the thing about working retail…

The thing about working retail is… well, you realize people suck.

In the clothing/department store scene one is repeatedly faced with questions about human behavior. Like, why would someone go into a dressing room with 38 different items, proceed to remove each one from its hanger, throw them all up in the air, and then exit the dressing room somehow leaving 42 different items of clothing laying around, some inside out, some on the floor, some bunched up on the bench, etc…? Why would they do that? Or, where is the brat stealing earrings leaving the little cardboard holders stuffed into the mirror edge or in random pants’ pockets around the store? Who are they and can I please have a word with their mother? And, what makes this person think they can return a sweater with stinky pit stains just because the tags are still on it?

In the grocery store scene one cannot help but garner frustration as they find random food items scattered around the store in places they do not belong. Why, why would someone leave a box of popsicles on a random shelf in the cereal isle? Don’t they know count chocula  cannot be trusted near triple rockets? Don’t they know the triple rockets are going to melt? And why is a rotisserie chicken sitting on a shelf of men’s deodorant? Who does this?

At Starbucks there are the people who have an aneurism if left too much room for cream in their coffee or, as the case may be, too little. One must wonder how it is that this young woman can order the same simple drink every single morning, every single week and yet still does not know how to ask for what she wants. Who is it that keeps dumping a gallon of hot liquid into the trash causing the bags to weaken and tear and drool all over the floor? And what cave did this man crawl out of that left him under the impression that Starbucks is a sit-down establishment in which a waitress will take your order, serve you, and finally deliver a bill? Does he not see the line forming at the registers? Does he not understand the movement of the masses starting at the entrance, progressing to the registers, meandering to the hand-off plane, and finally making their way full-circle back to the entrance whereby they leave the premises with drink-in-hand?

Of course, its the one in 300 that truly test the hourly-wage retail worker’s composure. Most of the customers are courteous and pleasant enough. Yet, like a mean insult, that single instance tends to carry as much weight as the 299 others.

For myself, it has only been in the last few months that my patience has really worn thin. Maybe the reserve would deepen a bit if a few days could pass before confronted with the next irritatingly unaware and inconsiderate customer with a chip on their shoulder. But somehow they just keep strolling in, day by day and I’m left with my mother’s voice in the back of my head, “don’t underestimate whats out there loose”.



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