Retail is a world I was never made to for. I love people, but when you’re dealing with customers you often times find yourself on unequal ground. Those who work in retail for a company that isn’t their own are probably familiar with the phrase, “The customer is always right.” Even when they’re wrong.
Until last August, I’ve never worked in a business like this before. I had always either worked for myself, or for a publication, and always led my professional life with a strong moral standard. I held the right to accept or decline assignments, and when it came to journalism I never penned a single word I didn’t mean. I upheld my beliefs in honesty, fairness and loyalty. Even today, I will deny a job if it means working for a publication that would require me to cross these tenets.
Some call that foolish. I call it integrity.
That being said, retail and I often lock horns. While there are some folks who come in and really are quite lovely (I have several stories about kind, adorable, friendly and interesting co-workers and customers), you often find yourself at the mercy of people’s attitude. If someone’s having a bad day, you may end up being their venting post. If someone is disatified with company policy, you can be the one the higher ups place the blame on. Even if you do everything by the book, there’s a risk of you falling under fire for not satisfying the customer.
Because even when they’re wrong, the customer is always right.
Some people can handle this. They hold more patience than me, for certain. But I’m the type of person that has a hard time looking wrong in the eye and squeezing out the words, “I’m sorry, you were right.” I can’t. It’s easy when you believe the words. Humbleness is not a stranger for me. I will bow my head and admit I’m wrong when I see it’s the truth. But I can’t deny my own sense of right and wrong for the sake of somebody’s business.
Making retail high on the miniscule list of things I wholeheartedly dislike.