5 Things Retail Taught Me This Week

12 Jul
Baby drool

That's right, kiddo, slobber all over that candy bar your mom isn't going to let you buy.

I firmly believe that you can learn a lot every day if you just stop and pay attention. For example, I learned what an ascot was thanks to a straight man (or is he?) making fun of one on an older man. If I hadn’t been paying attention, I might have completely lost out on learning such an important word in the fashion world. The only fashion-related words in my vocabulary are “Forever” and “21”.

Yesterday, as I was ringing out customers who seriously had the most coupons I’ve ever seen at one time (I blame it on that stupid “Extreme Couponing” show), I started thinking about how many useful and sometimes random things I had learned about life, the universe and everything thanks to working in Retail Robot land. I’ve decided to be super generous today and share some of these wonderful gems:

  1. There’s always someone crazier, dumber or just plain worse off than you are. Walked out of the house with your shirt inside out? Added numbers incorrectly in your head? Had a ninja steal something from you while you weren’t looking? It’s okay because there’s someone out there who’s had to deal with a lot more.
  2. People are more good than bad. Yes, I’ve had a lot of customers throw money at me, yell at me and accuse me of stealing their Tums (did not!) but the majority of customers I have come into contact with are pleasant and willing to help others. Within the past week I witnessed a customer buying a complete stranger their items because they had forgotten their money and another woman helping a man with crippled arms put the items from his cart onto the counter. Most customers who appear to be rude are usually lost in their own little worlds and simply not paying attention to their actions.
  3. Good Parenting Skills Do Exist One of the most outstanding mommy-tricks I have seen while working involves a mother of three very rowdy boys picking up her bag of groceries after being rung out and yelling, “Okay who wants to be mommy’s helper?” I’ve never seen hyperactive children act so well-behaved in order to earn such a coveted title. On the flip side,
  4. So Do Bad Parenting Skills Talking on your iPhone about your baby daddy not paying child support while your infant pulls his own five finger discount and starts munching on a candy bar, walking out of  the store and leaving your kids staring up at me with confused and often sad looks on their faces, letting your child slobber over an item so much that the soggy barcode doesn’t even scan anymore. It’s a shame one of our store coupons can’t be a free sterilization voucher.
  5. Old people are awesome And the ones that aren’t awesome are just grouchy because they don’t have anyone to talk to. If you see an old person in line with you at a store, try making small talk with them. I’ve seen it brighten a lot of elderly customer’s days when this happens. Smile as they stop in front of doors while searching their pockets for their Jitterbug cell phones to tell their assisted living to pick them up, bask yourself in the aroma of mildew and cheap cologne that so heavily clings to elderly men, and don’t speak loudly to them unless you’ve verified that they are, in fact, hard of hearing (they totally hate this and I don’t blame them).
Learn anything new about life while in your local store of choice? Disagree with me about the old people? Let me know!
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One Response to “5 Things Retail Taught Me This Week”

  1. alonewithcats July 13, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    I *really* hope you’re right about No. 2. But until scientifically proven, I’ll just stick with cats.

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