I’ve been at my new office job for almost four months now, and I can’t express nearly enough how much nicer it is. I worked in retail for 6.5 years, and most of it felt like Hell to me; after all, I was Customer Service the whole time. It’s insane how much less stressed out I am on a daily basis, and I credit being away from retail as at least 93% of the reason why. I mean, I haven’t completely escaped the terror that is dealing with the general public; I work for Animal Control and I answer the phones and work the front desk for rabies registration tags sales and whatnot. And people still get angry about policies they don’t agree with or even understand sometimes, but it’s nothing compared to being yelled at and disrespected daily processing returns and other services at a major electronics store. I kid you not, it was truly on the daily. I hate saying the name, but perhaps for the sake of your understanding…it was Best Buy. And it was just the worst, being yelled at by someone who insists on returning their used laptop they purchased six months ago when the return policy was merely 15 days…seriously, all the time. It wasn’t just ridiculously out of policy returns, it was just everything…people would get mad when I asked to see their ID even when it was their own writing on their own credit card that instructed me to do so. I could go on. I could honestly write an entire memoir of the shitty times I had there, but that’s far too painful. Sure, maybe you’re thinking I’m crazy…it’s merely strangers yelling at me for things that are out of my control, I shouldn’t take it personally, right?! Well, as a person who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder (and was also technically diagnosed with social anxiety as well but meh, I think that got better naturally over time), it’s just remarkably difficult. I had so many panic attacks at work while people yelled at me. I would sometimes have breakdowns and go hide and cry somewhere because I was just so stressed out and tears were the only release I was able to do. Alas, therapy and anti-anxiety medication helped out a lot with that after I realized my reactions weren’t exactly normal and got the help I needed…but that doesn’t mean I was absolutely immune to it all. It killed me inside every day to take people’s shit. Which is why I had been trying for so long to get out and I finally did and I’m just so much happier. And guys- I know I usually write about fun pop culture stuff, but I simply feel obligated to share even a snippet of my retail experience as a public service announcement. Perhaps people don’t realize how unnecessarily shitty they are treating the person in uniform behind the counter, because for whatever reason, you see us as less human in those moments. But then..some people are just assholes and that’s never going to change. But shit, I’m going to try.
One of the things that has kept me sane over the years (besides medication and therapy) has been the Retail Robin memes. I would see them on Pinterest all the time and they would just make me laugh, partly because they’re insanely accurate. Also, it was comforting to know that I wasn’t the only one suffering while working in retail; it’s quite universal. Which is also sad, but still, I’m taking any positives I can here. So I present to you…all of the Retail Robin memes that I have related to 110% (and I know my former coworkers would confirm these as well) (and yes, the uniform one above is included in terms of accuracy):
(do you know how many products are sold at Best Buy?! TELEVISIONS, COMPUTERS, CELL PHONES, CD’S, MOVIES, VIDEO GAMES, ACCESSORIES FOR THOSE THINGS, ETC….it’s a ginormous store, okay?!)
(1000% accurate these past 3-4 Thanksgivings)
(this is a shout-out to all of the managers and supervisors I had over the years that just give in the customer’s entitlement at fear of losing money…at the expense of making the level-line employees look like jackasses to the customer)
(not every manager I had did this, but too many did…)
(again, these are all COMPLETELY ACCURATE)
(lol SEE?! I mentioned this exact scenario earlier. Literally happened all the time. I remember this one cranky man literally shouted at me because of it and was then aggressively handling his credit card afterwards)
(lol except the money-hungry, pushover managers did and will continue to)
(SOOO TRUE especially during my first six months as a cashier. Pressure from management, try to appease management, customer gets annoyed and angry)
(the first part is so small…here is what it says: “WOW, THAT CUSTOMER WAS SO CORRECT AND PROVED ME WRONG. I’M SO GLAD I CAN LEARN HOW TO DO MY JOB FROM PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER WORKED FOR THIS STORE”)
This trip down memory lane has been both hilarious and painful…and that’s just from Retail Robin. Here are just a few other memes that aren’t from Retail Robin that also perfectly depict my every day experiences and feelings I had while working at Best Buy.
(SO MANY TIMES, GUYS)
(this mostly applies to whenever I answered the phone there)
Okay, I think I’ve made my point now…it’s still so comforting these memes exist, though. So painfully true, man.
In conclusion…things get frustrating sometimes. Maybe you didn’t read the receipt before you came back into to return stuff…actually no, that’s entirely your fault, I have no sympathy there as a fellow shopper. But yeah, I’ll admit, sometimes there were circumstances where the customer was right/deserved an exception and they’re either super nice and I want to do all I can to help them- or they’re assholes like most people and then I don’t want to do anything special for them. But people, just try to be decent. It’s all I’ll ask of you. I’m only 24 and I’m already bitter af towards humanity because of 6.5 years dealing with the crap above and more. It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with people…it’s just, I don’t trust the general public and I will pretty much expect nothing but the worst from people unless they prove me otherwise. But it’s so rare. I truly relate to this Jonathan Byers quote from Stranger Things:
I know, it’s kinda shitty to be so pessimistic, but I’ve only become this way from experience. I still have like a smidgen of hope…but it tends get smaller rather than bigger.