Why I Prefer Warehouse Work Over Retail

So far, I’ve lasted seven months at my warehouse job The job I do full-time is easier than the one I did part-time. Only needing to keep up a certain rate makes it hard.

I sincerely never expected to think of working in a warehouse any better than retail. I made the switch for a higher wage and because retail is for extroverts, but I still expected to have my soul sucked out of me and dread going every day. While nothing will ever make me enjoy waking up early, I don’t hate my job and while I can’t say I look forward to going (it is ten hours of work, after all), I don’t dread being there.

Obviously, this is very subjective. There are people out there who feel the opposite way: can’t stand warehouse work, but are great in retail. As for why I particularly like it (besides getting paid more):

  • No customers. I won’t lie. This is the biggest reason I hated retail. Too many people! I worked as a cashier and, unfortunately, the management thought I was great at it. Too many people in too short a time and too much interaction. No, I really don’t care to idly chat with this person. I just want to ring their stuff, so they can pay for it and get out! I can’t talk that much out of my mouth. At least, not small talk! It’s boring. Heck, part of why I wanted to work on the floor was to get away from this. The other part was not wanting to be confined to a small space (though this didn’t change with my current job, I’m too busy to notice most of the time, and I don’t need permission to leave that space).
  • Too little staff and leaving late. There’s a reason closing shifts are the most hated, but I grew to hate every shift. It seemed like we never had enough people. I remember there was once two cashiers scheduled for the entire day, meaning the floor people would be counted on as backup. I hated that. Of course, warehouses can have too little staff, but so far, my experience with my current job has been sometimes, too many people show up! My day always ends at 6pm, when I’m scheduled. I’m not obligated to stay later to continue cleaning. Speaking of cleaning…
  • No cleaning up after people. This is the second-biggest reason, and it’s why I don’t give two cents about automation coming into retail. Customers are freaking slobs! Our store looked like a tornado struck every night! And shockingly, it rarely was the kids. Really, who raised these people? My mom would’ve destroyed me if I didn’t clean up after myself in someone else’s space. I still wish they banned food! Warehouses are definitely not sparkling and spic-and-span, but cleaning up the warehouse is not part of my job! The most they ask is to keep our stations clean and that’s fine with me since, you know, I’m working in that spot and the trash likely came from me.
  • Break schedule. I suppose it makes sense my retail job had no regular break schedule since consistent scheduling doesn’t exist in retail by any sense of the phrase. But it actually helps the day go quicker. There were also times you couldn’t get a break because there was no cover. On two occasions, I’ve been one of only two staff members in the entire store. And the second time was pure chance because I wasn’t scheduled. The keyholder that day called me in and I said yes. She didn’t say she had no other staff with her whatsoever, presumably because it would’ve sounded like a guilt trip. I must respect her for that.
  • Always something to do. This one is more about desk jobs than retail. I had two desk jobs and they were boring as boring could be. I spent more time warming the chair than doing work. And it wasn’t laziness. There was sincerely nothing to do but talk, which, as I already said, I cannot do for long periods of time. It wouldn’t have been so bad if entertaining ourselves was allowed when there was no work to be done, but that wasn’t the case. The expectation was to sit there and do nothing until something popped up for you take care of. While I don’t want more work than I can handle, I don’t want the polar opposite either. If you’re going to have me here for the majority of the day, give me enough work to fill that time! Anything that takes more effort than keeping my butt in a chair. Being on my feet all day isn’t fun, but I’ll always take it over sitting in boredom for the same amount of time. Keeping busy (and good socks and shoes!) prevents me from noticing the pain.

None of this is to say I never get frustrated at my job. There’s no day without some kind of problem: computer freezing, jammed cubes, heavy stuff, the conveyor not working, needing to search for tiny items, exact same items with multiple different SKUs (I want to imprison the people who do this!), the scanner not scanning. Anything the causes me to mess up my time fries my nerves. I also learned way more varieties of sex toys than I ever cared to know. But none of those problems, as annoying as they are, result in me staying past 6pm or leave only two people in the whole warehouse. Plus, it’s fun to think that sometimes, computers are freaking stupid.

Of course, most warehouse positions are physical and can’t be done after a certain age. While I’m okay with my job, I still overall prefer something less physical that could keep me just as busy (or allow me to entertain myself when there is no work) so I’m not bored out of my mind. Maybe it’ll come someday. Maybe not.

For the present, I’ll be happy with what I have.