There is a popular organization store opening up in Kansas City that have had the bees buzzing about for months. Though I have never shopped in this particular store, my sisters have and gushed over its variety of tools to help the cluttered get tidy. "You have to go there," Ann said. "You'd love it."
So when my neighbor called me excited and breathless saying I HAD TO APPLY because the pay and benefits were so great, I did so without question. Utterly confused about which direction to turn, I take the advice of anyone and everyone with little thought. Oh you heard McDonalds is hiring? Well, I have always loved their fries so I guess that's a good idea. Off I go in my look-how-I've-got-it-together-clothes to wow another would-be boss for a job that upon thirty seconds of reflection I realize I don't even want.
Some people live and learn. I leave learning to the scholars.
I filled out the application and submitted it before noon. At 3:00 I got a call asking me to come in for a group interview and to read the email that would be coming to get my homework assignment. An interview already? They must think I'm special! A homework assignment? Huh. I hope this is being compensated. On a rainy Saturday morning I woke with the first thought of the rest of my work life being, "I don't want to go". If it weren't Saturday and I was home alone like I am the rest of the week, I would have lied and said I went and nobody would be the wiser. Mark and Will were there, however, and so I had to fake that this was all such a wonderful, exciting opportunity. You guys, I can get shelving to get our spices organized! At a discount!! How awesome is that? You know? To organize all our spices??!!
Since the store isn't finished yet the interview was at a hotel connected to the convention center. It was packed that Saturday morning with both a dance and barbershop quartet competition.
I'm not making that up.
I found the meeting room passing dozens of barbershop quartets along the way. I was the second to last to arrive with the exception of Anne who was supposed to be sitting next to me but decided not to show. I already wished I was Anne.
We did introductions. I can't remember what I said. Probably something hilarious, endearing and hire-worthy. The managers read off a script and then we watched a video. After the video we were each asked what stood out to us. There were smiley responses that were very positive and it was clear that the desired response was to say that this company LOVES its employees which does seem to be true. The first one to respond, though, stole the thunder so the four of us remaining had to blab it in a different way that didn't seem like we were repeating what she said.
I gave Manager's Pet the stinkeye for sitting at the end and pilfering all my good answers.
Next was a video about the organized way they unpack their truck and stock their store. We have to unpack a truck? What? I've unpacked boxes of merchandise for years but a whole truck? Employees were literally running from the truck to the cart to load boxed merchandise to wheel out to the sales floor, all in record time. Whoa, whoa, whoa, sister. Can you back that up that because it looks to me like employees are expected to run on this job?
Next up on the hiring checklist was to share our homework. We had to go on the website and choose an item we would buy and explain why. My fellow interviewees each had a different item. The gardening center for the garage that corrals all your lawn and garden items in one place. A complete closet system. A folding bookshelf that is easy to fold and pack for the frequent mover. The laundry center to keep wash day tidy.
What did I choose?
I picked The Lidded Box as an organization tool to store our tax receipts since the brown paper bags didn't work out so well this year. Letter-size. Blue canvas with a faux leather handle. Great reviews because ummm, it's a lidded box. What else but four stars could something get that a monkey could make in his sleep? Coming in at a whopping $14.95 I said I'd even spring for the document size as well at $16.95.
Lastly we saw a video about their selling strategy that goes like this: If a man is in the desert and has crawled his way to an oasis and asks for water what else do you think he could use. Sunscreen? A cell phone? A pillow to rest? Food? Yes, all of that. Your customer is The Desert Man and you need to sell him everything he needs and not just what he asks for.
Just then you could hear a barbershop quartet outside the meeting room practicing I've Been Working on the Railroad which is what this interview was starting to feel like.
We talked about selling to The Desert People and I thought, "Boy that sure seems like a heartless thing to do to a man dying of thirst." I didn't say that, though. I repeated what Answerer #1 said with a big smile and warm eyes. Look at how engaging and friendly I am!! I bet you can't even tell I'm making this shit up because I didn't even listen to the question!!!
A few days later I got an email. Not the one I expected asking me to come in for a 2nd interview and maybe a management position, but the one that said they were going forward with some other candidates.
What? I was insulted. How could they not hire me? Didn't they know how many times I sold dresses to women with the advice that a good pair of Spanx would make them look more like low-fat sausage in casing than a polska kielbasa? I'm retail gold.
It didn't take me long to slide down into The Sads. Where did I go wrong? Was it the snorting when the barbershop quartet started singing? Was it when I really looked at the full-blown poster of their store shelves and realized that crap has to be dusted every single day? Was it when I looked at Absent Anne's chair and longed to be her? Or my empathy for The Desert People, who like Californians, really only need water?
I realized it was none of those things. It was the homework assignment that I spent all of ten minutes on. Who hires somebody who takes great pride in touting the beauty and functionality of the cheapest thing they sell when there's big money to be made on closets to stuff?
With no interviews on the horizon my days are even more free so I think I'll go to Target and buy a couple of those Lidded Monkey Made Boxes. One for our tax receipts so that next year won't be such a hot mess......
And the other to contain my Dashed Dreams, Hopeless Job Prospects and Really Bad Ideas.