Pros: Valuable work experience applicable to most career paths
Cons: Negative attitudes among staff
Staples works at a fast pace, placing priority on the customer, as it should be. Tasks such as restocking, blocking (also called recovery; pulling products on the shelves closer to the customer), operating the cash register, and customer service, as the name suggests, were designed specifically to please the consumer.
Working in a customer service position taught me a lot about people. I learned to be more patient and how to give clear instruction when assisting someone. Most importantly, I learned the value of small talk. Though I did not see the results of my work in restocking or blocking, I did get pleasing results upon earning a customer's praise.
The "Back to School" season, which can be compared to the congestion of Times Square during New Years, was the most stressful time of the year. The pace grew faster, the workload became heavier, and more problems surfaced than usual, such as running out of a product, receiving too much of another product, messier shelves, and not enough manpower. The stress of the day fried my brain even after my shift ended, though eventually I learned to multitask more efficiently and improved my problem-solving skills.
Unfortunately, my manager was overwhelmed from the stress of the job. She offered criticism to my co-workers and to me, but her methods were questionable. The yelling did not bother me, but she sometimes became too animated; in one memorable occasion I witnessed her throwing products from the shelves and across the store. Ultimately, the stress spread to my co-workers as well. Morale among them was low, and they seemed to be miserable nearly all the time. While I valued my time at my first job as a sales associate at Staples, I would not like to return to that kind of woeful work environment.