Nouvelle's part-time work experience at convenience store

2017.01.10 update
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In Japan, there are so many convenience stores and they are open even in the midnight. Nouvelle, 20 male, who had worked at convenience store in mid night, tells his story about the part-time jobs at the store.
a male shop clark at convenience store

What was your job at your work?

I worked the mid-night shift, starting from 10PM to 8AM. My job was mainly working at the register and filling the shelfs. Adding to those, I clean the floor and "Hot-case"*, and change oils in fryer which is used to cook for "FF"*.

[Terminology for convenience store]
・FF:First Food or Finger Food. FF refers several foods such as pork-bun, fried chicken, crockett, or Oden (foods stewed in a thin soy soup) you can find around the register.
・Hot-case:Case to keep warm FF.

What phrase was the most useful at the work?

Japanese phrase I often used was "恐れ入ります(Thank you for your extra efforts )"
I used this phrase when some customer pay by bill with small changes or when other customer put his/her goods in plastic bag by his/herself.

Other phrase I used a lot was "申し訳ありません(I am very sorry)"
If you are late to come to the register because you are doing other thing, or if the customer ask some item but it is out of stock, you can start from this phrase so that he/she doesn't feel bad.

I think being lost for words will be the worst case during the communication with customers. If you are going to be lost for words, use either phrase "恐れ入ります" or "申し訳ありません" depends on the situation. You can communicate with the customer better later.

What kind of skills you gained at work can be useful on your life?

I think the skill of communication has been improved. There are many people with different background working at convenience store. You will meet the people not only you work with the same work-shift, but also the people before or after your work-shift. When you meet these people you should have some little conversation which are required some skill of communication.

I wasn't good at communicate with people and didn't have many friends at school. But through my part-time job at convenience store, I had many chace to speak with people I will probably not meet at my daily life, and eventually I can communicate with other people naturally.

What was a fun part of your job?

It was when we had a new comer and I had to coach him. There are so many things you need to learn when you work at convenience store. For the first few days, new comers have to work while they don't know what to do, so they will rely on you.

While I coach a new comer, I saw myself in him when I was a new comer. Being relied on gave me a sense of achievement to become an grown-up man.

Were there any tough time at your job?

I had a few tough time when I communicate with the customer. There are so many different types of customer will come to the store. Most of the customer are nice and have some manners, but some are not.

The hardest time I still remember was there were one older customer who buy cigarette every morning. When you buy cigarette or alcohol, you have to push the button on the screen to verify yourself as you are not minor, and he didn't like this procedure. When he was not in a good mood, he was upset and argued if he looks like a minor all the time. Once he upset, I always had a hard time to settle things down.

Are there any advise from you?

The busiest time is different at every convenience stores and it depends on the location. For example, if the store located near the station, there are many customers even after the midnight. If the store located at suburb, there are few customer at the late night and you may have nothing to do at the time.

If you want to work at some convenience store where you want to work, you should visit the store at the time when you want to work before you apply. You can understand the type of store, such as when the store has highest traffic of customer. I think knowing the type of store and knowing if the store suits to your working style beforehand can make you choice of store better.

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