This week I’d like to share a little frustration with you (don’t worry, I’m calm…). I think we’ve all experienced customer service or assistance and thought “I could do this much better than you”. It’s not only that I’ve applied for a handful of shops and supermarkets that I attend as a customer, but more that those same jobs seem to be going to people who either aren’t shaped out to be courteous, friendly and professional, or simply that they’re inexperienced and haven’t had my pedantic version of retail training. My C.V reads plenty of experience in this field, and I’m beginning to really scratch my head as to why I don’t get more consideration.
Some days, in an old job of mine, I could have single handily assisted and served a thousand people with many different needs. I could empathise with, read and interpret all kinds of people that walked into the store, usually after straightforward or commonly sold products and expectant of a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and they got it. Other times I went to great length just to see if I could get hold of stock for someone that had been deleted, because that was my job. I was good at it, for the most part anyway, so why am I getting minimal responses and no job offers? Hmm?
Now, it’s time for another one of my favourite ‘First World Problems’ – the dreaded act of staff chatting behind the tills. This is an issue that gets to me, though of course it’s not really something I should get wound up over, but again it is an example of people being intentionally bad at their jobs. One of the explanations I can give you from experience is that the till area is usually the main place in the store where a team of workers can gather and discuss proceedings and reflect upon workloads. In reality we all know the chatting is merely gossiping and nothing more in depth than that. My point is that if you want to ask for anything else whilst you are being served at the till, like cigarettes which are kept behind or something else in the store you couldn’t locate, you have to break their conversation and in a tone that is rather apologetic, as if you’ve interrupted them when in fact they are supposed to be there for you. In fact they are paid to be there for you.
A way of meeting in the middle on this issue is something I often did myself in and around the till area, and it’s simple; you either keep the idle chatting to a bare minimum or…wait for it… you include the customer in the chatter! It’s a win-win situation – the staff get to talk and break up the strain and boredom of the day and the customer feels welcomed and humoured. Who would have thought, people like to be noticed and included, not just have their things chucked in a bag and asked to pay for them? It’s not all just a matter of ego either; it’s a matter of proper human behaviour. Some days maybe the world will catch up to this.
Note to self: Look up retail training jobs. Perhaps common sense needs to be taught more thoroughly than I first feared. Seriously though, I’ll look it up as some companies do employ mobile trainers (not the phones or the shoes) that support management and their staff.
So, what’s next on the job hunt? I’ve had limited success with shops. I’m scared to apply for many higher positions as my confidence isn’t remarkable to begin with. I’ve tried my hand at admin job applications, and whilst they are just like any other there seems to be a different word processing or typing related qualification for each secretarial job. In one case I barely got through the building doors for an admin job interview and they sternly asked me whether I have a certificate for an I.T qualification that since Googling it I’m convinced doesn’t exist. Maybe they just didn’t like my face.
So I’m going to be thinking about different areas to venture. Retail/bar and admin based places are mostly all I’ve been browsing, with the addition of catering jobs. I find it difficult to think of many other sorts of jobs that I would be able to do, but I shall think, and with the help of my Job Centre advisors (if they can be bothered) and with the aid of my Work Programme perhaps something new will come up, because otherwise I’m really running out of ideas other than to just press on and maintain hope.