Get ready for a full account of our time as retail workers! We’ll cover training, bizarre store policies, baffling customers, holiday times and try to figure out how sales commission works. 

Show Notes

Transcribed by

Jae 0:00

I pledge myself to the Pod. Loyal I'll always be. A P to start, a D at the end and an O sitting in between. Hello and welcome to In Omnia Paratus. I'm Jae like the letter.

Angela 0:18

and I'm Angela sometimes AVO

Jae 0:21

We are to Gilmore girl stans diving into our own past and present seeing if we were ever truly ready for anything. We discuss all things from problematic school dances and what no one prepares you for after college. We tell tales of elusive college boys and co workers more high strung than Paris Geller.

I have a question.

Angela 0:53

I'm ready for it.

Jae 0:56

window shopping.

aspirational or torturous?

Angela 1:02


So I think it really depends on your state of mind. If you're just looking for inspiration, then I think it's wonderful. But if you go in and you're looking for something particular that you know, you will need for said event for your home for just like your general closet, then it can be a little torturous when you can't find what you're looking for. But like window shopping, so you don't get to buy anything. Yeah. Yeah, like when you're just going to look, I think it depends on what you're looking for. Like if you are looking just for inspiration, or something that you want to like an outfit you want to put together, like to see if like something that you're thinking of wearing is in style, then I think it's fine. I think it's fun. But if you're looking because you know that you would like to get something in the future, but you don't see it. That's torturous.

Jae 2:08


I can see those perspectives. I don't know, where do you sit on it. It's always torturous for me because if I'm window shopping, it means I do not have the financial means at the moment to shop. And if I don't have the financial means to shop, I'd rather stick to Pinterest or online shopping rather than going to stores touching things, trying things on, you attach more when you're in store than you do online. Because you get to physically see it, try it on, see how it works for your individual body type or how it smells on you or whatever it may be. As opposed to like everything online, there's less of a connection less of a need to buy. Which is why I think brick and mortar stores aren't gonna die altogether anytime

Angela 2:47


I mean, hopefully. I mean, that does make sense. I know. I'm not one who loves to try things on. So I definitely go and more to look, I guess if there was something that I really, really wanted, that I was looking for, but for whatever reason, I couldn't get it that day that that would be really hard.

Jae 3:06

Yeah, I always feel like it's better just to take the attempt out of it and shop when I can. I'm more traditional like Emily in that way. like to see everything closest I would ever get to Emily telling everyone in that department store that she wanted. One of everything basically, is for like my eighth Christmas. I had the joy of going through with the registry gun through Toys R Us.

Angela 3:29

Oh my gosh,

Jae 3:30

I will say the only thing I remember is that I maxed it out. Like there's an item limit on it.


Angela 3:37

Oh, wow.

Jae 3:38

And I max it. I think it was like at some point I just was scanning everything. But that was one of the most fun things I could do was go through with the registry gun through Toys R Us

Angela 3:46

See I don't actually remember ever going to Toys R Us. I feel like that would have been very dangerous for me. So it's probably good that I didn't look

Jae 3:53

you've never stepped foot into Toys R Us

Angela 3:55

never. Like I don't know, like I did. So for me window shopping is something that I did a lot with my dad, like before holidays, to like give him an idea of what I might like. So I don't know to me that was always really fun. Like, oh, I really like this movie. This game looks fun. Let's let's look at these headphones.

Jae 4:23

But see, I feel like that's not window shopping because someone in that equation has the means to pay for it. I don't know at least the way they do it and seen in a mall in season four where they were the roses and they go to the mall and they run into Emily they're broke. I mean no window shopping just means that you're looking at not buying but for me. It's not window shopping if I'm going with someone to show them things I want that will at some point possibly get purchased.

Angela 4:47


Jae 4:48

but that's because I'm a shopaholic. So I have stronger boundaries than some others would have to.

Angela 4:53

I mean, I guess I've never really looked at it that way. Like this is also just a little strange thing that I know my family does. They like to go to the mall to walk. Yeah, like that's like their form of like casual exercise. Like my mom and her sister actually do that a lot. Like, they'll go to the mall, they'll walk, they'll look through the stores, they'll have lunch, but they're not necessarily looking to buy anything. It's more of a social activity for them.

Jae 5:18

Like I get doing that like Disneyland. But like a mall.

