A sales staff in Manila earns minimum wage. Currently, the price is Php 491/day (USD 10.00), and the number goes up a little every year.
Its a thankless job — standing up for 8 hours straight with 3 breaks (one for lunch, and two for snacks), selling to random customers in the mall. Time-in is at 10:00am when the mall opens, and ends at 7:00pm if you’re in the opening shift. If you’re at the closing shift, working hours is at 12:00pm to 9:00 pm.
Work is usually 6 days a week, with rest days only from Mondays to Thursdays. There are no rest days during holidays or the weekend, since the malls are packed with people then. Hence, even during Christmas time when everyone has the day off to spend it with their families, you’re still in the mall, working and selling because Christmas is the peak selling season of the year.
Coca-cola got this correct when they released this ad last December 2016:
To be honest, aside from our Overseas Foreign Workers (OFWs), I view retail sales staff as our country’s heroes.
They are the oil that greases the domestic market, and have relatively shielded our country from multiple global financial crises. Even when everything fails, there’s always the sweet air-conditioned mall to hang out in, enjoying the free air conditioning, and reveling at beautiful items you’ll eventually buy after paydays.
This makes a retail sales staff in the mall the perfect job for my daughter when she grows up.
For one, a job in the mall teaches my child about the value of money.
It’s easy for a child to feel entitled nowadays. Since both parents usually work, we overcompensate our absence by showering our children with gifts and nice things. Consequently, children never learn the value of money. They think money grow on trees, and money is easy to earn.
Numerous articles have come out on recent years on just how spoiled and arrogant children have become. And I honestly believe that merely giving your children money and not teaching them how to earn it, is one of the best ways to destroy the next generation.
Well, at minimum wages, children can learn the value of money.
They learn that Php 491/day does not get you too far. It’s enough for a movie ticket and a snack, but that’s it. It doesn’t buy you any nice toy, and if you buy a toy, then where else will you get money to eat or sleep?
By having them work in the mall, they realize that money is not easy to earn.
That Php 491.00 is equivalent to 8 hours of standing up, and multiple disappointments in selling. It’s shivering in the air-conditioned room as you watch people pass your storefront, while you call out repeatedly until one of them stops and actually looks at your item.
Two, working at the mall teaches them humility.
Working in the front-line is a great equalizer. When you’re selling to a customer, they don’t care how big your house is, how impressive your car is, or how much money you have in the bank account.
They only care about how good is your product, and how well you can pitch your product to them. If you cannot sell your product at its own merits, and can’t do any sales talk, then they won’t buy from you.
At the end of the day, customers buy from the sales staff. Sure, they like the product, but the sales staff herself is a big part of the equation.
Unlike other jobs, you can’t brag what your position is, or how much money you have. In fact, the more arrogant a sales staff is, the more people won’t buy. Because who wants to buy from a bonafide asshole?
That’s why being a sales staff is a great equalizer. You have to go down to people’s level in order to sell to them. You have to be humble and let them have their way, in order for them to buy your stuff.
Remember, you’re the sales staff and they’re the customer, so you have to be humble and let customers be mostly right for them to make the sale.
Three, working in the mall teaches you about people. How to deal with them, and how to read them.
Being a retail staff, you cannot judge a book by its cover. You have to treat every customer whom you entertain well, regardless on how they look.
Because you can’t judge a book by its cover.
For example, some of our richest customers are those who are dressed simply, wear Crocs, and talk very courteously. They’re the ones whose wallet are filled with 1000 Php bills cash, or have Platinum credit cards.
There are also customers who look rich. They’re draped with the shiniest jewelry, wear the strongest perfumes and carry the most logo-laden designer bags.
But bewarned, do NOT be fooled to giving them credit because they have a huge amount of debt on their credit cards, and they’re living off from borrowing other people’s money to fund their excesses.
They may also be the baddest bitches on the planet. Meaning, it’s hard to sell to them. They make impossible demands, ask for the steepest discounts, and then lash out at you for the smallest mistakes.
So yes, working in the mall exposes you to all kinds of people. The good, the bad and they ugly. And given that you still have to sell, regardless on how bad customers can be, you still keep your charming smile on and carry on the day.
Four, you learn to have more personality. And to sell yourself and to talk better.
Working in retail sales, it helps if you’re pretty and tall. Multiple studies have shown that customers are more likely to buy from good-looking sales people than ugly ones.
