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Do people really look down on retail staff?

(133 Posts)
Deemail Sun 20-Aug-17 17:10:44

Aibu to think more people than I realised secretly look down on people who work in retail.

I work in retail, in quiet a nice store. I earn quiet a bit more than minimum wage and get some nice perks. While it's certainly not the most taxing/complicated work I am required to use my brain more than appears to be perceived.

I've noticed on threads on here people usually will defend retail staff and seem to understand how trying dealing with the public can be. However while posters admit to having previously worked in retail no-one seems to admit to currently doing so. I've also noticed defensive comments about having worked in retail, that it was only done to support a degree etc. That's fair enough but on a recent thread a poster made reference in front of a customer (who was been nasty about her job) about having made sure she let the woman hear she was doing her degree and wasn't stupid. Sounds daft but up until then I hadn't considered that we would be considered stupid because we work retail.

Thinking back I've often seen similar comments before but not quiet as blatant. It was only then I realised that I've never seen anyone here else "own" up to working in retail.

I'm not going to explain/justify why I'm currently working this role other than it suits me to do so now and on the whole I like it. But I am going to say I don't think my job or anyone else's defines me. I am not better or worse than anyone else and don't look down on or up to anyone else because of what their profession is.

early30smum Sun 20-Aug-17 17:13:33

I absolutely don't look down on anyone who works in retail, and in fact, often quite fancy it myself. Your job absolutely doesn't (or shouldn't) define you and I hate the whole idea of having to work in a job that makes the best of your qualifications (slightly off topic but similar!) if you don't want to/can afford not to.

Justmuddlingalong Sun 20-Aug-17 17:15:08

I suspect many of those who look down on retail staff, have never experienced the deep personal joy that working with the public can entail. Fuck em!

GooodMythicalMorning Sun 20-Aug-17 17:16:03

No as I am one.

5rivers7hills Sun 20-Aug-17 17:16:54

huh? What is wrong with working in retail? nothing, that's what

Flatt7 Sun 20-Aug-17 17:17:45

In my opinion, if you do a skilled job such as paramedic or lawyer (two examples of skilled work from different fields), I would say your job is more likely to define or at least reflect who you are as a person.

That doesn't mean something is wrong with retail work. It just means that it is less likely to intrinsically link in with your persona.

BackforGood Sun 20-Aug-17 17:19:53

I don't look down upon retail staff, nor anyone else, tbh, but I do tend to equate working in a shop - cashier, shelf stacker, etc. as being usually a NMW job, or job that certainly isn't the best T&Cs. I am aware that there are all sorts of reasons to be doing a NMW job at any point in your life, but am also aware it is not a job most people 'aim' for as a permanent career, as, lets be honest, most of us would like to be paid more for our efforts.

I think people definitely feel the need to justify any time spent working in retail with details of more "illustrious" achievements, you're not wrong there. It's mostly fuelled by people who tell their kids "if you don't work hard in school, you'll be stacking shelves in Tesco" etc. It's the same with McDonalds, even though these places now offer great programmes to get young people (and older people too) on a management career track, iirc.

There is a massive superiority complex from many people towards retail workers, because it's seen as an easy, unambitious job (these people have clearly never had to put up with some of the absolute shit retail workers get thrown at them on a regular basis).

I worked at Tesco one Christmas. It was a good job. The company itself had some questionable policies and attitudes but I worked with lovely people from all walks of life, had a laugh, got paid a decent wage and enjoyed it.

I do not think anyone is better than anyone else based on the job they have. I do, however, very much admire the patience of long-term retail workers for putting up with all the shit that gets thrown at them from people who think they're "better".

crazycatgal Sun 20-Aug-17 17:20:19

I don't look down on anyone who gets up every day and goes to work. I used to work in retail and know how shit it can be sometimes with arsey customers.

BayLeaves Sun 20-Aug-17 17:20:47

I don't judge people on their "profession" but I do look down on the job itself as being a crap job - it's hard work and low pay, and I wouldn't refer to it as a profession either - definition of profession is "a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification"

Auspiciouspanda Sun 20-Aug-17 17:21:15

The reason that poster talked about her degree was the customer was using the op as a example to her children to work hard at school so you don't end up like her!

When I worked in McDonalds one stupid man told his child that looked about 4 to work hard at school and go to university so they wouldn't sweeping the floor like me! I was about two steps away from him so I snapped my head up and told him he was rude and I was currently working here to pay my way through uni. He turned a very attractive shade of red.

I've worked in fast food and clothing retail in the past... the reason I don't anymore is the horrible people that are rude and look down on you from the moment they set their eyes on you.

I'm glad you haven't experienced this but just because you haven't doesn't mean that posters are lying.

