Saturday, January 9, 2021

Retail Horror Stories

I have worked in retail for the past three years in between school breaks and holidays. I genuinely love working retail. I love shopping, and my job allows me to help others shop and pick out clothes. It is so fun. My coworkers are the BEST, and they are the reason I come back every season. 


There are highs and lows to every job. Working with the public definitely gives you more lows than other jobs.

With that being said, I strongly believe that everyone should work at least once in retail or in a restaurant or in some profession where you work with the public.

I have learned so much about society and about myself working a retail job. I’ve also had one too many laughs from work as well. Even if you hate working retail you will still get a handful of good stories out of it.


Please enjoy!

Over the summer during Covid, when I was working retail, our public bathroom in my store was closed. I was standing at the front door of the store and these two men came up to me and asked if our bathroom was open, I said no because of the pandemic. They shrugged at each other and then turned around and walked into the parking lot. I watched them make a b-line to the back row of cars and hide behind a car and pee. I was disgusted but also kind of laughed. It makes a good story.


There are definitely funny things that happen working retail, but also scary things that no one really think about. One weekend this past summer when I was out east with my friends, I was sitting on the beach and my phone started blowing up. There were gun shots fired at my mall. Gang violence... It was startling that this had happened at my place of work. No one was hurt, but still terrifying. No one knew what was going on and all my coworkers bunkered down in the back of the store. Scary stuff.


Usually when someone comes in and does a big return (like thousands of dollars of merchandise), it’s normally a red flag that something is stolen, or something is off. So lucky me, I was working the register and rung up a $1,000 return. This woman tried to return a pair of shoes that she swore weren’t already returned, however on my computer it said they were. The customer was not amused so the only thing I could’ve done as a lowly associate was to call over a manager and then call our customer service line and see what they could do. I called customer service and they told me that the shoes had already been returned and that I needed to take back the merchandise. Customer service told me that something was not right here and that they were going to flag the customer for trying to get extra money.


Another time when I was at the register, my least favorite place, lucky me again, I had a customer who wanted to return 19 button-down shirts and then price adjust 11 of the 19 shirts. Talk about a headache. We will price adjust within a week or two of purchase. How we price adjust is that we have to physically return every item that needs to be price adjusted and then repurchase them with the new price. This was a headache because I had to return 19 shirts and then he only wanted the cheapest ones with the new price. So I rang all of them to be repurchased and then he had told me which ones he wanted to keep and which ones he didn’t, shirt by shirt.


Once I rang up a man who bought 44 pairs of pants! 44! Sir what are you going to do with 44 pairs of pants?

Over the summer I showed up to work to five cop cars in the parking lot surrounding two women who had gotten in a fist fight while they were waiting in line to go into a store. Wooo, fun times!


My most jaw dropping day working retail was when I was informed that escorts shop at my store. Over the summer we had a capacity limit, so some days I was on door duty counting and making sure we didn’t have too many people in the store due to NYS regulations. A young, statuesque, model like woman in a very tight body suit got out of the car that was parked right in front of my store and an old man got out of the driver’s seat. They walked up to me at the door, with no intentions of walking in, rather they wanted to know where the Gucci store was. I pointed them in the right direction and kind of thought after they walked away, like hmm that was an interesting couple. I then told my manager, and he was like umm Elizabeth, wake up, that was an escort. I was like escort?! My naive little brain was stunned that there could be escorts at my mall.


Another wild day working the register was when a woman had to return some items that had been purchased with her stolen credit card. She explained that somehow, she found out that someone had stolen her credit card and the thief had all of her billing addresses. The people who stole her card were ordering items to her house and were waiting outside her house to steal the packages off her doorstep, so she could never return the items and get the money back for the products. I forget how she found this information out, but it was absolutely wild to me. So, the package she was returning today, was one that she was able to snag before the thieves could re-steal the packages off her porch. The thieves even started shipping packages to her other house and stealing them off of that porch too. I told my manager the story and we called customer service and they were aware of the situation. So, we took the items back. I was super spooked out. These thieves were following her and tracking her and her family’s moves and knew when they were home and not, just to steal a package of clothes. The things that some people will do for clothes is wild. 


One day I was tiding and folding the cashmere, when a woman walked in with her little white fluffy dog. The dog found a pair of cashmere gloves that was on the lower shelf and started chewing on the gloves! I was like “Ma’am, excuse me, your dog is eating the cashmere gloves.”


Another cashmere story! Before Christmas, the cashmere was on sale for $75 each if the sweater was under $200 before the sale. There were signs everywhere and at the bottom of the sign was a little asterisk (because everything has fine print) and said some exclusions may apply, please speak to a sales associate. This woman grabbed one cashmere sweater that was over $200 and went to the register. The cashier said it was excluded and she immediately asked to speak with the manager. Our store director walked over, and she introduced herself and asked her what the problem was. The customer announced that she has worked in retail for years and has a degree in fashion and blah blah blah and was horrified that the signs didn’t say what they actually meant. Sorry, but if you worked in retail you would know that there is always fine print...


I hope that you enjoyed these stories!

Shop my outfit below (may contain affiliate links) (sweater was gifted):


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