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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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