With this week to come I conclude another chapter in my life. It wasn’t an easy decision, in fact it took me a whole year to follow through. But now, that the end is so near, I feel liberated.
About a month ago I gave my one-month notice and will, with this Friday have my last shift in the cellphone store that I tended to in the past three years. I stepped up from a regular sales clerk to running the store in less than one year and have ever since managed everything within the store’s boundaries (and mostly outside of it). It has been quite interesting, for the most part though, it has been physically and mentally exhausting.
Every day, returning home, I would be mentally incapable of anything else other than eat and sleep. And I know, many jobs are like that, challenging that is. But I loved it. Every single minute of it. A would often criticize my love towards my draining job, because he was afraid I was giving the job too much attention, with my education, my volunteering and everything else that was going on. But you know, I just couldn’t see myself not loving my job, it might not be the most rewarding, but it was my job.
Honestly though, the most challenging part is not doing the job itself, but having to deal with people. Oh, the people we would meet. People that are lacking hygiene, and people that are lacking personal boundaries, people that are lacking technical knowledge, and people that are lacking human interaction understanding. People that know everything, and people that expect you to know everything. Angry people and happy people, horrible human beings and the kindest ones you have ever met. But generally speaking, no day was the same.
I am generally a very patient person. I am also a stubborn person and I guess these two qualities go hand in hand. You have to be patient with parents that let their children play with every smartphone in the store, even if that smartphone costs about as much as one’s monthly rent. You have to be patient with people wanting to try on every cover for their phone, even if it clearly doesn’t fit (kind of reminds me of my days at a clothing store…). You have to deal with customers yelling at you on the phone and sending nasty emails and customers not being able to decide what they want. You have to stubbornly stay calm with no-clue complaining customers.
I have gotten yelled at many many times. And usually it rolls off my back, you get used to that. I also have been praised many times, and these praises I cherish because people don’t know how to show gratitude anymore. Many people don’t realize where a good seller walks an extra mile and where the job for a bad seller actually ends. So yes, if it seems unusual that a sales rep does something to make your day a bit brighter, chances are that this rep does it on their own dime and time.
You might be annoyed by a sales rep greeting you once you enter the door and you might hate it if they then ask if you needed help, but you know what? To us sales people that’s the door to open communication. It allows you to have a person you can talk to in case you need it and chances are, if you are nice to that sales person, that sales person in return will do anything in their power to be kind to you as well.
Are you guilty of walking into a store with your ear buds in and music blasting out of them? Or talking overly loud on your phone? Have you ever considered how this behavior makes the person feel that is hired to make your shopping experience positively unforgettable? Well no, why would you, when all you are focused on is the music you are listening to or the person you are talking to on the phone.
But see, putting a smile on your face, when you are having a troubled day at the office and you just want to get in and out of the store, that is part of our job. And if you don’t allow us to do that, what else are we good for?
So, before I will tackle this last stressful week, I will leave this with you: next time you go into a store, no matter how horrible your day is, remember that the sales person might have to deal with 100 people that had a similarly horrible day, just like you. Remember that talking to you, as a customer, is what we are selling. That is part of the experience, don’t resent that. Get to know the person that greets you, just say hello. It goes a long way.
Finally, yes, I will be missing the opportunity to make people happy by my presence, but remembering all the bad mojo I have gotten over the last three years, I am also okay with taking a breather and letting sales be sales, even if it is just for a little while. Surprisingly, having to close this chapter to start a new one, was more difficult that I thought, but now, that I am about to start my master’s and already started my new job, I’m really happy to have one last week at the cellphone store left. And who knows, maybe, one day, I’ll return to my sales-persona and open my own shop. To be clear though, no way I’d sell anything but chocolate….