23rd Oct2004

H&M Promotion?

by Will

“Westman: Disassembled” – The Saga Continues

Previously on Westman: Our hero had endured the worst week ever, with no manager support and every asshole under the sun deciding they had a bone to pick with a certain H&M employee. Just as he was about to tell the Swedes where they could put their “high fashion and quality at low prices”, Will was made an offer he actually thought about refusing….

So, what did Caroline and Susan offer me? They said that they’d really appreciated the work I’d been doing, and they wondered if I’d be interested in becoming the store administrator.

For the uninitiated, the H&M store administrator is the person who is responsible for managing payroll and budget. He’s more of a manager in terms of his relationship to other sales associates, but not necessarily a manager in terms of customer service and BIG decisions. It’s kind of a weird netherrealm. An H&M Purgatory, if you will.

But, this position would have more responsibility, and of course, more money. So, they seemed really excited about it, and I felt kind of bad that I visibly didn’t share their joy. It’s just that it’d been SUCH a long week, and despite how great it sounded, some motherfucker had, not 10 mins prior, called me an asshole. NO ONE CALLS ME THAT. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t deserve it, but I still wanted to beat his ass.

You see, around this time, I’d come to realize that I was “that guy”. You know the one. Every store you like going to, there’s that ONE sales associate you hate. And you hate him because he thinks he’s big shit ’cause he knows he’s got something you want and gives you a hard time just because he knows he can. Sometimes, this person is referred to as the B.N.I.C. In any case, retail really shouldn’t be this hard. It shouldn’t harden a person nor blacken his soul. Back in the day, when people described me, they’d always say, “Oh, Will’s so nice…” People don’t really say that anymore. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. But I certainly notice that the pleasantries have dried up. All I get now is gay guys calling me “sexy”. So, I guess I AM a bitch now. What I world we live in these days, I tell ya!

So, I had come to realize that retail probably wasn’t the place for me. In fact, it ain’t healthy for me. While this whole sojourn into commerce had taught me a lot about myself, I was seriously reaching the end of my rope. In fact, I had really started stocking up on clothes for my “new job”. What job was it? Not a damn clue. Didn’t have one, but I was sure as Hell looking.

So, the ball started rolling on this whole store admin thing VERY quickly. And the quicker it rolled, the more unsure I felt. I mean, I had to stop and remember my initial goal: I never really wanted to work in fashion retail, but I DID want to climb H&M’s corporate ladder. Here it was, my opportunity staring me in the face, and I’m considering bolting. I’ve NEVER been a quitter (though, there are many instances in which that would’ve been a smarter move then staying), and I decided I was gonna stick this out. After, this was a dream deferred that was now coming true. See, Mom? Dreams DO come true! Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!

As the days rolled on, they kept sweetening the pot. “Hey, Will! You’re gonna be training at Chestnut Street in PHILADELPHIA!!!” and “Hey, Will! You’re gonna be in a pretty sweet hotel for 4 weeks!” or “Hey, Will! Your per diem is gonna be more than your entire freakin’ check!” And, like a sad, gullible bastard, I ate it all up, every fuckin’ morsel. I mean, end of my rope here. I was ready to believe anything.

Let’s take a trip back: Last week marked the one-year anniversary of my return home. It was exactly one yr ago that i packed up and left Ithaca for good. And just let me say that this has been the HARDEST period of my life. I mean, the last 365 days have been pure shit. They say the yr after college is the hardest and that motherfucker wasn’t lying. Horrible. I’ve had more nervous breakdown scares than one person should. I’m too young for this shit. Anyway, I needed a change. I feared I was headed for some kind of relapse or something, and I needed a change of scenery. But this new position, it was my chance. I could stay with the company, work toward my goal of advancement, but also get a new scene on the company dime. I mean, this was everything I could ever want, topped with sprinkles and holograms ( for the record, i LOVE holograms! someone’s got a birthday coming up…). So, this offer of tempting fruit was the beginning of things looking up. I was finally moving up to the East side to get my piece of pie. But as we all know, “fish don’t fry in the kitchen and beans don’t burn on the grill” (not really sure where I was going with that, but bear with me; it’s part of the metaphor…)

When I get excited about something, REALLY excited, something beyond my control thwarts me. Well, let the thwarting begin.

They tell me this evening that, “Hey, there are too many people up at Chestnut Street, so you probably won’t be going up there. Instead, you might be going to Delaware or even maybe Tysons Corner.” You should’ve seen me. My face dropped like Castro off that flight of stairs (Damn, that was funny! Jennine, I wish I could’ve seen your face!). Lahdy-fuckin’ dah! Well, Golly! I’s gonna get to see bootiful picteresque Dely-where? And I REFUSE to go back to Tysons if I have to commute. I hardly read my archives, so I’m not sure if I ever blogged about it, but that was my training store, and for about 2 months, I commuted 2 hrs, EACH WAY every day. I am NOT going through that again. So, I don’t know where that leaves us.

So, here I am, blogging, filled with rage (I always find it funny when a person has to TELL you they’re filled with rage; usually, you can just tell. But since you can’t see me….I’m kinda ranting in parentheses….I think this is one of the signs of insanity….I’d better stop and get out of these parentheses now) Whew, that’s better. So, anyway, I’m here, filled with rage. I’m I’m not even sure where I’m gonna be in 3 weeks.

The worst part is how this is affecting the rest of my life. I mean, I’ve been trying to be a good little worker, and I feel that i’ve been happier and more productive since this whole carrot-dangling began. But now, I’m unpredictable again.

Also, Tarek’s gonna hate me. I’ve been pseudo-avoiding him because i promised I’d come visit him in Boston before the Election (we have a wager on it), and I know I’ve put it off til the very last minute, but I don’t see how I’m gonna make it with all this work stuff up in the air. I seriously don’t know when nor where I’m going, and that prevents me from making any excursions up to MA. I know he’s a big boy, and he’ll understand that it’s work-related, but I was raised to “never make a promise that you can’t keep!” And I truly intended to keep this promise. And I want to visit him, but….So, T, don’t hate me…

Also, I’ve gotta say that it’s not my store nor my managers fucking me over. It’s the damn Area Team. This faceless European triad (well, they’re not faceless, I’ve seen them. And only one of them’s actually European. And there’s actual 5 of them, but “triad” sounds cooler and I’ve only actually met three of them…But I digress.). They go around, with their tight sweaters and pants, looking like JC Penney catalog models, crushing dreams. Well, they’re not gonna crush my dreams! I ain’t no punk. I ain’t going out like that!

So, now you see why it took me so long to finish that story, and as you can see, it ain’t over til it’s over…Stay Tuned