Never having done anything related to retail before, I spent the weekend at a market - as a vendor.
Based on my photo albums, you may guess that I sold something related to something that I love - and you'd be right: gemstones.
It was a great experience and I learned a lot, saw things in new perspectives, and had a new appreciation for trading, economics, and human behaviour.
The main learning point had to do with the great disparity in foot traffic. There are times of intense activity as well as periods of dull lull. This spoke to me of the need to understand human motivations - why certain times brought certain people or their lack.
From this I started to understand the temptation of immersing yourself in your smartphone and simply serving the most interested people who started asking questions while ignoring those who casually browsed or glanced over. It was so easy to do this that I had to mentally remind myself over and over again to treat every browser as a potential customer.
Not everyone bought something, of course - economics at work here - but I was glad of the opportunity to share what I knew with my browsers. To see their smiles, receive their thanks, and hear their appreciation at learning something new as they left inevitably reminded me of appreciative learners that I have had in schools.
All in all, it was a fantastic learning experience. The amount of insight I gained cannot possibly have been gotten elsewhere. I'd do it all over again.