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Author Topic: Lessons from work and retail....  (Read 2475 times)

catflea

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Lessons from work and retail....
« on: 01 Mar 2013, 11:43 »

Interesting thought,   what unexpected lessons have you learned from your working environment?  Not interested in training etc but more like life lessons...

I have learnt (public facing role)-

If someone doesn't want to listen they wont hear you, and will think you said what they wanted to hear
People are either delightful or evil, there is rarely any middle ground
The majority of people are exceptionally honest but its the few that aren't make that make life difficult
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Pilchard123

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #1 on: 01 Mar 2013, 11:45 »

I am terrible at estimating how long I will take to finish something. This makes clients a little irate.
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Blood-Tree

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #2 on: 01 Mar 2013, 13:19 »

I have learnt (public facing role)

I'm not gonna lie, I totally read that as 'public farting role'.

Anyway. Lessons - be bold. Confidence is key.
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Thrillho

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #3 on: 01 Mar 2013, 14:29 »

People will take their frustrations out on frontline staff regardless of their responsibility or say in the matter, and despite them being the only staff member who cares about the problem.
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de_la_Nae

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #4 on: 01 Mar 2013, 16:04 »


If someone doesn't want to listen they wont hear you, and will think you said what they wanted to hear


Or what they expect to hear. Drive-through customers at a restaurant in the U.S. have a script in their heads, and if you don't match it they can get easily confused. I don't know how many times I've welcomed a customer and told them that I needed them to hold on a moment before I can take their order, only for them to barrel into their order until I interrupt them 1-3 times.

Or asked what they'd like and they think I just asked them how they're doing. Or vice versa.

It's not a big deal, but is certainly amusing, probably outlines some communication theory stuff I'm not going to dive into right now.

Papersatan

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #5 on: 01 Mar 2013, 16:31 »

I second operating on scripts. "Are you finding everything alright?" and "Can I help you find anything?" frequently got the 'wrong' answer. (Can I help you find anyting?" "Yes. I'm fine.") and 80% of the time following up with "well if you need anything, let me know." would elicit an actual question.  The script for this situation leads people to say they don't need help even when they do.   Life lesson: make sure you are not only following your script, or you won't help people or get the help you need (not just in retail). 

I think in general a lot of my insights about the use of language, verbal and non-verbal, the power dynamics of assumed roles, and the 'auto-pilot' of menial tasks, like grocery shopping, came from working in a grocery store.  It was easy to watch the way parents interacted with children, and couples with each other, as well as how customers and co-workers handled stressful situations.  My 8+ years in retail taught me so much about human behavior; how to read people, how to coax them out of their shells, how to calm them when they are upset, and so much about managing my own emotions, how to empathize with a customer who is being mean to me, to understand *why* they are upset without letting myself get upset and to control my language and behavior in a way that can break through their emotions.  It is stressful, for sure to have a customer who is screaming in your face, but I have the skills now to, 8/10 times, calm that customer down, and help the to leave satisfied.  I think that is a crucial skill, unfortunately, 'the market' does not value that skill, at least not in the retail environment, so I had to move on.  The actual people skills though, useful everyday. 
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LeeC

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #6 on: 01 Mar 2013, 17:10 »

management will let you burn in front of a customer if it makes them look good.  They will not back you up. :psyduck:
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henri bemis

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #7 on: 01 Mar 2013, 17:18 »

People will take their frustrations out on frontline staff regardless of their responsibility or say in the matter, and despite them being the only staff member who cares about the problem.

Definitely.  Yelling at me about something I can't control is not going to solve the problem, and, honestly, it's going to make me less inclined to keep giving a shit at all.

