Retail Has Humbled Me

This blog post was originally published on tracyibarra.wordpress.com on November 15, 2011. I’m sharing it as a #throwbackthursday. It’s interesting to see how much or little I’ve grown as a person. The older wordpress site is going to be taken down here in a few days, so I figured I’d put them here to live. Enjoy.


You can go to two different eating establishments in the same block and each one will have a different policy on whether or not an employee can tell you, “Excuse me; we’re closed.”

Knowing that I had a coffee meeting at 8 P.M., I called ahead to P coffee place and asked what time they would close tonight. 9 P.M. Sounded reasonable. One hour and twenty-one minutes into the conversation, and I notice an employee starting to mop. I keep that in the back of my mine. As she gets closer towards my area, I ask “Excuse me, what time to you close?” “9.” Looking down at my phone, “Oh, I’m sorry to keep you waiting.” My coffee friend and I exit and look for another open location to continue our conversation. We find a fast food establishment just a couple of feet away. We walk in and order at W fast food.

We are asked to stay on one side of the place, the area that has been cleaned. We have approximately thirty minutes before they close and we take advantage of it but quickly re-engaging in our conversation. So much so that we again, don’t notice time and now we have over stayed by seventeen minutes. “Excuse, the dine in area is now closed.” “Oh, we’ll thank you anyway. Don’t worry, we work retail, we completely understand.”

And it is in that last sentence that I see how my paradigm, my frame of reference through which I view the world, has changed from three years ago. Before, I would have been insulted. How dare they kick me out, I’m a paying customer. How dare they interrupt my conversation and time.

Now, I can see it from [retail/food service] perspective. How dare they over extend their time, I service them with a strong work ethic. How dare they hold me back on my closing duties, affect my payroll and keep me from my tasks.

And it is only after working retail that I realize: Wow. You have to have patience when you want to go home but you can’t tell someone to leave. My respects to all that or currently work in any kind of serving role. And if you have never experienced this, I encourage you to make it a goal; whether through a part-time/seasonal paid or volunteer position.

Writer and creator of a character called Subbie. I'm host of the Move Up Podcast, dedicated to all things that help improve your life, one step at a time. I enjoy reviewing blog tools and apps. I send a weekly newsletter with updates and tips.

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