Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Worst Job

When I was in college, I spent the Christmas holiday working at FAO Schwarz toystore in Dallas. It was the worst job I have ever had. My training consisted of telling me I had to purchase FAO Schwarz brand t-shirts and sweatshirts to wear to work. Then, they sent me out on the floor. That's it. Each day, I would arrive and would be placed in a certain area of the store. I dreaded being put in the Barbie store. That was truly horrible. This was the year they came out with "Happy to Be Me" Barbie and people would come in asking to see "Fat Barbie." One day, they put me in the collectible doll section. People came in with perfectly reasonable questions about Madame Alexander dolls and other collectible toys that I couldn't answer because I had no training and no one to ask. In a mall where people are used to superior customer service, this type of store was destined to fail. And it did.

The worst part was that management insinuated that holiday staff would be needed after Christmas. Then, on Christmas Eve, they called people in individually and let them go. For some reason, they kept me on until I went back to school. But I remember how crushed people were to be fired on Christmas Eve.

The reason I'm thinking about all of this is because of the horrible Omaha mall tragedy. Evidently, the shooter was fired and lost his girlfriend in rapid succession. And, of course, the holidays can be hard enough on people. I don't think we'll ever be able to really understand what goes through the mind of someone like that. And I can't imagine what the families of the shooter and victims must be going through. It is so tragic and they will all be in my thoughts and prayers.


Literary Feline said...

I'm surprised the store didn't at least hold onto the seasonal staff until the New Year. Aren't there usually big sales after Christmas?

It was a big tragedy, what happened in Omaha. My heart goes out to the victims and their family and friends.

Gary said...

Boy, the management at FAO Schwartz must have had to work pretty hard to make such dismal working conditions. It should have been a really fun place to work.

I agree, it is nearly impossible to comprehend how sad and angry someone must be to do something like Omaha. I had to let an employee go this week and I know I just made her life extremely difficult. Now that I've been on both sides of the table, I'm not sure which end is worse.

Bookfool said...

I worked a job like that - no training and they gave me a *dirty* uniform (ugh - smelling someone else's grease and body odor all night was unbearable) for an evening of waitressing without even knowing what was on the menu. The entire staff bickered all night. There was an inch of water on the kitchen floor and I slid every time I took back an order. I only worked one night, though, then went home and told my parents, "I'll bet they'll be out of business within 3 months." I was off. They closed 6 months later.

The Omaha shooting is so awful. I always think of Nebraska as such a peaceful place. I have a lot of Nebraska relatives, as both my parents are Nebraskan, and it's all tied up in such beautiful memories. It's so sad.