Pros: set hours, steady work, relatively close to home, nice setting to work in, routinized, steady contact with people.
Cons: low compensation, early weekend hours, evening weekday hours, weak benefits package, not enough contact with coworkers (solitary), understimulating..
A typical day at Lori's Gifts would begin with opening a register if I came in in the morning, or double-checking the prior shift's count if I came in during the day. I would approach the customers and answer any questions they would have about merchandise, help them to find whatever they were looking for within the limits of what the store carried, – more... or take down suggestions left by the clientele for the manager. Over the course of the day I would be receiving, digitally and on paper, the invoices that came with packages that came in with the UPS or that Fedex brought to the store, and I would unpack and price boxes of merchandise. Inventory was restocked regularly during the day.
The most important thing that I learned at Lori's Gifts was how to handle people; after that, how to confidently handle money. I think since I started working at the shop I have learned to keep a much better rein on myself when dealing with other people, and a lot about the precautions and the care the go into counting and managing sums in a register. Also, I became a lot better at circumventing cases of lost keys or forgotten times.
I have worked with three different managers who all had very different managing styles, from the more aggressive, sales-based approach of my first manager, to the more meticulous and planned-out approach of my second, to the more relaxed approach of the current manager, who has focused more on a combination of merchandising and sales. I have had no obstructive issues with any of the managers, and I have observed a lot out of the different ways that they have handled aspects of their jobs, from staffing to inventory; I can see and appreciate the difference that different managing styles can make.
As for co-workers, I dealt with a lot of different kinds of people with divergent backgrounds. Lori's, at the beginning, was mostly staffed from by women from Mt. Vernon, Yonkers, and White Plains; as the management of the store moved into different hands, most of my coworkers came from White Plains. All of my experiences with coworkers at the store have been neutral to good, with no serious problems ever coming up with a co-worker that come to mind.
This could almost become a subsection of the paragraph on "important things I learned." The hardest part of the job was almost certainly somewhere between the amount of time that got eaten up by the commute to get there (it was an hour and a half ride on the bus), combined with the weird hours, and the steadily less-than-satisfactory compensation for the job. Other than that it seems that customer service in retail can always be rough, and I learned fairly and early and fairly well to get used to adjusting things after people and withstanding the brunt of their bad manners or bad moods: most of the people that come into the store were under a lot of stress. Either hospital staff, who were stretched out thin with too many hours and little support; or patients and the families and friends of patients, who were concerned about their health, the health of people they cared about or, in general, were going through enormous life-transitions. A lot of coming and going. – less