Not all shop assistants are bad at their job, right?

Hi there,

Today whilst out shopping again (food shopping, I promise) I had a thought and it was this, why do most shop assistants seem to be a bit bad at what they do? I think I need to explain a bit before I get questioned.

For seven years, I worked in a supermarket part-time. I mostly worked at the busy times, evenings and weekends. I worked for two years in the chilled bit, putting the cheese and milk on the shelf and then spent five years on checkouts so I have experience from a little of both sides so I know how bad it can be.

It was hard  work trying to shelve stuff whilst the aisles were packed full of people complaining that we were in the way but we made do. I used to be wonder woman when on the shop floor but not because I was good at my job, no, I was awful at putting stuff away but when a customer needed to find something, it was like a real version of Where’s the cheese. It used to be fun. I would be the one who went out back and actually looked for something, not just stand there and pick my teeth for five minutes and then go out to the customer and say no.

Now, generally, when a customer asked for something, you would show them where it was and if it was out of stock you would go look for it unless it was something not on your department. You would then have to play where’s Wally (Waldo) trying to find someone. It was difficult and after a days worth I thought it would be quicker to go out to the scary warehouse and look for it myself. I can say without any doubt that 95% of the time I was asked for something not on the shelves, I would find it outside.

Now, even the most dug down item, with bits of tinned ham and jelly (separate items) stacked on top would not stop me but sometimes it could take me a while to get them out. In this case, the customer would give up on me and go finish their shopping. I then played hunt the customer and most were shocked that I had the item, some even gasped and even though it was only jam or whatever, they still thanked me. It was the best bit f the job because the other bits pretty much sucked.

Even on the checkouts, I would do my utmost to make sure the customer would be happy. You would be the last port of call before the customer went outside, you wanted them to be happy so they would come back. Yes, it is a bit odd, it isn’t like I knew any of them and I certainly wasn’t getting any of the profits but you had to make it enjoyable plus I am nice. These days though, when I go shopping, the person serving you doesn’t even say hello let alone wants to know if yu were happy with the shopping you just did.

I do believe there are a few different service characters. There are the ones who approach you when you don’t want or need any help. You know them, they are mostly in shops that give them commission for every sale. Phone shops, computer shops and maybe even a music shop. You just want to browse yet they follow you round making you feel uncomfortable. To be honest, these people make me leave a shop. If I wanted help, I would go to them but that is just me, some people like the attention.

You then get the people who work in clothes shops. They are (to me anyway) almost always rude, snotty and really have no care in the world if you can’ fit into the size 10 jeans, just leave them alone and let them get on with hanging the trousers that they have already folded 10 times that hour. I find these people very annoying and they are a big reason I don’t like clothes shopping.

I have no idea why people go into a job which is in the service area and then they go on like they don’t want to be there. Now, I know the job is not very fun for th most part but I think that if you at least try to make the most of it, a lot of people would be happier. If the checkout person who served you when you went food shopping smiled at you, it would make the process that little bit nicer. Nobody wants to spend 30 minutes in a queue to be served by someone who looks like they have eaten a wasps nest!

Just think about it, it really does make sense.


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6 Responses to Not all shop assistants are bad at their job, right?

  1. Great ending….eaten a wasp’s nest 🙂 Now that is unique and makes me put that vision into my head ….. very good write!

  2. djbaroque says:

    I’ll be using the wasps nest comment I feel in future times. Great rant, Paula. I enjoyed reading this one.

  3. djbaroque says:

    I know also from working in shops it can be slow. I was a kitchen assitant in druckers, which was the posh way of saying the bloke out back who washes up all day long. So I’d be washing up, drying up and stacking cups, plates, trays etc, taking out the recycling etc. It was a real dire job, and during Christmas shopping weekends, we’d have trays lining the kitchen floors due to the sheer volume of customers, and we couldn’t wash the stuff quick enough. It was a naff-job which didn’t pay that well, but whenever I was out front I always made sure I had a smile on my face, even though out the back behind the doors. I’m just keeping my head down, getting on with the work, maybe saying the odd word under my breath about management 😀

    • paulasstory says:


      Yeah, I do think it is best to keep your annoyance low when serving people. Even though it is hard, I think it gives you lots of experience in having patience, lots and lots of experience.

      Thanks for popping b,


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