Angela 5:22

See. Well, I think it's that they both also like to shop. But that that's like their way of showing restraint. So like, they'll go and they'll look but they won't buy and then they'll treat themselves to lunch.

Jae 5:34

See, I would see that as a reward to shop because I exercised.

Angela 5:38

Oh, yeah, no, see, I'm kind of more like Emily here. It's like when I shop, I think I need to leave and eat and take a nap

Jae 5:45

depends on what I'm shopping for. I think my longest days have been like six to eight hours of straight shopping. There's a meal in between, but like we continue through it.

Angela 5:53

I could do like half of that. I don't think I'd ever make it through one of your marathon shopping trips.

Jae 5:58

I mean, I haven't had one since I was young. And since I had to start spending my own money that always puts a damper on the marathon shopping.

Angela 6:06

It really does. But I feel like the best window shopping is when you are actually a store employee. And you just get to look at everything as you're working.

Jae 6:19

Oh my god. Yes. So today we are going to be diving in delving is delving the past tense or the present tense of diving. Are they different words or miss English major?

Angela 6:33

different words, same sentiment?

Jae 6:35

Got it. We are diving into our experience working retail. Some would say more fun than window shopping. Most would probably say less.

Angela 6:46

But maybe by the end of today's episode, we'll have an answer for you.

Jae 6:50

I worked almost three years at a major beauty skin hair retailer.

Angela 6:59

And I worked for six months. One of the larger department store chains.

Jae 7:06

So I had an internship the fall after my senior year. No. Yeah, I graduated college in June 2017. And in October, I had an internship that ended right before holiday season. And I didn't want to try to get like a big kid job. I didn't want to do anything like oh, I'll just work a holiday job and really make some money so I can buy people gifts and get the discount. So I applied in late November and didn't and I got a call on like Hanukkah. So I got the call and like mid December, okay, do you want to come in tomorrow for an interview I did that the next day, I got a call the time in for training. And then I started that next day at 6am. Doing shipment and sorting all of the holiday stuff. Another thing to mention is starting during the holidays is very different than starting any other time of the year. And for retail. I mean, even in the few years I worked there, I could see it inching up holiday used to start at the beginning of November. Last year, it started mid October for different holiday sets and things coming out. And especially this year with Black Friday, kind of dispersing throughout the month of October through November, probably December. Things are definitely switching up still. And moving forward.

Angela 8:25

Oh 100%. Like I think when you start a retail job any other time of the year, you're going to have sort of a more normal, leisurely onboarding. But with seasonal retail, you're just launched right into the fray. So I also applied seasonally, post grad, in November, had a 15 minute interview. And they're like, okay, cool, you're hired. You're going to start next Monday. And we're putting you on this traveling team. So you're going to go all over the bay area to different stores and work there. You'll do training at whatever store you started first. So did that I think I only had to they only wanted to give me like two days of training. But like I was like No, I was like I want I want a full week's worth of training I want right I want formal registered training. I want it to be supervised. I want to know all the store policies. There was no way I was going out there into the middle of the seasonal mayhem without that. And it was really lucky that I did because my first full day on the floor by myself was Black Friday. So I think similarly to you. I also started at 6am but I didn't see another store associate until 11am. Goodness gracious.

Jae 9:45

Yeah, I had two hours of video training and then everything else I just had to do on the job as it came about. And we're in the register during like my second shift. No one It wasn't a formal thing. It was like push this button, push this button and

Angela 9:58

go which is a little scary. Because you're logged into that register, and you're in charge of keeping that money,

Jae 10:05

yeah, that never really dawned on me,

Angela 10:07

Oh, my God, like, it really hit me the first time I had to close out or register and sign the deposit slip and certify that this is the amount of money that came in today. This is the amount that I'm putting into the safe. Only managers did that. Oh, okay. Yeah, I also, I also became a manager really fast, I was only a seasonal manager. But like three weeks in, they gave me a name tag that had the little manager thing on it. And they were like, Here you go, you're floating manager, whatever department needs one, you're there for the day,

Jae 10:37

I became a manager. After two years, my circumstances were some of the oddest that came about. But there are people who I didn't realize, and I think this is just all call a very clear blind spot. People who do like, associate work for years and don't get promoted. Like, that's just like what they do. And I can't imagine doing the same thing for so long without a promotion in any industry. And anything, I would go nuts, I did go nuts.

