For two and a half years I worked for a big box store, a financially failing big box store at that. I started off as a cashier and gradually moved my way around the store and up the ladder until the day I had to relocate. Now I am developing my career by holding a position of a high level of management in a retail setting, last month I did a Part I so let me tell you some more things that I have learned.
The Worst Jobs
Retail gets a bad reputation but if you are given the right position it is not that bad and can be enjoyable at times. Let me tell you the positions I consider to be the worst.
In Kmart’s world, a stockboy does not solely stock the shelves, he or she does a lot of the grunt work. Gathering the carts that are all over outside and bringing them in, in the blistering heat or freezing cold you have to bear it all. Carry-outs are awful, it normally involves you being responsible for taking one very heavy object (like a washer or refrigerator) out to the customers car with little to no help. Carry-Ins are just as bad, this is large merchandise the customer decided didn’t work for them (that you probably hauled out to their car upon purchase) and is now bringing it back. You have to take out the trash, which is disgusting. Last, but certainly not least, the worst part of this job is cleaning up spills; it might be Mountain Dew, it might be pee, doesn’t matter you have to clean it up.
Most people start off as a cashier, this is a position you either love or you hate but most people look for ways to be moved off of the register. You have to interact with people constantly, one right after another, and you run out of new things to say so you go in to auto-pilot. “How are you doing today? Did you find everything okay? Are you a rewards member? Thank you, have a great day!” And repeat. If there is a moment where is slows down, you are stuck standing in one spot waiting for someone to come through your lane, or you’re sucked in to cleaning up the registers, both tasks are equally unappealing. On the other hand, if there is a rush and you’re crazy busy; you’re never going fast enough and something always goes wrong. You scanned an item twice, need an override, someone’s register freezes, these types of things never happen when its slow. The worst part of all is you get yelled at a lot, something rings up wrong and it’s your fault, they feel sales tax is too high and it’s your fault, an item is cheaper at another store and it’s your fault.
Customer Service Desk
The service desk is where you go to make a return or exchange, cash a check, get change, wait for a price check, all of the fun tasks that occur when you shop. The toughest thing about working at the service desk is most of the time when people approach you they are already irritated by something. Let’s say they had an item for two months and it broke, they’re frustrated at the fact that it wore out so quickly. Well they’re about to be more frustrated when you tell them that the return policy is only 30 days so there is nothing you can do: no exchange, no refund, no store credit, nothing. As a service desk associate, you are in charge of relaying all of the crappy rules and regulations that your company has created. Most of these rules are very displeasing to the customer, but you are just enforcing what has been set by corporate. Not to mention you are a supervisor to all of the cashiers, so if one of them is having an issue while you have a line of people, you have to make time to go check on your cashier.
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