Dealing with the work environment: retail

For anyone who has held a job working in retail environments, the problems in retail jobs are apparent. Most every problem in a retail job can be classified into two categories:

  • Co-workers
  • Customers


When working in retail environments, one of the main categories related to problems in retail jobs is the co-worker. If there is a co-worker that you just simply have too many issues with, here are some things you can try to deal with them:

  • Ask for a change in where you, or they, work
  • Ask for a schedule adjustment
  • Try to get them to go do a job where you are not.
  • Go find another task to do away from them.

Here is a short list of ways not to solve problems in retail jobs

  • Take up the issue with the customers - they don't need to be involved in issues that are not theirs.
  • Take up the issue with the co-worker in front of the customers - they didn't come to see a show.
  • Have an attitude about the co-worker in front of the customers - again, they don't need to be involved in issues which are not theirs.
  • Try to turn people against the co-worker; this can backfire badly.
  • Constantly complain about the co-worker to the boss - the boss will eventually start to ignore any complaints even when they are legitimate.


Anyone who was ever working in retail environments knows about problem customers in retail jobs. Every, and any, job dealing with the public has this issue. Here are a few things you can try when dealing with a problem customer:

  • Get yourself through the transaction as fast as possible.
  • Move onto the next customer as soon as you can.
  • Acknowledge the customers problem and try to provide some sort of answer.
  • Get the management involved.
  • Leave the area to verify your answer or seek other options; this also helps to clear you head.
  • Be firm without causing a scene.
  • Stay calm.

One of the problems with working in retail settings is that workers tend to forget a few simple rules which will always prove themselves.

  • The customer doesn't care what the procedure is or why you have to follow it.
  • The explanation you just gave the customer will be forgotten the minute they leave the building.
  • Every question, no matter how stupid, needs an answer.
  • The customer doesn't care about you, your boss, or anyone else during the transaction.
  • Keeping answers as simple as possible is always the best thing to do.
  • Know when to admit you are wrong.
  • Be willing to hold your ground when you are right.
  • There are nice people who will enter your workplace; these are the ones who make the day passable.

When working in retail settings, remember that there is both good and bad in every day, everything, and everywhere. The world will not collapse because of a bad work day or job.