Angela 11:04

There are some people that truly love associate work. And I know especially if you work in a commissioned department, you're going to be a lot more successful as a floor associate than as a manager.

Jae 11:17


Angela 11:17

because managers don't make the same rate of commission, at least at the store that I worked at. managers don't make the same rate of commission, they have a higher base fee, but they don't pull in as much. And also, because you have a set amount of manager duties that you need to do during the day, you're not on the floor selling. And if you're not selling, you're only making your base fee, which is already lower than a regular sales associate pay. So again, that depends on the store.

Jae 11:46

I wasn't commissioned based, I don't really understand. I know for commission, it's like, it's kind of like tipping tide, in the sense that like, you don't make as much, but you make it based on your selling, right.

Angela 11:59

So post my seasonal period, I transitioned into a regular department, I worked in women's shoes. And I then became commissioned because it's an entirely commissioned department at the store. Basically, I was going to be making half of what I used to make as my base fee, but then I would be making Commission on 10% of every sale that I made. So I had to make X amount of sales to make up the difference. And then anything over that was my commission.

Jae 12:46

Okay, wait, so let me see if I got this trick you make, I'm just gonna throw out a number. I don't know how much made $50,000

Angela 12:52

No, I was just gonna say I would even break it down lower than that, I would just do the hourly fee. Like say I made $13 an hour, a commissioned associate, I made $7. I say I made $7 an hour, then I would have to make up the $6 in sales before I would actually start earning Commission for the hour. So then, say I worked an eight hour day, that's x amount of money a day, I'd have to make up before I saw a commission for that day,

Jae 13:30

you make $7 an hour. And you at 10% of every shoe purchase. That means you need to sell at least seventy dollars of shoes an hour before you see commission, because seven plus seven gets you to 14 for that hour. Correct?

Angela 13:53


Jae 13:54

Final answer.

Angela 13:55

Yeah. Yes. I'm going to trust your math on this.

Jae 13:58

70 like 10% of $77. Yes. So if you sold one pair of shoes for $70. That means you got $7, which would make up that six lacking of the 13. And then anything any more than $70 worth of shoes, you would make more money on? Right? Yes, you got it. I wasn't commissioned, so I didn't understand that whole thing. I mean, frankly, even being commissioned, I didn't really understand it. It's just like, that was the sheet that they gave me. And I was like, Okay, cool. This is what I've signed up for. We're gonna try it out. Do you have any particularly standout like positive stories or not so positive stories, actually, seasonally, some of the people that I met who were working there, they were so nice, and they had, they were just like doing it for really fantastic reasons. So there was one woman who I would ate lunch with on the weekends. She only worked Saturdays and Sundays. But she was a social worker who was

Angela 15:09

working the seasonal shifts so that she could buy toys and clothes for the kids that she worked with so that they would have things for Christmas. Yeah, no, it was really cute. She was so nice. She actually offered to help find me a job. She gave me a really great reference when I was transitioning out of retail. But yeah, no, she was an amazing person. And every weekend she was there, she would work like her eight hour shift. And she would always try to get overtime to do as much as she could to get these kids their christmas toys. I don't know. What about you, in your three years, do you think you had better experiences seasonally, like during the holidays, or just in the regular course of the year?

Jae 15:55

I feel like it's by what you're defining as better. I think on a more regular basis. We had nicer customers. So ones that like, I know, we had some brides girl shopping for prom, kind of fun things like that. But then, seasonally, I always loved helping the husbands, boyfriends, grandparents and trying to like find anything on a list or anything to buy. Oh, I love that. It was always really sweet. There were a few things. And we'll get into kind of our soapbox rant sessions about customer service jobs and the do's and don'ts when you are a customer and when you are a retail worker, but it is always sweet to see them putting in the effort around the holidays. Absolutely.

Okay, well, now that that sweet stuffs over,

let's get into my favorite part of ranting about customers. And this is not a particular customer, I live in a very diverse area, it has nothing to do with economics, color, orientation, race, anything of the sort. And this just has to do with human decency, respecting one another and being kind. Now, when you come into a store, and you're insisting on telling me we carry a brand, I know is exclusively with another retailer. And you will not pull it up on Google to prove it to me. And you're just telling me I saw it on the website. And when I pull it fully asked you to show it to me on the website, you're like no, where is it? And I repeat, we don't sell out here. It's here. You have no right to then have me Google and or call that competitive retailer and see if they have this product for you. If I do you do that it is out of the kindness of my own heart, not because you as the customer always being right, is entitled to a service for our product. We do not carry?

