Monday, July 27, 2009

Thoughts on retail

I have worked in retail of some kind for pretty much the entirety of my "working" life. I guess it it sort of a stretch to call "courtesy clerk" at Albertson's a "retail" job, but it was still in a place that sells things, and was almost unheard of that my schedule didn't conflict with EVERYTHING, so that definitely fits the description at the most base level.

My employment history developed in such a way that I really feel that ever single job I have ever done has prepared me for the job I did after it. Let me just run this down so you have a point of reference:

    Courtesy Clerk (grocery sacker) at Albertson's

    Salesperson at Finishing Touch - This place was basically a Halmark on steroids; sold candles, cards, Beanie Babies, and Precious Moments and the like.

    Salesperson at JC Penney - I spent about 3 months in the Men's Department and then my friend Edana (Thank God for her) helped me get into Jewelry for the remaining 2 years I worked there.

    Salesperson at Gordon's Jewelers - This was a really fun job. Playing with diamonds all day and being around people in loooove... what more could you ask for? (And my co-workers were... well, I can say that they were probably no small part of why I loved this job)

    Teller at Bank of America - This was a pretty decent job, too (my supervisor drove me INSANE, though). I worked commercial most often, which was the highest volume, but I liked it because you basically just had to do your job and do it quickly. There were crazy times at Christmas and whatnot where there would be anywhere from 5 to 9 cars LINED UP.

From one job to the next, I handled more money and generally catered to a different and more specialized group of people (which, I personally feel, is all part of that God having it under control thing). The thing about customer service experience is that you will get better at it the longer you do it. The best part about having had these jobs (the jewelry jobs, in particular) is that I can basically walk into any job interview and say, "I sold commission jewelry for 5 years," and they say, "When do you want to start?"

I actually get a marginal amount of satisfaction working in retail, or at very least customer service. Like when I worked at Finishing Touch, if someone came in and was like "I need a gift for someone that loves giraffes," I love being able to help that person find exactly the right kind of present and wrap it all pretty so not only will the person receiving the gift be happy, but the person buying the gift is happy and excited to give the gift. Jewelry is the same way. When I can help someone find exactly what is right for them, especially after searching for a while, and then wrapping it up in the fancy box so when the person receiving the gift opens it will just be so pretty... it really is fun. It's really weird, but I get goosebumps when I feel like I've done a good job and the customer is happy. And good customer service goosebumps are always on the backs of my legs. I know, strange, and it's the same feeling if I'm helping a 5 year old pick out a present for their daddy for Father's day or if it's a nervous dude picking out an engagement ring or if it's a lady at Victoria's Secret that is looking for a particular perfume and I found the last bottle in the back room.

And thank GOD those little things happen every now and again, because retail is really hard work, and it's usually not a whole lot of fun. However, I can definitely say that even if the job is a pain in the ass, if you're working with people you like, it makes all the difference in the world. I know, I know... sometimes you inadvertently end up staying in the store counting diamonds until midnight because none of the cases will balance and the old ladies in the store can't put stuff back where it goes and I can't count higher than 3 with you talking to me because I can't concentrate and suddenly all I can think about is countertops and now exF is calling the store AGAIN...




LiLu said...

Your path sounds very similar to mine through the restaurant industry, though I never got to work around diamonds. :-)