Last summer, I worked at a store well-known for its cheapness and large crowds. While I didn’t absolutely hate it, like most people I know who have worked there, it did teach me a few things about the Great British public and their shopping habits.

  1. Not everyone knows how to read signs:

The amount of people who came up to me to ask where the checkouts were got a bit ridiculous. There are very clear signs above your head and arrows on the floor (just in case it’s too much effort for you to crane your head upwards) telling you exactly where to go; do I really have to tell you to follow them?

  1. Some people have questionable fashion sense:

This isn’t actually about the clothes that people are buying from the store – no, this is about the uniform itself. Yes, that hideous bright blue coloured t-shirt that we’re all forced to wear. One very strange man asked where he could find one of those; my response of “you have to work here” was met with confusion and a hasty exit.

  1. People really think I can find something in the back:

Look, you can ask me to go and check if we have something in the stock room, and I will actually go and look for you (unlike most people who just go up there and wonder around for a bit), but I can almost guarantee I’ll come back empty-handed. Out of all the multiple times a day I was sent up there by customers, I only remember once finding what it was they wanted. Sometimes you’ve just got to face that what you want isn’t there and come back another day.

  1. The idea of seasonal clothing is hard to grasp:

If you go into a store at the end of August asking for swimsuits, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Please don’t look on in disgust when I guide you to the very limited sales section with all that we have left of the product and ask me “is this it?” because yes, that is it and I can’t magic up anything else for you, so buy something or move on.

  1. Apparently, people love to leave a mess:

This was the one part of the job I hated the most. You spend literally hours tidying your section, just for someone to come along, decide that the item on the bottom of the pile is the one they need, pull apart the whole display and chuck the thing on the top when they change their mind – thus undoing all my work. And all I can do is watch, as I’m screaming expletives in my head and thinking about where I’m even going to begin cleaning all this up, before my supervisor comes along and asks me what exactly I’ve been doing for the past three hours.

  1. People REALLY love to shop in crowds:

I don’t know if this is just because I’m getting older, but the idea of shopping with more than one person physically repulses me. Seeing groups of seven plus teenagers having a nice little chat in the middle of the shop floor, or three mothers all walking in a line with their buggies and hordes of children without a care in the world irritates me probably more than it should. I understand that you like to take your time while shopping, but PLEASE move out of my way.