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Pick Your Retail Place Of Employment

abasketabasket 18873 replies847 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 19,720 Senior Member
Working in retail is hard work - especially the customer service component.
Some people may work in retail already - thank you for what you do!
Let's pretend you had to work a full or part time retail job. Not behind a desk but out on the floor of the retail establishment. Where would you enjoy or choose to work?

As a side to this, list the retail experiences you have had through life - even (or perhaps only) as a teen/young adult. What was your favorite/worst?

Today, I'd choose: Trader Joes - I do enjoy the grocery store atmosphere and I want to be a cool TJ' s worker - I'd choose to try this job part time in retirement.

Past retail experience:
Scooping ice cream - fun social job while a teen - won over my then BF, now H by giving him giant scoops. :)
Waitress at Pizza Hut - limited menu so "easy" waitress job - loved the tips!
Grocery store check out - enjoyable back before scanners. Did hate balancing the till.
Retail clerk at small local casual clothing store - honestly, BORING. Wasn't a bustling store and it was like constantly organizing a closet.

(Taking working at a library out of the mix here - not exactly retail, but also sort of like retail - I know most of CC would probably enjoy this but I'm saying it doesn't count :) )
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Replies to: Pick Your Retail Place Of Employment

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6247 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,282 Senior Member
    I've worked in a supermarket (worst), a travel agency, and a stationary store (best).
    The supermarket was the worst more because of the managers than the customers. The inconsistency of scheduling was horrible for me and they were always trying to give me more hours that I couldn't take because of an internship. The hiring manager knew that, yet every week I had to fight with them to be on the correct days/times.

    Stationary store was the best, also because of the owner. She was lovely and fun and it was a joy to work for her. Store was mostly quiet too so you could give customers a lot of personal attention.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3456 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,467 Senior Member
    Worked since I was 9. Worked sweeping the floor to 16 fixing furniture, driving, loading and delivering furniture. Did some sales later on.
    Dunkin Donuts - made the donuts at 16. My sister served and I double to triple stuffed my flavored donuts. So yes, one bite out of a Boston Creme and it oozed the filling out . My shift outsold every shift 😁. Owner told me whatever I am doing.. Keep doing it.. Lol.
    Gas station - filled gas, register cleaned toilets.... ⛽.
    Not retail but dealing with people worked as an assistant in Occupational therapy as a senior in high school then an orderly at another hospital for a few years pushing people from ER to Radiology. Drove cancer patients to their treatments etc then off to medical school.
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  • momtogkcmomtogkc 693 replies19 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 712 Member
    I have only worked two retail jobs. First was at a small sandwich shop in Cape Cod. It was new that summer so wasn't as crowded as some places, made it easier for me as it was my first retail type job. I liked baking the cookies in the morning and I did not like when they had me go in the back to refill the pickle bin - they were in a huge bucket and I had to reach into the juice to get them out with tongs, made my whole arm stink!

    Second was in the local mall at Ann Taylor. The good part about that was the discount. There was a pair of black velvet overalls that I had wanted (hey - it was the mid 90's!) but they were super expensive. They were the first thing I bought when got the job and I did wear those things all the time! The job wasn't too bad, the people I worked with were nice. The worst part was having to constantly put away and fold clothes.

    While I was cleaning up a giant mess from he dressing room I remember thinking about which store in the mall I would rather work at - I came up with Tiffany - I would get a discount on beautiful jewelry (like I could have afforded on a mall salary :joy: ) and nobody was allowed to touch the merchandise on their own so it would not be too much cleaning up!
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  • abasketabasket 18873 replies847 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 19,720 Senior Member
    ^^^ Fun to read these retail experiences! Don't forget to pick a retail job if you had to pick one TODAY. (just an imaginary world, not going to hand you a hairnet or ladder for stocking shelves for real...)
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  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild 22557 replies190 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,747 Senior Member
    I worked at a Philadelphia clothing store (in the suburban mall) that had 2 locations and was medium-higher end. Lots of older clientele, but good quality stuff. That was in high school. I had a short summer stint at Abercrombie in Chicago the summer before starting law school before it was a "teen" store. I liked retail work. I now actually work for a retail company, as many of you know- but in the headquarters. If I had to go back in the stores, I'm thinking Roadrunner Sports or Fleet Feet, for sure. Or Lululemon.
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  • FlyMeToTheMoonFlyMeToTheMoon 2921 replies44 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,965 Senior Member
    I worked in a very upscale local store in the dress department. We had a HUGE selection of dresses! I loved working with the customer who became discouraged after selecting 20+ dresses to try on and nothing worked. Because then I would go to the rack and select something I knew would work. Customer frequently said, “No, I don’t like it.” I would encourage her to try it on anyway, and then she would look amazing in it and buy it! So much fun!

