Retail, Management, Employees and More

There is something about the thoughts I have while making my morning coffee that can be either inspiring or painful.

I have worked in retail for years, either as a second job or as a means of earning an income while I looked for full-time work.

This morning, I thought of a man I worked with at Williams-Sonoma. He was then in his early 40s, tallish (5′ 11″ ?), handsome in a Ronald Coleman-early film-style way, outgoing and capable. I started working there in November, 1997 and he came a few months later.

Upper management finally realized that having someone full time in the stockroom was a good idea and he was hired. Now, the man I described does not sound like the usual stockboy.

I was 50 when I began working there. The manager was a pretty woman a few years older than me who seemed to be cursed. Her test pilot husband had died in a plane crash. She was also the most accident prone person I had ever met. In fact, not long after I was hired, she slipped on ice in the parking lot and broke a vertebra in her back.

One day, she asked me if I thought the stockboy had been in prison. What??? She said why would a man like that accept this kind of work? The economy was booming at the time. In fact, Williams-Sonoma’s chief competitor, Crate and Barrel, was drowning in business that Christmas and had called a television station to ask for a human interest/economics piece about how difficult it was to find people to work just for Christmas.

I had just handed in my thesis and knew I needed work and thought a Christmas job while I switched out of thesis writing to resume writing would be perfect. In other words, I wasn’t the sort of woman who would work retail, or, so one would think.

And, as my situation was irregular, I just assumed his was as well. I told the manager that I would guess he was between jobs and this was a filler while he sent out paper.

As things turned out, Corporate headquarters took notice of him and he was asked to move from the suburban store for the busier store in Boston, steps from the Freedom Trail.


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