31 Things Every Retail Worker Can Relate to

When I tell some people I work in retail, I get a pity look and sometimes a pat on the shoulder with a mumbled, “Awh, I’m so sorry.”

I’ve been working in retail for almost two years now. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love my job and all the wonderful people I work with, but there are definitely some negatives to deal with all the time.

I also think everyone should have to work in retail at some point in their life to be considered a decent human being. You definitely learn a lot in retail.

Retail workers unite!

1. People can’t read//”false advertising”

Customer: “Oh, that’s not on sale for $8? The sign said it was.”

Me: *goes back to check sign* “No, it’s not. The sign was on a different table for a tank top, not a pair of shorts.”

Customer: “Well that’s false advertising!”


2. Outlook on humanity has drastically changed

People suck. Why do you need to cause a huge scene in the store simply because your coupon expired?


3. Plastered smile

We’ve mastered the art of plastering on a fake smile as soon as we see a customer walk through the door. It also comes on when we’re dealing with difficult customers.


4. When a customer returns something that smells or has some mysterious residue on it



5. We’re not a daycare

Seriously. Watch your own damn kids. I will not be held responsible for your awful parenting abilities.


6. People destroying the table you just folded

Please, no. I worked so hard on that.


7. When a customer starts yelling at you

Please do not yell at me. I have been here for eight hours and I do not need this.


8. Black Friday

Prepare yourselves.


9. The joy you feel when a manager lets you go home early



10. When a customer insults you or a co-worker

Really? Did you really just say that? Really now? Okay.


11. When you close in 5 minutes and people are still shopping

For the love of all that is holy, just leave. Now. Go home so I can go home.


12. When a customer puts something back in the wrong spot

It’s right there. How could you possibly have messed that up?


13. Being on the phone with a customer who feels it necessary to tell you who she bought a pair of jeans for, why they didn’t fit (because her daughter is pregnant), how far away she lives from your store, and basically her life story

Me: “Just bring in the receipt and we can return them for you, or you can simply exchange them for a different size.”

Customer: “Oh! Well that’s easy enough!”


14. “Can I have an additional percent off for damage?”

It’s dust. It can be wiped off. See? Look at that! Brand new!


15. Boob money

Please, no. Don’t do this to me. Please.


16. Shoplifters

Everyone is a shoplifter until proven innocent. And yes, we see you rushing to the back of the store where you know no one currently is. Yes, we see you stuffing your fake Coach bag. Yes, we will follow you around the store and tag team you.


17. Dreaded clopens 

These are just horrible. Why would you schedule me to close and then open the next morning? I TRUSTED YOU WITH MY SCHEDULE.


18. Inventory

Sorry, I suddenly forgot how to count.


19. Seeing a regular shoplifter come into the store

*looks at co-worker* *both sigh and hang heads as we follow them*

But sometimes it’s more enthusiastic than that as we yell, “Not tonight, asshole!” as we charge to follow them.


20. Being ignored

“Hi! Welcome to *store’s name*!”

No? Just gonna walk right past me? Kay. I hope you don’t find anything in your size.


21. Large bills for small purchases

Me: “Total is $15.75”

*gets handed a $100*

Really? It is 10am and we just opened. You know I don’t have the proper change in my drawer for this. Plus, it’s too early for me to be counting like this.


22. Rude people

It’s really not necessary to be that rude. I’m sorry that you had to wait in the line for five minutes because there were two other people in front of you. *I’m lying, I’m not actually sorry, and you need to re-evaluate your life*


23. When a customer interrupts you

Okay, I understand you may not want our store credit card, but DO NOT INTERRUPT ME DURING MY SPEECH. It’s literally in my job description to ask you if you would like to open a store credit card. Also, if I took the time to call other stores for an item for you, don’t cut me off mid-sentence and say you’re no longer interested.


24. Line cutters

How hard is it to understand how a line works? It starts at point A, and ends at point B. We were all taught in first grade how to line up. There’s no need to be a line cutter. No one likes those.


25. “I just printed that this morning”

Oh, you’re so funny!


26. “Do you work here?”

Nope. I’m just wearing this name tag, folding these clothes, and occasionally talking into this walkie-talkie for the hell of it because I have nothing better to do with my Saturday.


27. The customer is not always right

Sometimes, yes. But most of the time, sorry-not-sorry, but you’re very wrong.


28. When the district manager shows up

Everybody act natural.


29. You find yourself folding at other stores

It’s a natural reaction to a messy pile of clothes, okay?!


30. Trying to get sensors off when you have a long line

They’re really hard to get off. I wish I knew how shoplifters got them off so quick.


31. When you’re talking to someone but they don’t reply. *psst, it’s a mannequin*

It actually happens very frequently. We even name them.


All in all, working retail is an adventure that requires a lot of patience and tolerance. Sometimes it really sucks, but it sucks with your awesome co-workers, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.


-c.j xx


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