Why would he be so nice and not hire me?

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.

You had a blast last winter chatting with Vince, sometimes for an hour or more.

I’m confused: Why do you wonder why you weren’t re-hired? The boss is being nice to you because you are a nice person. But that doesn’t mean he has to re-hire a chatter.

You might think that you don’t hurt sales by chatting. Sure, if a customer approached, you stopped. But how about all the times a customer was thinking about approaching, then thought “ah, forget it” because you were chatting?

And, if you have so much time to chat, did you take the initiative to ask the boss for some “paperwork” to do?

Not trying to be rude!

Well, the kiosk was on the first level while the store was on the third. I would not have been asked to do paperwork.

From reading your post, I can’t tell that you asked your former boss for the job closer to the season. Perhaps he thought you weren’t interested because you didn’t bring it up again? I’m not sure. Seems odd that if you did everything else right, he’d take issue with you chatting with someone, if that was your only employee “mistake.”

I agree, ask the guy plain out for a job, and if he says no, then ask him why not.

I asked him in July, and again in late September. Last year, I was hired in early October. The kiosk goes up after Halloween.

This wasn’t a casual mention either time. I told him that I wouldn’t have scheduling conflcts, and why, as part of a slightly longer conversation. I made it pretty clear, but I was careful not to be pushy. Bringing it up a third time would have made me memorable as the person who “comes in all the time, asking me, and I don’t know what to tell her”.

DeadlyAccurate: I wonder, too, if I was observed chatting. Thing is, no one ever told me not to. They did tell me not to sit down, but I don’t know if I’d ever been observed doing that either.

Susanann: I don’t think I have the right to ask someone “why not”.

Perhaps he hired a seasonal person that he knew. Maybe his wife’s brother or something like that? He could still really like you but just have been unable to hire you this year.

Rilch, it may be in September he wasn’t hiring for seasonal help yet and by the time he was, he simply forgot about you wanting a job. He probably had applications he’d receive, he did his interview process using them, and pick his temporary help from the interviewees. Out of sight, out of mind.


I agree. The guy has probably been totally busy and hasn’t had time to think about you, and with applications coming in that probably took up his time. You should have put an application in back in September, or whenever they would have taken one for the holiday hires. I would think that it’s probably too late now for this year. But word of mouth in the job process has little meaning right now. You need to have an application in on paper.

Having managed a video retail store in a mall at one point in my life I can relay what my experience was from the other side. I usually hired 3-5 seasonal employees. Two were ones that worked almost every year. I made clear at the end of the season that if they wanted to come back the next year, they were welcome as long as I was still managing. We also made arrangements as to when they would let me know if they were still interested, and more importantly, when they could start One was a college student. The other started in HS then into college - her first job & my first hire, and kept coming back during breaks thru when I left. I hated having to interview for seasonal help, so these two were great to have.

My theories, keeping in mind he was non-committal last year are:

a) He is just not the type that plans that far in advance, in which case actually applying when he was going to hire was needed.
b) He couldn’t hire as many folks this year and you were lower on the pole for some reason (including, possibly, not being at the right place at the right time.
c) He forgot.
d) There is a mysterious reason he didn’t want you back.

Note only one of these that might indicate a negative impression on his part. Personally, I think you would have been okay mentioning your disappointment at not working there this year & seeing what he said.

I believe that seasonal staffing budgets for Borders and Waldenbooks stores were cut this year. Most likely when you first spoke to him, he had not received his budget (“friendly, but made no promises”).

Maybe he thinks you’re not a very good employee for some reason you don’t know about. I’ve had people work for me that I would not rehire if they asked, but I wouldn’t freeze them out – I’d be friendly, 'cuz I’m a friendly guy. Plus, just because someone isn’t (IMO) qualified to work for me, that doesn’t mean that they’re bad people or that I don’t like them, it just means I’m not going to hire them. I don’t feel any need to completely stop socializing with someone even if I’m not going to hire them, although I understand that the person might not want to hang out with me any more.

That’s a possibility. But from reading your posts, it seems more likely that you never made clear you were applying for the job. You said you’d like to, you said you had no scheduling conflicts, but then you never filled out an application or specifically asked for a job. People all the time float the idea of applying before deciding to actually do it. You needed to hand him an application before you could know he would consider you, and you never seem to have gotten that far.


All right, that makes sense. Thank you for your input.

Thing is, the job didn’t mean that much to me, as evidenced by this thread’s inclusion in IMHO instead of the Pit. If it had, I would have filled out an application.

And I’m well aware of the problems facing Waldenbooks! It was evident even when I was working there; I was farmed out for two days to help inventory a store that was closing. Another reason I’m not taking this very hard.