I am a firm believer that everyone should have to work retail at least once in their life. It really gives you an appreciation of the utter nonsense that retail workers have to deal with and why many have the rotten attitudes they have. Not all is bad, though. One can have many interesting and positive experiences as well.
I had the privilege of working retail for about six years. The company was a Virginia based video rental retailer.
I worked for the company, part time and then full time beginning in 1988. I was really young and was nervous around people I didn’t know. At the time, video tapes were expensive and the rental industry was starting to really boom. Video stores required memberships and part of my job was to ‘sell’ them even though by this time, they were free.
Well, the first membership I ever wrote up happened to be for this drop dead gorgeous woman. This woman was so pretty, it was intimidating. She walked up to me and, of course, I turned six shades of red and was stammering all over myself. I’m sure she found it quite amusing. She asked about the store and the membership so I took her over the sign up table and proceeded to write it up. My face felt like it was burning off my head. I was so nervous and had the most difficult time looking at this woman. I am sure she knew and was playing it up big time.
Once the membership form was filled out, she then asked where the new arrivals were and-much to my dismay-she asked where the adult movies were. Of course, I had to show her. I took her to the new arrivals first and then over to the adult movies. Don’t get a dirty mind here, at this particular location, the tapes were in a corner of the store and there were no boxes.
Of course, she had to ask for a recommendation. She wanted me to pick out the dirty movie for her! Oh my. Well, I explained to her that company policy didn’t allow me to do that on these titles but I could find out which ones rented the most. Naturally, she asked me to do so. Oh man. She would have to ask that. I walk her over to one of the computers and proceeded to pull up a report. I showed her the popular titles and, of course, had walk with her back to the corner and get the movie for her. There was only one thing left to do with this woman. I was so bloody nervous. I probably looked like a clown, red cheeks, rosy nose and wide eyes. You would think that I would have gotten over it by this point. No, she had to ask about those bloody adult movies.
Oh, the one thing left to do? Check her out, of course. And I mean ring her up. So I did. Very quickly, too. She very politely thanked me for my help and then she walked out of the store. I tell you, that was one of the most interesting Sunday mornings I had had up to that point. I volunteered to work Sundays after that.
Ah, Video World, you gave me so much: good friends, lots of interesting experiences, a wife and a career. I have to wonder if McDonald’s offers such benefits.