That is the reason why medical representatives, car salesmen, bank representatives, lawyers, and insurance salespeople are usually good looking. Apparently, doctors are found to buy more from cute sales representatives.
My daughter is not particularly pretty. She’s cute because she’s only 14 months old, but she’s not beautiful in the most traditional sense of the word.
That is why she needs to build up her intelligence and her charm.
And the best place to do that is in sales.
Sales teaches you to look presentable.
No matter how bad you look, there’s always makeup to accentuate your features. Many of our sales staff looked like factory workers when they start with us, but look a lot more impressive after working with us.
That’s the power of makeup.
What’s more, you have to develop a personality in sales. Because at the end of the day, customers buy from YOU, the sales staff.
How many people have bought just because the sales person was great? LOTS.
That’s why, as a sales staff, you need to be confident, polite, intelligent, flexible, and persuasive. You need to convince people to buy your product. You need to show them they need it. You need to demonstrate the products on its merits, let them try the product, and then help them make a good purchasing decision.
Now who wouldn’t want their kid to learn such positive traits?
Five, working as a retail staff teaches you about the beauty of monotonous work.
Thanks to technology and gadgets, which by the way make great alternative babysitters, our children are now more fidgety and are always on the lookout for exciting stimuli. For them, a day of doing nothing, is boring, and they’re in the search for adventure in the form of violent video games and colorful youtube videos.
I’m against the excessive use of technology in raising kids. I think technology brings out the worst in children, and left in their own devices (pun intended), our children become addicted to such digital heroin and grow up to be less functioning adults.
Working as a retail staff teaches about the beauty of being bored.
Because when you are standing there for 8 hours and waiting for the next customer, you can’t text or use Facebook. You have to be fixing your displays, updating your records, or filing your documents. And after doing so, you can be calling out for customers to stop and look at your products.
The work is admittedly monotonous and boring. But then again, most work is monotonous and boring.
My secretary updates our sales ledger and files office documents. In the afternoon, she falls in line and deposits checks during her bank run.
My office staff encodes data onto our inventory system the entire day.
My inventory girl helps me prepare goods for pricing and delivery. After which, she stores some of them in our vault for replenishment, which she encodes onto a delivery receipt to give to our area supervisor.
Work is and an be boring. But that’s what jobs are — no matter how exciting jobs are in the beginning, they later on become monotonous and boring. Because you’re already used to the grind and do things automatically.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I think being good at what you do and doing repetitive but accurate work is a great way to get promoted.
Life is not about jumping from one exciting job to the next. It’s not about changing boyfriends as you change your underwear. The best things in life are often times the most comfortable of things.
And working at a retail sales job can teach my daughter just that — being content in the monotony and looking for the positives even when you are bored.
Lastly, working at a retail sales job teaches you how to be detail-oriented, and how to logically make and file all paperworks.
You can’t be careless if you’re a retail sales job. Once the item is delivered to the store, the inventory is now under your responsibility, and you are charged when anything gets lost.
Hence, you have to take care of inventory and make sure nothing goes missing, lest you be charged.
You also need to properly do your paperworks.
If you sold an item for Php 500, you better make sure your sales receipt reflects Php 500 lest you be accused of stealing. How many sales staff has been fired because they wrote down the wrong amounts in sales invoices?
You cannot be disorganized when you’re in sales. In fact, you have to be very organized. All your paperworks must be in order, your store front be neat and tidy, and your products displayed beautifully.
If you can’t be organized, you can’t be in sales.
In summary, there are a gazillion reason why I’d want my daughter to be in retail sales.
Of course, that doesn’t mean she has to do retail sales for the rest of her life. In fact, if all goes well, she may one day manage a retail brand or two when she gets older. But the fact of the matter is, it’s hard to manage if you yourself don’t know from the grassroots level what your customers want, how to sell your product carefully, and how to deal with your staff.
Working as a sales staff is the first step in learning all of that.
“But mom! I’m your daughter!” she might wail. “Why can’t I be a manager or something?”
For one, your people have to respect you first before they work for you. They need to know you’re smart, experienced, and will do the right thing. When you manage people, you just don’t give them a livelihood. They entrust their future to you as well.
That is why it’s critical for my daughter to learn how to follow, before learning how to lead. She needs to earn my people’s respect first, before she can lead over them.
That’s still 18 or more years away, but a mother can wish. In the end, even if my business folds up, I’d still want my daughter to start in retail sales before venturing in anything else. The lessons she will learn are priceless and will be there for her for the rest of her life.
Have a great weekend everyone!