'My first shift ever in retail was from midnight to 8 in the morning on Black Friday'

Worst Jobs 2015

Jim Campbell illustration

My first day working at Old Navy was also my first day working in retail. I had watched their video tutorials with corny actors explaining how to deal with theft and other company policies, and though promised, never received any of the actual training for the jobs I was expected to perform. I was never taught how to operate the cash register, stock and pull items from the back, or even how to fold clothes. As ridiculous as that sounds, it's quite the meticulous process. Most clothing stores, Old Navy included, have specific folding techniques, so all of my "work" ended up having to be re-folded by other employees who preferred to spend the extra time to do it themselves, rather than simply teach me. Makes sense, right?

Naturally, my first shift ever in retail was from midnight to 8 in the morning on Black Friday. Since I was absolutely useless at that point, I was left with the job of handing out coupons for the entirety of my shift to discount enthusiasts who found it necessary to camp out for hours to ensure that they got every polar fleece in all nine colors.

I continued working at the store for the Christmas season, but was stuck in the fitting room for every shift. It wasn't until my second-to-last day that I learned how to properly fold pants. It only took three months for never-properly-trained me to realize that my employee discount wasn't worth it in the end.♦

On The Edge: Living The Anthropocene @ EWU Gallery of Art

Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Jan. 13
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