Angela 17:54

Oh my goodness, I 100% agree. I think the biggest thing that you learn working in retail is that we're always taught that the customer's always right, false, but then you learn. That's not always the case.

Jae 18:07

I do know there is a disconnect between some of the older generations and some of the younger ones. I think shopping has been different. I think the experience of service if you watch Miss maizel, or you watch any kind of the older shows, the amount of customer service has declined in terms of the one on one personal shopper longer form experience.

Angela 18:34

Mm hmm.

Jae 18:34

However, I

also think that a lot of young people, me particularly Jae, when I go into a store, I know what I'm looking for. I don't want you to approach me and I asked for help. And if I do need help, I will approach you don't pick out outfits for me You think I would like based on the other things that I've picked. I do multiple laps around a store before picking what I pick. And if I wanted the item you picked for me. I would have grabbed it that's on customer j not on retail worker j i know.

Angela 19:08

So yeah. Customer Angela agrees with customer J. If I'm shopping I know what I'm looking for. And I'll grab what I like, I don't need you to suggest other things to go along with that


Jae 19:19

Unless asked

Angela 19:20

unless asked Yes. Like unless I specifically asked then great. Like I'm happy for your help. But otherwise, like, I don't think that there's a need for you to continually approach me and ask if I want help or if I'd like that in a different size or a different color or whatever. Because I will ask and I do know that for me at least that sort of spilled over to my time on the other side as an actual retail employee. I was not very good sales myself. Like I would greet people and ask them how they're doing but I would never ask anyone specifically if I could look for something for them because I think that just by Oh Opening the line of conversation in like, a friendly one on one dialogue is enough for them to ask for help if they want it. And I think we should work on that.

Jae 20:10

I definitely agree with you. I do stand by I think some of the older generation is more used to that really high quality customer service, like genuinely being on what can I help you with today? But I also think there's a difference between walking into Neiman Marcus and walking into target. Oh, yeah, 100%. Neither of those are places we worked. But I think there's a huge difference. If you go in to Neiman Marcus, to get more of that one on one customer service and get kind of more that time with your associate and build that rapport versus at Target. Don't take a sales associate to give you a tour around the store. This is just a personal pet peeve. Similarly along the lines of Okay, so retail, Jay, good morning. How are you today? I'm good. How

are you?

Angela 20:57

I'm well, thank you. Please let me know if you need help with anything.

Jae 21:01

No, I'm good. Oh, wait, actually,

right. The

second I turned my back the second I started to walk away. Oh, we actually ordered. I'm like, Oh, do you have any questions? Do you need help with anything? They're like, no. Oh, but where's this?


That's a question.

Angela 21:17

You just said no.

Jae 21:18

Yeah. And someone like, Oh my god, the Yelp reviews are hysterical. If you read for retail Yelp people, like they're like someone to ask me if I need help. And then they walked away. It's like you said no, if you say no, I have no reason to stand next to you. Exactly.

Angela 21:32

I also think there's something to be said, too, when you are approaching someone to ask for help. It's very polite to say excuse me, or Hello, or just like address people in some way. Like, if you just walk up to your retail associate, you're like, Where is this, and they have their back to you or they're doing something they might not know you're talking to them. And then when you get annoyed, because they don't know that you're specifically talking to them. That's not really on them. The other thing that's annoying is so the place I worked very much was about customer service. And so it was like, you definitely had to check in every, honestly every few minutes. And when I didn't, because I had already known everyone. If you did not know what every person was looking for, had in their bag, wanted to have in their bags, basically their whole life story and social security number you had not spoken to those guts enough.

Jae 22:26

That is how I got Oh, my Lord, that particularly is how people got very annoyed with me. And I'm like, I'm really sorry, like, I can't help this. It's the policy of the company, and I get it. But when most of your customers are more of kind of like the target on the go, you have, you're able to buy things and pick them up in store. Those customers aren't the ones who want to be walked around and given tours. At that point, you're harassing your customers, and they're not gonna want to stay?

