In Retail, No One Can Hear You Scream

The company where a friend of mine works was recently Streamlined For Greater Efficiency, which means he was Invited to Exit so that his position could be Folded Into Internal Synergy.

(translation for those who don’t speak Doublespeak: The company’s going broke, so he was laid off after his position was eliminated)

In order to maintain some income during this period, he’s taken on holiday work at a big-box store.  He’s less than excited about the development. It got me thinking about a job I had for a while – one of those times in our lives when we look at our careers and think, “Well, this can’t be right…”

Now there’s certainly nothing wrong with working jobs like these; but it’s when you find yourself in a job that you know with every fiber of your being is the wrong place for you that wounds so deeply.  For me, the indignity I felt was also fueled by the fact that less than a year earlier I’d been terminally Too Cool For School.

I was still a full-time comedian, working in a couple of theater groups, running a rapidly failing theater show. I was a gen-x bohemian of such incredible pomposity it’s a wonder I didn’t collapse in on myself, black hole-like. Jobs were for chumps.  Societal rules were written for the sheeple who couldn’t think for themselves. Anything “normal” people did was pathetic.  I hung out at dark bars and talked about edgy things and… you know… blah blah puke.

Slide9

(I’m exagerrating, of course. The places I hung out at would never offer ketchup.)

I was also miserable and broke, and decided I needed to make a change.

When I abandoned that I was so unused to being outside of my little alt-rock cocoon of bartering that when I had to start paying for my own drinks again, I was floored.

Slide8

So, I’d decided to try and build something meaningful in my life, and while I was rebuilding, I had to get a  job at the nearby Pseudo-Fancy Furniture & Lots Of Stuff That All Smells Like A Robot Pine Tree chain store.  I dreaded people I knew coming in.

Slide7

I’m sure they didn’t care what I was doing.  It was my self-judgment projecting on to them.

Slide4To be clear, though: the job sucked.  I’d worked a lot of jobs from coffee shops and bars to more bizarre ones, including Submarine Tour Guide (which I’ve written about in “My Secret Resume”) but I’d never worked retail, much less in a chain-store, so I wasn’t used to The Way Things Work.

The managerial staff were either unable, or unwilling, to think independently.  They literally read from scripts given by corporate when addressing the employees.  In day-to-day workings, even when blatant logic suggested a harmless alternative to a directive, they reacted as if you’d said, “What if instead we burned American flags in the window displays?”

This thinking extended to employee meetings where they attempted to “motivate” us by reading from a script, and offer sales competitions where the winner would get, not a bonus, or a raise, but a candy bar.  A candy bar.

Lots of things got thrown out because it wasn’t selling or whatever.  I thought, “Well, I/someone I know can use it” but when I went to take something was told, “It’s the company’s garbage.”  I explained that it’s garbage, and could be put to good use.  They said, “It’s the company’s garbage.”  I said that, actually, the law says that once something has been placed in the garbage, you no longer own it.  They said, “It’s the company’s garbage.”

Slide2

The head manager applied this “inside the box in another box” thinking to her entire life.  She perhaps demonstrated this best through trying to lose weight, but refusing to exercise, eat better, or eat less, but simply through a full-throttle approach to the Atkins Diet.  I also found out later she would take home the in-store security tapes and watch them in her off hours to see what employees were doing when she wasn’t there.

Slide6

But the thing I remember most?  The music.  They had 1-hour music loops, filled with songs that market research had shown inspired people to shop more, and it played every hour.  I’d hear those songs 8 times a day, every day.

I still have a ridiculous, quasi-PTSD response when I hear some of them to this day.

Slide5

Slide4

Slide3

Man, that was awful.  This started out with the intention of being a “Hang in there, buddy; it’ll be fine” thing.

Hm.

Well.

Ron, my friend, it will likely suck.  But, for one thing you’ve got some great other things going on, including directing a play.  Plus, as they say, the only constant is change, and as sure as life leads us in to those situations, it leads us to new places from there.

