I’ve learned a few things after working retail for the first time.

Some things I have learned about myself, and other things I have learned about others.

About others:

Every single person shops differently than another. Some people come in for one thing and one thing only and they will not veer from their original plan. Those people have WAY more self-control than I have.

Then there are those who are very susceptible to suggestion. They wander in, look around, find a little thing here or there. Then they’ll hear someone talking about a great deal or how nice a product is, and they end up with 10 items in their basket. This is the group with which I can identify. I like to browse and just find things. I rarely walk in with a steadfast shopping list.

There are those that have absolutely no idea what they are looking for, but they want to buy something. Or the men that are just waiting on their wives and just pick up random things that they think look cool. And then there are the daughters who beg for the cookie cutters and mom says okay, then there are those moms who say absolutely no. The shoppers who let their kids run around, or the shoppers who keep their kids attached to their sides. Some shoppers know nothing about cooking or the kitchen, but want to get a great wedding gift or something for their kids who love to cook.

Learning how to help all of these different shopping-styles is really eye-opening to me. I think about how to build marketing messages for a brand, but the layer of actually obtaining committment once the customer is in the store is a whole new ball of wax for me.

And what I have learned about myself?

1. I need to lose weight

2. I need orthopedic shoes or something because my feet HURT.

3. I am out of shape.

4. I have a new-found appreciation for retail clerks, there is way more to remember than I could have ever anticipated.

5. I obviously use credit cards way too often, because when someone hands me cash it feels awkward. Like it’s something all new to me.

6. I’ve learned I’m pretty good at selling things. I don’t think I’m selling, I am just trying to help the customer, making sure they have everything they are going to need when they get home. But again, I’m susceptible to the power of suggestion, so maybe by helping others I’m suggesting buying more. I’ve just never thought of it that way…

7. I think I’ve learned that I am way too controlling to be a good retail employee. Only getting my schedule a week ahead is incredibly frustrating to me, I like to plan way further in advance. And I like routine and knowing what to expect day in and day out, having a different job responsibility each day makes me nervous.

8. I am really surprised by how much I know about the kitchen products sold in this store. I read about products in magazines and I own a lot of the items, but when I start talking about them I realize that I do actually love them. Who knew that I could talk about how to buy knives and proper tools to use with coated pots and pans, or the difference between Mexican vanilla and Tahitian vanilla? I didn’t even know I knew those things until people asked me about it…

How many of you have worked retail before? Any tips for me to make it any easier?

I’ve got to soak my feet and back in preparation for another shift this evening…


This entry was published on October 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm and is filed under Squawkings. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on “Retail

  1. I’m that 1/2 and 1/2 shopper. I have a definite ideas of what I’m looking for, but I also like to browse a little. I only worked retail for one short summer stint in high school, so I’m powerless to help you there. But I can recommend a few things for your feet – Clarks shoes (very comfortable) and Origins foot care products. You can read how they saved my feet in SanFran once. Awesome stuff. It’s a little pricey, but it lasts a long time. The “Leg Lifts” creme is especially good for helping tired legs feel rejuvenated, and the “Sole Searcher” foot creme is like a cold ice bath for your tootsies. Here’s the link, if you’re interested:

  2. I worked retail in high school at a Levi’s store…drove my perfectionist side nuts because I’d have the store looking BEAUTIFUL and all the jeans would be folded in just the right way and then women would walk in and trash the place. To this day I feel guilty if I leave a garment in a dressing room. 😉

    Other than that, I don’t really have any advice except be careful when people want to return stuff…we had some people really try to take advantage…although nowadays return policies are more strict.

    I like having a schedule ahead of time, too, so I know how frustrating that can be!

  3. i told you so!!!!….i just had to get that in one last time….love you hope your feet don’t hurt too bad tonight

  4. Pat Luther on said:

    I have probably worked retail a total of about 15 years. Of course I was a lot younger then. #1 – Wear good supporting shoes. #2 – Don’t make any plans, your schedule will change with your supervisor’s mood, or when someone else calls in sick because they made plans. #3 – You’re in a kitchen gadget store so I know you love what you do. Always love what you do.

  5. I enjoy your blog a lot! I like how down to earth it is.
    Anyhow, I had to reply because I am a ‘retail widow’- my husband has been working retail ever since we’ve been married- 28 years! He works for Costco and rarely has weekends off. Often, there are times when we don’t see each other for 2 or 3 days in a row because he will just go to work right when I get off from work. His hours and days off vary from week to week (and we find out every Friday when his schedule is for the next week-one week in advance) so forget about planning anything spur-of-the-moment. When we do have a weekend off together we have the added dilemma of trying to decide to go away together or stay home and work on home projects that we can’t do by ourselves. And once the month of November begins-forget about it! The Holiday season has a whole different meaning around my house! January is when we get to relax and enjoy the season.
    Thank you for bringing up the subject of the retail world. It can be quite frustrating.
    Give Nash and Nigel some love from me.

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