In case you didn’t know, the school year is drawing to an end and summer is close. We’re only a couple of weeks away from three and a half months of good weather, normal food, and clean bathrooms. But that also means summer jobs, which for the most part, suck, since most of us will find employment in the wonderful world of retail.
Three summers ago, I worked at the Wilson Farms/Mobil Gas Station in my hometown of Caledonia, New York Basically I stocked shelves, cleaned, and every other job you can do a convenience store without running the register. My boss that was pure evil. I can’t blame her though. If I was 30 years old and an assistant manager at a gas station in Caledonia, I’d hate the world too. I didn’t have many people to talk to. There is not that much to talk about with co-workers who were all chain-smoking women in their mid-40s.
When working in retail, you learn a lot about people. But what you learn might force you to doubt the future of humanity. As in the movie "Clerks," retail workers get bombarded with incredibly dumb questions, the kind that make you want to throw things. For example, I was asked at least 200 times whether the soda in the coolers was cold or not. I wanted to say, "No sir, we here at Wilson Farms pride ourselves on being non-conformist. We serve our sodas warm." However, saying that would’ve gotten me fired, so I would just grit my teeth and I’d say yes, the sodas are cold.
Then they’d ask me to reach into the back of the cooler to grab one (using the flawless logic that sodas in the back of coolers must be much colder than the ones up front, right?) This is a dumb request, especially since the ones up front were actually colder. At Wilson’s, our storage room was even colder than the coolers up front.
Also, we used to put our boxes of Gatorade on top of the coolers since there was no room for them in the back. I would use our store’s ladder to put them up there. This meant that, occasionally, the ladder would be in the middle of an aisle. More often than not, instead of asking me to move the ladder out of the way, they would move it themselves – while I was standing on top of it.
I wanted to tell these people that they were a disgrace to the human race. But, did I ever say this to anyone? No, I didn’t. Why not? Because when working in retail, or anywhere else for that matter, you are forced to follow one of the dumbest philosophies anyone’s ever come up with: the customer is always right. The fact that customers are wrong about 97 percent of the time makes this idea ridiculous. This way of thinking is detrimental to society. We should let customers know when they’re wrong. People need to know when they’re running a common sense deficit. They need to know that drinks are always cold, and that you shouldn’t move ladders, especially the ones with people on them.
Working in retail is a learning experience. You may be annoyed by some of your co-workers and customers, but you’ll have to deal with annoying people for the rest of your life. Also, if you truly hate your first job, you’ll appreciate your paycheck more, since you’ll feel like you really earned it. At least I did. So I say good luck to everyone who’ll be working in retail this summer. God knows we’ll need it.