Slide1

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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168 Comments on “In Retail, No One Can Hear You Scream”

  1. The Philosophunculist Says:

    Used to work overnight at one of those places…….the bosses were robots. Even when somebody got a chemical in their eye and discovered the eye wash station didn’t work, all the boss said, in a robotic voice, was “The eye wash stations are OSHA approved.”

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      And there’s no way the manager type people start out that way, is there? I mean, either they are, and the companies have a knack for finding “paralytic-thinking, borderline bully” types, or they transform lumps of clay in to them. I don’t know which is worse.

      Reply

      • Adventures in Kevin's World Says:

        I think it’s both. It takes a certain type to survive, and then corporate America beats whatever individuality is left out of them.

        And BTW thanks for your awesome euphemism for being ‘downsized.’ As a recent participant in said activity (september) I can appreciate.

        Reply

    • susankier Says:

      oh yeah i remember a manager cleaning a spill quickly so we wouldn’t get sued–not so NOBODY would get HURT. and the 8 songs…i thought we only had 4.

      Reply

  2. silkpurseproductions Says:

    I wish I could say I didn’t know how Ron feels. It sucks. Hopefully, this will be a seasonal stall in his big plan and he can get back to doing the things he wants to sooner rather than later. In the mean time isn’t he lucky to have a friend like you who can get to the core of how much it sucks.

    Reply

  3. rossmurray1 Says:

    You’re a good friend to harness the transformative powers of your stick-figure prowess pep-talk-wise.
    Huh?
    I often worry about employees and the music they have to listen to. One of the best running bits in The 40-Year-Old Virgin is that Michael MacDonald concert DVD looping over and over. Good Lord!

    Reply

  4. Elyse Says:

    He will just need to use this experience to write (and then direct) another play …And I recommend lottery tickets.

    Reply

  5. norushinafrica Says:

    I love the euphemisms they use when they fire you e.g “we’re letting you go”. “You are fired” has one less word and there’re no mixed messages in that one psssh letting me go? Letting me go where?

    Reply

  6. Good Scents of Humor Says:

    Reblogged this on Good Scents of Humor and commented:
    Lol!

    Reply

  7. Eagle-Eyed Editor Says:

    I hope things turn out well for him.

    Reply

  8. speaker7 Says:

    This was just…awesome. Just freakin’ awesome. I almost wished you would work at another soulless place so I can read another post about it.

    Reply

  9. ErikSlader Says:

    Been there for sure, my story: Blockbuster, Borders, and Bankruptcy…
    http://epikfails.com/2013/11/12/blockbuster-borders-and-bankruptcy/

    Reply

  10. She's a Maineiac Says:

    I spent four hard years working the front line at Yankee Candle, and the absolute worst part was the piped-in music. To this day if I hear a few bars of any song by Mannheim Steamroller, I have flashbacks and start to twitch.

    My boss also used to drone to me: It’s the company’s garbage. She’d have me throw tons of perfectly good glass candle jars into the dumpster. Hearing the sickening crunch of glass brought tears to my eyes. Why must those greedy corporate assholes take away my chance at making my home smell like sugar cookies? Isn’t it enough they took away every last shred of my dignity by simply being their employee?

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Speaking of scented candles, I think they should required by law to put quotation marks around the scent. It’s not so much Pine Forest scented, as “Pine” “Forest” scented. Same with air fresheners.

      Reply

  11. Snoring Dog Studio Says:

    Hilariously frightening. Now I know what’s behind the unfocused, empty eyes of store clerks. “You’re fired. Pick up your soul at HR on the way out.” Ugh.

    Reply

  12. becomingcliche Says:

    I had the same experience with a retailer – the owner insisted the stuff be incinerated. “But, sir, those stuffed animals and notepads could go to a children’s hospital.” “NO! BURN IT!” It was like living in Footloose.

