For a brief period of 2016, I had a part-time job at my local Primark. Yes, Primark. The holy grail store that is internationally known for being so bloody cheap and oh my God. That one.
From May to September 2016, I was a weekend (and overtime) sales assistant. I did all the stuff that everyone thinks retail workers do. I tidied, I went on the tills, I buggered up on the tills, I emptied deliveries, I messed around and, sometimes, I really hated my job.
But now that I don’t have it any more, I miss it a lot. I miss the simplicity of it and that you don’t really need to think when you work in retail. You clock in, you serve the public, you clock out. And there are a lot of things that, over the years, I’ll forget about my time in retail. But then again, there are many that I wont. And that’s what I’m gonna talk about today.
Without further ado, here are the ten things I learnt while working in Primark!
1. People. Are. Stupid
It’s just a fact of life, unfortunately. You never realise just how stupid the general public is unless you work in retail. It makes you think that all the normal people must just be sitting at home avoiding the stupid people, like we should be doing.
It’s almost as if there isn’t a giant sign pointing to the escalator… oh wait.
2. A Compliment Can Go So Far
On the flip side of my last point, there may be an abundance of stupid people out there, but there are also a fair few who really know what it’s like to work in retail, and their compliments and funny remarks can be what changes a shitty shift, into great one. So next time you’re being served by a moody looking teenager who’d rather be Anywhere Else, tell them a joke, or compliment their hair. It makes their day, trust me.
3. The Most Important Part of Any Job…
… is your attitude. Honestly. Sounds cheesy, sounds like complete wellness-blogger-bullshit, but its true. The difference between getting to work and wanting to cry, and getting to work and wanting to get stuck in, is your mindset.
4. …But Friends Help, Too
Okay so my last point wasn’t completely true, before I get a load of attackers. But another way to not hate your job is to have friends there. Make an effort to get on with your co-workers. I was fortunate enough to work with people all of the same age as myself, and many with the same interests, and we got on extremely well. Let me tell you, folding one million pairs of jeans is not nearly as fun without a friend to chat to (even if you have to hide the fact you’re talking from the supervisors).
5. You Will Never Understand Management
I mean that. Never. Unless you are Management (or ‘Head Office’), in which case – What on earth are you doing?
Who thought t-shirts with “I Heart Primark” on them was a good idea? And who thought that having one person manning the changing rooms all day was a smart move?? Honestly??
6. Daydreaming Is Your Best Friend
While good work mates can make any job worth the slog, on those days where you’re just not up to human interaction, daydreaming is the one. It’s always worth preparing a ‘Here’s One I Made Earlier’ daydream to just tune into and gaze into space to, especially when it’s the weekday shift, and it’s so quiet that you’ve seen more people saying “I love this uniform” than actual customers.
7. You’ll Never Forget How to Fold a Shirt
If you’ve worked in clothing retail then you know. YOU KNOW. You will also 1) never look at a pile of clothes on the floor the same way again and b) never not scream internally at a pile of tangled clothes hangers ever again.
8. There Is NOTHING Worse Than a Screaming Baby
You know how when you’re shopping, and there’s a screaming child that sounds like there must be some sort of hell-demon in their throat for them to be making this God-awful noise? And you know how, when you’re shopping, you can EXIT the shop?
9. Technology Hates Us
This one isn’t exclusive to Primark. Actually, it isn’t even exclusive to work. Technology hates us. It hates us, we hate it, and one day the Singularity will happen and technology will take over and we will all die.
But, for now, why can’t I get this bloody till to work?!
10. Don’t Wear Fake Nails When It’s Delivery Day
You will end up with sore fingers, fake nails having pinged all over the store, and a lot of shame. It’s just not worth it. Even if Primark nails are only £1.
All jokes aside, I loved my time at Primark. As well as all this stuff, I learnt more about myself, how to talk to customers, more social skills and more about clothing than I ever could have wished for, and honestly I think they’re a great company. You can say what you like about ‘fast fashion’, but from what I could see, they’re super ethical, they really care about their staff, and they like to create a fun and modern place to work.
Ever worked in retail? Can you relate? Tell me your customer service stories and we can share the horror in the comments below, and like this post if you share the working woes.