March 6, 2010

I ain't gotta work at the mall again [i have so many jobs]

Job #2. J.Crew.
Yes. Yes I did quote Kanye West's "Kanye's New Workout Plan" just then in the title. Deal.
[Disclaimer: I am NOT complaining, not about a single one of these lovely people who give me paychecks. No way Jose. It is merely a social commentary, of sorts, about the ins and outs of working in these different jobs. It's humor, not discontent. Don't be confused.]
I don't get nearly as many funny responses to this job - it's pretty much a business-as-usual kind of deal. Well, that's not entirely true. When I called to tell my family I had gotten the job, my sister Audrie made ENDLESS fun of me. "You work at the mall, now, huh? So you're probably going to start hanging out at Orange Julius now too, right?" She never let that go, actually. The Orange Julius jokes were pretty much an ongoing sort of situation. But I feel pretty firmly that it's ok to make fun of me as long as its funny, which lets face it, Orange Julius? That’s funny. This is why everyone in my family makes fun of everyone else in my family all the time. Because we're also hilarious. 
So I've been working at this delightful place for nearly 2 years, & I've never looked back. Now, while board-folding, "Can I help you match a cardigan with that skirt?" and "Oh that looks fabulous, now just belt it to complete the look" are not, per say, my passions in life, I do genuinely like this job. Whether or not that has more to do with the sweet, pee-your-pants funny people I work with, who's to say. But I like the J.Crew.
Here is a list of things I have learned in my time with the mall. 
1. We're all about customer service here. If you, Customer, need a size 8, I will be more than happy to run to the back and do a stock check for you. We don't have it? Would you like me to call another store? They don't have it either? I'd be happy to help you use the Red Phone to order what you need. You'd like to yell at me instead? You're right. I can't believe I am so worthless that I cannot manufacture a pair of size 8 chinos for you right here in this moment. I'm not sure what is wrong with me. Oh, the other $600 of merchandise I helped you with for over an hour – you'd like to put that on hold for 4-6 weeks? Perfect. Lovely. Whatever I can do for you, Customer. Have a great afternoon! Yes, I suppose it is evening. Have a great one of those then. 
The customer is always right. 
Here is a secret: approximately 7.6 out of 10 Customers are not only right, but are also idiots. 
2. As sales associates, our voices get approximately 63% more high-pitched when we are talking to customers. Its actually kind of an amazing phenomenon. You could be talking (in normal voice) about how awful your life is, and how you’ve had the swine flu for 5 weeks, and the minute a customer is in sight, its “HI! How are you this evening! Great!! Let me know if there’s anything at all I can help you with!!!” Kind of like talking to a dog or small child. Or being a cheerleader. We all have separate voices for helping people than our real ones. This isn't something they tell us in training or anything, either. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
3. When you go into customer-voice-mode, sometimes you end up saying things you don't normally say. I end up saying, "If you need anything at all just holler at me!" WAY more often than I'm comfortable with. In no other setting would I say that. The fitting rooms are like a vortex for saying weird things. 
4. Using the sticker gun for markdowns is my favorite. The clicking sound makes me feel important.
5. My other favorite thing is during the holidays when we’re busy and we get to use the headsets in order to relay important messages to one another about stock checks and who is and is not on the floor. But if you are ever in a store and there are people with headsets, and one of them starts awkwardly laughing while they’re ringing you up, mark my words. Someone just said, “that’s what she said.”
6. The soundtrack. Oh, the soundtrack. Are you ever in a store and feel like banging your head against a wall because the music is so weird? Try working a 6 hour shift with it playing on repeat. And, my mind is like a venus fly trap where lyrics are concerned. So, said weird songs remain playing in my brain for hourrrrrs after my shift has ended. Then sometimes I end up knowing and actually liking some of the songs. Which is problematic & embarrassing on several levels.
7. The only place I have seen more women in their skivvies than the J.Crew fitting room is the locker room at the YMCA where old ladies freely roam around in the buff. These are the two magical places wherein women do not feel like modesty is necessary in any way, shape, or form.
8. Learning to buy clothes with a discount is a tricky sort of business. The problem is, everything is so grandiosely inexpensive in comparison that one feels as though one must buy every shirt that costs $10. I can talk myself into thinking anything is cute when it costs $10. Let me tell you something: $10 shirts add up quickly. And chances are, one won't even end up liking 3 out of every 5 shirts one purchases. I have more than a few things in my closet that we will call "poor choices." But at the time, the sticker shock of how much money one is saving is too much for one to handle. I'm proud to say I have gotten much better at this game, and buy only things I genuinely like (or that Jenny and Reenie tell me I can like.) 
So those are some of the many things I have learned whilst working this job. And a big shout out to the homeboys and homegirls I get to work with. They make board folding seem like dancing at the Tavern. They make cleaning out dressing rooms (where 60 year old women treat clothes like I did when I was 15) as fun as singing karaoke. They make coming in for a shift as exciting as going to a party where all the popular kids are. 
Ok. I'm done now. Point is: I like them. 
Peace, Love, & Cardigans,
Megan "selling machine" Greaves


elena said...

you are funny...that is made me remember my "mall job" so vividly...the scary thing...i the customers are all the same...
good for you for seeing the fun in it...

Alli said...

number one was my fav. and i feel ya on number seven: i'm scarred for life bc of those naked old ladies at the ymca.

leigh annie said...

i'm laughing so hard as i read this in CLASSSSSSSSS
oh my gosh.
next time i do number 2 and 3.

p.s. i wish I could do number 5

jlwiley said...

Now I know why J Crew continued to be my favorite retail store. There are top secret efforts being done by the customer service minded advisors and they have now been exposed here on your blog. You are so funny, my girl. Love you ~ Mrs. Na..Jana Banana