Last year, I worked at Waldenbooks from late September until autumn. I started out in the store, but ended up doing nothing but kiosk from December until I was let go in January. Two seasonal hires flaked out: both no-shows, and one took a few souvenirs with her.
I thought I left on good terms with the manager (call him Scott). With everyone, really. I saw him a couple times earlier this year (I don’t go into that Waldenbooks for any other reason), and both times, I mentioned casually that I would love nothing more than to work at the kiosk again this Christmas. He seemed amenable to that, although he didn’t promise anything.
Halloween came and went and no word. The kiosk went up in November, and still no word. So be it, I thought. Until yesterday.
After paying my Sears bill in-store, I ventured into the main mall in search of a gift for Friend Across Town. I saw the kiosk and decided to head over and see if one of my old compatriots was working.
I barely recognized the cashier, but she recognized me, and pointed me out to Scott, who was strugging with some kind of register problem. He acknowledged me cheerfully, and suggested that I come up to the store in a few minutes, when he would be there.
Well, they didn’t have jack at the first store I tried, so I headed on up. Scott seemed glad to see me. I told him I was looking for something for Friend, and mentioned his particular interest. One book was on sale, but he already had it; the other was out of my price range. I thanked Scott and walked over to another store, where I found something appropriate almost immediately.
Returned to WB. Short line. I showed Scott what I’d gotten and he admired it. I left saying, “Survive!” and he laughed.
I don’t get it. Usually when people don’t hire you, they either freeze you out entirely, or mumble and avoid eye contact. Why would he be so cheerful and friendly, and not even use the register problem as an out, if he didn’t want to hire me?
Mr. Rilch says they might not have been able to afford an extra person. That is possible, but I would think they’d need at least one seasonal employee, and if so, I can’t imagine why they woud not hire me, who was never late, always willingly stayed late, and kept the racks scrupulously neat. I also took it upon myself to know the layout of the mall and the surrounding area, and have a general idea of what could be found where. There is an information desk, but it’s poorly lit and behind the elevator. My kiosk was bright and shiny, in the middle of the mall, so shoppers asked me.
I mean, I didn’t expect to be hired back at the store, but I would so have loved to work at the kiosk. I had a blast last winter, chatting with Vince the Wheelchair Guy for an hour or more. I never neglected the work, either. He knew I had to stop mid-sentence if a customer needed attention, and he was adept at turning his chair so I could patrol all four sides of the kiosk.