Thursday, 17 October 2013

Retail Detail ~ Food, "Fun" and Final Impressions...

So today marks yet another ‘end of an era’ as I worked my – hopefully – final day in the food retail industry. I’ve had quite something of a rollercoaster in the last eight months. I’ve seen people come and people go. I’ve ascended through some ranks – albeit unofficially. I’ve made friends. I’ve made coffee. But above all, I’ve made memories.

Earlier in the year, I pretty much ripped a hole into my situation. I was miserable. I didn’t like my circumstances. I didn’t care for a couple of my colleagues. I felt the entire shop was run like a military operation and I really couldn’t be myself. Despite this, however, I needed the job as I needed the income. And I will admit it’s been nice having a full month’s pay all over again as I was actually able to do things, pay bills, buy things and have money left over by the next pay day. But pay aside, I feel like I should reassess my job, as while some things stayed the same, a lot of things changed over time.

If you recall, I stated that in any job, two things are important to me. The first one concerned my team. I stated that they must be awesome and I think anyone would agree. Getting on with your teammates makes things run a lot more smoothly.

Now I don’t like to make waves. In the past, I’ve often been quiet when I’m upset or annoyed with someone, but as I became more familiar with my role and my colleagues, I think I learnt to be a bit more honest with my feelings. It was very rare but when I had issues with other members of staff, I learnt to take the opportunity to talk out my issues and even though this was quite uncomfortable at times, I realised that it really did take a weight off my shoulders. Making peace is the way forward and I feel like I’ve grown up a bit during this time.

The second thing I mentioned was that management must be tolerable. Now I went through two new managers, plus an extra addition, and I must say that this got a much better over time. I don’t know if it was down to my growing experience, level of confidence or just general trust placed in me, but I felt like the military hold receded and my shop became a much more enjoyable place to work. I wasn’t restricted anymore. I was given more responsibility and through this I was able to let more of my personality shine through. My managers were still my managers but I could also talk to them on a more personable level. This made working there a lot easier.

I also mentioned the customers.

Now this pretty much stayed the same. I had customers that would come in for a quick chat with their coffee and I had customers that I really didn’t give a toss about. I had some particular difficult and anal individuals who felt that their role as an “educated professional” meant that they were entitled to some form of sovereign treatment. I had customers make awkward and sometimes even ridiculous demands. I’ve had customers bold-facedly ask for freebies. Heck, there were roughly the same amount of customer complaints as there were compliments. But at the same time, I’ve had customers put a smile on my face. I’ve had customers that would talk to me and ask after my well-being without me initiating the conversation first. I’ve had customers express extreme gratitude for something I’ve done for them and I’ve had customers compliment me on my ability to cope during rush hour – and boy, were those some intense rushes. A customer even bought me a gift to commemorate my departure and it wasn’t until I started telling people that I was leaving that I realised just how much some of these people actually liked me. I had always been under the impression that they just didn’t give a damn. How wrong I was.

I actually ended up going down the barista route again so in contrast to my earlier remark, I guess they did want me to be a barista, or at least some people, more than others, were prepared to put it into motion. I still don’t drink coffee mind you. (Matcha Latte for the win!) I certainly got a lot faster. I maintained some of those bad habits however, but I still make a good cup of coffee. Mocha, anyone?

I saw a uniform update. I ate some good food. I met some good people and made some great friends.

Retail was never where I wanted to end up. Granted, I’m still of the impression that considering the amount of people to join and leave my company, it can’t be where most people see themselves either. But I still think that as a ground employee, it’s a good place to start. And it's a good place to work too (although it really is the luck of the draw). It was an adventure. I had good days and bad days. I had easier days and hard days. 

Do I regret not taking that other job? 

No, not really.

After all, I gained some more life experience but now it’s time to move on to the next chapter.

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