Retail: more than meets the eye

Let me tell you about my first time working in retail.

It’s different from working in restaurants, nannying or being an intern at a newspaper, all of which I’ve done before.

I feel like you really get a glimpse at people’s highs and lows in retail like you don’t in other jobs. Except nannying. You see everything when you nanny four kids under 8.

In retail, you get to see people at their most confident and happiest. I helped a groom pick out his wedding outfit. I helped young performers choose dresses for their first showcase.

I have seen that look of joy you get when you feel beautiful and powerful and confident in an outfit so many times.

But I have also seen that look absolutely destroyed by a few cutting and wholly unnecessary words from a loved one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always honest if someone asks what I think. And I have told people when something just doesn’t do anything for them.

What I’m talking about is when someone is so absolutely thrilled with an outfit that you can literally see the happiness radiating out from them, but their friend does nothing but criticize and critique; draining every ounce of joy from the person’s body.

I’ve seen people treat my coworkers and myself as servants, demanding instead of asking, belittling instead of thanking.

And probably worst of all, I’ve made direct eye contact with someone as they’ve picked up a sweater I just folded and then unceremoniously toss it onto a different pile of shirts.

Do I hate it? No. I work with some pretty amazing people, so that more than makes up for any rude customers. Am I going to do it for the rest of my life?

Dear Lord I hope not.