Difference Between Working in Retail in America vs. Ireland
When I lived in San Francisco, I worked in retail at Ralph Lauren for about 5 years. I was a seasonal worker so whenever I would come home from school for summer vacation, winter break, or spring break I would pick up a few hours and work. Even though I was a seasonal worker and didn’t work super often, I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved everyone I worked with, I made some great friends and I also got an awesome discount so that definitely helped get me through. But for the most part, I found customers to be rude, full of complaints, (“No mam, I did not design this shirt, but want me to call Ralph and tell him you hate it?”) and just mainly treated workers like s***. I always told myself I would NEVER go back to working in retail, that’s how bad I hated it by the end.
I moved to Ireland about 3 months ago and needed something else part time. I have a part time job online so I just needed something simple that could go with my hours. My first aim was resturants or cafes, I really was avoiding retail stores. My boyfriend kept telling me I should just drop off my CV anyways, especially since I had so much experience in retail; so fine, I did. And most of you know Ireland isn’t doing the absolute greatest with jobs at the moment, so I couldn’t be picky.
I got a call from Tommy HIlifger about a month after I dropped off my CV. They weren’t hiring at the moment but they took my CV anyways. Long story short, I got the job. Phew. I wasn’t going to complain at this point, I wasn’t hearing from anywhere else, unless it was retail, of course. I’ve been working there for over a month, and let me tell you, the American customer vs. the Irish/UK customer is SO different.
My first week working, I didn’t know what to do. Customers try on clothes, and whether they are going to buy the item or not, they bring out the clothes and put them back themselves. I was really confused, isn’t that my job? I mean I was used to walking in a dressing room when I worked at Ralph and wanting to scream. People left rooms a complete mess; it was like they went out of their way to make the room even more messy when leaving it. Well, I learned quick people in Ireland don’t do that.
I brought it up to my coworker and he said that was normal. Then he was confused and asking if people were not like that in America. I laughed and explained my daily experience at work. He went on to tell me that they try and be considerate here when trying things on, and if they weren’t they probably would get told off by someone. (The Irish can be fairly blunt)
So working in retail in Ireland is really not too shabby. I get along with my coworkers, which is great, but the customers are also much nicer here. Obviously you will always get a few bad ones, but they don’t come nearly as often as they did when I was working in America.
Only if people shopped this kindly in America, it wouldn’t have been so miserable!