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  • Writer's pictureSteven Macalester

What my retail job has taught me

Almost 4 years ago I started working as a cashier at The Home Depot. You may know how that job usually goes, we help customers find things, keep the work area clean, ring items up, hand them a receipt and tell them to enjoy the rest of their day.

Looking back on those years, I begin to realize certain things about the customer service life that I did not see before, or rather I couldn't see because I was never in the retailer's shoes before the day of hire. Some of the realizations are good while others are bad, but all of them are important for everyone to ponder about.

The good part about this job is the camaraderie not just amongst the CO workers but with the managers as well. I felt more safer here about my job security than I have in any other job in the past. When I got sick or badly injured they had me covered, if I would do something wrong my coworkers would let me know before I got into serious trouble. Finally if a customer had insulted me or made me feel bad about myself, the CO workers and managers would comfort me and reassure me that I am a very valuable associate. For these things I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was given and to work with such trusted companions.

Unfortunately just as we have addressed the good we also have to talk about the bad. While some of the customers that come into our store are pretty cool to chat with, many others bring this sense of entitlement with them that they should be served everything to them on a silver platter no questions asked while they don't want to show any respect to us whatsoever and instead treat us like servants or worse robots. If we don't have what they need or if something went wrong then they think it's okay to lash out on us like it's our fault.

It baffles me at times, why do some people think that disrespecting and demoralizing others is ok? What happened to being nice and understanding, to treat associates like you would want to be treated? Where did the magic words "hello, please and thank you" go?

Don't get me wrong I still like working at The Home Depot, but for anyone reading this I hope you take away one thing. At the end of the day the people who work in the retail business are just that, people, nothing more and nothing less. We are all doing our best to get by, and if something goes wrong we can only do so much. So the next time you see someone working in retail, ask them how their day is going and let them know that they are very important. Trust me, a little bit of kindness can go a long way.

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