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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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