Hana Shafi Retail Blues*

Yes, I am a cashier here to assist you with your purchase. No, I am not your personal butler.

And yet somehow, so many customers still mistake me for the latter. When you’re working in retail, or really any job in the service industry, people forget that you’re just an average employee trying to make it through the day for a lousy pay check. Instead, if you don’t have your head lodged at least three feet into their ass, they insist that this is “bad customer service!!!”

Shut up. No it’s not. I scan your items. I smile. I ask you if I can throw the receipt in the bag. This isn’t the Four Seasons. You don’t get a shoe shine or a basket of flowers or a goddamn lap dance. You take your stuff and get on with your day.

And yet those total jerk customers, despite how well you do your job, will still find a reason to complain. They’re mad about the store policy, they don’t like the volume of the music in store, they wish you sold more of this and that. Well, I wish I could help you. But I’m literally at the most bottom rung of this corporation, so if the return policy really irks you, go contact someone who’s actually important.

People working in retail or service really don’t get enough credit. You’re given the most repetitive and tedious tasks and then expected to act like those ultra-smiley extras in a musical. You make it to the end of your shift and then have to deal with the asshole who came in two minutes before the store closes and is now taking a pleasant garden stroll through the aisles. On top of that, you somehow become responsible for all the customers' woes, regardless of whether or not they has anything to do with you. 

Then, of course, you do get some really considerate customers. You can bet that they too have worked, or are still working, some minimum-wage job. Either that, or they’re just a decent human being who realizes that even if they’re having a crap day, giving shit to the person who’s been standing for seven hours in a ridiculously ugly uniform is just not the way to go.

I’m sorry if you were late to pick up the kids and or if you got a totally uncalled-for parking ticket, but if you give me attitude about why something costs what it does, there’s nothing I can do, so kindly fuck off. 


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