Angela 22:53

Basically, no, it is interesting, too, because like, there are some stores that will adhere so closely to the company policy, and then others that will make up their own set of rules. And so you really don't know what you're getting into until you get to that particular store. Because even as a shopper, I could go to one store location in one city and then another store in a different city. And it'll be like two totally different experiences. Oh my god, Angela, that is a great transition to my next point.

Jae 23:26

Go for it.

Just because you're going to two stores with the same name does not mean they have the same clearance section. items. items on sale, the same quantity, the same color.

Angela 23:39

Oh, yes. Like the store that I worked in it actually, they would sometimes split out their sections. So like, all women's would be here all men's would be here, home stuff would be here. And when people came into a specific store, and they're like, I'm looking for this and you try to tell them like, Oh, that's actually in the location on the other side of the mall. They're like, no, it's in this store. Yes, this store has two locations in this mall. You need to go to the other location when you have a customer who wants to fight you on the facts. And then you have to be as polite as possible. And sometimes these interactions can go on or what seems like forever in all it's probably like five to 10 minutes at most, but it's very difficult to keep the smile and keep the pleasantries because you really just want to, like, point them in the other direction and go, No, you need to go here. Please go talk to another person. They will confirm it. But you can't you have to be so calm retail, really test your patience.

Jae 24:46

I always thought prior to working in retail. I was a nice customer. I was a good customer. I didn't bother associates when I didn't need help. I was always very grateful. But I learned a bunch more being On the other side that I didn't even consider, like, this is just a PSA to all shoppers. If you find something and you decide you don't want it, at least in my environment, Andrew, you can say if it was the same as yours, it's better to bring it to the register and tell them, then to just put it somewhere else. Agreed?

Angela 25:22

Oh, yeah, no, like if you bring it to the register, and we so like we would keep like a rack. And so then we would know what needs to go back. Like if other people came in from another department and they saw something from theirs, they could just take it. Or even if you just like, leave it on those like dressing room carts, because there are people who are specifically working

like in the dressing room area who are constantly doing go backs. Correct. And then it makes it that much easier for the person who is looking for the item to find their size.

Jae 25:58

That's a note from both retail and shopper Angela. And people who work at coffee shops or in restaurants, experiences, even to a higher degree service jobs are dehumanizing. Even at the level of being a doctor, the way people will speak to you, they very much want to put you in your place. And I've seen this and heard of this happening even at the level of doctors who go to years and years and years of school when working with the public. Some people get it in their head that yes, you are serving them.

But serving them does not make them above you. These are not slaves, these are not servants. These are people at their jobs, who are here to assist you.

Angela 26:50

Right? It's like these people could be you like there's very little that actually separates you the shopper from the retail employee. Besides the fact that the employee is hired by this company, but they're also shoppers to like, at the end of the day, like everyone is on the same level, mostly on the same level, we're all doing work. in some capacity, you just happen to be a visitor in their place of work.

Jae 27:21

I honestly think this is this is not me trying to get political. This is just a fact. This is not me trying to say anything pro con anything in Israel. After you leave high school, you need to join the IDF, which is the Israeli Defense Force for a few years. And then after that, you can decide whether you want to extend it or leave and take the skills you have. Or you can even decide to go to college first and come back and do your years of service. I think we need a program in the United States, everyone between the ages of 18 and 22 needs to have a job in customer service. I don't care how much money you have, I don't care what your situation is, I care, I think it's something that would be really helpful and really unifying and humanizing for the country to have to experience. I don't care whether you are the son of a king, if you are a server, someone's going to treat you poorly, because you're their server and purely based on the current power dynamic of that situation. And I think it would be really helpful if everyone had that experience, whether it's retail or whether it's the food service industry, having to deal with the public and hold yourself accountable and hold yourself together as people are spewing things at you. One of the girls that my work almost got hit

Angela 28:36

Oh my God.

Jae 28:39

And it was it was the audacity of a customer. She was upset that people were sitting on the counter at 8am. When the store opened at 10. One they were upset, they wouldn't let her in. And then she was upset. She couldn't do her return and three that they were being lazy and sitting there when they had been there since six and they were on their break.

