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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Oh Man, It's October - Back to Work on the Outside

After working from home for 17 years, it was time for me to go back into the world outside and get a job.  This was not something I really would have chosen to do.  I like working from home for myself, sometimes even in my pajamas, because I could.  My time was my own and if I had to go to an appointment or be with my husband or kids, I could make my schedule flexible enough to do that.  Unfortunately, the nature of my business changed with the advancement of technology and, while I am old enough to retire and collect Social Security, the longer I wait to do that, the more money I'll make so I talked it over with my husband and applied for a job at my favorite craft store, Michaels. 

In September I posted this picture as one of my 365 pictures:

I had just had an interview with the assistant manager at one of our local Michaels Crafts Stores.  I got the job and on September 17, I began working.  The first few days were mostly spent on the computer getting oriented to the rules and regulations of working retail.  A little time was spent watching the cashiers but by the third day I was assigned a cash register and left on my own.   

Not totally alone because there is usually more than one cashier and I have a headset on so I can ask questions and everyone is very patient and informative.  Most of the transactions are simple sales but there are returns and occasionally someone will bring an item up that has no price on it and I have to call for a price check.  I try to be as quick and efficient as I can because sometimes the line winds around the store!

Michaels has always been one of my favorite places to shop and they have really good deals.  In addition, I get an employee discount!  I made a promise to myself not to shop until I had earned two paychecks.  I got my second one last week so look out! 

We have soda and snack machines in the break room and I even have my own locker.  I had to keep the combination written on a piece of paper (along with all my other passwords and employee number) because I couldn't remember everything.  It is getting easier now. 

On the bulletin board in the back of the break room there is a place for encouraging and supportive notes from managers and coworkers.  I got one for helping with a slime event!   

I am used to looking for coupons and I saw one the other day on the floor at Safeway.  I recognized it immediately as one of the coveted "entire purchase" discounts!

My kids told me that working in retail was going to be difficult and that people were going to yell at me.  I have had a few less than pleasant customers but I find that if I start them out with a smile and a friendly greeting, things usually go smoothly.  If I can offer them some kind of discount, that works well to shift the tone too!

I did notice that I am a little tired when I get home and I am having to pay more attention to what day it is and what time it is so I get all my transcription work done before I go to the store to work there.  They have already asked me a couple of times if I could stay longer than I was scheduled and of course I said yes.  Technically I am a seasonal hire and they could let me go in January after the holidays end but I am hoping that I am doing a good enough job that they will want to keep me around for a while.  

How about you?  Ever switched careers?  Worked in retail?  Pay attention to the name tag on the cashier?  Shop at Michaels?  Love to hear about it.  


  1. Mary shops at Michael's occasionally. Evidently, they carry kitchen cotton, yarn for making potholders and dishcloths, and she's always losing sewing-up needles and other little stuff she can't live without.

    I worked at several retail places, selling young men's clothing, wine and gourmet foods, and clothing again, this time at The Gap. I notice names on nametags, though I rarely do any shopping at stores anymore.

    1. Tell Mary I appreciate her business and remind her that she can ask for a senior discount, if she doesn't already. Before I was working I did try to notice name tags and now even more so. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. So cool! Congratulations. I worked at Radio Shack from 1989-1990 and it was okay, but I didn't like it as well as my previous jobs. But it had its good points.

    I'm sure you'll make the best of your job. All those craft items. What an enticing view.

    Tossing It Out

    1. Thanks, Lee. I did my first shopping yesterday because we got an extra 10% discount for "employee appreciation." I was good and limited myself to things that were already on sale. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hey Janet,
    Wow, going back to work on the outside after all those years! I totally get it. I was self-employed with my ad agency and worked at home for several years and then the economy tanked and I desired some security so I took an advertising sales job at Time Warner. That lasted 10 months and then I went back to being self-employed. Now I have the dogsitting business (for 16 years now) and would probably freak out if I had to go work out of the home again.

    I worked retail back when I was in college: I worked at Waldenbooks for 2 years until I moved to another state to continue my education. It was a great gig: I loved the people that I worked with and the customers were really cool -- most of them. Interestingly, I found that the most rude customers were the ones buying bibles. I'm not kidding. That always blew my mind! And it happened time and time again. I would always think to myself, "How can you be standing here buying this BIBLE and be such an asshole at the same time?" It really was mind-boggling..
    And then I worked at Radio Shack for a short while. I was in radio advertising sales at the time and I had an appointment with the Regional Manager of the local Radio Shack. I did my presentation to get him to advertise on my radio station and at the end of it he asked me to come work for him! :) He kept trying to convince me to come work there (it was commission sales and he thought I would do great). I finally relented and said that I'd do a part-time seasonal gig so I worked there on weekends over the holidays for a few months. It was tough: I didn't know anything about technology at the time so it was a real learning curve. I learned a lot from the customers. Like one time a guy comes in and asks if we had any breadboards. And I looked at him and said, "A bread board? Like what you cut bread on?" He laughed and said No, it's a power supply something or other and he said "Let me take you back to the section that I think they might be in and if you have any I'll show you what they are." haha. This was back when home computers were just starting to be in retail stores. I was so beyond clueless there!
    Ironically, I ended up being the top salesperson most weeks --- Go figure.

    Michael's is a cool store! They have so much! I always got lost in the bead department (I make gemstone jewelry so spent a lot of time combing the beads to find decent gemstones). I spent a fortune in beads! And still have a ton of them. I really need to get back into jewelry-making. I found that the new cashiers usually needed to call for help when I came up and said that the transaction needed to be tax-free. Have you had any of those yet? I'm hoping they improved their system since I was buying a few years ago.
    It seems like they have a good training system: the folks that work at every Michael's I've ever been in have been super helpful and friendly. That says a lot, I think, about the corporate training. (someplace that has horrible training in customer service is Home Depot, in my opinion. And I wrote them to tell them that after running into several lazy, useless and rude workers there. I stopped shopping Home Depot and do all my home-improvement shopping at Lowes now because of that).

    Anyway, have fun working at Michael's. It's about to get crazy with Halloween and all the holidays upon us. What city are you in again??

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. It has definitely been an interesting transition and I am still getting used to it (I clocked in 20 minutes late yesterday because I had the time I started in my head wrong. I could have easily been on time. They were super cool about it and I just worked 1/2 later to get my full hours in). I did my first tax-free transaction the other day! There is a form you need to fill out but it doesn't take any longer than letting people get the coupons on their phones, which we do all the time. Some people call the store looking for the oddest things. Having the headset in my ear makes it easy to help people though. If I don't know where something is, I just ask. Oddly enough, even though I used to shop the store a lot, it is still taking me some time to get used to where everything is, but I think I've almost got it now. Technology sure has changed a lot. You can get a Michael's app on your phone that will show you where everything is in the store and give you coupons as well that we can scan. It is already very busy and they tell me it is going to get worse. Fortunately, they are very aware when the line gets long so they send someone to "Line bust" which is to have them scan the items people have in their carts so when they get to the cashier all they do is hand them a card and that gets scanned into the register and then they pay. I am in the San Mateo, California store.

    2. The "Line Bust" sounds very helpful! Costco does that too. It makes it so nice for the customers waiting in line. I hate long lines.
      I'm sure it's going to get crazy with the holidays. Have fun!


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