Little Girl looking at flowers, with her Mum: “Mummy! This is so beautiful! I want to be a Florist when I grow up!!”
Mum: *sniffily* “No, Isabelle, when you grow up you are going to go to University so you don’t have to work in a shop.”
And there you have the crux of the matter. And it shouldn’t wind me up, because -you know, whatever. (Plenty of people with degrees working in shops…) But I encounter this AGAIN and AGAIN, this fundamental assumption that I am in some way inferior because I choose to work in a public facing, people pleasing, service industry. This assumption that I do what I do because I can’t do anything else, that I must be soft in the head, or am lacking in ambition to have ended up working in retail. The idea that I do what I do because I enjoy it, that my job pleases me in and of itself and gives me satisfaction, is completely unfathomable to a large amount of people.
Between 2.7 and 3 million people work in the retail sector in the UK. It is by far the largest private employer before Construction and Engineering, then Nursing and Teaching. That’s a lot of people selling you stuff, and we deserve to be treated with respect. We might think you’re a complete tool to be working in PR, but most of us have the decency not to say “Hahaha, how does it feel to have to suck up to brands that you think are a steaming pile of donkey shit, you complete asshat?? You must HATE YOUR LIFE!!! Hahahahahahaaaa!!!”
But we don’t. Because we’re nice like that.