Wednesday, August 28, 2013

retail hell.

I had the displeasure of working in retail while I was in college for two different stores - one a big brand store that is operated by an even bigger brand that owns about three other stores and the other a local boutique. Both were the worst jobs I've ever had. Don't get me wrong here, I appreciate you great retail sales people, but it is not something I was good at. 

My freshman year of college at UNC-W I worked in the big brand store in the mall, I'll call it "Hell 1". I was hired at Hell 1 as holiday help around October and thought, this will be great, I get a 30% discount on these clothes that I actually like, I don't have to sit at a desk all day and I get to see new clothes as they're coming out. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. 

let's just say it was one of these...

I was told I had to push credit cards on people (that had a crazy high interest rate) and that if I couldn't make people sign up for cards, I would not get any hours. I was told to "not to take 'no' for an answer until they're refused you 3 times". My manager taught me to push the credit cards while the customer is walking around the store looking for their purchases (while also stalking them to be sure they don't steal), push the credit card while they're are in the dressing room (along with other merchandise "to match" the clothes they're trying on) and push it at the register (along with the earrings, bracelet and whatever other thing we have in the little bins by the register). It was horrible.

The next best thing about Hell 1 was watching people steal. I was appalled at the way some of these women would just waltz right into the store with another shopping bag, bite off a sensor and stick the merchandise into the bag while stashing the bitten off sensor into another shirt or pants still hanging up. I also got to witness a woman pushing an empty stroller into the store and wrap clothes up inside the "baby" blanket to hide them before walking out of the store (this particular lady wasn't smart enough to bite off the sensor first, she got super busted). 

But the absolute best part of Hell 1? Being told to pay more attention to the "ideal customer" - which I was told is between the ages of 16 and 30, a size 2 to 6 and "looks like they could afford to actually buy stuff". Being a size 8 myself in college, I was more than just a little insulted by their idea of what the average Hell 1 customer should look like. 

I was asked to stay on at Hell 1 after the holidays but I politely said "h to the no" and swore to never wear all black outfits or buy jeans from that store EVER again.

My sophomore year in college when I transferred to ECU (best decision ever), I started working at a local boutique, which I'll call "Hell 2". This particular boutique was a pretty big deal in Greenville, it sold decals, jewelry, purses, monogrammed things, house wear items, shoes, clothes, candles... you name it, Hell 2 probably had it. 

But it also had a straight-up crazy owner. 

this crazy boss had NOTHING on Hell 2's owner
(also, if you don't know who this woman is, you need to watch "The Hills", "The City" and "Kell on Earth"

She'd assign us each tasks to do for the day while we were working the sales floor. She'd call them "projects". They'd range from "make a new display with the pewter serving ware" to "color these little pumpkins to make them look like coupons for next week's fall sale". You needed to have your project done by the end of the day, but you couldn't shirk your sales area to do the project, make a mess while trying to accomplish your project NOR could you do the project in front of customers

And no matter how you did the project, it was wrong. It doesn't matter if you asked the owner very specific questions about how to do it right or did it exactly like the sample she made first, it was still wrong

I also got the chance to witness her take clothes SHE HAD WORN and put tags on them then stick them back out to be sold. They would still smell like her perfume and have her dogs hair stuck to them. 

My favorite moment at Hell 2 was when one of my co-workers cut her finger while trying to hang up a Christmas wreath on the wall. The girl practically sliced her finger in half and needed stitches, the owner wouldn't let her leave. There my co-worker sat with blood dripping on the floor and she decided she had enough. She grabbed her purse, clocked out and peaced out. Never came back. I should have followed her. 

I lasted at Hell 2 for almost 6 months until I found a job as a receptionist for a doctor's office, but that's a story for another day....

What was your worst job?

1 comment:

  1. Those sound horrible.

    My worst job was as a Crisis Intervention Specialist aka a social worker type of job. I worked with families who were at risked at having their children removed. I basically set my own schedule (worked it around the requirements of the program and the family's hours), but was on call 24/7. I had to put clients in my car. I hated the job itself, the management, the concept, and everything. After I graduated with my master's degree (it also doubled as my internship), I quit.