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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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