Welcome to the world of retail: where the customers are relentless, the hours are few and far between, your manager is from hell, and you have to work on the weekend. Today we’ve got some Woolly retail fairytales for you:
- A Brooks Brothers’ Bark: “I worked with a 50 year old guy who would start barking whenever a hot girl walked in.”
- Cinderelly, Cinderelly: “When I worked at Le Gourmet Chef, I had to mop the floors at closing every night. I felt like Cinderella. My fairy godmother never came to rescue me.”
- Caught Red-Handed (almost): “I used to work at a small boutique chain that was slow in foot traffic. There were days where less than ten people would walk in (one of my jobs was to actually keep an hourly tally of who came in), so I would get very bored. When there wasn’t any re-organizing or cleaning to do, I would try on clothes. Now, this was started by my boss and fellow employees who would ask me to model new clothes for them. However, it probably isn’t the best idea when you are running the store solo. There was a bell on our door so I could hear when someone came in, but there were a few times where I had to rush to get some clothing on before a customer (or my boss) saw me trying on merchandise. Luckily I came out of the dressing room fully clothed!”
- Sir, are you alright?: “I work at a Coach Outlet, which has a history with the five finger discount. Recently, an awkward man came in to shop for his wife, which is a totally normal occurrence. He denied any help looking for an item and browsed on his own. He stood by one area for a while interested in one type of purse. I noticed him struggling for about 20 minutes hunched over in a very odd position. I notified my supervisor, who went over to ask him if he needed help. He had said he was fine, but he looked like he was in pain. It was soon obvious that he was trying to hide something. My supervisor asked him several questions and finally confronted him. He had been trying to stuff a very large purse up his shirt. In order to do this, he had to take a lot of stuffing out, which was noticed after he left. He denied trying to steal, and finally gave up, leaving empty handed. You don’t think anyone’s gonna notice a pregnant man walking out of the store??”
- Can’t get enough of the golf game: “I worked at a golf store where one old guy would come in every Sunday to just sit and chat to me and my friend that worked there. He would talk for hours and not buy anything. Two years later, I stop by the store and he’s working there…guess he wanted to start being paid for coming in every week!”
- The Customer is Always Right: “I worked at a women’s boutique where several men who would come in shopping for their significant other, or just to browse. An elderly gentleman came in once and gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten while working retail. He told me ‘If you only do one thing in life, you need to go to Times Square for New Years Eve.’ I thought it was funny at the time and I did take it to heart, but now I feel like he might have been trying to tell me to get out of retail. I have yet to fulfill this goal.”
Care to see what working in a Hobby Lobby is really like? Check out the pros and cons of Hobby Lobby life so generously given to me by our Woolly Literary Assistant Cameron Huppertz. The cons of “slave labor” definitely outweigh the pros of Christian themes, but there are some voices in the reviews worth checking out that are similar to Will, Leroy, Alex, Anna, and Pauline.
Those of us who have worked in retail know it’s an endless monotonous mountain of folding t-shirts, labeling, and register counts. But there are some who find reward in retail. In A Bright New Boise, Leroy even goes so far to make his work day exciting by deliberately making customers uncomfortable with FUCK tee shirts.
Got any retail horror stories? We’d love to hear them! Share on our blog, or tweet it at us with the hashtag #RetailFairytale.
You can also follow this week’s conversation on Twitter: Awkward workplace conversations. Have you been involved in any? What was it about? Where do you draw the line? Be sure to use the hashtag #WoollyBoise!
~ Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant