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shopgirl December 12, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — panthergirl @ 9:45 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Kimba has been working in retail since she left school. Almost two years now. And she'd like everyone to put their manners back in thanks.

She may be just a shopgirl, but she's my shopgirl. And no mother likes to hear that her kids have been treated badly. Especially by people who think they have much more Very Special and Important Jobs, and that she's somehow not as special as them because she sells them their clothes.

She doesn't write the shop policies. She doesn't put the wrong prices on items on the website. She didn't make the computer system stop working so you can't use a credit card. And she doesn't mean to be annoying when she calls out – Hi, how are you today, every time you walk in the shop. But if you happen to be one of those sneaky secret shoppers and she hasn't said hi, how are you, they write it on a report and then she has to pay a fine out of her pay.

And she doesn't need to be abused, yelled at, or sworn at. She doesn't need people rolling their eyes at her and she certainly doesn't need anyone throwing a phone at her. Which happened recently.

And believe me if she could find another job she'd be out of your way and doing something else.But as anyone should know these days, jobs aren't exactly falling from the sky.

But sometimes when she's feeling pissed off about it, someone comes along and gives her a boost. Like the lady who told her she was sweet and reminded her of her grand daughter. Or the man who rang asking for her because his wife had gone home and told him what a friendly, helpful girl Kimba was.

So in this silly season of buying madness, don't take your shopping so seriously. Don't judge all your shopgirls by a few bad ones, and don't take out your days frustrations and disappointments on them. They're just like everyone else. Trying to earn a wage so they can pay the rent and the bills then save enough for a bit of fun.

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32 Responses to “shopgirl”

  1. bold as love Says:

    She should not have to pay the find out of her pay… that doesn't sound right at all!Retail is a tough job, especially at Christmas time. Long hours, big crowds, irate and stressed customers. Hope she gets through the rest of the season ok…

  2. Snowy Says:

    Sometimes you just have to try to remember the good ones and forget the others. Not easy, I know, as there's some proper arseholes out there.

  3. cat Says:

    yeah, and they don't mind everyone knowing how much of an areshole they are

  4. I used to be a shopgirl. That job is incredibly brutal on the psyche.

  5. cat Says:

    where Lizzie works they get three warning about secret shopper issues but this place has all sorts of rules and fines
    they have their work christmas party tonight and I expect they'll all get pissed and bitch about customers

  6. cat Says:

    she rang and told me it was breaking her soul

  7. I've only encountered a handful of rude shop clerks over the 30-odd years I've done my own shopping; but I've lost track of the number of fellow customers who have made not only the clerk's but my Christmas shopping experience a misery. As a result I try to be pleasant to the people at the cash registers, especially at Christmastide. They seem to appreciate it; and I feel a little more human after a day of being beeped at in the parking lot and shoved out of the way by some jerk trying to grab the last 99-cent special on the shelf. But Lord, it makes one want to stay home and do all of one's shopping on the computer.

  8. cat Says:

    they definitely do appreciate it – my daughter often tells me how nice it is to interact with someone pleasant – I agree that shopping online is much more enjoyable

  9. Snowy Says:

    Cat, this business of fining employees for supposed transgressions seems very suss to me, even in the wake of Howard's Workchoices. Maybe a call to the Workplace Ombudsman might be in order?

  10. cat Says:

    I'll check it out – but I don't think she'd do anything, wouldn't want to lose her job. One of Lizzies friends works at a place where you get three warnings (if something shows up on a secret shopper report) then you get fired. I know Kimba can get fined if she opens the shop late as well.

  11. Snowy Says:

    Getting fired after three warnings isn't uncommon. Getting money deducted from your wages for supposed transgressions is something else. She can always find out about the legality of that without taking it any further. Keep all her payslips with the fines recorded, and then report it to the Ombudsman after she leaves the job.

