Modern retail work is probably the least rewarding experience most people will have to face. The pay is pathetic, the customers, generally, seem to be incapable of thinking logically, and you (the retail employee) are at fault for the prices and decisions the company makes. When I hear “Paper or plastic?” I shutter. There are two sides to retail, though, that many people fail to face: the customer and the employee.
The Customer is, from the employee’s perspective, a juvenile idiot who hasn’t learned basic math and doesn’t take responsibility for their own decisions. They are not an enemy, but an obstacle that must be overcome. When I worked in a grocery store as a cashier, every customer I met made me angry, no matter how friendly they were. Being bipolar also added a little flare to the experience since I always had the same pattern: If I started the day happy, it would end miserably, or vice versa. But no matter what, work consisted of being unhappy.
The Employee is, from the customer’s perspective, a miserable jerk won’t go anywhere in life because they can’t seem to learn the most fundamental principals to function in society. They are someone the customer tries to get along with, but their dead eyes and robotic responses make the experience unenjoyable every time. Their sole purpose in life, it seems, is to be a cog in a huge emotionless machine, which grinds away at their soul.
However, the fact of the matter is that both parties suck. The retail world is one which doesn’t support progress and seems to prosper in making sales at the cost of humanity. Whenever I go shopping I try to be enjoyable and pleasant, but all too often I realize I am the generic customer.