    Reply

  13. susielindau Says:

    I loved working retail and my son got a job at Best Buy. After only one week of working full time, he made top salesman. Between Danny and I, it must be genetic. Now he’s thinking about staying there for a while instead of going into advertising.
    My daughter has always wanted to own a retail store. She was hired and thrown into managing a small store this fall. She hated it! Now she’s rethinking what she wants to do after college. She’s thinking product development. Selling is not for everyone!
    I still remember the music we played too. David Bowie takes me right back to The Peacock.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      My wife loves working retail, too. I might if I found somewhere different – I worked at an independent record store for a while, and I liked that, but I don’t think that counts.

      Reply

  14. Hardly Sucks Says:

    I was contemplating a second job over the holiday. Thanks for you thoughts on retail hell!!!
    Love it!
    -hardly sucks

    Reply

  15. Hippie Cahier Says:

    I always suspected Marc Cohn had something subliminal going on.

    Reply

  16. BrainRants Says:

    TBM, this is epic. Quite possibly your best stick-man effort to date, I’d add. However, you say, “alt-rock” like it’s a bad thing…

    Reply

  17. thefoodandwinehedonist Says:

    I used to work 1 day a month at Williams Sonoma, mostly for the discounts. But during holiday seaso I was there 1-2x a week. Rough. The worst was the holiday music. I’m forever scarred by Barbra Streisand’s 800 mph Jingle Bells. Even Louis Armstrong singing “Is that you Santa Claus?” brcame intolerable.

    Reply

  18. mistyslaws Says:

    Sheeple? You don’t think I’m gonna let that one just slide right by, do you? Oh man, sheeple. Love!

    Every once in a while, I’ll be in a store where they will pipe in horrible music, and I’ll mention to the sales person that they must LOATHE having to hear that all the time, and they usually reply, “I don’t even hear it anymore.” According to this post, that is all LIES. Probably what corporate instructs them to say!

    Poor Marc Cohn. One of his songs is my hubs’ and my wedding song. Not that one, but still. I kind of love him. I’m sorry he tortures you so. He didn’t mean it.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      And, in truth, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that song. I’d have no opinion about it otherwise – it’s purely the context and repetition.

      Reply

    • meggik Says:

      In my experience, while you’re at work you don’t really notice the music. However, say you walk into another branch and they’ve got the same playlist, well, that’s enough to induce a full-blown anxiety attack or a psychotic breakdown.

      Reply

  19. The Cutter Says:

    I think you’re being a whiner. Free candy bars and Walking in Memphis sounds like a pretty good gig.

    Reply

  20. Teepee12 Says:

    Experiences like that put the whole world in perspective. You finally know, with 100% certaintly, what you DON’T want.

    Reply

  21. Jackie Cangro Says:

    My company gave me a book called, “1,001 Ways to Reward Your Employees” and then wouldn’t allow me to use any of the 1,001 ways.

    Way # 52: Highlight someone’s efforts by giving them an “award” card and post it in a place where everyone can see it.
    Apparently, singling out one person makes other employees feel bad about their lack of awards. If one employee gets an award every employee must get an award.

    Reply

  22. Fresh Ginger Says:

    Been there, done that. May I help you with that? Is there anything else I can get for you? bleh, meh, blah

    Reply

  23. Lorna's Voice Says:

    I’ve had the good fortune never to work in one of those places. I did work once alphabetizing all day. No music though. That would have seriously thrown me off my game, because I had the Alphabet Song playing in my head 8 hours a day. I lied, Couldn’t get rid of it–hummed it on the way to and from work.

    Reply

  24. meggik Says:

    I work in one of those places. It’s pretty evil, but it pays well (in Australia, so you can survive comfortably on 20 hours/week). I think of it as my day job to support my art habit/”career” (who am I kidding? You can’t have an art career in Australia. Ok, maybe in Melbourne you could). :) Seriously though, in the back of my mind, this job is just a stop-gap until something else comes along. A currently 4-year-long stop-gap…

    Reply

  25. theduffboy Says:

    Reblogged this on Duffboy and commented:
    The corporate latter has its counterpart.