  12. cat Says:

    she hasn't been fined yet because she's such a goody goody

  13. Snowy Says:

    Takes after her Mum, obviously.

  14. Design Shark Says:

    Funny you should post this today, after I spent my day sifting through my blog posts from 2005-2006 all about my horrid retail job. I'm sad to say, the post continued another year, I just didn't get that far today. 🙂

  15. cat Says:

    she had an interview on Friday for a job but they say in the papers here that for every job that is advertised they have 500 people apply for it

  16. Waterbaby Says:

    absolutely. i've worked in retail. it really shows you how ugly people can be. i got out of retail. that's how i retained what little was left of my sanity. i wish it weren't the case that right now she is better staying than leaving.

  17. cat Says:

    She said after the woman threw a phone at her she was shaking for ages (as you would be). She said if she hadn't started hitting the pubs and clubs, drinking, and mixing with a rowdy crew she wouldn't be able to cope. She said if you were a shy quiet little thing you'd probably be crying every night. But yes, for now she just has to stick it out.

  18. Waterbaby Says:

    poor kid. i've worked retail, incl. as a demonstrator who gave away free food samples. the utter greed i witnessed, and the ingratitude, just horrible. if i'd stayed at that job much longer, i might be behind bars instead of blogging. anyway, after that, i now make it a point to be nice and attentive to the food demonstrators and clerks. some folks are cut out for retail. it helps to have thick skin, like a crocodile's.

  19. Being down in the frontlines is never easy. I used to serve people coffee back when I first grad and couldn't get a full time job. A customer slammed a coffee cup at me because she was unhappy that the coffee was too hot. OK… tho I was not entirely faultless… the coffee was perfect for the customer! HA!
    A friend of mine used to release all the stress from manning a hotline by screaming expletives after he had politely put the phone down with the customer. hmm… that could work… ? (but she'd have to find a place where nobody can hear her)

  20. cat Says:

    lol – imagine a coffee being too hot!! I can never find them hot enough. Aren't people so rude. I can't imagine being rude to someone like that. My son has also been working in customer service while going through school and he says he never wants to do it again.

  21. Customer service is haaarrrddd… after that I was scared away from doing frontline jobs… it takes guts of steel to put up with nastiness day in and day out! (and having to give a sincere smile at the same time! PHEW!)

  22. Karen Lynn Says:

    Aww. This is such a hard time of year to be in retail. The shoppers are so testy! Tell her keep your chin up, she's a good girl, and the experience will help her later in life (dealing with assholes)

  23. cat Says:

    yes, that true – because assholes (as you funny americans call them) show up all through your life

  24. Karen Lynn Says:

    what do you funny aussies call them? hehe

  25. cat Says:

    lol – we call them arseholes – which looks and sounds much more vulgar

  26. Karen Lynn Says:

    actually, i could get away with saying arsehole faster than asshole here in the US

  27. Caprica Says:

    Bless her heart, She'll always remember these days when she's able to look back upon them. I worked in retail for 8 long years (age 17-25). When I left and went to college then uni I swore no matter what I had to do I wouldn't ever go back.
    Even my several years as a cocktail waitress was better than retail because if a drunk got a nasty I had male staff to back me up.
    I'm glad she's got a mum who she can call and vent a bit–and that getting out to the clubs and pubs is keeping her sane.

  28. cat Says:

    lol – yes, drinking makes everything seem better
    she has a sense of humour and that helps a lot

  29. I know exactly how she feels. I had a part time job (full time at Christmas) in a crappy dept store in Melbourne for about 6 years during high school and uni. You really do get to see the worst side of humankind when you work in these kind of jobs. I am also still unable to listen to many Christmas carols after hearing the same tapes played over and over for weeks on end.

  30. cat Says:

    lol – the carols, I often think the poor girls at Franklins must be about to go insane

  31. Yes, I'm sure they are. We often used to work 12 hour shifts at this time of year so you can just imagine 12 hours of listening to them.


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