Can a Day in Retail be a ‘Good Day’?

EDGD_ phrase on snowy gateEvery day’s a good day?

Ha! Not if you work in retail.

That may be what many people think – especially those working in a retail job.

Yet, it is possible to work in retail, or in any other service based industry, and keep a smile on your face. At least most days.

Our optimism – or lack of – and our general outlook on life is up to us. Our attitude is shaped by our thoughts and is what we let it be. Unfortunately, many of us, and I’m just as guilty as anyone else, let outside factors determine how happy or unhappy we are. We let life and the unpleasant situations we encounter sour our spirits.

The car doesn’t start. Our tire goes flat. A child wakes up sick. The cat’s left an icky surprise for us on the carpet. The milk is sour. The coffee pot’s empty. Traffic is backed up. We spill our coffee. All the lights turn red on us. And we haven’t even gotten to work yet.

Then, we punch in at our retail job and the real fun starts.

EDGD_then idiots happenCustomers are rude. Demanding. Cranky (to put it politely). And yes, I’ll bet we all have our own horror stories we can top each other with.

If only our problems were just the customers.

We also have the bosses. The immediate managers, who often expect us to perform miracles on very little time. Managers who assign us tasks we don’t like. Managers who expect us to “jump”, yet when we need them the same promptness is not reciprocated. Or, upper echelon managers show up at the store, making everyone’s lives more miserable.

If it’s not the customers or the bosses … we have co-workers. Most we adore. But, there are the others.

How do we even make it through the day with a smile on our face?

It is possible. Maybe not every single day. There will be set backs. There will be days that still make us pull our hair out. With a little conscious effort, it is possible to make it through the day, the week … the Christmas season … still cheerful and feeling that life indeed is good.

There are a variety of ways that help. We’ll look at some of them in future posts. Not every method will be for every person. Sometimes something that works one day won’t work on another. Having an arsenal of assorted tools at our disposal is the best way to survive with a smile.

Some of the techniques we’ll look at closer at, along with others, are soothing music, affirmations, count to ten, essential oils, connect with nature, take a walk, meditation, worry stones, treats … even sitting in the car and yelling. (Yes, it does work. Yes, I’ve done it.)

So what do I know about working with people and the problems encountered? I worked in a doctor’s office for 14 years; patients that are sick and in pain are not always the most pleasant. Next I worked for the city for 10 years, 4 years was with the sidewalk replacement program; residents that don’t get their way are not the most pleasant. (Believe me. One resident was so volatile I had to get a police escort to go talk to him.) And then, I experienced 10 years in retail – 3 years with my own business, 1 year in a hardware store and 6 years in a craft and home décor store. A little bit of everything, except fast food. For that, I’ll have to get someone else’s perspective.

On the next post I’ll start with one technique that helped get me through this last Christmas season. Affirmations.

And, by the way, I can’t take credit for the title of these posts. ‘Every day’s a good day’ is taken directly from one of those managers mentioned earlier (although he’s one of my favorites and not the one that gives me nightmares). We’d be greeted with his pet phrase each day we entered. And yes, there were many days we grumbled on our way past and wanted to smack him upside the head with one of his ‘every day’s a good day’. Until I decided to give myself an attitude adjustment to try to survive the six month long holiday season. I asked him if I could ‘steal’ his phrase. He gave me his blessing. So Angel A, these posts are for you.

If you have anything you’d like to add or contribute to any of these posts, feel free. You can email me at

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January 2015
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