Enough Said

Enough Said
A sampling of my columns and why the hell is my picture SO big?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I am retail

I used to be embarrassed to tell people what I do. It’s a dead-end low paying job, I thought. You don’t need an expensive college education to do it, you don’t need higher education at all. My job necessitates long hours on my feet, if I am lucky enough to get long hours. I work nights, weekends and most holidays. I am treated as if I only matter in terms of someone else’s needs, and even if I am right, I am always wrong.
I am retail.
I am the face of every aspect of your life. I clothe you and your family and I enhance your home, I even run your home. You cannot live without me. For those of you who doubt my place in the food chain of life, I stock the food chain.
I am retail.
I am the dress you wore to your sister’s wedding and the suit you wore to your last job interview. I am the furniture you sit on and the sheets and blankets on your bed. I am your bed. I am the food on your plate and the plate. I am the towels hanging on the bar in your bathroom. I am the bar. I am your Huggies, your Kleenex and your Scotts. Like I said, you cannot live without me.
I am retail.
Who else am I?
Many decades ago, between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I took a temporary job in retail. I’m still working in that temporary job and I love it. I’ve worked in linens, clothing, table top, cooking, bedding, food and pets. I’ve sold craft supplies, furniture, antiques and art. I have owned two retail businesses and a small manufacturing company. And I’d still be running those businesses if economics, illness and life allowed it.
From behind the counter and the desk, I’ve watched the American buying public change from interesting, honest and kind to over-rushed blurs who pay with plastic and sign by scribble. To them I am a faceless entity whose only task during the working day is to fulfill their needs. And that’s okay because that’s what I am paid to do.

On behalf of my fellow retail workers, let me say we are more than a name badge pinned to colorful aprons or matching shirts. We are just like you.
I have a wonderful family, live in a beautiful home and drive an awesome car. My children have college degrees, as does my husband. I would also have a fancy framed certificate except that the back half of my college education was spent in Africa. That was an education onto itself. I am more than what you think I am, if you think of me at all.
I am retail.
When you walk into a store consider who folded the sweaters, shirts and pants so neatly stacked on the table in front of you. We did that after they were left in a pile, again. The clothes perfectly hung on the hangers, we zipped, buttoned and hung them after someone left them on the floor in the dressing room, again.
Wait, you say. I don’t need you. I can walk into a big box food and clothing, grab a shopping cart, fill it, and self-ring my purchase.
Who dragged those carts into the store because they were left in the parking lot, again? Who unpacked and processed those items which filled your cart? Who ticketed them and put them on the shelf? You cannot live without our drugs, appliances, household goods and yard supplies. We are your computer, paper and printer. We are your phone. Do you hear us now?
We are retail.
We are proud.