Some people work because they want to. Some people work because they have to. Why do you work? Is because you love what you’re doing or are you slaving away just to earn a pay check. Whatever your response may be, everyone’s dream is to have a job that is as enjoyable as it can get. Maybe you find enjoyment in having a job that you do not have to do much while others like to be constantly busy.
If you want to work in the retail business, expect to be busy. From running the registers, to arranging and folding clothes, to working stock and inventory; most retail workers are expected to do it all. Oh, and you must also do it all with a smile on your face while sometimes working long hours at a time. And you must not forget about the customers.
Francisco Aguilera, a retail worker for Express on Bay Street in Emeryville, California, says that sometimes dealing with customers all day can be quite exhausting. Emeryville is a smaller town that is located outside San Francisco Bay area.
He feels that retail is shaped by three different things: the customers, the managers, and the probability of moving on to something else. Luckily for Aguilera, he likes his manager and has always gotten along with him. Managers are the ones who can make and break your whole retail experience because they have so much control over what you do and the hours you work.
Another retail worker at Bay Street, Marlena Hudson, can also attest to that. She has been working two different jobs at the Bay Street stores for that last two years. She said in the past she experienced managers who were controlling and made decisions based on favoritism of workers and chose to do things that would only benefit them and not the employees.
She was working at Emeryville when the highest minimum wage was voted to $15.20 an hour for businesses with 56 or more employees. She says the increase of wage was nice, but living in the bay area the wage barely allows her to move out of the house. In this particular area, she notes, to be able to afford to live on your own you must work be working a full-time job or at least 40 hours a week, which is hard to do in retail.
Aguilera and Hudson are both part of the huge retail workforce in America that accounts for over 10 percent of all employment nationwide. This includes grocery stores, electronic stores, accessories and clothing retailers, department stores, home and garden stores and big-box stores such as Walmart. Even though retail jobs and retail in general play such a huge role in America’s economy, retail still tends to be a low-wage, high-turnover segment.
Retail workers do not get much respect in major debate about employment in America. This could be because most retail jobs are seen as low-skilled and temporary for most workers. So the question arises; if the jobs are done by mostly kids, people looking for pocket money, or the unskilled why should the job and pay be any better?
Tension between wages of retail workers only increased with Donald Trump, who tried to win over blue-collar manufacturing and mining workers while his platform was ultimately personalized to the affluent. These jobs are more likely to be protected by Unions that help them bring up wages and benefits.
Retail workers started their own campaign called ‘Fight for $15’, which helped push the wages up in places such San Francisco, New York, Emeryville, and other cities as low-wage workers started to rally for a raise in pay. These workers have even protested in order to have sick time pay and be given more control of their schedule. But, it is hard right now to give retail workers all they want because of the online retailers taking customers away from store fronts.
Many campaigns and bills continue to be started in the hopes of raising the pay of retail workers above the minimum wage. The problem again is that many feel that most of the workers are just kids or people working there temporarily until they move on to something better. But, many retail workers attested to have worked with parents who are trying to support their family. Because of seeing people like this having retail jobs, many say they will continue to fight for better pay and treatment of these workers.