Only you can prevent retail chaos
A few weeks ago, I arrived at work to find our glass door shattered.
While robbery immediately crossed my mind, I was surprised to hear the actual cause of the damage. A customer threw a glass candleholder at the door because we refused to give him a cash refund for $1.09.
After spending almost three years in this job and in retail, I wish I could say this was a rare occasion. But, it isn’t. It is every day.
Welcome to the world of retail.
If you have never ventured to this magical land before, it is one full of empty cases of makeup, half-eaten candy bars and other wonderful surprises.
Each day, I come home from work with the newest scent of whatever can of soup spilt on me, the latest being beef stew. I find myself getting softer skin from finding used bottles of lotion in the food section. I exercise by recovering the store and retrieving frozen food from the toys section.
Each day, I wake up at 5 a.m. to do it all over again.
From the counterfeit bills to people keying display Valentine’s Day balloons, I have come to hate my job.
Customers have yelled at, reprimanded and hit on me. I have had a customer complain about me for not selling her favorite brand of sugar-free cookies or selling her non-American items. Whether it be a woman cursing at me because I made her pay taxes, a woman arguing with me over coupons or a woman carrying a baseball bat, I have experienced it all and have tried to smile through each of them.
Even after being held at gunpoint, I continued my job.
But now, with the possibility of leaving my home of the last three years, I feel sad, even almost nostalgic.
I remember the time a man broke his windshield in the parking lot, leaving me to clean it up.
I remember the time a little boy handed me a flower and jumped up and down after I accepted the gift.
I remember the time I cried and hugged my boss after the robber ran away.
I cannot imagine leaving my work family or the customers who greet me at every shift. I will miss the regulars, the people who know my name and ask me how school is going. I even will miss the odd customers, the ones who pay with dimes and nickels or bring in baby foxes that I get to hold.
I will miss the cakes and donuts that my boss buys for our birthdays and our early morning hot chocolate trips. I will miss signing memos where I promise not to partake in the Harlem Shake while working. I will miss listening to the old lady managers getting into arguments about the smallest details.
While this job has showed me the worst in people – customers cutting elderly women in line or thieves having their children steal for them – I have also seen the best in people.
I have seen people pay for each other’s tabs or pray for each other in line. I have seen customers run to give another a forgotten bag of groceries.
I have had some of the best customers, those that ask for a copy of every “OKIE” or anything else that I write. One gentleman even gave me $20 as an early graduation present.
Although I will be thrilled the day I can finally say I have left retail, I will miss the wonderful family of co-workers and customers that I have made through a dollar store. Even though I will continue to complain and post rants on Facebook about the retail world, I have come to love my home away from home, even the wooden door in place of our shattered entrance.
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