Sunday, September 23, 2012

The diary of a minimum wage retail salesperson: the stockroom

Like promised, I said I would start documenting my days at my new retail job in Calgary, AB. So here it is...

I'll be honest: I wasn't necessarily expecting to hate my new job as a salesperson but I was definitely expecting to bitch about it a lot more, what with the low wage and what not. But to my pleasant surprise, I haven't felt a bitch-fit coming on and it's already been two weeks! What can I say, I absolutely love clothes, the ongoing shopping atmosphere, the putting away of clothes and the search for clothes in the overwhelming stockroom. I love helping people out with decisions or pointing them out to clothing items they may enjoy. The people I work with are sweethearts, the managers are nice and professional; I feel like I am part of  a team of dedicated & hard-working people which motivates me to do the best of jobs. I enjoy coming in for my shifts, I like learning more and more everyday about the company and how things are done...I'm just quite content with how everything is going. Sometimes I think: why on earth didn't I turn to retail sooner? I remember girls in high school telling me to never work retail because all the people I'll work with will be snob bitches with no life. I really believed it and was expecting the worst. But, no encounter of such has happened, yet.

Yesterday was one of those days where I was in the stockroom for pretty much the entire day. I've been fighting a cold that's been giving me an irritated throat and a runny nose. Working in the warm stockroom was quite a nice alternative to working the air-conditioned sales floor. Pulling out replenishments for the sales floor is time consuming to say the least. It was my second time taking care of such a thing and I'm hoping I'm getting better at how fast I can find items in the overstuffed stockroom. Sometimes an item will be right in front of me and easy to pull out. At other times, I'll need to pull out a ladder and climb to the top to reach for the item I am looking for... I don't have vertigo but the items can be quite high and hard to reach. My small size of five feet two doesn't help either. There are times where I am sitting on the top rung thinking things like "if this ladder break, this won't be pretty." It's always satisfying to climb down the ladder, palms sweaty, with the article of clothing in hand, the pencil and replenishment sheet in the other. Then, when the clothing search reaches an end, there are two flights of stairs to climb before putting the clothes on a rack and back to where they belong in the store. Although the hours spent in the stockroom can be long ones, there is this serene and peaceful quietness that cannot be found upstairs on the sales floor. Most of the time you are alone or two other girls might be there doing their thing too. The break room is close by, but somehow I feel like the clothes and I are the only ones on the planet at the precise moment in time when I'm searching for clothes and admiring them at the same time.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New blog project + addictions

Me at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland this summer. Ireland was beautiful. I'd go back again in a heartbeat. 
Fall is finally upon us. But this time around, the excitement of "going-back-to-school" isn't there for me because I have now officially graduated from journalism school. To be honest, I don't know whether I like being out of school just yet. I spent five years at university and before that there were high school, junior high and elementary school. I have spent a grand total of 18 years in school. Is it a bit hard to admit to myself that student life is finally over? Yes, it is. It's extremely hard. I'm feeling a little lost right now.

A couple of posts back, I wrote about how hard it was to get back into the swing of things after my very last finals. Well, I ended up getting back on my feet and getting a small job at a restaurant and when these three months of horrid boredom were done, my boyfriend and I took off to Europe for two months with the money we saved up working.

We got back to the motherland only three weeks ago, and well, it's been hard to figure out my post-grad goals. There are so many things on my mind.  Getting a full-time job at a communication firm would be great. Buying a condo with the boyfriend. Perhaps going back to school to fulfill another dream of mine to become an  interior designer. Keeping up with yoga three times a week while introducing myself to pilates is another goal of mine. Eating at home and learning how to cook to save money is something we've been doing too. What about that Elle Canada editorial internship I've been pining for? Should I still give it a shot? Even while on vacation the idea of heading to Toronto for a four-month internship hasn't left my head. I'm really determined at making it happen. And for that to happen, I have to keep my creative juices flowing. Perhaps some freelancing here and there, some personal blogging, and some product blogging wouldn't be a bad idea. And plus, I'm still absolutely in love with this blog and what it represents for me. There's nothing more exciting than having the freedom to speak my mind and write about what moves and passions me via the blogosphere.

All throughout the summer, I blogged about fashion designers whose runway shows I saw for myself last fall at Toronto Fashion Week.

Today, I came up with a new exciting blogging project: The diary of  a minimal wage retail salesperson. 

The idea came up because that person working retail making minimum wage is me.

Why on earth is a communication degree graduate like me working retail? Well, to be perfectly honest, it isn't my ideal job but it is a job and that's better than sitting on my ass all day. The manager of the  retail store I work for (I will not reveal the company name for obvious privacy reasons) left me a message on my cellphone the first week I was back in Canada. I had already started applying for comm. jobs but thought it wouldn't hurt going in for an interview anyway. I didn't put much thought in the interview but came fairly prepared and put together.  After a five to ten minute chat with the manager, I was hired on the spot. It came almost as a shock/surprise to me because I had kept my expectations fairly low (note to self: keep expectations low from now on) and wasn't expecting scoring a full-time job anytime soon.

I have worked at every possible job since the age of 13, from working at the farmers' market, to working at a movie theatre, to working at a restaurant, to working for a local blog to having my own dog-walking business. But what I hadn't been able to score yet was a job in retail, and that has always been something I've wanted to do. I love the idea of helping customers making style decisions or picking the proper size. I love sorting out through the clothes and putting them back neatly where they belong (although that can be extremely frustrating too when it gets messy) and I love the overwhelming stockroom filled with garments from ceiling to ceiling.

I knew I was in for a minimum wage salary like most retail stores but I was still stoke for finally getting that retail experience I've always wanted. And plus, I'm always curious to see how things really are behind scenes. What's work going to be like? Is the minimum wage fair for the type of duties assigned to us? What's management going to be like? Am I going to like it? Am I going to hate it? Am I going to get along with the other girls I work with? What will be my thoughts on the experience?

A week into my new job as a salesperson, The diary of a minimum wage retail salesperson came into fruition. I mean, what isn't there to like about getting to know what the retail world is really all about?

Look out for a new blog post in the following week... I'll keep it as honest as possible without going to that bitchy/ranting mode (no promises on being completely rant-free) while keeping it entertaining and upbeat. :)

For now... my fall addictions:

Elle Canada : this Canadian women's fashion magazine is the greatest. The topics talked about are extremely relevant, well thought-out and written honestly. The magazine brings forth the best in style and fashion news, but keeps it real with everyday subjects and topics that's on everyone's mind nowadays.  

Style at Home Canada : this interior design/decorating magazine is soothing to read because of its great visuals. The cottage issue from this summer was greatly inspiring and I love the inspiring quick fix decorating tips they offer.

Pinterest: I can "pin" things in my own virtual inspirational boards? Done deal. I'm an extremely visual person to begin with. 

True Blood: the boyfriend introduced me to the series. I'm not a big fan of excessive blood in any scenario possible, but for some reason, we're already on season 3 and I can't stop watching. The character developments and plots are great in this show! 

Yoga: yes, yoga is still in my life. I still love it. I go to the neighborhood gym that's only five minutes away from my house. I'm liking how it fits my schedule well as they offer morning and evening classes every day of the week and on weekends.  

Drinking water: yep, drinking water has made me feel extremely healthier for these past couple of months. I used to never drink enough of it but never thought it was my lack of intake that caused me from having serious headaches all the time. Now, I constantly remind myself  that water is my best friend. Six to eight classes a day. 

Vitamin D: every morning I take two pills of Vitamin D (2000). My daily intake makes me less cranky in the winter when the sun no longer shines as much.