Working In Retail V Food

Working In Retail V Food

Rachel: I have been at my food service job for around three years now. I’ve worked there since I was 15 and over the years, I have worked my way up to a shift lead. My job is to keep the front of the store running smoothly during both opening and closing shifts. On opening days, I set everything at the restaurant up for the upcoming workday. I set up the machines, make the tea, get the registers ready and a few other small jobs before the store officially opens. During closing shifts, I oversee making sure everything is closed properly and cleaned so it is all ready for the next opener to come in the next morning. Other parts of my job include making sure the employees get their breaks, when necessary, taking care of customer issues, and keeping everyone on task. This was a great job for me to have because my managers have been super flexible with my schedule, and I have been able to take the days I need off without issue.  

This job has defiantly taught me how to be more responsible and how to handle stressful situations. It has also improved my ability to work with others and talk to customers with ease. It is fast paced and has a lot to handle some days which makes me feel like a lot has been put on me as a 17-year-old in charge of a restaurant. Having to deal with the customers who think that it’s okay to belittle me as a person because I am 17 is one of the more stressful things. However, interacting with the customers who treat me like a person makes up for it. Another thing is working here for such a long time has given me many new friends and I feel close with a majority of my coworkers. It makes for a fun work environment knowing that you have someone to talk to during a long shift. 

Last summer I ended up at a retail store as my second job so I could try something new. Compared to my fast food job I found it boring and slow most of the time. I really dreaded working there because I never saw anyone my age and it felt harder to connect with my coworkers like I did at my other job. The retail place also rarely scheduled me which is inevitably why I ended up leaving. I felt like my managers only looked at me as some high school student instead of someone willing to learn the job. I felt belittled by one of my managers whenever I asked her a question about something and felt like I was the one doing something wrong. Something about the way I was forced to interact and make connections with customers at this place really stressed me out and gave me major anxiety when on the floor. This job also paid significantly less than my food service one so there really was no benefit to me working there.  

My advice is find out for yourself and don’t just listen to what everyone else is saying about a place because everyone has different experiences. I also recommend just getting a job in general because it has helped me personally grow as a person and taught me real responsibility and how to manage my time wisely. 



My first job was in retail, and I was there for about a year and a half. When I was 17, I was given the responsibility of overseeing the front, counting down the tills, checking to make sure the safe was correct at the end of the night, and managing customers at the front. Also, on occasion I was placed in one half of the store where I had to unload the shipments and put them onto the sales floor, placing online orders, answering phones, and overall cleaning my half of the store. Often, I was thrown from one side of the store to the other and back again. Working in retail had good moments and bad but eventually the bad at this company outweighed the good of working there. Although working in retail is a great first job to have while young this company overall, I feel like it gave me too much responsibility and overall expected too much from me as a young teenager. I started there when I was 16 and had no idea what a job was supposed to look like or operate. This allowed me to be able to be taken advantage of as an employee, I was working five days a week from four to ten each week shift and then could start as early as noon to close which on Saturday was 10 and Sunday was 7.  

This job taught me a lot about how a job should work and what my role as an employee should be instead of me mindlessly working a lot of hours because they asked me to. I would work on my days off if I could as well and would even push my lunches back until more people showed up, so I didn’t put the managers in an uncomfortable position or feel like I was letting them down. Again, it wasn’t always bad, I made some friends that have come and gone from working at the store and still stay connected with them to this day which was a big plus for me to be able to make these consistent friends at work. 

Not too long ago I switched to a job that was better for me, it gave me the free time I needed and less responsibility for me to worry about. I have good friends at this job as well and still hang out with my friends from my previous job. Currently I work in a restaurant in their Togo section of the store. I get paid more at this job than my previous job and am overall less stressed out in my overall life. Working in a restaurant is vastly different from working in retail for me I went in with no experience in the restaurant business. 

My advice to anyone who is interested in looking for a first job or who is interested in switching jobs is always go in every day with an open mind and try to the best of your ability to complete the job and please don’t be afraid to ask questions to your manager or boss or coworkers, everyone wants to watch you succeed at this job and help you do it right. Find a job that fits your personal needs and schedule and one that doesn’t make you feel like you cannot have a social life. Find a job that is a good fit for you and that can work with you and not against you whether it is retail or restaurant. The most important thing is that you don’t get overwhelmed.