Advice on How to Survive Your Retail Job

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This post was sponsored by Reebok as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Retail workers, batten down the hatches. Holiday season is coming and as we all know, holiday season = long hours on your feet and infinite lines of customers with fistfuls of wadded-up coupons. Oh, joy.

Working a retail job

I never thought I would end up working a retail job but when I found myself with 9 months to earn as much money as possible before moving to Ireland, retail was my first chance for a paycheck and I seized the opportunity.


Truthfully, I actually really love my job (most of the time). I am the visual associate which means I am the person who puts up signs and displays, dresses mannequins, etc. Most days, it’s pretty fun (key word: most days). After working retail for over three months now, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for how to make your retail job a little better than it currently is.

A Water Bottle

At our store, the only beverage we can have on the floor is water. Bottled water isn’t provided for us, though, so we’re in charge of bringing our own. I personally bring a reusable water bottle every single day and keep it behind the register. First of all, reusable water bottles are better for the earth and second, it’s not good for your health to keep refilling an empty bottled water bottle.

water bottle on table in retail job


Staying hydrated throughout the work day is important for a couple of reasons. It’ll help keep headaches at bay which we all know can happen easily in retail. Plus, our job is basically to interact with customers AKA talk and my mouth gets super dry when I talk a lot. Water for the win.


Similar to water, the only food we can have on the floor is breath mints. Strictly no gum! I always keep a little package of breath mints in my pocket for those moments when I feel like I’ve got something funky happening. And sometimes at the very end of my shift when I’m starving, popping a breath mint makes me feel like I’m actually eating a snack. Added bonus!

Good shoes

Maybe the most important item on this list, people who work a retail job need good shoes. No ifs, and’s, or buts! When I first started, I would wear ballet flats or loafer-style shoes that had absolutely no support. At the end of every shift, I would go home and literally lay in bed and rub my own feet. It was awful and my feet (and therefore my knees and hips and back…) were so very angry with me.

And then the heavens opened up and God said, “Let there be Reebok CloudRide DMX shoes,” and my life was forever changed. These are hands down the most comfortable tennis shoes I have ever put on my feet. The CloudRide DMX shoes have an awesome unique, patented moving air technology that you might recognize if you’ve ever tried any other Reebok DMX products. I don’t know what all that technology means – all I know is that I feel like I’m walking on a stinking cloud.

tennis shoes on box for working a retail job

Maggie Collett

I think the secret is the lightweight flexible sole that has air inside instead of foam. They’re just so bouncy and amazing! Every day that I’ve worn them to work, I come home with happy feet, knees, hips, and back. And no more foot rubs on myself! With standing behind a register and walking to the moon and back on hard tile floors all day, this is a miracle in and of itself.

If you want to check them out for yourself (you should), you can find the Reebok CloudRide DMX shoes at select Famous Footwear stores and also online at famousfootwear.com. They come in both black and white (perfect neutral colors for retail) and run true to size. I’m usually somewhere between an 8.5 and a 9 and my size 9 pair fits perfectly. And if for some reason you don’t feel like you’re walking on a cloud all day, the CloudRides come with a money back guarantee! You can return them via www.reebok.com/dmx within 30 days. But I promise you won’t need the money back guarantee. Give them a shot and thank me later.

tennis shoes stacked on top of each other for retail job

Maggie Collett

With the long hours of the holiday season quickly approaching, these are the only shoes that will be on my feet at work! These also are meant to be walking shoes which means when I get off work, these are also the perfect shoes to run to the store, go for nightly walks with my fiancé, and take my dog Dash out for walks on our gravel road. We’ve actually been doing a lot more walking since I got these shoes because I’m always looking for an excuse to wear them! Dash is just as excited as I am. Do CloudRides come in dog sizes? Mental note to e-mail customer service and ask…

girl walking dog thinking about retail job

Maggie Collett

I could shout the praises of these shoes all day long! Even if you’re just an avid walker/errand runner you NEED these. But if you work in retail….you DEFINITELY NEED THESE.

Working Pens

Our store never EVER has enough working pens. We circle a survey at the bottom of every customer’s receipt and we’re usually passing one half-dead pen between four associates. Keeping a working pen or two in your pocket or in your special hiding place behind the register will pay off. Trust me here.

Quarters for the Vending Machine

There is absolutely nothing worse than a grumbling tummy when you’re working retail. Your patience is already stretched thin thanks to demanding customers and pushy managers. An empty belly makes matters 100x worse. I always like to keep a dollar or two worth of quarters in my locker for the vending machine. That way when I take my fifteen-minute break, I know I’m at least guaranteed a snack. But let’s be real, I usually end up picking the bag of M&Ms over the granola bar. Sometimes you just need some chocolate when you’re working retail.

So, there you have it, retail workers! Everything you might need to survive your next shift. Don’t forget your water, mints, quarters, and pens! Most importantly, snatch up a pair of Reebok CloudRide DMX shoes from Famous Footwear or on famousfootwear.com. Your feet will thank me later.

Have you ever worked a retail job? What are your must-haves for surviving your shifts? Share in the comments below!


  • Great list! I imagine good shoes are important. I know they walk around a lot!

  • andreajesus10

    I think the water would be great even for just Black Friday, period!

  • Aish Das-Padihari

    Shoes are so important. Especially for me if I am going to walk around a lot.

  • Ola Broom

    I try to make a note to be especially patience with retail workers during busy season. You guys really take a beating.

  • Cynthia Williamston

    I’m always particular about what I wear on my feet but if I need to choose between style and comfort, comfort comes first. Let me go shopping…lol

  • Rose Mont

    I have done my time in retail. Now that my oldest is looking for her first job I have encouraged her to pursue that after the holidays versus jumping into the craziness. She is unclear what she wants to do so far.

  • Annemarie LeBlanc

    Having good shoes that fit right is a must for people in the retail industry. It is so exhausting to be always on your feet so we must choose shoes that provide support and reduce impact. That pair of Reebok shoes is the best choice.

  • Troy

    Good shoes and supportive hosery saved me when I worked retail. Standing on your feet all day is a lot of stress on your body.- houx

  • I think with almost every job comfortable shoes are a must. I work on an office and sometimes I take off my heels and slip on some flats or trainers

  • Shoes need to comfortable for my line of work too.Walking keeps us fit too only when the joints arw not complaining. Water is also important

  • Valerie CottageMakingMommy

    I have a love hate relationship with retail. I first developed heel spurs in college working retail. Good shoes are beyond important.

  • Stephanie

    I believe in almost every hob shoes are the key component to comfort. Water is an every day essential too! Great post!

  • Stacie S

    Great tips. I’m so glad I have never had to work retail though. It’s just not for me.

  • I hear that retail is a tough job to have. These are great tips as it reduces any hassle.

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Omg I worked retAil for a few months when I wasn’t in high school and just couldn’t do it!!! People are seriously so rude lol… you never realize this until you work st a store!!!