'Hide the bear' and audiobooks: Retail workers reveal the amusing ways they pass the time

Many of us have done a stint in retail work, or perhaps you're doing it right now. And many of us know the hours are bad, the pay can be poor and despite popular belief, the customer is not always right. 

You have to get through the long days somehow, which has come to light with a new Reddit post gathering steam. User Kyle Woods asked, "retail workers of Reddit, what is your best method for passing time?"

The post quickly racked up over 4000 replies from retail workers more than willing to share their crafty ways of making the hours fly - and no, it's not folding clothes or cleaning counters. 

Here are some of the best:

  • "I had a friend that worked at a Walmart in college and he was convinced that an 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 aisles 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."
  • "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."
  • "I once spent a half-hour or so building a makeshift catapult out of pencils, rubber bands, and various items lying around the counter (without damaging the merchandise), and proceed to start flinging random items around the store, trying to land things inside specific item boxes lining the front aisle."
  • "I play a game with myself where I choose to look for and count for a 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."
  • "When I worked retail before smartphones existed, we played hide the bear. We had small dollhouse-sized teddy bears that were random colours. 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." 

Be warned: some bosses might now be checking CCTV a little more often.