November 26, 2010

Five Things You Didn’t Know about Working Retail

Today, thousands of shoppers are traveling to their favorite stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales.

If you’re out of work, you may see signs in several of these locations announcing that they need holiday help. Don’t discount retail positions. While there are definite downsides to this job, there are amazing perks as well. Here are five things you didn’t know about working in retail that might change your mind about these types of jobs:

1. You may be able to “borrow” products.

You probably already know that many stores offer discounts to their employees, but did you know that you could take home items on a temporary basis for free at some stores? For example, at video game retailer GameStop, employees are allowed to borrow new releases for the night so they’re able to give customers advice when purchasing games.

2. You can earn a lot more than minimum wage.

While most retail locations pay their employees minimum wage (or just slightly higher) to start, you could actually earn a lot more if you choose a job where you work on commission. This is especially true around the holidays and for big-ticket items, like jewelry or appliances. If you’re awesome at sales, earning commission could double or even triple your base salary.

3. You get the chance to buy hot items first.

Sometimes, there are items that are highly sought after and hard to find. When your store gets a shipment – say, of the hottest kids’ toy for Christmas – not only will you know when you’ll have these items, but you can pick one up before your shift starts, before the store even opens to the public. No more crazy crowds!

4. You have a flexible schedule.

Make friends with the person who does the scheduling, and you’ve got it made. Most retail locations have a schedule that changes slightly from week to week, so it’s easy to get a day off or even switch shifts with another employee. You aren’t pigeon-holed into the same set schedule every single week.

5. It’s a great way to meet people.

If you’re new to an area, working retail is a great way to meet new people. Of course, you have to keep in mind that you’ll deal with a lot of jerks in retail, but you could meet some cool people as well, especially if you work in a retail situation where you sell something relating to one of your hobbies (for example, the sporting section at Sears or the music section at Walmart).

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