The Suicide Rate Of Retail Workers Sparks Trending Conversation On Reddit— “It’s unbearable.”
Despite their status as essential workers, retail employees have faced unbelievable amounts of pressure and abuse from the customers they serve. From facing indignant customers who refuse to wear masks to those who attempt to demean them for their work, it’s entirely safe to say that retail employees do not get paid enough for the jobs that they do.
A recent post on Reddit underlines this truth in some pretty shocking ways.
Check out the comments below.
“Low paid, long hours, usually very little control of your hours, working weekends and holidays and being forced to put up with a lot of abuse every day and not often too many avenues for promotion. I’m not shocked tbh.”- Foreign-Complaint130
“The worst part when I worked retail was the combination of “very little control of your hours” and the most fucking erratic schedule in the world. Not consistent day-to-day, week-to-week, or month-to-month. Some days working 2 hours, others working 12. Some weeks you only get 3 days, other times you work for 3 weeks straight without a day off. Sometimes a manager would straight up forget to schedule you and that’s a whole week of pay gone.”- ledivin
“The shitty “performance metrics” created by those firms to “optimize” the workplace efficiency make it million times worse. corporate don’t have time to go over those numbers, so they just look at the graph and summary; regional managers dont want the graph to reflect bad performance, so they punish the local managers for dips in the metrics (bad reviews, lower q-to-q number), so the local managers punish the workers if any customer ever complained. overtime it created the vicious cycle and allowed bad customers to face zero consequences, enabling their abusive behaviors. those managers get away with such tactics because there is very limited workplace protection and there are always people who are desperate for work, so they don’t care about the turnovers.”- seimungbing
“Don’t forget having to deal with people coming in very last minute when you’ve been at work all damn day and just want to go home. I swear, people who do that shit are literal scum of the earth.”- tsalyers12
“The worst part about it is people will show up on holidays and make remarks like:
“wow they make you guys work on x holiday?”
And I always responded with “No, you make me work on x holiday.”
They’d probably give me the day off if people weren’t literally trying to spend money at a big box store on a holiday, so I have an unnatural hatred for people who think they should just run to the store on any major holiday.”- doomsdaymelody
“Not only that it’s now a prime target for shooting rampages. I have to watch the same video of “what to do in case of an active shooter” every so often. Each time I just think I don’t get paid enough for this shit.”-
“I lost a friend that way. He was working long hours, and was already depressed. Then in the first months of the pandemic, people were particularly rude and abusive and his managers wouldn’t do anything and just overwork him. He was often yelled at by customers for things beyond his control.”- Asleep_Koala
“I’ve never felt worse as a human being than working in customer service.
Being knowledgeable about the product and a willingness to help. Then getting constantly shit on by customers who’d turn me in to management then being forced to defend myself week in and week out for years..”-LoveIsOnTheWayOut
“I saved this guy $10 on an item by letting him know about an online coupon and did everything for him because he was older and didn’t understand tech much. After the transaction he counts his change and tells me I shorted him a dime. I apologized and gave him his dime. Before he leaves he tells me I should go back to school to learn how to count…”- Rabblerouser6
“I emphasize (meant to put empathize) with this. My “school in underwear“ nightmare is me serving tables or working retail again. I left those years behind long ago, but I still get bad dreams about those times.
Edited and leaving the original in because it’s funny”- Principal_B-Lewis
“I was very fortunate in my time in retail to only get three proper nutters.
I worked in the furniture department at Babies ‘R Us and a lady came in and asked if she brought in a sample of the furniture, could I identify it, match and and replace it?
I said I couldn’t, but I’d make an attempt to find it if it existed, but not to get her hopes up too much because we had a selection that rotated out pretty actively.
She seemed to think that was agreeable and then brought in an actual chip of wood (not a picture or a swatch) that was almost genuinely orange. However orange you could be without being painted that way.
All we had at the time was white, whitewash, a few brownish things and a reddish “cherry” brown. Nothing on the floor, so I looked through the special order catalog; nada.
She lost her mind and started swearing at me and called me deceitful and all kinds of other things.
The yelling attracted the attention of the assistant manager who stood there for about three seconds, long enough to go “Ah, this woman is batshit” and give me a sideways glance before saying, “____, I believe I can help this customer, can you do me a favor and go check on the Baby Italia stock in receiving?”
That wasn’t even specific enough to be actionable but I caught the hint, apologized to the woman for the misunderstanding and left.
Come to find out the chip wasn’t from baby furniture and wasn’t from our store. Amazingly, they actually found the thing based on other pieces she brought in which were marked, and found out it was from an old nightstand she bought in the ’70s (explains the orange).
That’s the burnout part for me. Not helping, not the confusion, not that the person has a genuine concern, but that they double-down on bad reactions unnecessarily while contributing nothing, and expect to not only be seen as reasonable, but that you’re a space alien for daring to deal with it in a professional manner based on your existing level of knowledge and training.
