What I want you to know about working in retail

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Geneva Fry.


I wish that working in retail were required. Perhaps a mandatory high school course or internship. Not that I wish the struggles I face on others, but that people would become more empathetic and compassionate towards the people who help you put food on your table and clothes on your back. 

I had to learn to be thankful for customers-even customers who can be rude or even downright degrading-without them, I wouldn't be able to feed and clothe my own family.

I wish that customers were just as grateful for my co-workers and me.

I wish they knew that I go straight from my first job to my second job, therefore I'm already tired. I wish they knew how little training employees recieve. We aren't experts. I find information on the internet, not from my company.

I wish people knew how much I wish I could help them, but store policies often prevent me from doing so.

I wish they knew that I am just as frustrated as they are-if not more-when things don't go right.

I wish people knew that whenever they put down unwanted perishable items, in random places, they are wasting food when there are people in desperate need of food. In my store alone, thousands of dollars of perishable food are wasted EVERY SINGLE DAY. Each spoiled item only means higher prices in the future, since the store has to cover the cost of waste. I wish people realized it's like stealing from themselves. Do yourself a favor-shop in the perishable sections last, and if you change your mind, give the item to an employee rather than dumping it in a random spot. Your wallet will thank you later.

I wish people realized that I don't work in retail because I'm lazy or I'm dumb. I want to be a writer. I want to be a mentor, a motivational speaker, and a philanthropist one day. I wish that someone could see that potential in me.



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