Angela 28:57

Literally, some of the things that people think they are entitled to do, disgusts me. I can totally get behind this plan as a whole because So okay, Jae, you worked in retail for three years. I worked there for six months, but like, we've both experienced, like some very hurtful things and you also served food on campus for like a hot day. Okay, it was six weeks, eight weeks. Eight, it was eight weeks.

I think I was just trying to give you more experience. Okay. Okay. Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging that. Yeah, we can we can actually get into that another time too. Because that would be a pretty interesting topic. It's like not even a thing of like, oh, like, you know, if you're like in this industry for an amount for a certain amount of time, like of course you're going to encounter things like I encountered crazy customer interactions within my first few weeks. Like, okay, well actually, first I have something I want to hit before we go into this a little deeper. Jay. Did you ever experience.

Jae 30:02

People who assumed that you were a high school or college dropout? Um, no, everyone assumed I just graduated high school though, because I looked so young, everyone was like, oh, like, Okay, well, this is more the staff side of things. And I would also have been like, Oh, I just graduated there. Oh, cool. Like what High School and I'm like, college, I have a college. And they're like, Oh, I know where you're going with this. And for me, it was just always the thing of, I looked younger than I was.

Angela 30:32

Mm hmm.

Jae 30:33

The thing is, that's funny is I either everyone either thought I was 18, or 19. Or, I was 27 to 29. Oh, my God handing on the role they saw me and I had two promotions. During my time there. When I got promoted to a manager, everyone assumed I was older, just because of the way I carried myself being an only child, I've always been told I carry myself a little bit more materially just because you're more used to having to be socialized or an adult. And then with the associates, when I wasn't associated, it was the low position. Everyone was younger. Like I said, in the trailer, I am a Gen Z CUSP. So I'm fully aware of all the tech talk, and all that stuff and everything going on. I can't do the well, but I know how it goes.

I could also like, go older or younger, depending on the situation that fit. So that was more my experience with that. And

Angela 31:23

just something that I would really like to call out for the shoppers out there. Just because someone looks young, please do not assume that. Okay, well, actually, no, we're gonna rephrase this a little bit. Because not everyone assumes this. people assumed that because I looked young, I had either dropped out of high school or college, it was a thing multiple times a day, customers would speak to me while I was at the register, and tell me that I could do more I could be more I should really consider going back to school as like their. And that was their regular parting line. And I just graduated college, I was trying to do more. I was regularly interviewing for jobs, but I had no job experience prior to my retail job. So I really wasn't getting anywhere in the interview process. Like all of my rejections. Like, whenever I asked for feedback, they told me, you need you need some sort of job experience, like you have no recommendations coming from people who have worked with you, in an official employment capacity. They're like, you need that in some way, even if it's something small. So that's how I ended up in retail. It was very shocking. And then it became hurtful, and then I just sort of numbed out to it. But, you know, just please don't. Don't do that. Like one woman even asked to see a picture of my kids. Like she was like, Oh, don't don't you work to like to support your kids. When I when I've like looked at her confused. I was like, No, I don't have kids. She's like, Oh, I thought you were a young mom. Like you were trying to like support your kids. Like, no, I just graduated from college. She's like, Oh, you went to college? Yes. Yes, I did. Thank you. Have a nice day. Here's your bags. Please don't come back to my line.

Jae 33:22

I feel like what happened to you was terrible. I also feel like though has to do with the demographics, which again, the demographics for me. No one ever asked that question of anyone in my store.

Angela 33:35

Mm hmm.

Jae 33:37

So I think

I'm not I'm not justifying the behavior of what they did. I'm saying that I think location to location store to store can very different in the types of customers you get. For example, my store was a very high theft, very high shrink, as we called it. And during multiple holiday seasons, we had bands of 10 to 20 people coming in and stealing.

Angela 34:01

There were that many.

Jae 34:02

The last one. It was so sad because they were all really young. They all look 2015 at 12 to 18 people Oh, once a week for the month spread around holiday.

Angela 34:13

Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Yeah. No, I wasn't justifying terrible behavior. I was just saying every retail location has different things that impact making it a positive or a negative experience. Oh, yeah. No, I I misunderstood you there because I thought you were saying my demographics. I was like, that's still terrible. But no store demographics. Yes, that makes sense.

Jae 34:36

Storing customer demographics.

