25 August 2014

Valley Girl Memoirs

Today I thought I would post something that I wrote for fun. Laura is at BYU right now and she is taking a writing class. To support/participate in her homework assignments, Mum and I sometimes join in. I also just wanted to document the horrors of my working experience at Valley Girl because the struggle was real!! lol I have so many stories that I need to jot down somewhere! This is one of them.

Prompt: Write a memoir about a job you have held. Show (and tell) why this job did not lead to a lifelong career.

My feet ached. I slowly shuffled my way over to where a mound of boxes sat slumped on the dusty floor. The dust swirled up and around my ankles as I moved. The boxes were labeled in thick, black pen, "Dresses/Skirts" and "Accessories." I paused. Surely this couldn't be right? I had unpacked 10 boxes yesterday all by myself! Where did all this new merchandise come from?! I sighed inwardly and took out a slim orange craft knife from my back pocket. The work was mindless work. My body was on auto-pilot, pulling out dress after dress and hanging it on the rack behind me. People washed in and out of the store doors in waves, flooding the boutique with curious customers. I avoided inquiring eyes and kept my own down, focused on the box in front of me. I tried to lose myself in the music blasting from overhead speakers. 
"Excuse me?" Please don't be talking to me. "Hello?" The voice was louder now and sounded annoyed. I breathed in, rolled my head up and tried acting surprised. 
"Hiya!" I kicked myself mentally for having let that word slip. I would never say 'hiya' in a normal setting. I actually hated the word. But in the retail world, it was the basic greeting. "How can I help?" I said with a tired but friendly grin. The girl seemed unsure at my tone, but continued. 
"Um, the dress on the mannequin at the front. Where can I find that?" I peeped at the mannequin and sighed inwardly again for what seemed like the 100th time that day. 
"The black one? I think that might actually be the last one..." I trailed off purposefully in the hope that she wouldn't hear me and would lose interest. I squinted slightly in anticipation.
"Oh. Do you think I could try it on?" There it was. I went to speak but she cut me off, my mouth ajar. "It's my size. I checked already." Of course you did.
"Sure. Let me just... get-that-for-you." I spat out the last few words and spun on my heel before she could analyze my tone any further. Cheeks puffed, I exhaled slowly until I reached the mannequin. I placed a hand on the doll's stiff shoulder for leverage as I unzipped the dress. It slid off effortlessly, revealing the smooth breasts of the headless figure. The dress stopped in a ruffled heap at the waist. My hands moved to the mannequin's hips and tried to shimmy the dress downwards. A few teenage boys walking by the store stopped and started watching me in my dilemma. I refused to acknowledge their presence and kept my eyes on the plastic torso in front of me. Mid-shimmy, one tapped on the glass. My eyes flicked up long enough to see the sexual gesture he was making. Ugh. I tugged at the dress a little harder now, desperate to escape from the situation. The dress gave and it slid down to the floor. Muffled laughter and cheers erupted at the sight of the naked doll. I rolled my eyes, scooped up the dress and raced back to the girl who was now standing with a hand on her hip.
"Thanks," she said flatly. She snatched the dress out of my hands and left before I had a chance to tell her it was on sale. Jerk! I closed my eyes in an attempt to control my heaving chest and the hot fumes billowing from my nose. My eyes opened and focused on the stack of boxes in front of me. My feet ached. I picked up a blue sequin dress and felt my body switch back to auto-pilot. My mind blocked out the sounds around me and sat quiet, waiting for the day to end.

And the passage ends there. The ending to this tale is that after this lady demanded to have the dress from the mannequin, which gave the impression that she was set on buying it, and after watching me struggle at the front of the store with immature boys gawking at me and the mannequin, she went into the dressing room. I forgot about her for about 10 minutes until I saw the same dress peeking out from the returns rack, almost purposely hidden. I whipped around and saw her sneaking out the back of the store and being quick about it too! I was so annoyed!!!! I used to think that working in retail would be a dream, but it turned out to be a custodial job. You are constantly cleaning up after rude people. 
Never again! 


  1. Welcome to retail. It's a thankless job. :)

  2. HA HA! Your description of your temper building as "my heaving chest and hot fumes billowing from my nose..." is CLASSIC! I could almost feel the heart pumping heavily. :) I think you need to become a writer. Maybe mysteries or horror stories! :)

  3. P.S. : The first paragraph of your work of literature here reminded me of the 1st chapter of John Steinbeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH. That's not criticizing...Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors. You have potential at being a good writer. :)

    1. Wow, thank you James! That means a lot :)