    Today? Not sure. I would want to work retail that involved customer service, not just ringing up sales. I’m not sure that exists today. (And customers are different today then they were 40 years ago.). Perhaps a bridal shop.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3456 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,467 Senior Member
    Thanks for the reminder. Been in medical all my life but had a small company for a few years in Audio /Video and used my house as a base for listening to music or home theater and touch panels to control stuff...then the economy dropped......it was a hobby /job so maybe something in that arena but much harder to do today
    But I do fix things around the house from and can do plumbing, electric, basic carpentry, appliances etc so maybe like Home Depot?? 🏡.
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  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18323 replies322 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,645 Senior Member
    I've done two retail jobs:

    The first was the summer between freshman and sophomore years in college. I worked in a gift shop in a summer beach resort where my parents had a house. No days off -- I worked 77 days straight! My schedule was 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM four days a week and 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM PLUS 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM three days a week .That split schedule really sucked.

    The other job was working in a sewing store, two full days a week during college. That was kind of fun.

    I wouldn't mind working again in some sort of fabric/sewing/needlepoint store. I have knowledge, I have skill, and I think it would be fun.
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  • abasketabasket 18873 replies847 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 19,720 Senior Member
    It seems that for many of us if we chose (or had to :) ) work retail now our choices might reflect our personalities more (like @MomofWildChild working in a running store!). True for me with TJ's - I love the world of food/food products.
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  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild 22557 replies190 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,747 Senior Member
    I totally forgot that I worked at Gap Kids one Christmas season before I went back to my "real" career when my kids were small. I got a discount, and spent more than I made (could shop at the 'big" Gap, too)
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  • washugradwashugrad 1059 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,072 Senior Member
    My oldest is working at Gap, mostly in the kids section this summer (mall store where Gap Kids and regular Gap are connected and it's a single batch of employees that float between them). She's not sure whether it's worse working the 6-10am shift (because 6am is very early for a young adult but there are no customers - it's just putting merchandise out) or the other shifts (because entitled customers). She worked there over Christmas a year and a half ago and liked it better then... mostly because she had a better manager. This one is a jerk.
    I've actually never worked retail (unless you count cashiering at a swimming pool but I don't think that would count). I've done phone reservations and manual temp jobs also. If I had to do retail probably a small independent gift shop / book shop in a tourist area ... you know, the San Francisco sweatshirts and magnets, on the more upscale end although not super upscale end.
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  • FallGirlFallGirl 7990 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,017 Senior Member
    My first job was in a small family owned (the family lived next door to mine) pharmacy which had a nice gift area as well as cosmetics. I loved it! The owners and other employees were nice people (and a lot of fun), I liked the customers and bought my makeup at a discount. What's not to like?
    Second retail job was in the customer service counter in a department store at the local mall. I still have good memories of working there and some of the fun times my coworkers and I had.
    If I went back to retail now I would work at Athleta because I like their products and could wear their clothes to work every day.
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  • one+twoone+two 102 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    I've never worked in retail. If I had to work a retail job I'd take a small independent bookstore, preferably one with few customers so I could spend most of my time reading all the books! If not that, a small independent hardware store because hardware materials fascinate me, although I'm not very knowledgeable about them. Or an outdoors type store, event though I don't really do outdoor adventures. But they also have cool stuff.


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  • HImomHImom 33973 replies387 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 34,360 Senior Member
    I’ve worked as a switchboard operator at a hotel at 15, at a shoe store (argh to the folks like me who try on tons of shoes and then don’t buy any), jewelry and clothing at various stores in Waikiki, and one tourist shop in Waikiki. These experiences were all before I was 20.

    All of the experiences convinced me I’m awful at sales goals or quotas and hate any situation where I would work alone—too scary to me in case you get a creepy customer (which I did).

    I guess I’d most like to work in a good outdoors apparel store like llbean or Columbia part time, since I like their products and how they stand behind them. I might like working at Costco too but it’s so huge I think it would be exhausting. The workers at the Costco near me seem very happy and colegial though. If they had a TJ in HI, I might want to work there part time. I’d probably not be a good retail employee because I can’t stand for extended periods.
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  • TempeMomTempeMom 2970 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,995 Senior Member
    From teens to early 20s - I worked in a café, made bagels, scooped ice cream, worked selling ladies clothes in a small shop, worked in a microbrewery cooking and waitressing -- I also picked strawberries and cleaned houses. You know, it was all okay. Some more lonely (baking) or social (brewery), some more female coworkers (clothing), or men/dates (brewery). I did find that over time most of my brewery coworkers got DUIs etc. I probably would not want my kids working in F&B at a high level (where they were chefs etc) due to the occupational hazards.

