19 Things Only People Working In Retail Will Understand!

19 Things Only People Working In Retail Will Understand!

So I’ve been working In retail, for some time now and I can still remember that day when I clicked to apply for the role as a sales advisor. Oh, how naive I was thinking working in retail looks ever so easy and simple, all you have to do is work on the tills, smile and clean the shelves or rails. Simple I could do that. Oh boy was I Wrong and I bet every person out there working in retail can relate to any of this. Here is the truth about working in retail.

1)We turn in to robots

You repeat so many greetings and generic customer service lines that they’re embedded in your brain for life. Do you know when your teachers used to say repeat your lines they’ll get stuck in your head. They weren’t wrong my entire day on the till is “who’s next please” “sorry for your wait” and then proceed to sell a store card. The customer probably wasn’t even waiting that long or was the only one at the till point and I still say “sorry for your wait” because it’s stuck in my brain.

2) The same shitty song on a loop

There are songs that you’ll hate for life because they’ve been playing on a loop every shift. It’s the worst thing ever. I can’t take it anymore. 5 songs that will keep going on a loop every day non stop. I’m a ticking time bomb at work ready to explode because yes its so annoying and you can’t do anything about it. They aren’t even good songs. Christmas has just gone and I am so glad I don’t have to listen to Little Donkey anymore. If I’m sitting in a car and a song that’s being played at work comes on I cry. That’s how bad it is.

3) I don’t set the prices 

I don’t understand why customers approach me and start complaining about the price of a jumper to me. I don’t set them and I can’t change them. I don’t even know why they try to start bargaining with me to set a different price like to come on I just want to scan the freaking item and bag it! This ain’t a junk yard.

4) Shitty Return Excuses

Every retail worker has had that one customer that comes into the store with a disappointed look on their face when they are trying to return something. But that’s not the problem, the problem is when they say an item is faulty and they try to return something and say they haven’t used it. Ummmm ok listen lady do you think I’m blind. Like come on, it’s obvious you wore that dress dropped some tomato soup on it and then washed it, but then the colour wore off and your saying to me you hardly wore it. Idiots

5) Trust me we don’t care

I’m on the shop floor cleaning things up going through my rails and sorting out the prices and I just hear someone go “Err, that’s rank, who the hell would wear that” but then the friend next to her says “Shhhh she can hear you” (she meaning me) A retail worker has probably heard this loads of times and guess what, it always makes us chuckle like come on I just work here, I’m here for the money I don’t give 2 shits about you hating the dress I didn’t design it and this also goes to those customers who say “Oh I’ll go elsewhere” “Its cheaper at… lets go there” I honestly don’t care where you go. You wanna go then just go. I’m just here for my payday Friday.

6) The Incapable Adults

I have worked in the kids section at Debenhams and let me just say it ain’t the kids who mess everything up. The only people capable than making a shit load of mess are yes, annoying little kids, but most of the time it’s fully grown adults. At least your kid’s brain hasn’t fully developed so they have an excuse, but you adult are our nemesis. A nice table, we once neatly folded is unfolded and tossed into a giant ball on the floor. Clothes misplaced into different rails even though you know where it belongs and it’s right in front of you. yet you still have to put the flowery dress along with the blue party dress!!! Just no. PUT IT BACK LADY! THE RAILS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUUU!



7) Store rooms ain’t a Mary Poppins bag.

Customers have this huge idea that every store has a stockroom. Where I worked we didn’t. But we clever little sales advisors have to just sometimes play along. I legit had a customer yell at me because I explained to her that we had no stockroom. So I made sure that never happened to me again.

Customer: “Do you have this dress in a size up”

Me: “sure I’ll go back and check”

Also me: *heading to the back and pretending to check on a product that you know isn’t there to make the customer feel better, using that five minutes to have a quick chat with a colleague who’s doing the exact same thing*

And to add no a store stock room isn’t what’s in your head. There’s not this great picture of “huge lines of rails which consist of various products with all different sizes and an endless stock of shoes and makeup that never run out. It ain’t a Mary Poppins bag. It’s a tiny shitty room that has a cluster of boxes that we retail workers don’t have a clue what’s in there.

8) When we actually do our job we don’t get paid for it.

The thing every worker avoids is going over their shift time knowing you won’t get paid. Once my shift ends I’m running outta that building and on my way home to my bed. No way do I stay for no reason. But sometimes you have one of those customers you help with ten minutes left of your shit. We think it’s a simple question like “Excuse me where’s your toilets?” or “Which one do you like better the blue or the red?” But then you realise they’ll have endless questions that just go on and on and on and on… and as soon as they have finished (without saying thank you) that’s 30min gone. I spent 30min over my shift and guess what. When I’m actually doing my job I’m not getting paid for it.

9) Parents letting their gremlins roam free.

If you must go shopping with your kids at least look after them and keep an eye on your kids. I’m here minding my own business sorting out my Shopkin shelf that I was ordered to do. The next thing I hear is the stores tannoy going off saying “We have a code red I repeat, we have a code red in the store” so there’s me getting up and having the awkward job of going to every kid I see, asking them if they are lost. And most of the times I’m getting dirty looks from people. But guess what It’s my job To do this. My job to look for an annoying little lost kid. In my case after a million dirty looks we found the kid. I get back to my Shopkins and some other shitty kid messed it up. Just look after your kids will you.

10) Wandering off in the middle of a transaction. 

