My Unintentional Career in Retail
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One woman's midcareer misadventures in the absurd world of American retail.
After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly was hard up for cash. When she saw that The North Face-an upscale outdoor clothing company-was hiring at her local mall, she went for an interview almost on a whim.
Suddenly she found herself, middle-aged and mid-career, thrown headfirst into the bizarre alternate reality of the American mall: a world of low-wage workers selling overpriced goods to well-to-do customers. At first, Kelly found her part-time job fun and reaffirming, a way to maintain her sanity and sense of self-worth. But she describes how the unexpected physical pressures, the unreasonable dictates of a remote corporate bureaucracy, and the dead-end career path eventually took their toll. As she struggled through more than two years at the mall, despite surgeries, customer abuse, and corporate inanity, Kelly gained a deeper understanding of the plight of the retail worker.
In the tradition of Nickel and Dimed, Malled challenges our assumptions about the world of retail, documenting one woman's struggle to find meaningful work in a broken system.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
I was interested to learn about the retail industry from the retail workers point of view. While the author does an adequate job at showing us life on the other side of the cash wrap, there are far too many pages dedicated to the numerous accomplishments of the author. I lost track of how many times she mentioned traveling to over 30 countries, and how she spoke fluent Spanish and French. I quickly became bored reading about how amazing she considers herself. Thoroughly disappointed with this book.
I've been in retail my entire adult life. I've worked as a salesperson, cashier, buyer, to now owning a very successful business for the last 20+ years. I've seen women like the author before. They pander to us in the interview and know everything by the first week. Why? Because they are smarter, more educated, more worldly and are just "slumming" because they need some extra cash. The author is clueless. She thinks she is qualified to comment on the rough life of retail after working one shift a week. Really?
Do we really need to hear her constant reminders of who she is, a professional journalist? For someone with her credentials, the book is quite a disappointment. It's trite, boring and whiney. She mentions just how much she hates snobs, but doesn't realize she is one herself. Don't bother reading this unless you'd like to witness someone desperately trying to let you know she is somebody, not a mere salesclerk.