Working Retail and the Slow Decline to Misanthropy

Chances are, if you’re a college student or someone who plans on going to college, you’re going to need a part time job. That is, unless your parents are insanely rich and you spend your free time swimming in a glorious pool of money, and in that case, what do you need a degree for? Enjoy that money pool!

The thing about part time jobs is, they suck. Whether it be the dreaded food services, cutting grass, walking dogs, watching children, or retail, there are going to be things about your part time gig that just get under your skin. As a sales associate in a store that sells everything from clothes to weird glass decorative thingies, mine is the customers. Most of them make me wish it was socially acceptable to just smack people.

Here’s the thing: People are rude. Before I started my job, I had a fairly good opinion of people as a whole. Sure, there are some bad eggs, but for the most part, people are good.

That outlook on life is a struggle when you spend your working hours dealing with questions like “How much does this cost?” as the customer hands you the price tag or “Can I return this?” when they have no receipt or tags to prove they even got it there. I mean, these are the kinds of people who make those ludicrous warning labels like, “Caution: Contents May Be Hot” and “Do Not Use [This Hair Dryer] While Bathing” necessary. But it doesn’t stop there. That’s just customer service.

A secret about shopping: People like to throw things on the floor. I’m pretty sure it’s secretly a competitive sport, and that our customers are actually trying to see who can throw the most shirts on the floor, or who can move stuff furthest from its rightful place. It’s the only explanation, really, for the way our store looks on a Saturday. Or any day, really.

The fact of it is, working part time often leads to a feeling of resentment towards your fellow man. But at least you’re getting paid to increase your urge to hide out in a cave and spend the rest of your days as a hermit, right? Sure, it’s minimum wage or barely above, but it’s money, and most of us have to do it.

On the bright side, I know I’ll never throw anything on the floor or be rude to the employees again. Everyone should have to work part time–it’d teach us all some manners, because I’m sure we’re all guilty of being “that customer” once or twice.

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