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Confessions of a Sales Assistant

Like many people my age, I have been working in retail for quite some time; although it has been challenging on occasions, it has certainly taught me a thing or two.. from patience to common courtesy (although I like to think that I possessed that before!) I believe that it should be compulsory for people under the age of 25 to undergo and stint working in a customer service based job- it would give people an insight into the fact that manners really do cost nothing!

Now don't get me wrong, there's nothing worse than having to pretend to be 100% happy about the fact that I'm stuck inside when it's suuuper sunny outside, but most of the time, I can honestly say that I love my job. Sometimes I contemplate the fact that I'd earn a little more sitting at a desk from 9 'til 5, but not only would that be incredibly challenging to balance with my studies, it would also be mind numbingly dull- I did it for a year during my apprenticeship, and it was a real chore!

Since the age of 16, the wonderful world of retail has taught me many things; I thought that I would dedicate this post to the 5 most important things that I've learnt. 

1. Your Job is Just as Important as the Next
Just because we work in retail, it doesn't mean that we are 'just' shop assistants, or that we are any less successful than the people that come walking through the doors of our store. Granted working in Topshop isn't necessarily what I want to be doing in 10 years time, but that is nobody else's business. Over the years I have met some amazing people, from various different backgrounds; never judge somebody just because they work in a shop. Chances are, they are the most intelligent and genuine person that you will ever meet.

2. The Customer is Almost Never Right.
Now this is a biggie.. no matter what they teach you in the induction stages of your new job, unless the customer facing you on the other side of the counter also works in retail, or they have memorised the refund policy (which a lot of them pretend to!), they are wrong. As an employee, it is our job to know what we are talking about; we are not trying to make your lives more difficult by refusing to accept that the shrunken sweater that you 'never' tumble dried is faulty, I promise. 

3. 'Friday Feeling', You Say?
When working in retail, chances are you're going to be working at some point over the weekend.. when standing behind a till on a Friday afternoon, the last thing that you want to be asked is what your plans are for the next couple of days; it brings a sudden feeling of dread, leading to a forced smile and a half hearted joke about how you'll "find me here!". Believe me, your fellow weekend workers are your new BFF's. 

4. Manners Cost Nothing
If I've said it once, I'll say it a hundred times.. a please and a thank you really does go a long way! Plus, you never know just how many rude customers there have been prior to your visit- surprisingly, having clothes thrown at you, and eyes rolled in your direction begins to take its toll! 

5. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes! 
This is perhaps one of the most significant things that I have learnt from working in retail for the past 4 years; from DIY stores to clothes shops, the right footwear is key (and I'm not just talking about picking yourself up a super sassy pair of kicks!). You may have thought that debuting your new pair of boots on Boxing Day was a good idea, but after several hours of chasing around avid sale shoppers, you shall find out that it was a serious mistake. Comfortable footwear is a MUST, take it from someone who has learnt the hard way.. 

Have you ever worked in retail? Share your stories in the comments below!

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