    Reply

  26. pegoleg Says:

    I’m printing out your Banality Sauce cartoon to hang on my wall. On second thought, I’ll print it banner size. Screw that, I’m taking the JPEG down to Staples and having it printed on prepasted wallpaper that will envelop all the walls in my office.

    That’s how much I love it.

    Reply

  27. rachelocal Says:

    One word: Starbucks.

    (In the freaking mall.)

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Starbucks… Starbucks… hm… oh, wait, isn’t that that quaint little coffee shop chain? The one named after a secondary character in Moby Dick? I think I saw one of those once. Charming little places, lots of character. I bet that was a fountain of individuality.

      Reply

  28. Jen and Tonic Says:

    My very first job was at a Hallmark. It smelled like old people, and I would listen to a constant stream of easy listening music for 6-8 hours at a time. To this day, when I hear “Broken Wings” by Mister Mister I cringe a little.

    Reply

  29. Sandy Sue Says:

    Yes, oh yes. Retail will suck the soul out of you. I managed a bookstore for several years and the shenanigans of upper management made me insane (ha!). I got in trouble every time I tried to be human (like let my assistant manager go to her class reunion. Really?) I was told to ‘get rid of’ another asst because he wasn’t ‘management material.’ A sweet, kind, intelligent man who took his time with tasks because he want to get it right. Uh huh. No humanity allowed in management. I quit on the cusp of being fired–a week before Christmas. Like a boss!

    Reply

  30. Life With The Top Down Says:

    I think I sadly know that manager, because dear lord there can’t be 2 roaming the earth. After I had my kiddies I took a job at a very upscale retail outlet store. My corneas had to be severed after witnessing a woman pooping in a wicker waste basket in the women’s dressing room (honest to god). I realized this was not the first time this happened since there was a pooper scooper on hand. My head was swirling with about a bizillion questions for this woman, but I was frozen in my position.
    All the best to your friend as we enter the holiday shopping season.

    Reply

  31. Exile on Pain Street Says:

    David Sedaris took a temporary retail holiday job at Macy’s and turned it into a juggernaut. You never know where opportunity lies. Or is that too new-agey? Probably. Actually…now that I think about it…I worked in a breadcrumb factory once. Sometimes, you walk through a door and just KNOW that opportunity will not appear.

    I dated a girl who grew up in Memphis who, literally, teared-up when she heard that song. Needless to say, it didn’t last.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’d be nice – if there could be some kind of message when you take terrible jobs telling you if it will pay off in some way, and how much. “You’ll meet your spouse here” or “You’ll get inspiration to write a hit play” or “You’ll achieve inner peace by letting go of ego” or whatever.

      Reply

      • Exile on Pain Street Says:

        Well, where’s the fun in that? How else would I have found out what crushing failure feels like if terrible jobs came with warning stickers? Thanks to a long line of dead-end job hopping, I’m a more well-rounded individual.

        Reply

  32. aldabaran88 Says:

    My husband got laid off from a fairly good job about six months ago and we are both working part time. I had to take a second (retail) job. Watching the training videos…I missed half of the instruction because all this horrible subtext was screaming at me. On top of that, retail customers can be the WORST. Best of luck to your friend! I hope everything works out for him and he can get out of Retail Hell sooner rather than later with his soul intact.

    Reply

  33. girlonthecontrary Says:

    First of all, I will buy anything when Marc Cohen is singing about Memphis so that market research is not inaccurate….

    Second of all, I think this is my favorite post you have ever written because I was all “Hahaha” and “Boy have I been there” and “This too shall pass” and “Why can’t I be as clever at the Byronic Man?”

    Reply

  34. lookingforpemberley Says:

    I laughed so hard when I read this, especially during the cartoons about musical PTSD. This is definitely something I unfortunately relate to. My PTSD includes some contemporary soft rock, and a lot of John Philip Sousa marching music, oddly enough. The worst is working customer service or retail when you have an advanced degree. Nobody is “too good” for any type of work, but everyone is “too good” to be treated like a minion or an idiot all the time by robotic managers and angry customers.

