Monday, April 1, 2013

Avenue

For the A-Z challenge, I will be writing about MEMORIES. A is for Avenue- my first job.

All through high school, I babysat often during the school year and worked as a nanny during my summer vacations. When I came home from college after my freshmen year, I hit the pavement looking for jobs. Most of the kids I had babysat in the past were old enough to care for themselves now, and I wasn't having much look securing a nanny job. So I had to look elsewhere. I started filling out applications left and right. One day, I walked into Avenue, a women's clothing store. The woman who handed me the application seemed very enthusiastic. She let me fill it out right then and there, and asked me questions about my availability. Just a few hours later, I got a call to come in for an interview the next day. I was nervous. I had never really had a job interview before. The interview was quick. I wasn't feeling too confident. I was a shy girl, and I knew that came off in my interview. I figured they probably assumed I couldn't sell clothes.

I was wrong. They offered me the job that same day and I started within 48 hours. My first few weeks were terrifying. I had to force myself to talk to customers and was not comfortable around my coworkers. They were all older than me, and I couldn't relate to their conversations. I spent most of my time folding clothes and avoiding the cash register. I never wanted to make a mistake, so I figured I was safest out on the sales floor, folding clothes, steaming clothes, and putting shoes away.

There was one week where I only worked with one other girl, my manager, Charlene. Suddenly we grew very close and were laughing and joking around. I started speaking up more, and became a master at the cash register. Once Charlene and I became friends, everyone else seemed to embrace me a little bit more. They all protected me. They loved to make me feel uncomfortable, but would also rescue me if I was in a tough situation. I remember one specific incident where a customer was in my face about something that was totally out of my hands. One of my coworkers stepped in, pushed me aside, and told the woman to leave the store and to never talk to me like that again. I took a sigh of relief and thanked my coworker for saving me.

One of our responsibilities as employees was to get people to open up a store credit card. I hated that. We had to ask a customer in three different ways. It got annoying, fast. But we each had to reach a monthly goal. Again, my coworkers came to the rescue. They coached me through it, and a few times would put my name down because I was the one who helped the customer on the floor.

Despite my shyness, My absolute favorite part of the job was walking around on the sales floor and asking customers if they needed help. I heard so many stories that way. People looking for an outfit for different reasons- asking questions about sizes and colors, asking my opinion about outfits. It was so fun to interact with them, and it really broke me out of my shell.

I continued to work at Avenue on Christmas breaks and summer vacations until my senior year of college. The years blend together now. Customers came and went, but we always had our regulars. At one point there was an incident when one of our comanagers left. It was a tension filled environment for a while as people took sides, and shortly after that, I left for good. I had to say goodbye to that chapter in my life. But I will never forget it. Working at Avenue was good for me, and my self esteem. It helped me to work through fear. So I guess the lesson in this memory is this: even if you don't think you can do something, you probably can.

14 comments:

Melissa Arezzi said... Add Reply

Having worked in retail for the last 17 years I can relate to what you experienced. When I worked at Annie Sez I hated having to bug customers to sign up for credit card. But my favorite part to this day is talking with the customers. I work for a major retail company. We do bridal registries and my favorite thing in the world is when I have a bridal couple. I get to spend a couple of hours just chatting with them and basically help them shop for their registry. Look forward to seeing your other memories you post.

Melissa @ http://mommyismessy.blogspot.com/

Sandy Campbell said... Add Reply

Oh good! Yep, working in the public is never easy, and sometimes it can be a bit challenging. Happy to hear you did well!
www.sandysanderellasmusings.blogspot.com

Kathy said... Add Reply

That is quite an accomplishment to overcome your shyness and thrive in a job like that. Awesome!

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

1hundredworks said... Add Reply

I really like the simplicity of your post. Fore some reason this story reminds me of the movie Forrest Gump! Lovely start to the challenge.

Akhil.

Rob-bear said... Add Reply

What a great post. You tell your story so well. Lots of things with which even a Bear can sympathize. Getting to know your co-workers and having them help you sounds lovely.

My first summer job (high school) was filling orders in a parts stock room. I made 75¢ an hour (Yeah, that was a while ago.)

Blessings and Bear hugs!
Bears Noting

Toni McKilligan said... Add Reply

Ah, memories! And first jobs! Mine was at a Drive-in Theatre and it was a blast. Looking forward to more of your memories as the Challenge goes on.

Stelios Perdios said... Add Reply

I sold appliances at Sears for awhile, and I share your dislike for pitching credit cards. But we had to do it with every sale--even if they already had a Sears Card, we had to pitch the next card up, "Sears Platinum" or whatever it was called.

Still, like you, the retail experience helped me overcome my introvertedness. And that's priceless.

Have a great day!

Barb Black said... Add Reply

My first "real" job was as a cashier for a produce store and from there worked my way up to being the florist. Some of my fondest memories are still from that job. Thanks for the reminder!
Barb

Crystal L. Kirkham said... Add Reply

It's nice to be able to get lost in someone else's memory - that was very well written and it made me think all the way back to my first job as well.

Dawn Embers said... Add Reply

A very interesting story. Thank you for sharing.

I've always been shy yet end up with the cashiering jobs where I talk to people all day, or jobs with answering phones (which makes me anxious). Yet it does help in the long run.

Julia King said... Add Reply

Starting a new job is not easy. It is difficult to find your rhythm and how you fit in. I'm glad you had some phenomenal coworkers that embraced you and made you feel comfortable. :)

Stratoz said... Add Reply

First jobs surely are an adventure. Loved your comment about being awed on my blog.

Vita Razgale said... Add Reply

It remainds me old saying: If you want to get where you havn't been, go the road you haven't went (sorry for my english). Good luck with challenge! :)

Shari said... Add Reply

I love your main theme for this A-Z challenge. Looking forward to reading about all the memories! :)