BlurryFace Sun 20-Aug-17 17:23:38

I don't look down on retail staff. When I go back to work it will almost certainly be in retail as it's what I have experience in. I'm surprised at your surprise at how many people look down on it though.

I've had customers quite blatant about it - telling me it didn't matter it was my first day, the job's not rocket science, telling me to get a "real job". And the 6th formers leaving duties they didn't like to the full time adult employees as it was beneath them.

Laiste Sun 20-Aug-17 17:25:15

When i worked in retail i frequently used to look down on the customers grin

(only half joking)

TDHManchester Sun 20-Aug-17 17:27:41

No,i dont look down on any working person be they dustman, dentist or doctor. Some people think they are better than others because they have a different job, a better car/house/WTF ever.. in reality the vast majority of the UK public are relatively poor and have nothing to preen themselves about.

Deemail Sun 20-Aug-17 17:31:26

# auspiciouspanda. The poster was trying to defend herself to a horrible customer but she did say she spoke about her degree to show she wasn't stupid. Hence she believes people working in retail as a long term job are stupid.

LoniceraJaponica Sun 20-Aug-17 17:31:33

I have worked in retail, and it is bloody hard work. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can be on their feet all day and still be polite to rude customers.

Molehillfromamountain Sun 20-Aug-17 17:32:48

Laiste grin so true!

Polarbearflavour Sun 20-Aug-17 17:35:46

I worked retail as a student in a book store. I certainly don't look down on anybody working any job but I personally didn't enjoy it. I did spur me on to think about what I did want from a career as I didn't want to earn minimum wage and work weekends and bank holidays I and found the job boring and unchallenging.

But some people like working retail and would hate office work! So it's all down to personal preference.

If I had to work retail part-time to fit around childcare, I wouldn't mind working on a make-up counter in Boots or a department store tbh! Staff discount wooooo.

TuiMitcham Sun 20-Aug-17 17:39:08

I think some people have similar attitudes to waiting staff. It's often said a measure of someone's character (particularly if they are rich/successful) is to see how they treat waiters etc.

krustykittens Sun 20-Aug-17 17:40:12

Having worked in retail and waitressing, I can tell you that people do look down on people working in both sectors. In my thirties, I went back to waitressing for a while and people were awful to me. They assumed my young co-workers must be working their way through uni (they mostly were, but not all of them) and I must be the thick loser that gets left behind when they graduate. One customer tried to save me, "You know, our people (we were both Irish) are know for their creativity and their gift with words. You seem like a smart woman, why don't you go to school and do something with it?" At that point I lost my temper a little, pointed out to him I was educated to masters level but also had two very small children so if he could get me a creative job paying a regular wage that fitted in with raising two young kids, only one of whom was at school, that would be great. Patronising twonk. On the flip side, they are shit jobs because they pay so little and yet are bloody hard work, because no-one, including employers, values these jobs. Even though their businesses would fall apart without these workers. Go figure.

BossyBitch Sun 20-Aug-17 17:44:42

Yes, some people are insecure enough to jump at any chance to look down on others. And some are just simply arseholes!

Nice people, OTOH, know that people are in their jobs for myriad reasons and that it's quite unreasonabke to try and draw conclusions about a person solely on the basis of what they do for a living - especially (but not only) if they've never done the job in question.

FWIW, arguably the stupidest person I know has a PhD and works in strategy consulting on management level. I can't really explain how exactly that happened, but it did. He used to be my boss and looked down his nose on us fellow professionals but not strategists while regularly having to have his project financials fixed by me.

user128057 Sun 20-Aug-17 17:48:35

I work in retail and I think some people do look down upon you 100%. It's amazing how many people think they can speak to you like dirt because of the job we do. They don't understand we are people as well. I hate having loyalty cards chucked at me and people speaking rudely to me when I'm nothing but polite ( as are most of the people I work with)

TDHManchester Sun 20-Aug-17 17:50:02

I certainly dont look down on waiters/waitresses either ! I think thats a peculiarly British thing. It doesnt seem to be common in the USA or Europe.

topcat2014 Sun 20-Aug-17 17:50:42

@OP some people are just ignorant tw*ts!

I enjoy speaking to the petrol station staff with my morning paper, the local corner shop staff with my milk, and the hardworking Aldi staff every sunday morning.

Like many others, I worked in retail at 16 on saturdays, got a degree, then worked in retail again, about three shop's down.

These days am a finance director, but haven't forgotten my employment 'roots'

PaganGoddessBrigid Sun 20-Aug-17 17:51:04

I don't. I'd l9ve a job in a book shop or a gift shop or a clothes shop or a flower shop. Id find working in a coffee shop sociable.
Whenever i apply my application is ignored

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