Life

5 Things You Need To Know About Working In Retail This Christmas

Now's the time to really take advantage of that staff discount.

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Got a job in retail during the silly season? Congratulations! I was in your position last year, working as a Christmas casual at a fast fashion store.

Taking on such a gig means you get to keep yourself busy during the break, add said position to your resume, and to top it all off, you get to rake in them dollar bills. But wait, there’s more. From someone who’s lived to tell the tale, here are five things you need to know about working in retail this Christmas.

There’s The High Schoolers, And Then There’s You

Most of the Christmas casuals were in year nine, fresh out of high school, or in between. Then there was me, a third year uni student in need of some coin after being dumped by Centrelink.

Did I feel old? Abso-freaking-lutely. But there were upsides to being one of the old ones. The youngens asked me about the Higher School Certificate and life at uni, and I gave them the 411 — without scaring them, of course. Also, my hourly rate for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays was way higher than theirs.

You Won’t Be Friends With All The Casuals

I went to my induction shift thinking I would make friends easily. Think again. People leaned more on the cliquey than welcoming side, and I found it hard to insert myself into those already well-established groups.

But not all staff made me feel like garbage — like the full-timer who interviewed me, as well as the Christmas casuals I met during my induction shift. I even vibed with the casual staff who were just like me: Asian. In fact, I went so far as creating a group chat called “ASIANS UNITE”.

You’ll Die A Little Inside

After a few shifts I was allocated to the front zone. I greeted customers and asked them if they needed a hand with sizes only to be told, “Just looking,” right before they ruined piles of stock. Cue the resting bitch face.

When I got inducted, management expected me to be my cheery self, since there was word the CEO would make a cameo. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be consistent, but the truth is that being enthusiastic is tiring.

The flip side of this is I learned how to survive in a high-stress environment. I also realised I should’ve taken it easy on days when I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent, and more importantly, not to take things — like not getting a reply from customers — personally.

Your Shifts Get Cut After Boxing Day 

On the day after Boxing Day, I ended up working for two hours and got paid for three. There was too many staff on the floor and hordes of customers demanding a refund for their unwanted Christmas gifts.

On the last day of our Christmas casual contract, I copped another early mark, while some staff rocked up to their shift only to learn there weren’t needed today. Customers weren’t coming in during the New Year. At all.

Was I disappointed? Defs. However, there were some positives. I got to work till close no more. What I also gained from this was I’m not greedy when it comes to money. During the youth allowance days, my dough went towards lunch, phone credit, and topping up my concession travel card. As long as I had enough hours to afford such things, then I was fine. That extra 100 dollars or nine in my pay check? They’re a bonus.

Make The Most Of Your Staff Discount

For the love of Nike, just do it.

Ryan Bautista is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza.