'Sales' jobs are a number of things. First and foremost, sales jobs are the most readily available type of work for backpackers in Australia. From what I gather, it's pretty damn hard to get turned down for this type of position, and there are hundreds of positions floating about, so if you're a poor backpacker in need of some cash, (and which backpackers aren't poor and in need of some cash?) you're pretty much guaranteed a job...
Which is almost exactly how I came to be stood in a Melbourne shopping centre, with a bunch of other backpackers, wearing shirts that made us look like darts players.
Sales jobs usually work on a commission only basis, some pay a terrible basic wage + commission, and some pay a fairly decent basic wage + commission. I was lucky enough to pick up a well paid job at $20 an hour plus commission, so smiles all round!
Apart from the fact that a sales job does most certainly NOT involve smiles all round. What it actually involves is being glared at, frowned at, scowled at or even worse - ignored completely. At one point, I managed to convince myself that I was completely invisible - that was until I said 'hello' to somebody else, who promptly put their hand in my face and made me wish that I was invisible again.
Of course, I'm not denying that it's a little bit annoying when a sales person stops you in a shopping centre, or a charity worker stops you in the street. If you're like me and leave things until last minute, then you're going to be in a rush and probably the last thing you need is somebody taking some of your precious time to sell you something that you more than likely don't need. It's not annoying enough, however, to be downright rude to the person, who at the end of the day is just trying to earn a living.
I actually met some wonderful, amazing people too. People who managed to make the part of me that wanted to scream at the top of my voice, not want to scream at all anymore. But for the most part, a sales job is spending your day wondering how much longer you can continue to smile at people, simply for them to shoot a filthy look back in your direction or completely avoid eye contact with you altogether. It's the potential to earn a LOT of money in exchange for being made to feel very small. It's the feeling of not wanting to to get up for work, the feeling of anger when somebody puts their hand in your face and the feeling of frustration when you're trying to figure out if you'd rather continue as you are, or just live on pasta and nothing else for the rest of your time in the city.
For me, a sales job was the realisation that I'm not even slightly ready to spend my time in a position that constantly exposes me to the harsh reality that people are dicks - something which I have long been aware of, but something I feel I don't need to be reminded of all day. It was also the realisation that I'm lucky enough that I have the option to make that decision.
Cut a long story short, a sales job is not for me.