I worked at a thrift store over the past summer, and while it was a super fun job, it made me realize something.
I’ve been thrift shopping wrong, and just about everyone else has been too.
While certain things may not seem like a big deal to those shopping, they can make employees lives really tedious, especially when it seems like everyone is doing them.
Some days it seemed like everyone thought that rules didn’t exist just because it was a second-hand store, and my co-workers and I could hardly get anything done on account of it.
That’s why I’m asking you to take a few small steps to change your thrifting habits to help out your thrift store employees.
Number one- Please make sure clothing stays on its hanger.
It was astounding the amount of times we would see someone look at a shirt and either leave it half off the hanger, let it fall to the floor, or toss it over top of the rack (the mens pants are especially bad for that).
Accidents happen, and everyone is bound to not notice something sometimes, and thats okay, but please make sure you’re being vigilant and keeping clothing off the floor.
The employees aren’t your maids, we shouldn’t have to follow you around cleaning up after you, and items on the floor like that could lead to somebody getting really hurt.
If you wouldn’t do it at home, or in Kohl’s, don’t do it at a thrift store.
Number two- Please don’t leave unwanted clothing in the middle of a random rack.
Theres usually a go-back-rack at the ends of the aisles or outside the dressing rooms for unwanted clothes, and if thats even too much of an issue, we would appreciate you leaving it on the end caps of the aisles or handing it to us instead.
The aisles are sorted to make it easier for customers to find things, some stores sort by size, others by item type, color, and even by solids and prints.
When the aisles are kept in order, they tend to stay in order, but the more unwanted clothing people do leave, the more unwanted clothing people will leave.
It helps us to keep the store clean for you when you put things back correctly, and it also allows us to spend more time getting new donations out when we don’t have to spend an hour picking womens pants out of the children’s shirts.
At the thrift store chain I worked at, you had to log how many racks of donations you put away, and they wanted you to complete about one large rack every 20 minutes.
These racks were packed full, really full, and they took a while to be put away, but you could be penalized for not being ‘up to speed’.
When you leave the aisles in a mess, not only are you making it harder for everyone to find what they need, but you could be getting the employees in trouble because they needed to take the time to clean up after you.
Number three- let us put away our racks.
We would have to stop and wait so often because people would go through the rack we were putting up.
It was super common to grab a handful of clothing to put away, and have four people all start thumbing through the rack you need to get to while you back was turned.
It’s totally okay to look at something on the racks that we’re putting away, but please be purposeful about it.
If you see something you want to look at, go ahead and look at it, but please don’t go through the entire rack if you don’t need to, we are timed, after all.
Number four- please clean up after yourself in the dressing room.
The amount of times we’ve walked into a pile of inside out, hanger-less pants in the dressing room is honestly kind of sad.
There are go-back-racks right outside, please take the time to hang up your clothing on them instead of leaving it on the floor.
Number five- please take your hangers with you.
It may seem strange to be asked that if we’re just going to take them from you at checkout, but it helps a lot to keep the aisles clear if you take the hanger with you.
It lessens clutter on the clothing racks and lets us put up more clothing for you to look through.
It’s also easier for you, you’re already grabbing the item, so just skip the step of putting the hanger back in the aisle.
Number six- please don’t ride the bikes.
Please don’t make me ask you to stop running, riding things, or doing anything else that you probably shouldn’t do in a store.
It’s a huge safety risk and it sets a bad example for kids in the store who we will have to also remind not to ride the bikes.
At the end of the day, please just keep in mind the effect that your actions have on everyone else around you.
Little things like double checking if a shirt is hanging correctly are easy not to think about, but they make a big difference to people down the line.
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