If I can help you, I’m more than happy to do everything in my power to get you what you need, even if you’re rude. But, please remember we’re all just people trying to get through the day. Also, no one knows how long they have – we should cherish every single second of every day. Why waste all that energy being negative when you could spread an amazing gift of positivity? Literally, all day every day, you could be making people’s days better just by being polite.

Yeah, I know. I’m being naive again. I am who I am. I care about my job. I love it, actually. I love being able to perform those tiny miracles for people. When they find the thing they need or I can help them figure out a problem… Those are the best moments of my day. Right now, I’m setting up for Christmas, and I plan to spread as much cheer as possible this holiday season. After the year we’ve all had, I think we can use it now more than ever. Feel free to join me in spreading the love!

2 thoughts on “We Need to Talk

  1. I understand completely as have worked retail jobs myself. I had a lady kick the cart at my check out once because her cough medicine didn’t ring up on sale. I informed her it was the wrong size and showed her the flyer stating what’s on sale. She was not having and rude to the point I called the manger to assist.
    So many people are dealing with lots of things and I feel some never really learn how to process the hurt and pain. Does not justify how they act and their are many of us who do know how to process hurt feelings and act appropriate even when we are upset. Yet like the saying goes hurt people hurt others. Some have such deep wounds the lash out others. On the flip side I do see and know those who have that feeling of entitlement and treat others with contempt which is not good. Pride always comes before the fall though.
    I try my hardest to tip well, be patient with customer service/doctor offices/etc people on the phone and show retail workers respect cause I have been there. Not that I do it right always. I just wish people would walk in other’s shoes once in a while to see how it feels. Kindness and empathy goes a long way. Keep up the good work and the good writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, and thank you for reading. It’s nice to know there are people who are cognizant of how their actions might affect those around them. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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