When I was 25, I gave three years of my life to Talbots classic clothing retailer. It was the most grueling job with few rewards. It was not the company, but its demanding customers. I worked at Talbots on Johnson’s Ferry road in Marietta, GA right out of college. I worked my way up from a manager trainee to an associate store manager.
At the time, it was the highest grossing Talbots location. The hours were long and my feet ached, but it taught me that a future in retail wasn’t for me.
My day began
My day began with sitting in traffic. The 11 miles from my home to the East Cobb Talbots warranted a one hour, 15 minute drive. Soon as arriving to the store the countdown was on. Counting money and setting the drawers was the first thing to be done. Then stocking– it never ended. Although each rack was supposed to have finger’s space between each hanger we would jam-pack each H-rack and T-rack because of such high traffic.
My hands ached from carrying 20 to 30 hanging garments as I exited the stock room. They were so dry and cracked, and extremely stiff.
Dressing the dead people; mannequins that is
This was, by far, the best part of my job. I loved dressing mannequins and windows; better known as doing visuals. I had it down to a science from creating arms for mannequins with tissue paper to what time of day was best to apply vinyl lettering.
Passing long hours
Passing the hours could be painful at times, but the East Cobb Talbots was the busiest store, and there was always something to do. Whether it was working with the visuals or filling the floor there was never a time when employees weren’t busy.
East Cobb Snobs: Worst customers on the face of the planet
The most dreaded part of the job was dealing with “East Cobb Snobs.” The Talbots Marietta location was full of women and moms in pricey houses who did not work, but were married to affluent men. The “Do you know who my husband is?” attitude was prevalent, and customers felt the need to walk all over employees because Talbots customer service policy allowed it.
The worst times was holiday sales. East Cobb Snobs came in droves to get their “spas.” This is known as sales price adjustments, and the expectations to get refunds were high, as well as the snotty attitudes. Even when the customer was rude and wrong; they were always right.
Retail is not or me
Although I spent three years with Talbots I know retail is not for me. I believe in great customer service, but I don’t believe the customer is always right. As a matter of fact, that motto allows many customers to abuse the system, leaving employees to deal with terrible tantrums.