20 Struggles of Working in Retail

Retail… Where to begin? Most of us, at some point or another have worked in the retail environment. Long hours, few breaks, annoying customers and missing out on holidays are just some of the struggles you go through. All of this, and you are still treated poorly by those that come in to your store. To compile a list of all of the problems with retail would be near-impossible – we’d be here forever. So instead, here is a look at some of the most well-known struggles. Just remember, we know how you feel…


1. When Customers complain about Prices


“Yeah okay Margaret, let me just go and contact the head office myself”. Why is it that customers can’t seem to understand that the cashier doesn’t set each individual price themselves?!


2. The Myth of ‘Out the Back’

We’ve all been there… A customer can’t find an item, which has clearly sold out. Yet, they want you to ‘go out back’ just in case it is there, when you know full well it isn’t. The expectation is that Amazon have a Warehouse adjoined to your store, when of course, that is far from the truth. But still, at least you have a chance to have a quick browse of your phone.



3. When Customers Mess up your Hard work

A Fact of Life: No customer can just simply pick up and item, place it in their trolley/basket and walk on. Instead, they must grab the item in a way that causes a minor earthquake to the surrounding area. This leaves a clean-up necessary. The following picture sums this struggle up perfectly…



4. The Grumpiness

So there you are, going about your day normally, greeting all that venture to your till. Yet, before you know it, there is someone grumpy to try and ruin your day. You wonder how some people don’t have the basic manners to greet you!



5. Having to be Everything to Everyone

To work in retail you have to be a comedian, a listener, a good communicator a Hedge Fund Manager… You basically need to have mastered all trades.





6. The Early Starts

An inevitable part of retail – the early start. The process of setting a 5am alarm for a Sunday morning is a painful one.


7. Those above you in the food chain thinking they know best… when they clearly don’t

Your supervisor, Manager, Area Manager and heck, even the CEO, all think they can do better than you. Even though in reality, they have very little idea of what life is like on the frontline!



8. Staffing issues

It appears as though it can never be right. In your quiet periods there are usually multiple cashiers, while in a busy period, suddenly it is you against the world.


9. Those that get excited about Christmas in March

It is part-and-parcel of the Retail industry that at least one of your co-workers will get super-excited for Christmas early. Sadly, not everyone follows this line of thinking…


10. Thinking your small shop is a Walmart

So you are a small corner shop… Yet you don’t sell freshly dressed crab? How dare you! There seems to be the expectation these days that every shop is a supermarket.





11. Customers Not putting their cash in your outstretched Hand

Okay, so I have just put my hand out for a bit of fun. That moment when you have to take your hand away is often the low-point of your shift.



12. Those that come in five minutes before Closing Time

After a long, hard shift, you just want to get home at a respectable time. Yet when there is just five minutes to go, a car pulls up. The customer proceeds to be oblivious to the fact that you are about to shut… And that you have a life too.



13. Listening to ‘Jokes’

All the customers have the same, terrible jokes. How about when any loyalty card is swiped – “every little helps I suppose”. Or of course, when an item doesn’t scan, apparently it should be free. You just look at them something like this…



14. Being treated like a second class citizen

Sure, retail isn’t the most glamorous job, but when you have Tracy from down the road, who has been living off the Government for her entire life, treating you poorly, it does make you question things.


15. Which means having to withhold your aggression

Unfortunately, you are unable to take your anger out on the customers.




16. Trying not to laugh when they hit you with the “well I’ll shop somewhere else then” quote

We’ve all been there… Usually over something pointless as well.


17. Sometimes all your efforts are for nothing

You can spend endless time trying your best to sell a product, bigging it up as much as you possibly can. But sometimes, you can’t quite pull off the sale. *Sighs*


18. Weekends…

Every one else is outside, enjoying their days off, but no, not you.



19. Eating away your wages

Bringing in a packed lunch would be far too easy.





20. But, just remember, we need you all. Keep on going.

The world needs retail!






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