    I too would love a bookstore or TJ's now.
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  • CreeklandCreekland 5687 replies88 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,775 Senior Member
    I worked in a grocery store overnight stocking mostly, cashiering as they had needs. It was a suitable job for me because I could stock the way one SHOULD vs the way it is usually done. The manager wasn't happy at how long it took me rotating stock and ensuring the correct product was in the correct spot (often fixing things from when I wasn't working), but they needed people so I kept my job. It was also interesting seeing who chose to buy what - small tidbits of detail.

    I worked in a different grocery store while on break from college one year and did their salad bar. Again, I could do it the way I would want to eat from it. Sales on my days skyrocketed so upper level managers made the lower level manager keep me. He wasn't pleased because I took too long - and he was the one who did it (ineptly) when I was gone.

    But I like teaching or tutoring better, so really have no plans to go back to retail.

    FWIW, I did get to work in our public library as a teen when most of my peers were doing fast food or similar. It was as awesome as it sounds...
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  • bajammbajamm 1585 replies19 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,604 Senior Member
    edited July 10
    I worked in my parent's ice cream shop for two summers right out of high school and into college. I loved it, though I love ice cream so what's not to love working with it all day every day?

    I also worked in a department store that is a couple of steps higher than Kohl's when D was small. I started full time in the housewares section then almost immediately got pregnant with S. We had been trying for 5 years and I thought I would never have that 2nd kid. After the Christmas season I went to part time in the mens golf clothes department, then quit once S came. They wanted me to stay, said I could always have Sundays off and offered $1 an hour raise. It was still going to cost too much for daycare for 2 kids, especially in the summer time and on Saturdays, so I quit. I loved it there, though, and maybe would still be there now if I could have made it through the day care years.
    edited July 10
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1046 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,047 Senior Member
    Oh my gosh - reading this made me realize how much retail I've worked!!!
    First, local family-owned pharmacy/Hallmark. Today this day I love (and kick butt) at wrapping presents! Also met Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes fame (not nice!).
    Moved on to be a waitress at a summer resort (think Dirty Dancing). Such hard work, but at the time seemed like awesome money and we had TONS of fun on the off hours.
    Then in college I did Annie Sez, Lord & Taylor, Gap and Wilson's Leather at various times. Then another stint at Lord & Taylor after college as a second job to earn some extra money.
    When (not if) I win the lottery, I plan on opening a bridal salon a la Kleinfeld's/Say Yes to the Dress! So I'd go bridal now!
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  • VaBluebirdVaBluebird 3215 replies223 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    I'd choose to work in a bookstore now.
    I worked as a teen in an independent drugstore in my very small southern hometown and resulted in my interest and career as a pharmacist. Worked chain retail for three years in D.C. suburbia after becoming a pharmacist and hated it. I grew up in a place where people were truly 99% nice and friendly I was appalled and disillusioned with how mean people could be! Fled to hospital pharmacy as soon as I could and loved it.
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  • deb922deb922 5563 replies187 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,750 Senior Member
    I’ve worked tons of retail, a lot of different places. I like some of retail, working with customers, being busy.

    As far as a job now, I know what I don’t want. I don’t want to work in an incentive based position. It’s similar to commission except you get more and better hours based on how much you sell. If you think the salesperson is a little aggressive, it’s because all of their sales (and returns) are being tracked. Some retail is commissioned, Nordstrom used to be but I’m not sure how it is now. But very little is commissioned

    I’d rather not work for a retailer that has a very generous return policy. I worked for such a place years ago and I still remember the person who returned all of her used bathing suits because she could. It was gross, we had another customer who returned her child’s clothing after she outgrew it and bought new.

    But that’s the problem with retail. 99% of your customers are great, it’s the 1% of truly awful customers that get to you.

    I also worked for a place that had on call hours. You were scheduled and had to call 2 hours before your shift to see if they needed you. No pay if they didn’t. I couldn’t make plans on the off chance I was needed. No thank you.

    As far as where I’d like to work now, I’d love the discount they get at lululemon. I’d consider working at my kinda local Talbots because the managers and clerks are really great. And whenever I’ve been in there, I’ve not seen any abhorrent behavior from the customers.

    But I don’t think that there is anyplace that’s open M-F until 6, and let’s me take plenty of time off for more than not great wages. Most retail wants all of you, all of the time for very little money.
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