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Another day, another dollar

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They call it the silly season, but you haven’t seen just how silly it can get until you’ve worked in the retail and service industry. I haven’t worked in hospitality, so I can only speak to my experience in retail but I’m sure there are silly customers in every establishment, in every mall, all over the damn globe. Every time something ridiculous happens at work, there’s always someone saying that I have to put some of these stories together and put it on the blog. This year, one of my favourite people in the whole world is embarking on her first Christmas in retail, so this one is dedicated to her. I’ve collated some of the fun, good, bad and scary so you can laugh and cry, but most importantly empathise with any grouchy retailers you may encounter this Christmas.

 

The kind of funny stuff:

Customers demanding things that simply don’t exist, like a size 7 and ¾ or a size in between small and medium. This is not Diagon Alley, people!

An old man coming in to ask an important question; does his new jacket from Zara look okay because his wife is not here to approve it.

Falling over and being able to watch it again on camera.

Changing mannequins, very similar to changing a toddler.

Customers asking for Adidas, or searching for a jacket for some time before realising the customer thought she had called Kathmandu.

People getting freaky in the changing rooms.

Having to leave a sensible message after hearing a fart as a voicemail.

 

The scary stuff:

Being physically pulled towards the door by a creepy man who wanted to take me out to coffee as a thanks for exchanging his top.

Men hanging around until close and talking to you about famous serial killers.

Being asked inappropriate questions like which pair I’d prefer to see him in if we had a one-night stand (right after his wife left the store), or being told I’m “an expert at that” as I remove pants from a male mannequin.

 

The shit stuff:

Being yelled at or spoken over repeatedly.

Being told how sunny it is outside. Sorry Karen, but if the weather is so nice why are you here? Because I’m being paid to be here.

The outrageous extended hours of the mall.

The endless sugar and caffeine consumption.

When the music player’s shuffle algorithm tries to push us over the edge by playing 3 different versions of All I Want for Christmas back to back. 

 

The good stuff:

Mums asking if you’re okay when the heat inside your store is unbearable.

Someone coming back the next day to apologise after yelling at you, after his kids were mortified and demanded he say sorry.

Someone coming back to tell you that their daughter, wife, son, grandma loved the gift you picked out.

People hiding small dogs in their bags (once someone had a baby possum).

The endless sugar and caffeine consumption.

Sean Kingston’s rendition of Little Drummer Boy. All comments disagreeing with this point will be deleted.

Making some really great friends.

 

We are in the trenches of western capitalism, obviously the ones in the real trenches are the people working in horrendous, life threatening conditions in developing countries, but the point is, for both these reasons, please be a conscious shopper this year! If you must make it to the mall, please be kind to us. There’s lots of newbies trying to learn all the product and the store numbers and how to greet you with a unique phrase every time, and there’s lots of veterans who know the place back to front, have answered 3,000 questions that day and know for a fact that your dream shoe is not “hiding somewhere out the back”. Majority of the workers are on minimum wage, minimum sleep and you’re the 10th person today that has been annoyed that something is out of stock. We are more annoyed than you about it, but our face is permanently stuck in a forced smile, so it’s sometimes hard to tell. All I ask is that you just go above and beyond to be kind.

 

If you’ve got some stories of your own, add them below in the comments.

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