Working retail can be boooooooooring. Like, really boring. There’s a lot of downtime and sometimes you have to be creative to pass the hours and minutes until your shift is done.

Every little bit helps, right?

Retail workers of AskReddit share their tips.

1. Take your time.

“When I worked retail I used to go out and sloooowwwwly gather the carts.”

2. Non-stop folding.


I got so good at folding (without a board) so would spend hours perfecting stacks of shirts.

Also, dusting, organizing, and cleaning things that people never see. As long as I had decent music it could really help the shift go by fast

But if anyone told me to clean I would get annoyed LOL.”

3. Push the broom.

“I had a friend that worked at a Walmart in college and he was convinced that a employee that “looked” like they were working was invisible to the management staff.

So he took a big broom and walked around the same set of isles for an entire 8 hour shift and did nothing else to see if they would notice.

The same manager walked by him 22 times and never said a word to him.”

4. I need to get out of here.

“Chatting with co-workers mostly, that and imagining a different reality in my head.”

5. Playing games.

“I work as a grocery cashier and it gets boring fast scanning items and standing for hours and time goes by VERY slow.

I play a game with myself where I choose look for/count for one specific thing like bad tattoos so every 10 people I see who I consider to have a bad tattoo I check the clock.

Every 20 people who come in with their dog in a stroller (very common in my store) I check the clock etc.”

6. Getting more and more depressed.

“I used to draw sad clowns on the back of receipt paper.

The sadder the better.”

7. Ignore the clock.

“Do NOT look at the time. Big mistake.”

8. Put in your headphones.

“I worked at Party City for 4 years and would not have been able to do it without Bluetooth headphones!!!

My hair goes past my ears, so I’d put one head phone in one ear and hide it with my hair, then have the other ear free if people needed me!

Podcasts and audio books saved my sanity.”

9. Open up a little bit.

“I know this seems crazy, but actually talking to customers can be pretty incredible.

So many people starved for human interaction and everyone has an interesting story.”

10. Feed that brain of yours.

“We have work phones with optional earpieces (the transparent secret-service coiled earpieces).

I just plug that into my phone and listen to audiobooks. Four hours of listening so far today, three books finished so far this year.”

11. Get creative.

“I worked as an overnight stocker for two years. During that time I thought up and worked out a story idea in my head.

When I got an office job I needed to fill time at, I wrote that story over three years of extra free time. I finished the first draft last year and have been taking a break from it while working on a new story.”

12. Sounds like The Office.

“I made spreadsheets, i catalogued my co-workers bathroom breaks, coffee breaks and how often the swore.

I sometimes gave them stickers rewarding them for “swearing less than last month” and wouldn’t tell them what it was for so they just got stickers.”

13. There you go.

“The boss makes a dollar, I make a dime

That’s why I p*op on company time.”

14. You’re getting paid for this?

“When I worked retail, before smart phones existed, we played hide the bear.

We had small doll house sized teddy bears that were random colors. One person would clean and pull the stock forward on the shelves and hide the bear.

Then would swap out with the cashier after chatting for a bit and let the cashier hunt down the bear.

Rinse and repeat.”

15. This is my favorite.

“When I worked at Verizon I taught myself how to juggle.”

Some of those responses brought memories of my retail days flooding right back. Ahhhh, good times…at least some of the time.

What about you? Do you have any good tips for your fellow retail workers?

Share them with us in the comments!