17 Hilarious Things Only People Who Have Worked In Retail Understand

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

1. You can’t help but think of your finances in relation to hours spent at work. A sandwich costs three-fourths of an hour. That pizza costs an hour and a half on the job. Working in retail has caused you to become more selective and responsible about the things you buy. You’re not going to purchase a t-shirt that costs “an hour and a half of listening to customers whine while you work at the checkout counter.”

2. Sometimes, when you tell a customer to have a nice day, you truly mean it. Other times, when somebody sucks and you tell them to have a nice day, what you really mean is: “Please get out of this store right now and never come back.”

3. Certain types of people love brushing you off and feeling superior when they enter the store and you have to greet them. What they forget is that you’re getting paid to pretend that you like them, and as soon as your shift is over, nothing is set in stone.

4. When someone asks for your opinion on an unflattering outfit, you’ve learned that you can still be honest, without hurting their feelings, by just saying “Ummmm….” and taking a really long time to answer. Because usually, if you don’t immediately tell them you love it, they get the picture.

5. Many people do not read coupons, and will enter your store in May and attempt to use a coupon that expired in January. When you explain to them that you cannot do anything about it, they will blame you for this ATROCITY.

6. People will expect you to find specific items they saw in the catalog or online by giving you one-worded descriptions, such as “striped” or “blue.” When they come in asking to see the “blue shirt I saw online” they can’t understand why you need a more detailed description.

7. Weekends do not exist in your world. Most of the time, they’re actually the busiest parts of your work week. Your relaxing days off typically occur on random Tuesdays while everybody else is at work. So you usually spend your “weekends” binge watching an entire season of a show by yourself.

8. On the rare occasion that you have off on a Saturday, you text everyone you know in all caps. “I DON’T HAVE TO WORK SATURDAY. LET’S DO SOMETHING. LET’S DO EVERYTHING. LET’S DO ALL THE THINGS.”

9. Having to close the store, and then having to go right back in the next morning to open it, is the work of Satan.

10. Many of your mornings have started out at seven a.m. with panicked texts from one of your managers. “Kathy had to call off at the last minute. CAN YOU OPEN WITH ME TODAY?! HELLO? ARE YOU AWAKE?!” When you regretfully say yes, they tell you that you’re the greatest thing that’s ever happened to them.

11. You become really good at using fake laughs, fake smiles, and fake polite voices when you encounter extremely rude customers.

12. And when you encounter a customer that’s even mildly pleasant, sometimes you want to just run around the counter and hug them.

13. People are way more stressed out and frantic at Christmastime than they need to be. Sometimes you just want to pat people on the back, give them an inhaler, and tell them to just chill the fuck out for a second. If you can’t find a red sweater to give to your mother-in-law as a present, the world is not going to end.

14. You’re initially shocked when someone comes in and says “Have you gotten in anything new since the last time I was here?” and you realize that they expect you to somehow magically know their private, daily schedule. But then, you get used to it. Because it happens more than you’d like to believe.

15. If your store closes at 9 o’clock, certain people think that means they’re still welcome to come in at 8:56, pick apart all your neatly-folded piles, and then leave without ever buying anything.

16. Oftentimes, said shoppers will often pick up on your subtle hint of turning off the music, and passive-aggressively respond with, “You guys don’t close for another 5 minutes right?” And usually all the employees respond by exploding into a million pieces of rage and then ceasing to exist.

17. Velvet pants are still trying to make a comeback. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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