Every time I get asked what it feels like working in a grocery store I’d say “beautiful struggle”
Having worked in a grocery store for the better half of my college years, I can tell you it could be a hard yet rewarding experience.
During the period I’ve worked there here’s a hard fact you’d realize sooner or later – No one pictures himself bagging items while smiling down at customers even the rude ones. Or picture their selves hurling a heavy box from aisle to aisle, the thought alone is overwhelming.
However, if you can keep your cool and always handle situations with diplomacy and put your hands on deck. You would have earned a life skill that most people would leave out the rest of their lives without attaining.
Below are some tips to help you survive life in a grocery store clime.
Develop your communication skills
Anyone can work in a grocery store. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything in life becomes easier when you have certain skills.
People often overlook social skills when it comes to talent, and it’s their undoing in the grocery store business that needs a lot of effective communication.
Learn to listen to customers before replying and when you reply with a Yes or No, explain further. Help the customer to find what they are looking for don’t just answer, help out.
Your co-workers deserve the same treatment. Always ask when you don’t entirely understand the question, communicate clearly, and express yourself in the kindest way possible.
Learn good Customer service
The golden rule is to make people’s work easier and yours will be much easier. Don’t forget that, write it on paper and pin it somewhere in your room.
Unfortunately, some customers could be your nightmare, don’t lash out at them even if they are wrong. There a many videos of workers handling customer petulance with diplomacy and wisdom. Learn to curtail without escalating the situation
Entertain questions and direct customers to the aisle where they can find what they are looking for. Even if you don’t know try and go out of your way to help the customer.
You will meet customers that complain about things that are out of your control. Be patient and don’t work up by their incessant complaints. Call for help from the supervisor or manager when the issue gets out of hand. Learn more on good customer service here.
Grow a thick Skin
In this line of work, customers could frustrate your effort so much some employees cry. Other shoppers will yell at you, they think being a jerk will make them get what they want earlier.
Develop a thick skin against customers that will assassinate your character. These accusations are mostly out of contempt and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Also, remember that the customer is not always right.
I’ve had customers that yell and will often curse at you. In those situations, the best thing to do is to ignore them, if you can’t then call the manager. If you’d break down crying at the slightest criticism, whether constructive or destructive then this line of work is not for you.
If you are dependable it means you can be given different responsibilities. To climb the societal ladder then you need to be someone that can be depended on.
Especially in a grocery store, you need to show your manager that you can be relied on by coming early to work, and taking other responsibilities when it’s needed.
Most employees that can be relied on are easily promoted and receive praise from colleagues and the manager. Not everyone is going to win the employee of the month but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. If you can’t, fine. But try to give your best, and that’s all that matters.
Understand Body Language
Learn the art of reading the customer’s body language. Subtle signs like customers avoiding eye contact, greet them and let them know you’ll be around if they need help, and give them space.
Some customers are just having a bad day, if you can read the signs then you will avoid a lot of problems in your work.
Learn to separate your work and home
There’s a thin line between these two and most often employees cross it thinking they are extensions of each other.
Leave home problems and don’t bring them to work. While it’s not as easy as said, you might risk losing your job if you allow your problems at home to affect your output. You can be fired if your off-field problems get in the way of your work.
Read about why you could get sacked working two Jobs
There’s always work you can do. Sure, it’s good to take a break if you can, so that you don’t break down due to stress. However, you should try and use the times when customers are less to restock shelves.
Help put things in order if you can rather than wait to be ordered before you attend to the job.
Buy comfortable shoes
There will be a lot of standing and walking and if you don’t have comfortable shoes with some extra space expect half of your day to be spent taking off your shoes.
Purchase a pair of shoes that will last years of rough use and still stay strong. Extra tip; your working shoes should be different from day to day shoes. It will ensure it survives the stress it will be subjected to in the grocery store.
Establish Positive relationships
Your work entails you work closely with your colleagues and customers. You need to build a positive relationship in your time there. Your connections with employees will prove to be valuable in the field of work especially when you need help.
Connections you build in a grocery store can also burgeon into a longtime friendship. My best friend Matt and I met at a grocery store and we’ve been friends for more than a decade.
Know the Grocery Store’s Policies
This is one of the most important things you should know. This should include everything on your job function, returns, types of payment, and the general rule of conduct.
Knowing the rules will allow you to approach situations with confidence and diplomacy.
Working in a grocery store comes with its perks and perils. To be honest, it’s not the best job in the world, it’s tiring and mundane but it comes with many life skills that will help you later in life.
Most people don’t set out to become grocery store workers in life but as a result of circumstances. For me, it was about raising funds to support my education in college, yours might be different. At the end of the day, it’s about surviving and making life bearable.
We all know working in a grocery store won’t buy all the flashy cars you see packed in front of the store when customers visit. But it’s a decent job, and if you can save enough you can start a side hustle just like i’ve done in internet marketing.
A grocery store is just like any work environment. Try to learn and adapt, become responsible, communicate clearly, work hard and smart, help customers, learn the art of patience and make friends.
You’ll need these things to survive the tasking environment.
Best Moses Dzarmah.
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Moses Dzarmah is the founder of Grocerycorridor. Having worked in the grocery store for almost all his life. His colleagues called him the grocery hermit for his knowledge around the field that’s encompassing. Almost disturbing that he’d know every nitty gritty part associated to grocery stores. I decided to pen down as my colleagues will endearingly say with a slight mockery “wealth of experience”.