I always heard people complaining about working retail, whether it be on sitcoms, in real life, or online. Still, I tried to have an open mind when I got a job at new Michael’s Craft Store that was opening in the town over. This job would be my first official non-babysitting job.
I made it through the long hours as we set up the store. I always came home physically exhausted, but I did not realize that I would miss that and the simplicity of manual labor once the store actually opened.
Being in a new store helped when it came to being a new cashier. If I did not know where something was or how something worse, I could say “sorry, we’re all kind of new here” and people would smile it off. That excuse never wore off and it was great. Crafting people are still pretty hard core about their deals and coupons, that got old very fast.
I had a love-hate relationship with my fellow employees and my managers. It was so hard to read people. Looking back on it now, I also know I took things way too personally. I made mistakes just like any other human would, so of course they talked to me just to help me improve. I always assumed something was wrong me with and that they were angry. I still find the seriousness of email collecting ridiculous.
Side Note: The most accurate fortune cookie I ever received said ‘you are strong and sensitive’.
On my last day, probably my best day at work, one of my managers (shout out Deb) said I was a great employee and that she would take me back at any time. She also asked me to stay in contact, but I am hoping that was the only part that was a polite formality. It made me feel better about the whole experience. I actually accomplished something this summer instead of a whole series on Netflix or spending my parents money. I would like to think I ‘Rocked Retail”, or at least I did the best job that a first-time-ever-employee could. I would also like to think I am not tooting my own horn.
Maybe my advice does not mean anything, but I have just a few pieces:
- Pay attention during training. If you follow directions, the rest is really quite simple.
- If you have to collect emails, do not be afraid to be pushy. Your job depends on it, so who cares if someone rolls their eyes when you ask a second time. They do not understand. (another side not-ALWAYS give people emails, their jobs may or probably do depend on it)
- You’re employee discount is not 100% off, so do not go over board.
- Always smile and try not to zone out.
- Do little things to make people feel like you’re actually going above and beyond. Ask them questions or complement them, it could make their day.
This summer has gone by really fast to me. My job might have been part of the reason I feel this way, but I am happy I got it and made it through. It is not like I was doing a very hard job, but all that social interaction was difficult for someone shy like me. It really helped me grow. I highly recommend it to all high school students during the summer!
PS if anyone from corporate is reading this, thank you and I love Michael’s.