The perks of working retail

The perks of working retail

Everyone has a dream job in mind, but it always takes hard work to reach it, and sometimes you might have to work in jobs such as retail assistant or waiter to provide you with an income before you can enter your dream job. This can seem like a waste of time, but this should always be seen as an opportunity. Some people enter these fields and really enjoy them. For some people they are just a stop gap. However, I have worked as a retail assistant, as a catering assistant and as a waitress since I was 16. I believe everyone should partake in one of these jobs at least once in their life.

Retail surrounds us, whether its running to buy coffee or doing your supermarket shop, even browsing in the Victoria centre is retail. Everyone interacts with it, whether they work in retail or not. So, you would think that people have a strong idea about what it entails and yet this is not the case. People are surprisingly mistaken when it comes to thinking about who works in retail and why.

The perks of working retail

Members of the public

Working in a job where you have to interact with members of the public takes’ guts, it can be challenging, demanding on your mind and your body but it does reward you. The situations where retail can be more difficult and demanding gives you greater experience in real life situations, the first time a customer shouts at you can be shocking but the 20th time, you won’t bat an eyelid. There’s no doubt about it, retail toughens you up.

Another benefit of working in retail is that it introduces you to new jobs, marketing, logistics, and management. There are jobs that you may never realised existed and often this can be the gateway to the more enjoyable job you can have. This may showcase strengths you never knew you had. There’s no harm in trying.


 A lot of people say that they wouldn’t work in retail because of the unsociable hours, starting early, finishing late, working weekends. Yes, it’s not fun but if you really expect to work hours only you want, you will be bamboozled when you enter the real world. Not always being able to make your friends birthday or go to the cinema with your boyfriend isn’t the end of the world and you will get a deeper appreciation of the time you do get off.

The perks of working retail

The amount of characters you will meet in retail is astounding, from the 30-year-old assistant who just loves her job to the 55-year-old who uses all their money to travel. There is no right job to have at any point in your life providing that you are happy with it. By working in retail and mixing with this wide variety of characters will help you to view lives from a different perspective.  Your view is broadened, and this helps you to gain empathy. This may be something you already think you have, but everyone’s view of the world is narrow if they don’t get out there and mix with new people who have had a completely different life to them.

Don’t be a baby

You will always be able to notice those who have never spent their Saturday stacking shoes or being moaned at, because those people are whiny and annoying. Those people who have been lucky enough to not have to work will nearly always be those people who shout at retail assistants and who people look at with disgust. Don’t be that person, suck it up and accept that there are times in your life where you will have to work in retail. Who knows? You might even enjoy it.

There is a bit of a stigma attached to these jobs and that people who work in them are somehow lower in the hierarchy. This is wrong. Without these people working their long hours, you would not be able to get that new top or have a spontaneous brunch. They all perform a service and for that reason everyone should be grateful. Besides it doesn’t matter if someone is working in retail because they are putting themselves through university or because they enjoy that job or because it fits around their childcare, every single person deserves your respect. Also if you’re shouting at a member of staff, you will not be given good service, it will only get worse and you will definitely be laughed about in the back. So just be a decent person.

The perks of working retail


These jobs give you a deeper appreciation of people, they teach you to be polite even when someone is demanding the impossible. By spending time viewing both sides of the aisle, from the customer side and the employee side, it teaches you a further level of respect. Customers can be difficult. The amount of times they were convinced that the back store was a magical land with refills of every item in the shop is unbelievable but equally it doesn’t help to deal with a grumpy short-tempered employee. Everyone’s experience shopping is unique, and everyone should be treated with respect. But don’t expect the nicest employee in the world to remain calm if you’re shrieking at them because they don’t have that red pair of trainers in your size.

The perks of working retail

Helen Rodgers

Lifestyle / Employment Writer. Helen studies Ancient History at the University of Nottingham and writes a weekly article on balancing student and working life.