8 Things I Don’t Miss About Working Retail (And 1 Thing I Do)


All I’ve ever wanted was an honest week’s pay for an honest day’s work.~Steve Martin

For those who may not already know, I used to be a retail slav…that is to say, employee. I’m willing to bet a lot of my readers and fellow bloggers have worked retail at some point in their lives. Maybe some of you enjoyed it. Me? I did my time and that’s that. In some way I think of it almost like prison. It’s in the past, and I just hope I never have to go back. I also hope I don’t have to bring it up during future job interviews.

From 2005 to 2010, I worked at a certain Big Box bookstore…you know, the kind that put all the nice little mom and pop bookstores out of business. There were the good times and there were certainly the bad times (thanks, Charles Dickens). In retrospect I seem to remember the bad times more. Whether that’s a reflection of the actual job or my state of mind at the time, I’m not sure. Now that I have a relatively cushy public sector job, the conclusion is obvious. I don’t miss retail. Were I dragged behind a pack of wild donkeys, I’m still not sure I’d go back.

For those of you who have never had the excrutiat…I mean, special experience of working retail, I hope this might give you a bit of insight. One day I might write a book about my many years working for The Man. For now, this will have to do.

What I don’t miss about working retail:

With all that stuff out in the open, there’s at least one thing I do miss about working retail:

To all the great folks at the late, great Store #2016…I genuinely miss you guys.

What’s been your experience working retail? Hellish or hilarious? I wanna hear about it!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on April 4, 2012.

15 Responses to “8 Things I Don’t Miss About Working Retail (And 1 Thing I Do)”

  1. My favorite part of working in retail was getting coworkers to all engage in foolishness during a particular shift – walking with an Igor like limp, breaking out into song, throsing in “MOO!” every so often when dealing with customers…
    Good times…

  2. I did two weeks work experience in a small shop whilst I was on Job Seekers trying to find a job after I left university. It sold everything cheaply and I HATED it. All I did for two weeks was stack shelves and “face up”. Oh and swept the floor. And lugged heavy boxes up flights of stairs. The main thing I remember is this customer coming up to me when I was stacking the top shelf and asking for “fragile stickers” I asked them to elaborate, they said “You know, those stickers you put on a parcel when it’s got something fragile in it?” I suggested they try the post office. Their reply? “Oh thank you! Isn’t that weird, how you thought of that and you just work in a shop and I’m at university and I didn’t even THINK of that?” I just looked and went “Yeah I have a university degree. Good luck with yours.” I still get annoyed at that XD I have more respect for people who work in retail, I know I couldn’t do it. I do however love my job working with kids though so it turned out well in the end.

    • That’s a great point…so many people think retail workers are just idiots or losers, whereas so many of them just haven’t found the right fit yet. So glad you’re in a job you like now. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks me too XD
        Schools don’t help with the idea that retail workers are either “stupid” or failed their exams. They always seem to imply that if you don’t achieve academically you’ll end up working in a shop or as a hair dresser, both I think are hard jobs! I wouldn’t want to be let loose with a pair of scissors on anyone’s hair lol!

  3. I liked the interaction with the customers. I am sure that you can tell how “shy” I am. The pay totally sucked….but I also worked at McDonald’s in high school! Hahaha!

    • Hey, we all gotta start somewhere, Susie! The shyness thing is interesting; I actually think retail helped me get over a lot of my shyness issues. Thanks for checking in.

      • I meant it in a very sarcastic way! Hahaha! I don’t think I have been shy very often in my life…I could talk to a deaf person and not realize they are not listening hours. πŸ™‚

  4. Working retail = biblical hell (IMHO)
    I’ll go back to cleaning houses before I work retail ever again. From age 15 – 27… I am very scarred.

  5. The one good retail job, one not so much.

    Good: Liquor store in college which extended credit to me and gave me the key to the store. I was so popular for a while there…

    Not So Good: Bike shop immediately after graduating undergraduate school. I remember thinking “This is why I shouldn’t have majored in art.”

    • Liquor store with a key sounds like my kind of job. πŸ˜‰ Art major? Hey, I’m an English major. Let’s all go sing that song from ‘Avenue Q’ and realize how good our degrees are, eh?

      • The art degree was my starter…I’ve gone back for two more…my wife forbids me to go for the fourth…if I would’ve won the lottery, I might’ve done it

  6. Never done it, as am frightened of people and cash registers. But the pictures made me laugh a lot!

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