Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Inspired by Jackie

Jackie is a friend. Jackie is a good friend of mine. (I do love me some Rick Springfield.) And I am worried about her. Because Jackie has been seduced by the most insidious of all mistresses - the killer employee discount! She has finally accepted the fact that she is an addict (isn't acceptance the first of the 12 Steps?) and rather than fight it, she's embracing it wholeheartedly. She has become a "Creeker." A Coldwater Creeker. All for the Holy Grail of shopping - the employee discount.

I am worried about her, because just this time last year, I was struggling with my own Million Little Pieces-esque addiction to Ann Taylor. Except at Ann Taylor we weren't called anything as cute as "Creekers" - we were called "shoe whores." And, as is the case in all addiction stories (or cautionary tales - tomato, to-mah-to), it ended badly. I did not expect it to end so badly because Teacher Lady? She has worked some retail in her over-educated life. A short list of stores whose wares I peddled:

  • The Limited: Winter break of college, sophomore year. The mall was so crappy that the heating broke on a regular basis, and we stood around in our coats, gloves and scarves. The REAL shoppers all thought we were just well-dressed homeless nutjobs when we walked up to them and said, "Hi, can I help you?"
  • Eddie Bauer: Summer between freshman and sophomore year of college. I've blocked most of this out, except for an extremely confusing incident during which an Asian couple kept asking for "polishes" and I displayed my Ugly-American ignorance with dazzling flair. They were, as it happens, looking for polo shirts.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch: After college graduation. Talk about blocking shit out. Dark chapter of my life. Overly enthusiastic store manager still haunts my nightmares with her mantra, "Okay, I really need you to like, jam on those sweaters, okay?" (My folding skillz, they were not mad.)
  • Borders Books & Music: If you ever know of anyone who says, "I thought it might be fun to pick up a part-time job. Wouldn't it be cool to work at Borders?" just bitch-slap them across the face. They'll thank you for it later. Best staff I ever worked with. Phenomenal people. Most backbreaking (literally- mammoth boxes of books are HEAVY, people!), annoying, frustrating, thankless retail job I've ever had. EVER. Perhaps, if my therapist gives me the okay, I will post about it in detail. But not until I've had my meds.
  • Williams-Sonoma: Not too bad, except for the brides and their &^%$# bridal registries. And if anyone ever thinks "retail" is equivalent to "unskilled labor," they have never tried to gift-wrap a Kitchen Aid mixer with that stupid cream-and-gold pineapple wrapping paper.

And that brings me to my "I've hit bottom" job - Ann. The AT. The "no more wooden hangers!" gig. I should have known that it would end badly when I got reprimanded the first week for "stealing" wooden hangers. "What?" you say. Yes, it's true. And it goes a little something like this:

Anyone who has ever shopped at the Ann knows that the clothes displayed on the "sales floor" are on wooden hangers. When you buy the clothes, the shoe whore behind the counter swaps out the wooden hanger and gives you a crappy plastic one. Or she should. My first day on the floor was a crazy-busy Saturday. I was ringing. I was wrapping. I was running back and forth to the "wardrobing rooms." And then I went home and passed out on the floor. Two days later, the assistant manager (a very, VERY small woman, I might add. Literally. Like 5'0" and 89 pounds soaking wet) showed me a receipt and a wooden hanger. "Did you do this?" she asked me, much in the same tone one might ask a dog about a damning yellow puddle on the floor. "What?" Even though I could have cracked her in half like a twig, I was scared. "This client just returned a dress you sold her on Saturday. You sold it to her WITH THE WOODEN HANGER!!!!" This last part was delivered in a sound-barrier breaking shriek. I was now soiling-my-drawers scared, but tried to be calm. "I'm sorry. I won't do it again." Her rage was not assuaged. "This is very serious. VERY serious. The manager could get fired for this. She could be accused of stealing wooden hangers!"

It is unfortunate that I am a smart-ass. And sometimes I just do not have patience for minutiae and shit. I engage my mouth before my brain a lot of the time (see recent Inappropriate Sister post if you need more proof of that). I said, "Let me get this straight. Ann Taylor will fire an award-winning manager because one of her new sales associates accidentally gave away a wooden hanger?" Her mouth was set in a tight, straight line and she said, "Yes. It's the same as stealing." And then I was really awful. I said, "Interesting. I'm not sure I want to work for a company that makes such rash, bad business decisions." Oh, and then how the tune was changed! "Well, it's not necessarily a big deal if it happens just ONE time. I don't think they'd fire her for THAT!" Uh-huh. That's what I thought.

So, in closing, I will just say to my dear friend Jackie: Good luck, girl and keep your mitts off those damn wooden hangers!


Blogger liberalbanana said...

I've been wondering what I could post about lately and now I realize that this is a topic I could go off on. I thank you dearly (you hanger thief).

April 21, 2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

Addicted to the empoyee discount you say? Hmmmm, Oh, now I know how I ended up with this 500 DVD collection I have, Dammit, how come there was no one there to stop me in my insidious addiction. Luckily for me I got out out of Blockbuster just in time for all my old favorites to hit the $4.99 discount bin at Wal-mart.

April 21, 2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Colorado Dale: DOH! That's really all I can say.

Banana - I can't wait to read your retail rant!

April 21, 2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

I don't really like people that small - literally and figuratively, so I probably would have shown here where to put the wooden hanger. I don't play well with others sometimes. Besides, retail work is very very hard what with all those customers and all.

April 21, 2006 6:20 PM  
Anonymous janet said...

I predict your next job, which you will be driven to by PITA girl, is as a humor columnist. The femal Dave Barry, but WAY better.

April 21, 2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

"Polishes"--I laffed out loud!! You are the best. Book or stand-up, you have got to share your talent with a larger audience!

April 22, 2006 3:24 PM  

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