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Dear Customers

A Letter From a Retail Worker to the People Who Spit in My Face

Let me start this off by saying, if you think that this letter isn’t for you, it’s probably for you. I’m not about to be nice, because one thing is for sure: I’m tired. This is for every customer who has yelled at an employee and made them cry or destroyed a display to set their drink down. This is for the people who believe that retail workers are beneath them, and that they can treat us like garbage because of that. So sit back and listen, because you need to get the education that you tend to believe we don’t have.

I’ve been working for a business for almost a year now, and I have been yelled at, called faggot, called a racist, told I was ugly, called fat, stupid, retarded, etc. Why? Because I was new and didn’t know procedures. I’ve heard my beautiful manager, who works her ass off for the customers, get called the n-word because she didn’t perform magic and make a two-year expired coupon automatically work for a woman.

What you people need to understand, is that calling us names won’t get you anywhere. Throwing tantrums and acting like absolute children will make us far less likely to bend the rules to make your problems go away. If you are yelling at us and threatening us for 50 cents, then you aren’t going to get the 50 cents. I know that I have bent the rules on several occasions, and on all those occasions it was a customer who was patient, kind, and understanding of the fact that it wasn’t my fault and I was doing everything I could to help them out.

Now, most stores have rewards cards. It is typically part of the job description to sell these rewards cards. We know that you are tired of hearing about them, but we’ve had to say the, “Are you using your ______ card today?” so many times that we’re almost beginning to believe that it was actually spewed from God’s anus. We are so much more tired of that statement than you are, but we have to keep saying it. Otherwise we’re gonna get a manager who believes more in their own sales pitch than a round earth hovering over us to make sure that we are selling a flimsy piece of plastic that saves you a micro amount of money.

So yeah, we know you don’t want it. We know you don’t give a shit about rewards cards. We know you’re going to say no. Yelling at us for selling it, is not going to stop us. You’ll rant and rave until you’re blue in the face and we’ll still smile and say, “Oh sad day, you’re missing out on that sweet savings every time you shop!” Because we have to. We hear you saying no, but we have goals to meet so that we can keep a minimum wage job and be able to eat.

Displays piss me off. I have had customers look me dead in the eye while they destroy a display so that they can set their drink down. Cleaning is constant, because apparently it’s impossible to tidy up after yourself. Instead of putting a shirt back on the hanger, you throw it on the floor to be walked on. Instead of taking items to the employees or putting them where they belong, you throw them wherever. Some people claim to do this for “job security” and those people have never had to work retail.

We have too much to do to be cleaning up after grown-ass adults who are too lazy to do shit for themselves. We have a lot to do, from pushing product to fixing price tags and making sure that you aren’t going to scream at us for a missed coupon. The fact that we need to spend this time cleaning up after you is absolutely unacceptable.

As for our education, many of us are trying to work so that we can go to school. Many of us are working because a disability doesn’t allow us to do more. Many of us can’t wait for the day that we can put in our two weeks notice and get the hell out. But then we get that degree, and the jobs we thought we could get need more than that. You think we’re lazy, but we are on our feet for ten hours then we go to school. We’re running on two hours of sleep and three Redbulls. We’re single parents who have to work to feed our children. We are not what you think, and we are sick of you believing that we are so far beneath you. Cut us some slack, we’re trying our best. We’re the reason you can get the items you can afford to throw away the next day. We work our asses off so that we can barely scrape by. So calm down, and show us some respect. That’s all we’re asking for.