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My first retail job – bankrupt!

If you’ve got a gift card for The Limited gathering dust, you may want to use it before a potential bankruptcy could make that card worth less than the plastic it’s printed on. In the last month, The Limited has made it known that it was exploring its options, maybe looking for a buyer. However,…

via It’s Probably Time To Use Up Your Gift Cards For The Limited — Consumerist

I got my first retail job when I was 18 and had started Community College.  Prior to that, I had worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor during the summer and not at all during the school year (my parents were relatively generous and I saved money from my summer job).  But, when I started Community College, I really wanted to work at the mall in the next city up from my Community College, which was already about 10 miles from my home town.  My hometown did not have a mall and it seemed glamorous to have a job in a clothing retailer there.  I put in applications at multiple stores, but got hired at The Limited.  I learned a lot at that job.  I learned how to fold a sweater with clipboard like a champ and I still fold all my shirts and sweaters that way (without the clipboard, so not as exact in size, but the same basic idea).  I learned how to push an add-on item like socks when people were making purchases (I hated it, but I learned how to do it).  I learned that clothing does not actually make the person.  There were a lot of people who came there to shop who were dressed incredibly well but whose actions were less than appealing.  I learned about shoplifting.  I learned about sales targets and how unfair they were (less hours for not reaching your sales targets, but then you were even LESS likely to reach sales targets…).  I learned that management in retail is far from glamorous.  And although I worked in retail again a few times, I also learned this was NOT the career for me.  I learned that lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons was about 110% better than selling clothes.  Needless to say, I didn’t last long at the job.  I think I worked there for about six months before leaving, but it was definitely a valuable learning experience.

Now, The Limited is possibly going bankrupt.  When I worked there it was the bee’s knees, so-to-speak.  The sweaters were sought after.  Everyone wanted their cute jeans and their accessories.  It was all that and more.  But, times change.  I’m actually kind of surprised they’ve lasted this long.  When I think back to the mall I worked in, many stores have gone under – Mervyn’s, Miller’s Outpost (the second retailer I worked for and although I liked it much better than The Limited, it still wasn’t great), Gottschalk’s.

My original hometown still doesn’t have a mall.  They have a number of large “strip” malls, but not an actual inside mall.  The mall I worked at is still there and still crowded much of the time.  My current hometown has mall, but it isn’t the bustling, glamorous center it used to be.  It is now more of an indoor strip mall.  The exception is the holiday season, when Santa is there and they show movies in the mall and there are decorations.  But, for the most part, this generation seeks online shopping experiences rather than the communal mall experience.  I don’t know if that is good or bad.  But, I imagine that less individuals will be able to claim their first job at a retail establishment in the mall.  They may miss out on some valuable lessons if that is the case.

What about you?  Do you have a retail selling experience?  Was it in a mall?  Is the retailer still in business or no?  I would love to hear your stories!

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Thankfulness Challenge

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 3

I was going to try to stay up late and get some grading and cleaning done tonight, but after waking up around 4:30 a.m. this morning, it just isn’t going to happen.  The time change has really thrown me and I’m afraid my sleep patterns are really off.  I am exhausted tonight, so I’m hoping to go to bed early and get up early and get some grading and cleaning done tomorrow.  But, before hitting the bed tonight, I wanted to be sure to get my 365 Days of Thankfulness post in (and my 3rd day of the Nablopomo as well).  For my first two 365 Days of Thankfulness posts you can go here and here.

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Today, I am thankful for enthusiastic students who really enjoy learning.  I tend to get caught up in the drudgery of grading and prepping and just getting through classes and I don’t take enough time to really connect with students and their interests.  I realized today that by teaching that way, I miss out on a lot that students have to offer.  Not all students bring a true enthusiasm and interest to learning, but the ones that do make up for all those who do not.  This semester, I’m teaching the writing class for our major and we are just starting on the final papers and the students are coming up with their topics.  Some of them are really excited about their topics and that excites me.  When I was a student, I loved doing research and learning more about things.  I sometimes feel like my students don’t have that same enthusiasm.  But, some do and I need to figure out more ways of giving them the chance to really explore those interest areas.  I also want to make them lifelong learners, so teaching them how to find information, how to interpret and then how to use that information is really important.

So, today I am glad that I did not cancel my class (like I thought about all afternoon) and instead was able to talk one-on-one with some students about their topics (while having them do some peer feedback groups).  I am glad I was able to see the enthusiasm in their faces and hear their interest in their voices.  And I am excited about some of the emails I have received about their topics.

Teaching is a very social activity, but too often, I let it become a somewhat isolating activity.  I need to get more social and get to know my students and their interests and their likes and dislikes.  That will make me better at what I do and also more enthusiastic about my own job.