I've seen it happen the other way, too, though - where employees with any bit of authority will take their frustrations out on customers they think are vulnerable in some way.  I used to lifeguard at a waterpark, and when you give some people a whistle they turn into fucking monsters.
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Redball

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #8 on: 01 Mar 2013, 17:57 »

Kat, the skills you've learned and internalized about dealing with people, and your ability to articulate them sound like an immense advantage over those lacking the skills. How will you put them to work over a lifetime? How soon could you replace a House speaker, for example? I don't mean to be looking for future politicians among the women in this forum, but it's kind of fun.
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catflea

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #9 on: 02 Mar 2013, 03:39 »

Why specifically are you looking at the girlies?  :roll:
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Thrillho

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #10 on: 02 Mar 2013, 05:04 »

Because the most politically viable male on here is me, and I'm a sex offender.
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Welu

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #11 on: 02 Mar 2013, 05:13 »

I have to fight for the money I'm rightfully owed.

Having a life outside work means I'm not a team player.

My gender has a direct relation with my knowledge of various topics or lack of it.

Lift with your knees.

Honestly, I enjoy my job and have it pretty good but there's some big and minor screw ups on a regular basis.
« Last Edit: 02 Mar 2013, 08:26 by Welu »
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pwhodges

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #12 on: 02 Mar 2013, 06:01 »

One of those is actually correct practice!  one out of four - hmm: so so.
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Welu

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #13 on: 02 Mar 2013, 08:27 »

Actually one request work has fulfilled for me is that I don't have to carry the bulk packs of two litre drinks from upstairs any more. That's pretty great.

TheEvilDog

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #14 on: 02 Mar 2013, 08:39 »

I learned that given the chance and management is not around, everyone will mess around.

My first job was as a stock boy in a supermarket when I was 15. One night, I think it might have been during flu season because there was hardly anyone working, so our manager was the only supervisor in and he had to go out for a couple of hours. Meanwhile this order of toilet paper had come in, about 6 pallets worth of the stuff and we were told to get it into the attic storage. Three of us, would have taken 10 minutes because the stuff was so light, one of us would throw up a pack to the other two in the attic.

So naturally instead of that the three of us climbed up into the attic and jumped down onto the toilet paper for about an hour.

Our boss never knew why half the batch looked crumpled.
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Papersatan

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #15 on: 02 Mar 2013, 09:23 »

Kat, the skills you've learned and internalized about dealing with people, and your ability to articulate them sound like an immense advantage over those lacking the skills. How will you put them to work over a lifetime? How soon could you replace a House speaker, for example? I don't mean to be looking for future politicians among the women in this forum, but it's kind of fun.


I actually wanted to be a politician for a long time.  My objection to being photographed in sexual situations was always that I might want to be electable someday. 

While I have decided that my career goals include what will likely be an elected position (city or county clerk), I am not sure I would work well on a national political stage. Once I go for a position people care about they will be here digging up all my posts about dildos and rum.  I am actually pretty easy to track down on the internet and a run for a national position would require a concerted effort to purge my internet history, which would be its own red flag and send people digging for the things I could not get rid of.  I am not ashamed of anything I have done or said, but the way the media works, if the 24hr news cycle caught a hold of something...   Though, I did have a friend suggests I go for it, and accept that even if my polyamorous, sex-positive, drunken ribaldry made me unelectable, that being able to debate on a national stage that it should not might still be beneficial in the long run at making elections about issues and abilities and not personal lives.
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Redball

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Re: Lessons from work and retail....
« Reply #16 on: 02 Mar 2013, 17:45 »

Why specifically are you looking at the girlies?  :roll:
At the newspaper I first went to work for 49.75 years ago, then owned, managed and edited by men, after 20 years I worked with several women who were good at some of the management-type jobs that required quick decisions dealing with news judgement, layout, where to send reporters, although they weren't management and couldn't crack the glass ceiling. So I learned to admire women who at the time weren't rewarded in the industry because of their gender.
That's stuck with me since. So when someone like Barmymoo or Papersatan strikes me as having an extra sensitivity to people and leadership skills, I enjoy calling attention to it, teasing about it, whatever. Occasionally I encounter a person who remembers me from some encounter months or years before, and remembers my name. My usual response: With a memory like that, you should run for office.
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