So, readers, yesterday I had my worst experience ever as an associate in a retail store. The store shall remain nameless, though I wish I could share with you all to hinder anyone from attempting to work there.
On Wednesday I was very excited to learn that I had gotten this position at an upscale fifth avenue flagship store. I’d get only $9 an hour but also 3% comission, as well as 50% of their beautiful merchandise so I wasn’t too sad about it. I was told to report to work at 9 the next day.
I report to work at 9 assuming I’ll work a 6 or 8 hour workday…no. Come to find out, all employees are required to work open to close, an 11 hour workday with one half hour lunch break. Im not happy about this but I figure I’ll test out the environment and whatnot.
It being my first day I walked around making note of the styles, designers, looks, etc so I could more easily help a customer when I had one. I also tried to hoan in on what other employees were doing and saying to secure sales; learn from the more experienced.
Due to most of the employees working off of commission only there is a lot of not-so-friendly competition. I was talked to by the owner of the company no less than five times about my selling tactics; how it was necessary that I follow the customer around from the door, to the fitting room, to the cashier if I’d like to make and get credit for a sale. AKA, I legitimately need to stalk resilient customers who reiterated that they were “just looking”. I got in trouble for selling a pair of shoes (only one guy was allowed to work shoes) and again for losing a customer to the fitting room attendant, whilst I was just grabbing the customer another dress.
The owner was not happy that I needed a few afternoons off for pre-planned photoshoots (which would grant me more money in 2 hours than a full day at his establishment). He also said I needed to make up the hours by working 6 days a week, almost all full days and asked me to change my family Thanksgiving plans which were set back in May. All for a barely minimal wage and unbearable foot pain? NO. After telling the owner it would not work out I decided to tough out my first day, but almost gave up and walked out many times.
The thing that bothered me most was the way the store was run. I can honestly say I could have run a happier, more efficient sales environment. With an 11 hour sales day it could easily be broken up into 6-8 hour shifts bringing in some overlap for lunch breaks and rush hours. This could create happier employees who didn’t complain for the last 2 hours of their shift and literally RUN out the door when their shift was over. The other employees told me that this has been brought to the owner’s attention but he has no will to listen or change his set ways.
Given the horrific experience I will not be returning to work there and probably never shop there as I’d be so heart broken knowing those poor souls working almost 70 hours a week.
So there; when you hate your $11 an hour, 25 hours a week sales job remember this…you’re not making $9 an hour working yourself to the bone (literally I think my foot broke through the skin last night). Granted it’s money and we all love money, but our own happiness and sanity needs to take priority.