    Reply

  35. JM Randolph Says:

    Great freaking post, as always. Your music reference reminded me of my Christmas season at Sporttime Fashions when I was 15. Think: kind of giant space at the end of a low-rent strip mall that sells cheaply made women’s clothing, mostly cheap career wear. The sound system was an 8-track machine, and even though I’m old, 8-tracks are older and were already obsolete. There was one Christmas CD. One. The Carpenter’s Christmas album. I can’t…. I can’t…. DAMMIT, I JUST EARWORMED MYSELF!

    Reply

  36. Go Jules Go Says:

    I still can’t get over the garbage thing. I bet it winds up at “Dock 7 Exports.”

    Reply

  37. pithypants Says:

    I think we’ve ALL worked for your Atkins boss. Watching surveillance tapes in her free time? Classic. Great post, as always.

    Reply

  38. thesinglecell Says:

    My blood still runs cold when I hear “My blood runs cold! My memory has just been sold! My angel is a centerfold! (Angel iiis a centerfold…)” Those tapes were the worst part of retail. Besides standing up for eight hours, straightening things.

    It’s honest work, though. Provided you’re not stealing the company’s trash.

    PS I love angry stick figures. But stick figures of reportedly overweight people confuse me.

    Reply

  39. Dana Says:

    Aaaaaahhh! I suffer from the same, Walking In Memphis-induced PTSD. Thanks for bringing on an outbreak!

    Reply

  40. 1weaver Says:

    ah, you have me cracking up! :D
    and that’s pretty rare. and its all SO TRUE. fab post. Gifted Writer.
    *applause*

    Reply

  41. Greg Urbano Says:

    What a great read at the perfect time in my life, thank you!

    Reply

  42. janeybgood Says:

    This was basically my life for a long time. I still can’t listen to ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet

    Reply

  43. cordeliasmom2012 Says:

    Well, I was going to leave a comment about how I love your post and congratulate you on being Freshly Pressed (again) – but then I read your note on leaving comments. I’m so glad I could help an angel get his or her wings today! Anyway, congratulations! And I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Reply

  44. mb Says:

    Hysterical, I work a part time job, or part time hell, in exactly such a place. Unfortunately my full time job echoes the exact same management ideologies. This past Saturday someone returned a cooking set, it was used, so of course we will throw the perfectly good pots and pans out…retail is awful, and the holidays bring out the worst in people. Thanks for the laughter…

    Reply

  45. allthoughtswork Says:

    First job ever was Blockbuster. Which apparently took 25 years longer than I did to figure out it was time to leave.

    Another employment highlight was receptionist at a computer device manufacturer where the boss rounded us up regularly in the break room and screamed varying renditions of his favorite motivational speech: “I can’t live off of what you people make me!”

    At my final position in the work world before going solo (about two seconds before insanity, by my reckoning), I was seriously injured on the job at a landscaping company who’s equipment was so unsafe, you had to start a few of the vehicles with screwdrivers. The company’s response was to fire me ASAP and then get right to work attempting to deny me Worker’s Compensation.

    Honorable Mention: The cactus greenhouse gig where the boss grew, shall we say, OTHER plants in certain off-limits areas, but made it very clear he would throw innocent parties under the bus if it ever came to light.

    Reply

  46. broadsideblog Says:

    I survived 2.5 years selling PT for The North Face to the hedge fund crowd from Greenwich who made sure to remind every one of our 15-member staff that we could not possibly (as every one of us had) have attended or graduated from college. Their disdain was pretty toxic.

    I actually gave two weeks’ notice when I quit (Dec. 18 2009) and when a fat, nasty customer started screaming at me (again) I just went and hid in the stockroom. It seemed like a fair response.

    I actually liked our managers, without which I could never have lasted that long.

    My book about it will strike a chord or two:

    http://malledthebook.com/

    Reply

  47. jamie368 Says:

    Reblogged this on jamie368 and commented:
    Ha ha

    Reply

  48. polymathically Says:

    Ye gods, that workplace – especially the music – sounds all too familiar.

