Reid Harris Cooper (lordrexfear) wrote,
Reid Harris Cooper

Adventures in "Sales"

I've had two major retail gigs. One took place in a very high end mall, the other took place in not a mall, unless you count the mall directly across the street or consider a department store that carries everything, has multiple levels and departments for everything including restaurants and the world's most famous Santa as a mall. They were both very different experiences, full of their highs and lows and the lows were low. The highs? Not so high, even though I enjoyed the work itself. I'm a natural salesman and hit above and beyond those needed sales required by a corporate entity who controlled your career without ever actually visiting the store to see what your work rate, skill or ability ever was. At least with one of the jobs I was hired by people who I actually worked alongside even if THEY didn't get to choose if I got the job or not, only suggest.

Neither position ended very great. Having never worked in retail my entire career of being gainfully employed since I was 17 I had to accept Winter/Holiday assignments for both. The first gig I landed happened in a very unusual way actually. I just walked in to check the shop out. After a conversation the manager asked if I was looking for work. I actually wasn't actively seeking a gig at the time but I thought this was a chance to try something new. An interview about a week later and suddenly here I was selling high end products across from Central Park with an amazing area around me. It was still a basic retail job. I cleaned, I sold, I ran a register, I packed, I delivered. I had a great manager, one awesome co-worker and one okay co-worker. It was a job. When the winter ended, it ended. It was upsetting not to be brought on full time but the volume they have during the non-holiday season is way lower than any else, and the corporate make those decisions of bringing on temporary to full. They don't care if you did a good job or not, they look at their budget, whose been there the longest, etc. and in the end for whatever reason that had nothing to do with skill, talent or ability I wasn't brought back. I would visit the store for awhile after as I had made a good relationship with that one awesome co-worker. Including store in Grand Central where he eventually was working, but it was a time in my life. I got to use some of my culinary knowledge and have an experience which counts for something.

All this has been preamble to that second gig. Like I stated, maybe you don't think of a large department store as a mall, but it's really run like one. While everything goes to a corporate and we're all hired by the same HR and you can find yourself working in any division at any time with little to no training, the place itself feels like a mall. It has Au Bon Pain, it has a classy Italian restaurant, they sell everything from kitchen supplies to beds to expensive leather coats. Getting hired for this seasonal position was an experience, and losing it was even more one. After passing a long online test you get called in to sit for an interview. After waiting forever and another "online" test but in person, you speak to people and "sell" yourself. Then you do that again. You get hired on the spot, but told they'll call you to tell you when you start training. That's about a month later. Training is about two days paid. It's even more arduous and crazy as trying to get the job itself. I think some people drop out even as they realize what the job actually is. You don't go from training to working though, there's still a delay of your actual start date. When I started working I would regularly find my name at the top of sales records for whenever I worked the section I was best suited for. There was one week where I ended up having to work in a division where making sales records is near impossible. The product was obscenely expensive and the goals were way above that. When I got to work in electronics, kitchen or candy though it was good times. Well, as good as a retail job during a holiday season in New York City dealing with all kinds of people can be. Co-workers were a major issue, as were my managers. None of it was good in retrospect. Yet had what happened hadn't I'd be happy to still be at that gig today. I'd be hoping I was paid more, but I would've enjoyed the job. It would force me into the city, make me head to the gym, and put money in my pocket. It wasn't to be though.

One co-worker was all it took to bring it all down upon my head and nearly send me to jail. I got into it once with this co-worker. The details are weird and crazy. Somehow he took me not saying 'Thank you' for something he wasn't actually supposed to be doing according to our laid out rules as a slight. It turned into a verbal battle which escalated into threats of physical harm to the other. There were no managers or even customers around when it happened. I mentioned it to a manager, but no one cared. No one was scalded, no one was reported. We both kept our jobs and since we were cordial I never thought of it again. Fast forward weeks later and I'm being pulled up into security. Not pulled, but asked. It is there I get questioned about some occurrence of robbery. I have no clue what they're talking about. It seems weeks back when a manager demanded that I leave my register account open so I don't lose all my sales and let the co-worker cover my register as I assisted with work that no one else other than I had understood in inventory allocation, that the co-worker proceeded under my name to try and do some gift card fraud scam believing that the security camera on us was non-functioning. Giving your account number to another employee is considered a major no-no by corporate but so is arguing with a manager so at the time I was caught between a rock and a hard place. Supposedly the theory was that I was involved, but an investigation proved me innocent. It doesn't matter at HR or corporate or even whatever security finds. I was temporarily suspended and then fired, even upon being found not guilty of any wrong doing. Better yet? I had some left over earned free money to use at the store and when I went in a few weeks later to spend it, my new manager who had taken over sometime between the never punished infraction of the other manager (she was actually just transfered and I think even promoted) and security suspending me asked where the hell I've been. Yes, that is how things worked there or basically any corporate position. You are not hired or fired by the people who ever see your work. They don't even know you've been hired or fired. It happens in a room with people who don't even know you are, what you look like or anything. They don't care, you're numbers to them... but not even that, as I was always on top of the sales records. They were I guess cover their asses... whose asses? I don't know, but someones. We're talking about 300 bucks in GIFT CARD fraud here. I had nights where I was bundling 10s of thousands ($10,000) in CASH at the end of the night of register cleanup. I could've easily found ways to steal that money and not get caught yet I get fired for not stealing and being fucked over by a shitty manager and a criminal co-worker. That co-worker was arrested and I never saw the manager again as I only heard about her being transfered and getting a new manager, but everyone and everything got swept under the carpet. That's how it's handled. It could have be worse, but it set me off from pursuing retail for awhile and then when I started again I thought I had to disclose it because they'd call HR and find out anyway. Which isn't true. HR is only ever allowed to say "He worked here, that is true".

Since that occurrence I've tried my best to never step foot in that store again. It's a silly boycott, but my own personal way of doing things. They actually have some awesome sales at times but I can live. Sometimes I've worried that the situation would stop me from ever wanting to go to ANY mall ever.

Luckily that hasn't happened. Especially since I live near two malls which are quite fun to visit. Either to just walk around in and people watch or hunt for bargains or even be aware of new products to hunt down for cheaper in other locations.

There you have it... some work history for me. This all happened within the last few years and I've sort of told the tale on Facebook but mostly only to friends in person. It seems weird to see it on the page. This actually happened. That insanity and weirdness. It's not some fictional fever dream, but my actual life. I feel like I'm leaving out important details too but maybe I am wrong. Maybe details aren't important. It's better for you to create your own scenario of physical descriptions and such. Yes, those details paint a clearer picture, but you have a time frame and a place and events, the people aren't as important. Well, except for me. I'm important.

I was very very very tempted to write an entire piece of Robin Sparkles and then on How I Met Your Mother and my life have felt connected but then this anecdote popped in my head from the word Mall and I wrote it. Still... Let's Go to the Mall is a great song... but you know what? Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit.

written fortherealljidol Rivals Mini-Season Topic 6- Lets Go the Mall and I can't even
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