The department store

I started work at the department store Sunday and worked four days in a row. By the end of the fourth day, my feet were blistered and felt like they’d been beaten to a bloody pulp. Standing for eight hours straight with a lunch break somewhere in the middle is no easy task. I am wondering if this will be like the hotel, and I’ll be absolute cookie dough for the first week but adapt after that. For my toes’ sake, I hope this is the case.

Retail isn’t so bad. It’s silly, but I kind of like helping people, even if it is simply pointing them in the direction of our toaster ovens or the nearest restroom. I smile all day, but that’s not the tiring part. I like being friendly and warm and helpful. It doesn’t feel as disingenuous as I thought it would. People seem to find it easy to make conversation with me and they thank me for my assistance. I smile broadly and maintain eye contact, which I notice not all of my co-workers do. When the topic comes up, I lie and say I just finished school and am looking for a job in public relations. “Just finished,” if used liberally, could very well mean within the last three years, but I leave out the part where I quit my job making much more than I will at the department store.

At work, I lift boxes and sort blenders by brand and model number. I ring up purchases. I despise and detest coupons and believe they are the bane of my existence. I apologize profusely when coupons don’t work yet I can offer no explanation as to why they fail. I remain polite to even the most inconsolable of customers. Sometimes I win them over; sometimes I don’t. I speak to international customers whose English is far better than any other language will ever be spoken by me. I listen carefully as we work together to break a language barrier and finally determine they wish to buy a hair straightener.

In my interview, I brought up my most relevant experience. Coincidentally, they were the two jobs I hated most out of all my jobs: Arby’s, where I worked a register, and telemarketing, where I sold unwanted products to strangers on the phone. My worst fear was that the department store would be a combination of these two hateful experiences, but I was wrong. The only thing I can say is that with all three of these jobs, I’ve had nightmares about them. There’s nothing worse than spending all night dreaming about work and then waking up to go to work. I’m hoping the department store stops haunting me once I get a little more adjusted to it.

I got some good news yesterday. I got hired over the phone for a part time freelance reporting gig, covering a Chicago suburb. It sounds like it will be a lot like what I did for SNP, except more over the phone since the suburb is hellafar from where I live. However, if I make the trip there, I’ll get paid more for any photos or video I get to accommodate my stories. Too bad my computer can’t handle video editing. I’m trying to think of a way around that fact. Anyway, my editor already gave me my first assignment and I’m excited about the idea of reporting again.

2 thoughts on “The department store

  1. Yay for a reporting gig!!

    After working at a kennel for 6 yrs followed by Vet Offices, I’m so empathetic with people in retail. I understand that half the time it isn’t their fault if something screwy happens. Plus I take into account how much I don’t think I would be able to handle their job, which just adds to the empathy I already have for them, lol.

  2. Congrats on the reporting gig 🙂 That is awesome!
    I also have lots of respect for your retail work. I didn’t even make is one full summer in retail before I ran back to waitressing. People are waaaaaayyyyy nicer to you when they’re worried you may mess with their food.

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