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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!

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