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8 Things Retail Workers Really Want You To Know But Can’t Directly Tell You

8 Things Retail Workers Really Want You To Know But Can’t Directly Tell You

Retail workers get a bad rep from unhappy customers. But the thing is that your problems and their problems are remarkably similar. They don’t get why management does the weird things they do any more than you do. They’re just doing their best to serve you and make you happy while simultaneously following the rules set by their employers.

Next time you see a frazzled customer service team member, give them a smile and remember these eight things that they desperately want you to know.

1. They’re Not “Happy to Help” Two Minutes Before Closing Time

Imagine this scenario: It is 4:58 on a Friday afternoon. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and Netflix is calling. You’re in the starting block position and looking directly at the door. Then, your boss saunters in and casually asks you to take care of an assignment that was due three hours ago. Goodbye sun. Goodbye Netflix.

This is what it is like when you rock up to your favorite store two minutes before it closes. That overwhelming dread as the automatic doors open just before the freedom bell rings is something retail workers experience every day.

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Make everyone happy. If you have to go into a store at closing time, move like there’s a ticking clock. For the love of the weekend, don’t touch anything you don’t need.

2. They Don’t Care If You Want to Shop Somewhere Else

The take-your-business-elsewhere routine got old on the employee’s first day. The truth is that it won’t get you anywhere in a box store unless that employee has been miraculously granted stock options.

That particular threat has also been undermined by all the people who came before you who made that same threat and then came back the next day.

3. They’d Rather You Asked for Help Than Dig Through Piles

There are few things more satisfying for a retail worker than managing to sort through a giant pile of clothes from a dressing room. Having those folded clothes laid out neatly on the table, according to size, is like producing a work of art.

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Imagine creating a beautiful painting and watching as some kid tripped and punched a hole in it. That is how it feels when customers dig through their freshly-made clothes piles.

Rather than punching a hole in their art, ask employees if they have your size. They’ll be happy to check. The two seconds it takes to help you saves them 20 minutes of pain at the end of their shift.

4. They’re Not in Control of Stock

It is annoying when you go to a store for a sale item only to find that the store doesn’t stock it. But don’t take it out on the employees. The people running around the floor have no control of the stock; head office makes those decisions.

In fact, sometimes head office creates sale items that the store never had in the first place. It sounds just as silly to retail workers as it does to you.

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5. They Can Spot Shoplifters a Mile Away

Shrinkage is a huge problem in retail. In fact, shoplifting and other types of fraud cost retailers around $44 billion in 2014 alone.

Most shoplifters feel like they are sly, but the truth is that they aren’t. That much merchandise does not disappear without anyone noticing. In fact, it is pretty obvious when someone is shoplifting; especially because employees are trained to deal with it. And no, you can’t just use the excuse that you’re taking loans.

However, minimum wage is not enough to entice retail workers into being pleasant and helpful to customers with sticky fingers. It’s too awkward for everyone involved.

6. They Can’t Make an Exception Because You Asked Nicely

Retail workers, particularly those in big chains, cannot make exceptions. Making that exception could cost them their job because they have to play by the rules. They’re not going to risk their job because you play nice. You should be nice to them whether they can help you or not.

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7. They Can’t and Won’t Share Their Employee Discount with You

Employee discounts are for employees. It is that little token of appreciation that provides a sliver of a reward for the labor they do and the weird things they put up with. They have no reason to share it with you. Not if you wink, nor if you flirt.

In fact, an employee will get in serious trouble if they get caught sharing their discount. They’re not going to risk their job to give a stranger a 5% discount.

8. They Are Human and Their Feet Hurt

That person in the misshapen polo and khaki pants has feelings. That person also does not get paid enough to deal with the old lady that intentionally hit them with her cart. Don’t pile on the hurt by treating them like they’re corporate robots.

Have some empathy for your fellow human beings. Play nice and you’ll find that your shopping experience will end on a positive note.

Featured photo credit: UFCW Local400 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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