    Reply

  49. mockery of shockjockery Says:

    Amazed at the endless list of euphemisms for for being “punted”. I once got this from management of a radio station : “Mike, we are starting a new format on Monday. The cards were thrown up in the air and when they came down your name wasn’t on them”

    Reply

  50. missraychanel84 Says:

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! *gives round of applause* This is exactly how I felt working retail!!! Only thing was that I would dance or sing to the songs… and the loop was at least a little longer. I did get caught a few times, but who cares? You gotta have fun with it somewhere!

    Reply

  51. lamca301 Says:

    When I worked for a chain, I was advised if someone came within a meter of the stand I was to say ‘ hi how you going.’ How far do I take this, was what my mind was saying, do I get a tape measure out and work out from all angles of the stall what a meter was and would I chase someone if they came within the radius but I missed them…

    Reply

  52. Simple Heart Girl Says:

    I’ve worked in retail off and on over the course of my adult life and I’ve hated it. Your post was great. : )

    Reply

  53. The Bumble Files Says:

    The music loop alone would drive me batty. Did you have nightmares? Problems sleeping? I’ve worked at a lot of places I’ve put out of my memory. Hey, congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I love the stickman sketches! Well done!

    Reply

  54. franhunne4u Says:

    And here I was wondering why the guy at the christmas market yesterday working on the children’s roundabout was looking soo sourly … I think I would have looked like him within the first loop of the songs he was hearing all afternoon long.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      It is strange that employers haven’t factored the impact of the music on employees, and the impact of employees on customers. I think it was Macy’s some years ago, whose sales were flagging, and they changed their strategy from focusing on customers, to focusing on making employees happy, and suddenly their sales shot up.

      Reply

  55. Britt Says:

    Banality sauce. You are delightful.

    Reply

  56. M. HDZ Says:

    This article put a smilie on my face.

    Reply

  57. Nicki Daniels Says:

    This is hilarious. Following! At my workplace we don’t serve ketchup, but “black garlic catsup aioli”. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. (I got Freshly Pressed today too)

    Here’s how I handled my worst job.
    http://nickidaniels.com/2013/12/02/take-this-job-and-shove-it/

    Reply

  58. lostandtwentysomething Says:

    Ahaha, Don’t I wish we were.

    Reply

  59. remodelingpurgatory Says:

    Too funny my first jobs were in restaurants. I haven’t worked with “the public” since. Those people are mean!

    Reply

  60. amaothman Says:

    That was entertaining! Tried to get over the this-is-starting-to-sound-more-and-more-like-my-life-but-if-I-keep-focused-on-the-humour-my-untouched-framed-diploma-on-the-wall-won’t-look-so-bad feeling. Yeah, didn’t work.

    But hey, nothing lasts forever. Good luck to your friend and tell him it’s just a baby hiccup in his life. He’ll survive. Or at least I hope.

    Cheers!

    Reply

  61. Resistance Says:

    I feel your pain. After my 1,000th “career” (and country) change, I started working in an office. I wasn’t prepared….The office being in a university I was expecting an open-minded and nurturing environment. Instead I found hell.

    Reply

  62. mandiimay Says:

    Hahaha I really enjoyed that! Funny as! and the cartoons were perfect! 😊

    Reply

  63. Lilith Colbert Says:

    I’m stuck in one of those places at the moment due to some unfortunate circumstances and OMFG!! The claims department is RIFE with stuff that could be donated to shelters for a tax write off but nope, into the compacter it goes!! And even perfume testers – THE FUCKING TESTERS!!! – cannot be taken once the display is done!! IT’S SOMETHING THAT WE CANNOT SELL BUT IT’S STILL HAS TO GO TO CLAIMS!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  64. namansrivas Says:

    A genuine lampoon on retail. Loved it

    Reply

  65. monty3038 Says:

    There’s not much room to get around it, retail is rough. Especially at the holidays. I spent one holiday season in retail and swore I’d never go back… it just isn’t worth the damage to your soul.

