At the beginning of the summer I began working at a retail store, that shall remain nameless, and it is a pretty okay job. It’s mindless work that requires standing for five hours and talking to people. The hours are good, the pay is shit, and the people I work with are the nicest you will ever meet.
There are several problems with my job, not huge ones mind you, just big enough to make me bitch to my mom every time I come home. Don’t get me wrong, I am super thankful that I have a job and it’s not too daunting of a job, but my complaints are understandable.
First of all, by the registers it gets to be about 80 degrees (or so it feels) and humid. It makes me sweat, it makes me thirsty, it makes me tired, and it makes customers bitch. Several times a day I have elderly women come up to me and say, my dear it is just too hot in for me to shop. My reply is, I’m sorry ma’am. Maybe you should talk to the service desk. Of course nothing gets done, no air is put on, no fans get turned on. We are just left to sit in our sweat.
I also get heat stroke very easily, so I am constantly running to the bubbler/water fountain to get a drink. We aren’t allowed to have bottled water or anything at our stations, which is understandable because we might spill on something, but it would be nice to not be so dry. The back of the store is much nicer and the air circulation is better. We do get little fans up front at our stations but that only does so much.
This summer I have broken out worse than I ever have in my entire life. I am twenty years old, I should not be walking around looking like a piece of pizza. I blame my job. The humidity and heat is causing my skin to clog up and break out. It’s not just my face, it’s everywhere my damn polo uniform touches; my back, my chest, even my arms!!!! It’s absolutely ridiculous. I know it’s from working there because I was almost completely clear when I started and then as the summer went on it got worse and worse. It only let up when I would take off of work.
My only other complaint is the customers. Seriously people, when you go to buy an item you think to be on sale, check the date on the sign. It is not my fault you failed to read the ending dates on our sales. I will have to give you the sale price, but it makes my life and my managers life easier when you pay attention to what you are buying. Also, check to see if there are limits on how many of certain items you can buy. When we send out our biweekly sale catalog make sure you are reading the dates and the rules of each sale. Remember, it is not my fault you came on the wrong sale day, you will not get an item for the sale price this way. That said, we also send out $5 off of $40, $10 off of $50, and $15 off of $75 coupons, make sure you read the dates on those also. Birthday and anniversary coupons are for the whole month but those little coupons are not. It is also 40, 50, and 75 dollars before tax and phone cards and gift cards do not count. Do not dare to bitch at me that your loyalty card does nothing for you either. If you signed up for it that means you read it, WHICH MEANS, you know what it does and what we send you. I don’t care that you aren’t getting items in the mail that is not my fault.
It is never okay to touch a cashier or invade their personal bubble, unless you are giving us money or an item. I do not want to be flirted with, I do not think you are cute, I do not want you to touch me, I do not want you to touch my glasses if they are sliding down my nose, and I do not want you to lean into my space. What I want is to check out your items (not you) and to get you out of the store so I can go home. You most likely are creeping me out and I do not appreciate it. You have no idea who I am or what I am like so do not assume you can flirt with me while I am working. I don’t care how charming, cute, or harmless and old you are. At any age, race, gender, attractiveness, or intelligence I will not appreciate you invading my bubble or my comfort. I am not afraid to call security and have you escorted out for harassment, because that’s what you are doing. How would you feel if I came to your work and embarrassed you in front of your colleges and friends? Just don’t do it.
If you are reading this and are aspiring to become a cashier or are stuck with it as a summer job, here are some tips.
Find the most comfortable shoes you can afford. Athletic shoes with great support are best. I have a pair of Avia’s, they are relatively cheap and have lasted me all summer.
If you need to buy your own uniform shirt, get at least three if you are working a lot and two if you are not. This way you can switch them out enough to not worry about being gross. I always shower before and after I work, believe me you are going to want to. Also, buy your work pants from a second hand store, you can get kakis for like $3.99 at Goodwill.
Use hand sanitizer to avoid sickness. Drink as much water as possible and put a water bottle in with your lunch. Keep pain medication around, you never know when you will get a headache or when your muscles will be soar.
No matter how grumpy a customer is try to be genuine and friendly. They are upset for a reason and it may seem small to you, but maybe it just ruined their whole day. That said, customer you have no excuse to be an ass to the cashier, it’s a frustrating job don’t make it worse. Never flirt or get too friendly with a customer, be polite and get them out quickly because that is your job. Don’t talk on and on, be polite and move on to the next customer. Your day will go quickly if you move quickly.
Try to get along with your boss as much as possible. Mine is so stressed out all the time and such a worry wort. She’s a very nice woman, but sometimes I just want to hide from her. She likes to breathe down your neck and bother you constantly, but that is her job as a manager.
As long as you make friends, be positive while working, (you can bitch as much as you want after), and do a good job you can live through being a cashier. Some people love it and others hate it. I try to be as nice as possible and be positive to every customer and I can’t always have a good day but the good outweighs the bad. No matter what it may have appeared in the post…. though I do wish I got paid more for the shit I put up with.