7 Perks of Working in Retail

By Elise Nelson on July 8, 2017

Ask any salesperson to give you some positives about working in retail. They’ll probably laugh and refer you to a BuzzFeed article or #RetailProblems. This doesn’t mean there are no positives — it’s just easier to think about the negatives.

Before you become too discouraged to apply for a retail job, consider these seven perks behind working in retail.

1. You become a better customer

Working in retail changes the way you shop forever. Never again will you haphazardly throw a shirt where it doesn’t belong. Never again will you go shopping five minutes before the store closes. Never again will you say, “it’s the salesperson’s job to clean this up.”

You know what it’s like to have to pick up after messy or rude customers, so you empathize with other associates even when you’re off the clock. Working in retail will teach you how to be an easy customer for someone who has probably had a rough day full of difficult people.

Image via Pexels.com

Show some appreciation and encouragement for the people trying to improve your shopping experience. You’re going to make their day a lot better, and they’ll give you better customer service in return.

2. The hours are usually flexible

This is the ideal perk for any college student. Because many sales associates are students, retailers understand that school comes first. Your availability can revolve around your classes and extracurricular activities. You’re also typically able to request off for as many days as needed.

Plus, there’s always the option of applying as a seasonal worker, so you’ll only work during holidays and busy seasons when you’re likely to be off from school. If, for whatever reason, you need to make changes to your availability, don’t be afraid to talk to a manager about it. It’s better to be up front and ask for a change rather than constantly calling off.

3. Your coworkers are like instant best friends

When you finally finish up with a difficult transaction and you just want to vent about it, who are the first people you go to? Your coworkers sitting in the breakroom, of course. They understand, because they probably had a few difficult transactions that day, too. They’re the perfect therapists because they just get you.

Cleaning up the store at the end of the night isn’t fun when you’re alone. Coworkers make it 10 times more enjoyable because you have someone to chat with while you spend hours trying to make a table look presentable. They’re also perfect for after-work plans. When you’re all done for the day, why not go out together for some staff bonding?

There are going to be times where you might not get along. Everyone gets on each other’s nerves under stress. Maybe you don’t really like one of your coworkers at first, but that will change when the two of you bond over how much you dislike cleaning up the denim wall.

Image via Pixabay.com

4. There are new tasks every minute

You’re never going to be bored in a day of working retail. Every day will bring new experiences. There’s such a wide range of retail jobs out there, and each one will require different tasks.

“Look at these two retail employers: Kohl’s and Babies “R” Us. Just think about how many different jobs exist within these two giant employers — and digging a little deeper — how many tasks and duties make up these individual Kohl’s and Babies “R” Us jobs,” said Snagajob writer Amy White.

Let’s say you work in a clothing store. You could be on register, replenishing stock, managing the fitting room, dressing mannequins, or helping customers. Customers are enough to keep you busy — they’re constantly coming in with new questions. One minute you might be running around the store looking for the last pair of shorts in size 6. The next minute you might have to help with a long gift return.

Retail is going to keep you on your feet for your entire shift, so it’s the perfect job for anyone that likes to stay busy.

5. You gain an improved sense of patience

When registers are slow, when customers don’t make sense, or when you’re waiting for a break, it can be very hard to have patience. Things aren’t always going to go your way and it will be frustrating. Don’t let it ruin your whole shift.

There will be rude, impatient customers, but stay calm and don’t be rude back to them. If needed, call a manager and have them handle the situation. It might not seem very fair at times, but the customer’s happiness is a priority if they’re going to shop there again.

Image via Unsplash.com

Albright College senior Paige Sutton has several years of experience working in retail.

“I’ve found that it’s as good as you make it. Like if you really engage some customers you meet some interesting people. Once in a while, you get a really cool customer, but only if you put off the same vibe,” she said.

Working in retail will teach you to endure some pretty stressful situations, and this patience is a virtue that will help you in so many ways outside of the workplace.

6. You learn how to make decisions in a chaotic environment

There are 15 people in line at the register, and only two cashiers available to ring. You’re in the middle of checking out a customer when they question a price. It’s a very busy afternoon, so when you call out to the managers and associates on the sales floor, they’re all occupied with helping other people. Do you check the price for yourself, or do you override it to keep the line moving?

Working in retail teaches you how to make these kinds of choices every day. The store is going to be packed sometimes, and your managers won’t always be able to answer questions in a pinch. They need you to be independent enough to come up with your own solutions if you can.

It’s going to take some time for you to figure out how to handle situations by yourself, so asking for help is definitely okay, but soon enough you’ll be the one giving the answers.

7. The discount can buy you a new wardrobe

Ah, the employee discount. It’s one of the best retail job perks there can be. A customer is going to pay full price for that cute top you’ve had your eye on for days, but you sure won’t. The same goes for buying shoes, groceries, toys — whichever retailer you’re working for.

If you can, apply for a job where you’ll want to take advantage of the discount. Be careful with it, though. Don’t let your entire paycheck go right back to the store!

Image via Pixabay.com

Now, retail jobs don’t seem so bad, do they? If you really think about it, there are a hundred more perks where these came from. All the retail memes are definitely relatable and so funny, but you know that you’ll be thankful for some of your experiences at the end of the day.

By Elise Nelson

Uloop Writer
Elise is a senior at Albright College in Reading, Pa, studying journalism. She hopes to pursue a career in feature writing and editing for a magazine. Much of Elise's time is dedicated to being Editor-in-Chief of Albright's student newspaper, The Albrightian. She is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, and co-hosts a radio show on WXAC 91.3 FM.

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