Like for example, I know of people who work at a store, a few counties over and people are a lot more the way you describe your customers as opposed to where I were, the demographics were different. And the thing is, a lot of people do retail because They're in school. And it's one of the few jobs that have the more flexible hours where you don't need a bunch of experience. And you don't need the time commitment that a real job would take.

Angela 35:09

Right? You need the flexible schedule, like all of my girls were in college. All right. Also, can we just add in a really quick point here to like, even if I had been a college dropout, or a high school dropout, or a young mom, it's just it's a little bit offensive, that people would take it upon themselves to call it out and tell me to do more with my life. They don't know me, and anyone who was in that position, they don't know their circumstances.

So that's just something that you

don't need to say. I think we touched on this a little bit earlier. Like, occasionally, you do get some really great customers my favorite, where the wedding parties like brides that would come in with their friends, or like they bring the bridal party or just like the bride and her family, those were the most fun interactions that I've had in a store. If a store closes at nine, that does not mean it's not like a museum where it means be inside By this time, and then take your time. When we close at nine, that means all customers are out by nine. The exception is if you were getting a service performed like a hair service or a skin service rate, or if you're in line if you're already in line. Fine. Correct. But that doesn't mean you get to come in at 859. Hmm, here's where my one exception comes into this great anecdote of a bride to be runs in saying I'm so sorry, my makeup bag got stolen. My girlfriend's driving me up here for a bachelorette weekend. I

Jae 36:49

really don't want to come but like, can you please help me. And she was running around, we were shade matching her. We were trying to help her by everything. And she was really sweet. Just like I used to work retail guys, like, I'm so sorry. I know what we're keeping you guys. Just that validation of understanding what she was doing. We wanted to help her more, we were willing to help her more, we gave her that really great customer service, because she felt terrible. You could tell she was already stressed about like having to go meet her friends and go do these activities. She didn't want to do her in laws were calling her she was having a day. So I don't mind giving you that time and that service, even when it's after, when you're like that. But if you show up at nine o'clock on the dot, and get mad when I don't let you in because we've locked the doors and we're closing. Mm hmm. That is not my responsibility.

Angela 37:34

It's like if you're genuinely appreciative, people are far more likely to help you then if you demand something that you have no right to.

Like, because let's also remember, stores do have the right to refuse service to people. I actually encountered a woman once who I was working at a register. And I had a very long line of people it was practically measureless. Like I couldn't see the end of it from where I stood. And she cut the line. And while I was in the middle of it. That's right. Yeah. So she cut the line while I was in the middle of a transaction. And she demanded that I immediately ring her up, and then carry her bags to her car. And as I was telling her I like you know, I'm sorry, we don't do that, actually. And we have a lie. And I'm helping someone else. She refused to move. Another manager came over because she was getting progressively agitated. And finally security had to remove her. Y'all have good security. I know, right? This store was fabulous. So she left, she came back the next day. And actually, like, followed me around a little bit. And just kept asking me question after question. Just like how many brands of men's pants Do you sell? Who changes the light bulbs in your store? she asked if I could explain whether to her like it was it was very bizarre. And every time I didn't have a sufficient answer for what she was asking. She would tell me that I was a terrible employee a terrible representation of the store. And that she wanted to see my manager. So I went and got a manager. And they actually ended up canceling her store credit card and taking her photo and banning her from their location. Good.

Yeah. So there are some times where justice is served.

Jae 39:35


not enough.

Angela 39:37

Not enough. Exactly. But if it had just been thing if she's have if she had said like, hey, like I'm so sorry, I'm in a rush. Like, I have to get on this flight to go see my family for the holidays. Like Can someone please help me. I would have got on the phone and like, paged someone to come open another register and help her or like try to do like a mobile register or mobile transaction type of deal. just wanting to be helped at that moment is not enough. You have to wait your turn

entitlement. We don't like it. No. What was the thing you said you were going to circle back to after I brought up the whole everyone should work in retail? Oh, yeah, I think that everyone should do some sort of service job. I don't necessarily agree with the timeframe. But I think overall, it would really open up everyone's eyes because I you also touched on it earlier, you thought you were a good shopper. I thought I was a good shopper, too. And now I think after working in retail, I'm an even better shopper. Because I I mean, I'm I always try to be polite. But now I'm definitely over polite. Like there's a lot of pleases, and thank yous and I'm more patient, if I need to wait for something, if it's a really busy day, and someone says they'll be right with me. And I don't see them for 15 minutes. That's okay, because they're having a day they need time to take a breath.

