This I Believe

Whitney - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on May 2, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: respect, work
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Work Retail!

I have one bedrock belief that I haven’t always acknowledged, that is until the spring of 2005. I believe in the requirement to respect the simple, honest, and underpaid retail employees. During that particular spring, I started my first job at a popular retail store in the mall making minimum wage. The customers, as I once had been, became a constant annoyance and destroyer of what I worked so hard to maintain. But the retail employees, and myself, remain steadfast in our belief, “the customer is always right.” The following three points are examples that explain my newly obtained respect.

The original awareness that sparked my irritation to the customer was the utter ignorance they all seemed to posses. As I diligently work on a”Jean Wall” holding over 400 pairs of so elegantly ripped blue jeans, I spend hours folding and refolding as perfectly as my manager and fellow employees expect. However, the amount of time it takes an unaware customer to destroy is about 20 seconds. This may seem unimportant and vain to most because we are all consumers and the convenience of our shopping experience is of our upmost concern. But the hours of work put into a store who’s air conditioning breaks three days out of five, in something I take pride in, is then unrecognizable in a matter of seconds always seems to raise my blood pressure. As a customer myself, I always show respect to those underpaid and easily aggravated retail employees. I offer to hand them the item that I unfolded and let them know that I don’t mean to wreck everything they work towards and in return I always receive the smile of satisfaction and a job well done. This is more than I need to support my respect for retail employees.

The second reason I am disturbed by their behavior is the tone of voice and demanding qualities some customers love to express…loudly. Several days of the week I am bombarded with rude shoppers demanding requests that I cannot fulfill. I am constantly told I am immoral for working at a clothing store that sell “shorter” skirts even though no one is making them or their thirteen-year-old daughters purchase. All I do is work for meager restitution.

Always be kind, understanding, and most of all patient I my job because I love to make the consumer satisfied, but not however be mistreated because the line is longer and it happens to be a busy day.

The third and final reason my admiration for retail employees continues, is that the hours the store opens and closes which happens to be 9:00am to 9:00pm. Many customers do not realize this, or just don’t care, even when 9:30pm rolls around. Our policy states that I am not allowed to ask the customer to leave so the other employees and I remain polite and helpful even though now I don’t get to leave until 12:30am because the clothes and accessories that were so specifically placed and folded at 9:00pm are now in the floor. Not every customer is like this, thank God, and I appreciate those individuals more than any consumer can possibly realize. Certain shoppers that respect me, or my understand my position, and my five dollar pay make my job bearable.

I will always praise those who make my life easier and my job more enjoyable and specific customers do just that. My last words are, now that we are all aware of our destructive capabilities, let us eliminate them and at least work one retail job every lifetime… for this I believe.