Hell, my department manager was like that. She never said a word to me, then brought me in to talk with both the manager and assistant manager, and complained my product fluency was lacking. At one point I said, “I wish you would have come to me first and let me know. I saw ____ the other day had a sash and a guidebook to learn about all the kinds of products, so I’ve felt kind of helpless, and when I asked you before about the best way to study up you said it was all by osmosis and experience.”
The managers cut things off right there because the first time I was finding out meant that there time was being wasted. Which meant she got pissed at me for being outed and claimed up and down she’d given me training materials before despite there being no evidence besides an assumption in her memory.”- credit_counselor
“I’ll say it every time, but when I was in retail (and this was many years ago) I could deal with the rude customers, what I couldn’t deal with was managers who forced you to enforce rules just so they could come skipping out of their office to say, “Oh we can do that for you!” and happily bend the rules so you could stand there looking like a jackass. Zero patience for that bullshit.”- shanthology
“Yeah, that part sucks. I got into this habit of being straight up with people about it.
“Unfortunately, I’ve been instructed by my manager that I can’t do that for you. But if you’re okay waiting, I can try and ask my head cashier or manager to help you.”
Sometimes they’d take me up on it, but there were plenty of times they didn’t. But I had a lot of good experiences because I figured out who to ask about what.” – YellowHammerDown
“This is the exact kind of company I’m working for right now. We have ridiculously strict policies about our products, to the point where I’m arguing with people more than not. Then I have to call my superior and they tell me to just make the customer happy. The fuck is the point of the policies if I’m just going to let things slide anyways????”- brahmen_noodle
“I still dread weekdays and have thought about quitting. Trouble is, my work experience lends toward interest from companies who need customer service workers. I feel completely stuck in a no-win scenario.
Try executive support, at least you’ll get paid well – even if you still have to deal with people who act like children, at least your customers have the money to go with the inflated sense of self worth.”- SpaceChevalier
“An old employer did this to me. I got a promotion doing back office work, and then one day they sent me back into Customer Service, because someone else went on maternity leave.
I was angry, depressed, and absolutely hated it. I made several complaints but they didn’t amount to anything. I applied for different jobs but didn’t hear anything.
I finally conceded I was stuck in life, and even when I would get moved back to my office job, there was no guarantee this wouldn’t happen again. So I went back to school. I spent 4 years working full time and being a full time student. I knew I needed a better resume (especially being an older college student), so I volunteered for everything at this crappy job. I become an invaluable team member. I was even given an award (lol) for being such a committed employee at an annual dinner.
And then I quit. My resume had a bunch of good stuff on it, I had a degree, and had lined up a new job with all these skills I had been working on.
The look my boss had on their face was priceless. They tried to counter offer but the new job was literally double what I was making and even more than my boss was paid so that wasn’t going to happen.
I’m not saying that path works for everyone, and it was a huge time commitment, but I was able to leverage all those awful customer service experiences for something positive. I hope you can do the same!”- Hambushed
“My first job as a teen was telemarketing. Awful idea. I did that for about 3 years.
I started developing high anxiety from the job but didn’t realize it. I ended up walking out twice because I just couldn’t do the job anymore. I was good at it, but I couldn’t bare the thought of being yelled at anymore.
A few years later I’m doing tech support because I want a career in the tech field. Nearly a year later I walk out of that job because I just couldn’t do it. I was good at doing the job, but I couldn’t bare the thought of being yelled at anymore.
Four years ago I try to do phone work again for a corporate ISP handling business internet, and I couldn’t last even a year. I’m almost begging my supervisors to let me train others on occasion because my anxiety is fucked whenever I’m on the phones. The supervisors didn’t give a single shit. So I started calling out often to avoid the anxiety. I was also going through a lot in my personal life and nearly committed suicide because it was all too much. The thought of ending my life seemed amazing compared to facing life for another day.
I walked out of that job ranked in the top 20 technicians out of 160 for 3 consecutive months after the supervisors gave zero shits about my performance. So I was good at the job, I just couldn’t bare being yelled at anymore.”- ilikethemaymays
“I’ve really, really been forcing myself to show patience during all of this. Part of that is the way I was raised, part of that was the decade-plus I spent in low level customer service jobs. I know how much these kinds of jobs suck under normal circumstances, and now you have idiots who won’t comply with mask orders and get upset when their favorite brand of Charmin is out of stock. Personally, I’ve noticed an increase in mistakes and even some rude behavior from people I interact with, but every time I’ve let it go. People under enormous stress all the time aren’t going to be at their best, the rest of us have to understand that. It’s not the guy running the register or the girl answering the phone who is at fault if things aren’t perfect.”- cugamer