    Reply

  66. Gozi Says:

    Reblogged this on ngozee.

    Reply

  67. alexissduran Says:

    I dressed up as the Cinnamon Bear one year, and dispensed choking-hazard hard candy to toddlers!

    Reply

  68. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    Oh, my word. I love “Walking in Memphis,” so seeing that particular song invoked here had me giggling.

    For me, it’s one Destiny’s Child disc. I can’t tell you the name of a single song off the disc. I couldn’t spontaneously recite a lyric. But when one of those songs comes on . . . when it does . . . I am catapulted back to my 1L tween clothing shop days, and want to immediately depart wherever I’m at!

    Reply

  69. notquiteold Says:

    I LOVE banality sauce. I mean, I not only love to eat it, I love the name! I have a relative who would certainly call it that!

    Reply

  70. ontheupcyclemom Says:

    I don’t miss my time in retail at all! Especially this time of year. People are ruder than ever!

    Reply

  71. lunix1583 Says:

    Of all the jobs I’ve worked, retail is one of the worst. Even the “best” retail job would still be horrible compared to another industry. There’s just something about it that makes me want to shout: “NOBODY CARES ABOUT SHOES!” I mean, having to make conversation with customers in the hopes they’ll buy something which ultimately benefits the company and not the employee? Nah, thanks. I’d rather be on the other side!

    Reply

  72. kbandas Says:

    My exact experience in retail. Thanks for summing it up cartoon-y style. Great post!

    Reply

  73. Sandra Stephens Says:

    My circle of retail hell was Things Remembered. They sold the type of gifts that mostly get bought the day before Christmas or wedding rehearsal dinners. They were all cheaply made but they were ENGRAVED. I got fired for engraving the wrong names on the wrong gifts – turns out the guy buying them gifts wanted his wife, Sarah, to get Zippo lighter with the “you light up my life” message, while Jessie, the lover, was supposed to get the ankle bracelet.

    Reply

  74. Sandra Stephens Says:

    p.s. you are effing hilarious

    Reply

  75. brycea11 Says:

    I can’t stand the music they play in stores these days. I remember working in a restaurant that only played 50′s tunes. Imagine what belting out those songs randomly can do to the reputation of a 16 year old kid. Anyway, if anyone took the time to read this, I am new on word press and would appreciate any help in finding direction on how to use this awesomeness to its full functionality.

    Reply

  76. RabbitHole92 Says:

    Reblogged this on Down The Rabbit-Hole. and commented:
    Being back home always gets me thinking how truly grateful I am to have escaped what I had, two years ago, assumed to be my fate. Couldn’t have said it better if I’d tried…

    Reply

  77. mlarzelere Says:

    Losing money on the internet is the new normal. I know it is normal for me, but I keep trying.

    Reply

  78. arrowsshooting Says:

    love this. I’m new on here. Check me out if ya want. http://arrowsshooting.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  79. ksthompsonauthor Says:

    I worked in a big box store for a while and we would have these daily “Ra Ra Ra” meetings. One day, the manager said “There is no “I” in “team”!” and I kindly pointed out that “There’s an “M” and an “E”.”. Needless to say, that wasn’t appreciated.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I always wonder what the expected reaction is to mindless, over-used platitudes like “there’s no I in TEAM” is. Delighted laughter and a surge of motivation? A gasp at this display of wit that the person has somehow never heard before?

      Reply

  80. AislingRain Says:

    Yep, that pretty much sums up retail. Best day in my retail job? Working Christmas Eve by myself because management refused to send someone over from another store that was located about fifteen minutes away to cover a shift that my coworker decided not to show up to. Ah, Christmas memories.

    Reply

  81. LVital7019 Says:

    I flipping LOVE the way you write and that I can 1000% (no, that’s not a typo) relate to everything you say… sardonic “soul-mates” (as I type this from the company computer at which I am supposed to be doing menial things like office-work)?

    Reply

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