Here I am putting through a million products for this lady and I’m like half way through the process until she says the dreaded “oh no can I just quickly grab something” so she’s off grabbing whatever else she needs. Little do I know is that more than 20mins have gone. she isn’t quick at all I’ve put all her items through and I’m standing there like a right wally whilst the huge queue of customers are giving me death glares. 30min later she comes back with 20 other things in her basket. This one time I was in the middle of a transaction and the customer’s family member she didn’t see in like 40 odd years waltzes by and the next thing I know is they just step aside in the middle of the transaction to catch up on all the years they missed. Like come on at least let me finish.

11) Gift Fucking Receipt

A short but quick one. If you want a gift receipt just say you want a gift receipt at the start of the transaction don’t make me process everything let you pay for it all give you the receipt of all your purchases and then hear you say “did you put through a gift receipt” No I didn’t. Because you never said you wanted one. Now I have to return every purchase you made on the tills to then rebuy the items for your gift receipts. Which is a longer process thanks to you.

12) “Can I pay part card/part cash?”

We always get those awkward customers who do awkward things. We have all dealt with a customer who says. “Can I pay some on my card some with vouchers and then part gift card and then finish it off with cash, please” Like come on why do you have to be so awkward? And then I have to proceed to say “We can’t take that many payments, we only take 3” that’s me informing them on something and I still get abused because the till can’t do it. It baffles me when someone spends £12.00 on their purchases and they need to split it into 4 payments. Like come on you really don’t need to divide that.

13) The fake laugh and smile we acquired.

Every sales advisor has their fake retail smile. Someone comes to ask you a question we smile, a customer tells that same old “your not going to charge me all that are you? Go on just give me it for free” joke. we laugh. It becomes so robotic that even when someone looks mad and is complaining we still smile. And all the way through that we have “payday Friday” or “nearly the end of shift” recited in our brains.

14) Little things satisfy us the most

If you work in retail you might have to hang clothes up. But that’s not the hard bit. Finding the right hanger that has the right age on it is the difficult bit. We get a large sack of hangers that are all mixed up and we are plowing through that bag for the right hanger. Most of the time we give up and peel of the age/size sticker, but when we do find the right one it’s a huge accomplishment. Rare things satisfy us, but when you know where things are and a customer doesn’t we all know that “walk” we do when we are strolling across the store with a big smile on our face saying “Follow me! I’ll take you there” and the customers tagging along. We just feel like bladdy geniuses.


We always get the question Do you work here? Naah, I just enjoy wearing an ugly uniform which is the brightest, most unflattering thing in the world. And I have my name badge on because it’s just there for fun.

16) I was Just doing my job.

I’m on the tills and a customer is asking me to go fetch something between transaction “because I know where things are and I’ll be faster” (pricks) but they don’t know that whilst I’m running from one end of the store to the other end to grab something for that specific person another customer comes by to ask me a question and then another and then another. And once I’m done, I’m racing down to the till with the product in my hand. not only do I get a “tut” from the customer I get a “How long did you take” from my manager as well. Like come on I was doing my job.

17) Bull Shit Tills

Tbh the tills are bullshit. Half the time the right price never comes on so I have to discount it and my maths is crap and the trail doesn’t have a calculator so I’m there smiling at the customer saying don’t worry, I’ll just change the price. So whilst they look around I’m tryna do the sum in my head and I know I can’t do the sum because like I said my maths is shit. I then give up and use a calculator that I’ve hidden underneath the till to work out how to get £68.00 to £25.52. So yes the tills are useless. I’m the brains of the tills. What I never got is why some tills in stores don’t have a calculator.

18) Store closes at 10:00pm. Customer comes in at 9:59

There’s that amazing feeling knowing that there’s one minute till the store closes so you can cash up and go home. However, there’s no such thing as a closing time for our beloved amazing customers. I don’t understand why they are incapable to understand the stores closing so why the Fuck are they coming in a few minutes before closing time. They start loading their trolley like we have the time to process that amount of shit. Like bitch, yes, I do mind that I’m staying later than I’m supposed to. Customers don’t understand you can’t even begin several closing duties until they’re done.

19) Cashing up? You Mean Fucking Up 

If you think exams are stressful wait until you start cashing up. With customers they can give you dirty looks and start tutting at you but it’s unlikely you’d see them again. However, your colleagues? Now you see them everyday. So cashing up seems simple to those who never worked in retail before. And to answer the question. No the tills, don’t count the money we do.

I’m cashing up being quick as possible wanting to murder whoever ordered this much 1p and 2p coins. I’m being so quick and in the corner of my eye I see a colleague finish counting with a huge smile on her face because she has no imbalances. So that makes me go faster there me counting in my head “Ok so that’s 50 £10…. 200 5p and…. Cling”  Shit, someone else has finished and has closed there till. And at this moment in time I’m sweating, but I carry on. 300 2p’s 75 10p’s…. so that’s… Cling” another colleague has done and now this is where I’m sweating everywhere, I’m going red because these colleagues of mine are waiting for me to finish, they’re tapping their feet staring at me. Whilst I’m just counting and counting and counting away, but this extra added pressure is just making my arse sweat. And once I finish, I’m relieved, but then the “imbalance” noise goes off and that’s when I hear a chorus of people groaning at the same time. That’s when I want to die. Cashing up they call it. I call it Fucking Up.

So there you have it my 19 Things Only People Working In Retail Will Understand. To the people who have never worked in retail I hope this will educate you. We aren’t just stocking shelves and processing stuff through the tills. We have more patience than a newbie mother.


Any of you work in retail? Comment down below your pet hate when working in retail!

OnceUponAJayJay xx


4 thoughts on “19 Things Only People Working In Retail Will Understand!

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