Retail Story

three red heart balloons
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on

I complain about my job a lot; I know. But I think we can all agree that working in retail sucks. Today I wanted to tell a different story. Because there are things about my job that I do like. And as I’ve been given an opportunity to change companies, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. Because leaving one retail job for another retail job will not make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, so I have to look at the finer details to decide.

I’ve worked at the same location for eight years now. I have a steady flow of regular customers. There are people who know me by name or at least a nick name. They know about my children and my family. People I’ve watched grow up. There are people that genuinely care about me as a person and don’t think of me as a retail robot. If I were to change jobs, that’s what I would miss the most.

There is one person in particular I’m thinking about today. When I first took over the store, I was a frantic basket case. I had so much work to do in order to get the store on its feet and I was pulling crazy amounts of hours to get it done. I was exhausted and cranky. One morning, a little old lady came in and glared at me. She said, “where’s your manager?” and I just sighed and said I was the manager. See, this was eight years ago. I was only 23. I’d already gone through so many interactions like this where nobody believed I was the manager. It still happens, since I have assistants who are older than me. But so this lady looks at me like I’m crazy and says, “no you’re not!”

Now, when I tell you I was about to explode… haha. I was at my wit’s end that day and this lady, who I’d never seen before, came in and talked to me like that? And I didn’t even know what she was mad about. I was so close to detonation.

But then she cracks this giant wise-ass grin and starts cackling. And I mean cackling. She says, “oh, baby, you should see the look on your face! I’m just kidding!” And she walks off to do her shopping.

From then on, any time she’d come in, she was making jokes to lighten my mood. She pretended to hide candy in all her pockets. She’d sneak up behind me and tickle me. All kinds of ridiculous antics.

Since covid, I hadn’t seen her. I know she’s older and not in the best health, and I was starting to get really worried. I’d started thinking about her a lot and wondered if there was a way to find out where she’d gotten to.

And then, as soon as I’d thought it, she was in my store. When I tell you I gave her the biggest hug!

That’s all I’ve got to say about it, I guess. Just trying to say there are good things with the bad and I don’t hate every day. Just some days.


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