Jae 41:12

I get that. I mean, there's been times I've accidentally confused shoppers or forgotten shoppers. And I understand that is not okay. But I also think in my particular environment, I was left on the floor by myself to handle the staff and I wasn't a manager yet. So it was the staff below me. Everyone's breaktime assisting customers and the register. I didn't work in the largest store. But there were multiple departments. And I was left by myself, we had an amazing security guard. And he would help customers when he knew where to go and where to take them. I would get told time and time again by my district manager and by other managers to stay at the register. But then no one was on the floor, because we had a manager who liked to sit in the office all day and take up all of our overtime,

Angela 42:01

I should say that's pretty horrible. Because as an associate, like overtime is where the majority of your paycheck comes from. That's what really gives you like that substantial fun money. Say it's like you work for your essentials. But then like the overtime is where like you don't have to worry about it as much I definitely agree. So don't be an overtime hog either.

Jae 42:27

My thing between picking the ages of between 18 and 22. I would say before 25 I would say before your brain is fully developed. My reason for this and why I really I really thought about it, especially maybe because I'm a little bit past that age group. I feel like during that age group life is very much as Rory calls it an abyss you don't really know what you're going to do you don't really know. And wouldn't it be nice to know that similarly, if you choose to go to college, everyone around you is having a similar experience of working a retail service something job around the same time. And then we would always have new people coming in and old people coming out to keep both industries busy.

Angela 43:01

Mm hmm.

Jae 43:02

I think like the younger we can do it the better just because I think if by the time you're 45, you're kind of an asshole to service people. It's not really gonna chain. I mean, it could change but why change you at 45 when we can cement this at 22 or 23.

Angela 43:16

I do like the extension to 25 do like the I do agree. I think it should happen as early as possible. Just need a little bit more wiggle room there. We particularly started in retail post grad. And I think that it actually worked pretty well for us because it carried us through what it needed to.

Jae 43:37

I agree. Honestly, the best part of retail wasn't me as much as I loved the discount and the discount really helped and being able to work it to get extra discounts were always fun. I love the people I worked with. I love the associates. I love the other managers. It was a really nice environment. That was something that made it the hardest for me to leave. But I genuinely really liked the team I was working on I felt there was a bunch of drama and things and turnover where they're always in retail. But we finally had a really good rhythm inconsistent thing going prior to Coronavirus. And that's what I'm going to miss the most is the environment that was we finally created.

Angela 44:14

I actually never had a consistent team when I was in retail because I was always moving from store to store. But it was always nice when I saw a familiar face and it was like there was someone to check in with or someone who I knew had really good work ethic and we were stationed in the same department that day. Now I have all my girls on Instagram. If they ever need anything they know they can text me that's so nice. If you're working in retail you encounter absurdities on a regular basis and retail employees in the words of Claire Crawley. I would like to thank you for showing up day after day, even when you might not want to miss out the back door.

Yep, retail employees. We appreciate you general populace Hate retail and service workers more than you think you do already, we can always improve, especially in this area. It's like it's better to do more than to not do enough. And so to close us out for the day, would you like some other toast?

Jae 45:15

Yes, let's hear it.

Angela 45:17

We all know the etiquette for returning Tupperware and serving dishes and whatnot. But what is the etiquette for returning mason jars? Anything were usable? I feel like should go back unless otherwise specified.


See, I never know exactly like when people send me home, like with a mason jar, or even like a mason jar favor, like if there's something edible inside of it or like the gift, like if it's, then you keep it. Okay. Interesting. Like, sometimes it's a little hard to find mason jars. So like, I don't know, I'm always thinking like, would this person like this back once I'm finished with it? And then we can just keep this cycle going.

Jae 46:00

I think it's situational. I

Angela 46:02

think if it's something like oh, you took leftovers or they gave you a coffee, you give that back. I feel like if it's a favor or something like they say, oh, keep thing keep it. Very nice. And on that note, thank you for listening to this episode of in Omnia paratus. Join us next week when we talk about the obscure Christmas movies that live rent free in our heads. Grab your coffee bowl and don't forget to rate download and subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. As always, where you lead will follow. So head on over to at @inomniapod on Instagram and let us know what you want to hear about. Bye

Jae 46:42