And I always thought the customers were the problem...
October 21, 2012 12:24 AM Subscribe
Help me cope with retail hell.
posted by sunset in snow country to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So I'm in my mid-twenties and I have a degree in underwater basket weaving. I just got back from two years teaching English abroad (where I was paid nicely), and now I'm living in an expensive city doing two internships in a field I want to break into. I've reached the end of my savings and I'm working a part-time retail job to pay the bills, and I am about to completely lose my shit.
I worked for this company when I was in college, at a smaller store inside a mall, and had a pretty good experience overall. I made a lot of good friends and met my current boyfriend there, so I have mostly fond memories of the place. Now I'm at a huge flagship store downtown, and I hate everything about it. I'll admit I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about my (useless) degree and am a little embarrassed to still be working here at my age; I could use an attitude change, but I try not to let it show and I think I act like any other employee. That said, I try hard. We have to sell the store card and be all over customers telling them about our promotions and whatnot, and I'm not one of those people who is a fanatic about this (after offering it once I do take "no" as an answer because, I mean, come on), but I try to talk about them on the sales floor, and I'm perfectly peppy. I'm good at folding. I've had lots of customers go to my manager to tell them how helpful I was.
I'm mostly having trouble with management, which is completely disorganized; it's a huge store, so it's kind of understandable, but whenever I've had problems (setting up direct deposit, say, or the time when I was scheduled on all my internship days because of a computer glitch) I've been sent around to at least five different people only to finally be told to deal with it myself (set up direct deposit online; ask around to get my shifts covered to fix their mistake). I also feel like I don't get told a lot of fairly important information, like the rules for using the employee entrance, or what the promotions I'm supposed to be talking up actually are. Also, I requested a particular weekend off a month in advance to visit a friend who I haven't seen in 2 years (already bought tickets), and I just found out my request was denied; we get our schedules on Friday for the following Sunday, so I can't even ask around to get my shifts covered.
There's one particular manager who has always been snippy and rude to me; I accepted this stuff as part of life when I was 19, but it makes me bristle now and I've been dealing with it by putting on my best fake-chipper face. I thought this was working fine until today, when I got lectured about "smartmouthing" her every time we talk (!?). I took a deep breath and apologized, but it was kind of the last straw. I had an interview last week for a job that I should be hearing back about in the next few days, but if I don't get it, I don't know how I'm going to keep this up. I know lots of people have it worse than me and I'm lucky to even have a job (and an apartment that's affordable with said job, and so on), but that knowledge hasn't helped me get through the day. I don't know if I need a serious dose of humility, or a reality check, or meditation or hard drugs or what. Other than youthful naivete, I think my wonderful coworkers were what got me through my last stint in retail, but I've already been snapped at three times for daring to speak to coworkers on the sales floor when there were customers present, so even that approach is limited. This is exhausting and demeaning and I don't know what to do anymore. Please help me.