• you started your shift at three p.m. today. now your back aches, your feet hurt, your cheeks are strained from smiling so much. you’ve been working for hours. you look at the clock. the time is half past three. surely the clock must be broken. all of the clocks are broken.
• no matter how many customers you serve, the checkout line never clears. every time the last one in line steps forward, ten new customers spawn out of thin air. they come in packs, never alone.
• the total is 0.99 cents. the customer pays with a 500-euro-bill. at four in the morning, your door rings. the customer is back. they say they have the change now.
• a customer wants to return an item. you ask if they still have the receipt. they do not. you ask if they left the price tag on the item. they did not. you ask to see the item. they did not bring the item. they just want their money back. you say you can’t return the item like this. they ask to speak to a manager. the manager makes you return the money. the customer is always right, they say.
• you tidy up the sales table. when you pass by it five minutes later, all of the packages have been ripped open, a bottle of sticky lotion has leaked all over the other items, and there’s a random frying pan from the other end of the store. there are no customers in sight.
• you tidy the shoe section. sometimes there are two left shoes. sometimes there are two right shoes. sometimes the shoes are different sizes or colors. rarely do they match. the customers ask you to check for missing shoes in the back. the back is a four square meter broom closet. as you stand there in absolute darkness pretending to look, you wonder where all the shoes go.
• thanks to your retail job, you’ve somehow struggled your way through college. you can’t seem to find a job, but there’s a full time opening at your store. congrats, you’re a manager now.