Home Uncategorized How Working In Retail Has Taught Me To Be A Model Customer

How Working In Retail Has Taught Me To Be A Model Customer


I’ve been working in retail for three years now and it has been an emotional rollercoaster all the way through. I’ve definitely grown personally from the experience and created some lasting relationships over the years. I currently work as part time beauty consultant for a popular beauty brand and believe me it could be just as bad working as a sales person in a clothing store that has to fold clothes that people have tossed all over the place.

I’m generally a cool, calm and collected person and many things don’t get to me. I exceed as a sales associate because I naturally can deal with people and make them feel comfortable talking to me.  But no matter how cool or down to earth you may be as a sales associate, there’s always a hand full of customers that can make you step out of character.

angela bassett waiting to exhale gif

My first bad experience, as a sales associate was probably a few months into being at the job. It was a pretty busy day during the holidays and a woman who was very small in stature came to my counter with her nose literally already turned up to me as she walked up inquiring about the price of a product. I responded and brought the product to the register to ring her up and she literally was annoyed with me for no reason the whole time. She was just being so rude and nasty to me that I couldn’t help but to ask her if she was having a bad day because at this point I was confused and genuinely concerned. She literally just rolled her eyes at me and her attitude that was already on 100 went to a 150.

When I was handing her bag and her receipt, I could tell that she was prepared to snatch from my hands and that was when I had enough and lost it. I looked to her and said “I have been nothing but nice to you the whole time and you have had an attitude with me the whole way through. And you will absolutely NOT disrespect me by snatching from me.” I sat her items on the stand next to the register and let her grab it herself because enough was enough. She picked up her things and called me stupid as she walked away and that was when I dropped the mic, exited stage left, and ran to the stock room to scream in rage.


I spoke to my department manager about it moments later and surprisingly I didn’t get fired. The department manager at the time who was 30 years my senior looked to me and said “Customers don’t understand that we are here to give service but not to kiss their asses.” Harsh but true. From that point on I learned to ignore customers childish antics and just continued to be the vibrant and knowledgeable beauty consultant that I know I am.

The holiday season,especially, for retail sales associates is a living nightmare because scenarios like the one that I described happens on a bigger scale time after time for things that we sometimes cannot control. Dealing with customers is only one part of it. We also have managers who stress us out on the daily to hit all of these metrics that sometimes are not exactly attainable.  We work long hours during the holiday season and are taken away from our families during the holidays in order to ensure customers, who sometimes act like they hate us, have the holiday that they envision for themselves and their loved ones.

Here’s things to keep in mind when you are  shopping at your favorite retail store, throughout the whole year.

Sales associates are human and contrary to belief; we are not the scum of the earth

The same way you want to be treated with the upmost respect, so do we. We are here to help and you but we are absolutely not your doormat or slave. Sales associates are mothers, grandparents, students, lawyers and basically everything else under the sun. Working as a sale associate does not define who we are or how we should be treated.

Some things are very much out of our control

So don’t be upset when you can’t get additional discounts or freebies or something you wanted is out of stock because most of the time we literally CAN’T control that. We’re not doing it to be spiteful because contrary to belief we were not getting thing out of withholding freebies and discounts from you. Honestly, we’ll get them regardless. We just cant make them appear when they don’t exist.

Don’t use the phrase “that’s their job” to justify the malicious things that you do while shopping

Granted we are there to fold messed up piles of clothes and throw out dirty tissues and cotton balls, we are not maids. Leaving behind food and other random things or just completely throwing things around purposely just because you can and “it’s our job” to fix it is a tad bit rude.

We do have metrics to meet hence why we do have to do certain things that may be annoying to you

We’re very well aware that you don’t like when we ask you every visit if you want to sign up for our store card or if you want to by X amount so you can get a free gift, but we have to. Some customers appreciate it, some don’t but it the end of the day we have to because our performance review and pay depends on it.

A thank you goes a long way

The same way customers liked to be thanked for shopping at whatever store it is that they visit, sales associates want the same. We literally sometimes spend more time in our respective stores during the holidays than at home with our families and we really appreciate feeling appreciated. You’re kind of our extended family in a sense.

Though I never acted like the “bad” customer that I encountered years ago, I’m much more mindful of how I treat sales associates when I’m shopping. Of course if the sales associate is the one that has an attitude or something that’s a different story but still you shouldn’t feed into that. When you leave the store you’re gone but that associate has to deal with many crazy personalities 20-60 hours a week (depending) during the holiday season.

If you’ve worked in retail can you relate to the madness that may occur during the holidays or just in general?




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