Everything you experience when working in retail during the January sales
The ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ has definitely come and gone
I worked in Next for a month over the Christmas period (including the dreaded sale) and saw the best and worst of festive retail life, so here is the definitive checklist of the January Sales.
People will do ANYTHING for a bargain
On Boxing Day, the store opened at 5am and people were already queuing by the door to get first choice. Outside some busier stores, people waited from 2:30am in order to get a better place in the line.
I struggle to get up for a 9am lecture, let alone a 5am just for some half price boxers and novelty Christmas jumpers.
The amount people spend will make your student loan look like pocket change
During a sale, some customers will come in and splash the cash to ridiculous proportions. People will spend hundreds of pounds on kids clothes, pick armfuls of clothing off the shelf without even checking sizes and one customer bought 5 of the same novelty Christmas hat. Who needs 5 of the same festive beanie in January?!
However, the most gutting transaction was where someone spent more money on kids clothes than a student would earn working retail full time for a month.
Was I jealous? Maybe a little.
'Would you like a gift receipt with that?'
You will say this phrase literally hundreds of times a day. If you, God forbid, forget to print one out, then the customer will look at you like you just told their toddler Santa's not real.
You will hate Christmas songs with a passion
We all have that one friend who starts listening to Bublé in September and claims that they can never get sick of the festive tunes.
But even if you are one of those people who just LOVES Christmas, after hearing Elton John's 'Step into Christmas' for the third time in a single shift, I can guarantee you will want to throw a brick through the speakers.
The store discount makes Christmas shopping a little less painful
One of the best perks of working at a high street shop are the two glorious words – "staff discount". Suddenly you end up spending half your pay cheque on items that you see while on your shift, and you will constantly hide items behind the till to "buy later".
The only downside is that when I bought all my family discounted presents from Next, they knew why. (I'm a student, what can I say?)
'Do you charge 5p for a bag?'
Yes. Yes we do. And we have since October 2015. And no I can't give you a free one "just this once". I could get fired, (seriously).
You'll tell all your friends and family about that 'one horrible customer I had today'
The sales can bring out the worst in people and the general public can be a cruel mistress. The only positive about being treated like dirt by some customers is that you get a good story out of it!
Except when you realise all you talk about anymore are the customers from hell. At that point, it's probably best to cut back on the shifts.
You will be distracted by friends visiting you on shift
It is hilarious when friends come into the shop for a chat or try to distract you while you are talking to a customer, but watch out for the boss. If they see you talking about last night at the pub, they will proceed to glare at you until the friend leaves, and it's not fun.
Your coworkers make working a lot more bareable
Although retail can be hard work, you will meet a bunch of great people to share the festive pain with and make working pass by quicker.
Usually a lot of temps are students as well, so you can have a quick moan about exams in between doing returns and showing Barbara where the Womenswear section is.