Experience in retail doesn’t shoplift editor of joy

A lot of people say working in retail is the bane of their existence, but, I have to say, I have always thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Sure, working at a dance and skate supply store has had its ups and downs over the years, but the positives always seem to vastly outweigh the negatives.

I’ve been working at the shop for a little under five years, and can proudly say that I’ve never had an experience that made me consider quitting.

I’ve heard so many retail horror stories from friends and family, but mine is not one of them.

I legitimately enjoy going to work – and, admittedly, sometimes would much rather be there than in class. I’m not saying my future lies in retail – it’s definitely not the job I’ve always dreamed of having – but it’s been perfect for my high school and college years.

I guess this is the point where I should admit that my version of having a retail job isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

I was hired at the shop – a locally-owned small business – because I knew the boss really well and she needed some help during the busy season. I guess the job just stuck, because I’ve been working there at least 10 hours a week since, literally, the day I turned 17.

The job definitely had its quirks in the beginning.

When I first started out, I got paid at the end of every day in cash. This turned into handwritten checks, eventually, and finally into a payroll system a few years ago.

The weirdest part of it for me, though, was that I knew exactly nothing about dance and skate supplies.

I had to learn everything from how to fit shoes and skates – which are two very different processes, by the way – to the habits of all the local dance studios so they wouldn’t be sending their students back with returns.

Think about it – moms should know what their children’s dance studios require for rehearsal, but dance suppliers have to know what every studio in the area requires. You may think there’s not that much to choose from, but believe me when I say there absolutely is.

Working at the shop has been a unique learning experience, and now I know exactly what I’m getting into when I sign my future children up for dance classes someday.

The only real complaint I can offer about retail is the customers.

I can practically see all you retail-working readers nodding your heads right now.

People are really stupid sometimes.

Put a pricetag on a product and give them the option of buying it, though, and their already-numbered brain cells will run away screaming.

The typical customer will never understand the underlying “terms and conditions” regarding a return – which are listed at the bottom of the receipt – nor will he or she understand that sometimes, when you wait until the last minute to buy your dance shoes, we may no longer have a size eight in stock.

Customers aside, though, I honestly do love my job. I have learned a ton of things – however useless in the real world – that I never would have known otherwise.

I can only hope to find a job I love as much as this one after I graduate next year.

KELLY MORELAND

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