1. A smile isn’t always an indication of happiness, and after standing on your feet for ten hours, it’s an indication of madness verging on serial murder. After nine o’clock, customers should only approach a smiling retail employee at their own risk – or with a baseball bat behind their back.
2. You will make a lot of friends working retail, and you may even get some numbers from the customers you don’t want to drown like a bag of kittens. However, no relationship will be as important as your relationship with Dr. Scholl’s.
3. You will be annoyed by 40% of the customers you help and completely indifferent to another 50%. The other 10% are the customers that will save your life, giving you hope for humanity. Always focus on that 10%, if you can help it.
4. People always say that they hate it when retail employees approach them or “bug” them. Trust me, they don’t want to talk to you either.
5. When your bills are due, you’ll throw almost any morals and values you have out the window – even if you only earn 6.75 an hour doing it.
6. You cannot live on minimum wage. However, no matter how little you make at the retail job that’s killing you, you can always find a way to spend at least half of that income on booze, cigarettes or really, really crappy weed. It will not numb the pain, but it won’t stop you from trying.
7. The longer you work in retail, the more likely it is that you have a drinking problem.
8. People always move at their slowest pace when there is an obnoxiously long line behind them.
9. Even though it makes sense to have your credit card or cash ready for a purchase, no customer in the history of man will oblige to this courtesy, and soccer mom with a giant purse will always have her credit card in the most difficult to reach place.
10. No one ever uses cash anymore, except when they have large bills that its difficult for you to break or an obnoxious amount of change they want to pawn off.
11. No matter how crappy your company’s policy is or how much you personally disagree with it, a disgruntled customer will always find a way to make it about you.
12. The customer is always right – only because they are the ones with the money. Your boss will universally side with them. They are the ones giving your company money. You are taking it.
13. A half-hour break will never actually feel like a half hour and it will seem like the shortest part of your day. However, during high-traffic times, a half hour will feel like Shoah.
14. Depending on your state, you are supposed to get a fifteen-minute break for every four hours you work. It will almost never work out this way. This is technically illegal.
15. You will forget almost every policy you learn in those annoying training videos, because only a third of them will be actually enforced and the rest are common sense.
16. On that note, common sense isn’t that common. You will understand this when you are forced to train new employees.
17. You probably should not talk back to the customers, if you want to keep your job. However, if you do, make sure that your bosses think you are funny – or it makes you a great story when you’re unemployed.
18. No matter how shitty your job is, your bosses will find a way to make it worse by selecting the most hideously unattractive uniform possible. Customer service is like being a bridesmaid in a wedding – but without all the sex.
19. You would think that the worst your job is, the more likely it is that you would want to leave work at work. However, truly terrible jobs can only be dealt with by endlessly complaining to everyone around you after work.
20. Almost every retail or customer service job is The Office, and if you can’t figure out who the Dwight is, you are the Dwight.
21. Bill Clinton claims to be able to sleep on four hours a night. You will never understand how that is possible until you have to work back-to-back doubles or have two weeks without a day off, and you still won’t know how you’re alive.
22. The best thing about any crappy job will be the people that work with you – the ones who know what bullshit it all is and vent with you during cigarette breaks.
23. The second best thing about your job will be the discount, unless it’s one of those places that only gives you 10% off. You should quit that shit. A place that doesn’t value you enough to at least allow you to buy the shit you work to hock every day doesn’t deserve your egregiously underpaid labor.
24. If you don’t smoke before you start working a customer service job, you will probably start. “A crying in the bathroom break” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
25. Almost everyone you work with will have another job that they hated worse than this one, which will give them solace at the end of the day. They say, “It sucks, but it beats ________.” That blank is usually filled in by serving. I’ve never been a waiter, but it must be the worst thing on Earth.