A lot of people operate under the mistake idea that retail is easy. It really isn’t. For starters, in supermarkets like ASDA or Tesco, the staff never stop – the tills are always busy, and if the staff are not serving on the tills, they are dealing with the never-ending flow of deliveries and re-stocking shelves. Oh yes, then there’s the promotional material to put out and fill up.
In places like PC World (and my own employer), you’re not dealing with the tills and deliveries so much (though this is still an ongoing job), but rather, you’ve got promotions to do, and you need to be on a constant watch for possible customers (and thieves). You’re expected to be a jack of all trades (especially if, like me, you’re part of the management team).
Most customers to step into the store have absolutely no idea what goes on to keep the store running smoothly. We have price changes nearly every morning. Shelves to fill. Urgent collations, a print and copy centre that occupies a lot of our time, and stock control processes to complete.
We also have lots of daft questions to deal with. ‘Do you sell ink cartridges?’ You’re standing right in front of an entire wall of them. The phone rings, ‘good morning this is <store> in <town>, how can I help you?’ ‘Is that <store>? In <town>?’ Grrr!
There are people who insist on ripping open packets of paper to see what the paper is like – it’spaper! Unless you’ve lived under a rock since birth you’ll know what paper is! And if you reallyaren’t sure, actually ask us instead of tearing open something we’re hoping to sell!
Then you get the aggressive customers. The ones who think shouting and threatening staff is somehow going to result in a favourable outcome for them (such as the bloke who had clearly broken his laptop but demanded we change it for him because the physical damage to the unit ‘just happened’). Belligerence is not an acceptable substitute for good manners!
I could go on at length about this, but to be honest, it just makes my blood boil. I wish the general public could spend at least a week working in retail, and then, maybe, just maybe, they would have a better appreciation for the job they think is ‘easy’.