At the age of almost-but-not-quite-24-so-lets-still-call-me-23 I have just gotten my first retail job. Working in retail was something I was always vaguely curious about (because I had never worked in it, it held a sort of mysticism) but as to the way things worked out when I first started working during the end of high school/University, my jobs always seemed to revolve around desk work or teaching.
I started doing an internship at a TV company here in Toronto 3 weeks ago. And as much as I would like to say that I could afford to do that, and sit around on my fleshy little bum the rest of the time, I can’t so boo. Off I went to find a part-time job.
Minimum wage here in Canada is $10.25 an hour, and most places that you look for a customer service job, that is the going rate.
“But Whatever,” I told myself. I just need enough money to sustain me for 3 months while I intern, and then I will find a creative job that pays the big bucks, and I will spend all my free time writing blogs and screenplays, and watching movies, and trying to figure out the scientific code to becoming a famous, fatter version of Tina Fey, and conquering the world by writing, and WINNING ACADEMY AWARDS. This is going to be so great.
What have I learned there in the first week?
1. Working in retail gets you sweet discounts on clothes from that company. I’m talking 50% off. If I had known that the continuous sale on clothes was a perk of working in retail, then I would have started doing this a long time ago! I would have worked one day a week just to get my hands on some delicious items. Don’t pay me, just give me stuff! In fact, I’m not sure that I actually MADE any money this week. There was one day where I bought lunch at the food court AND a tight, hot little red “sweater” and because I worked a three-hour shift (why is that a thing?!) I actually broke even….
Note to self: Compulsive shopper working in retail store = bad
2. Customer Service is really easy, and REALLY noticeable when not there. I feel like I need a special retail badge now to communicate with other people working in shops that I understand them. I get you bro, wink, flash them my badge, “It’s okay, I’m one of us now.” This is going to seem really bad, and expose how naive of a desk jockey I have been, but when people greet you in a store and help you find things, that really encourages you to get something and not just be like…meh! and leave! This week I was positioned all over, Cash, Dressing rooms, Front, and always (I was being instructed) be helpful, ask if you can find sizes, greet them, ask how they are… it really makes a difference! I went into a mall yesterday and was browsing around, and when no one greeted me, I left in under five minutes. subconscious. Retail = mind control… or something
3. People in Retail walk around a lot. I want to get a step counter because I swear to god I am burning off some excellent calories from walking around the store finding things, tidying things. It is a lot of walking around and standing. There is no sitting involved, and when you are on your feet for a seven hour shift (uhhhh so depressing that that equals $70…I must stop doing that) you really start to feel that ache in your feet and legs. Good. Add, lose tonnes of weight and get super sexy and offered a magazine colour to that list from above.
4. People in general, don’t suck as much as I thought they would. I’ve seen the movies, I was prepared for the worst. Customers screaming at me, unhappy, me, flustered with my accent which the Canadians this is wildly hilarious. But maybe that’s all south of the border in America land, because Canadian customers (thus far) have been really nice. They always compliment me on helping them find just what they were looking for, they always say goodbye and thanks when they leave. I’ve even overheard one or two of the regulars telling my manager that they think I’m great! It restores your faith in humanity to hear things like that, and to not work somewhere where people are angry or pissed off, or rude.
And those are just some of the loose observations I have made after 1 week in retail. I am the expert now, so come to me with your questions and let me solution them.