Don’t get me wrong: if you’re someone who loves fashion, working in retail can be a dream.
There’s the killer discounts, being surrounded by countless racks of clothing, and — we’re all thinking it — not having to really do much except unfold and fold clothing.
It’s great… in theory. But when you’re an introvert, retail work comes with many, many perils. Warning: The information below may cause feelings of anxiety.
1. Prepare yourself for the assortment of personalities that’ll come your way.
It’s overwhelming, guys.
I could usually gauge the mood of a customer as they walked into the store, but some people really mixed it up by being downright horrible human beings. This really threw me off my game.
NB: OK, so this one isn’t really tailored specifically for introverts, but acts as a general warning for all — people are mean.
2. You have to continue conversing with the customer the entire time.
I'm absolutely fine talking to strangers, but only if I can escape after the first while of awkward, “Hi, how’re you going?” to then let them be free to explore the store.
This is a rare occurrence in the chatty world of retail, especially at high-end stores where they tell you to never stop engaging with the customer. “Act like they’re a good friend that you haven’t seen in a while,” they told me.
Umm... but isn’t that kind of intimate interaction inappropriate and uncomfortable for all involved? Am I supposed to hug you and ask how your mum’s going? Just because we work in retail, it doesn’t justify defying all the usual social norms such as personal space and PEACE AND QUIET.
Details: Mia Freedman, Jessie Stephens and Monique Bowley discuss whether “being an introvert” has become an excuse for crap behaviour.
3. You have to ask for their name and tell them yours.
For some reason whenever I asked for a customer’s name I sounded super creepy. Maybe that’s just a 'me' thing I need to work on, but I’m 99% sure this shouldn’t be a retail rule.