"Tell them we don't have a toilet"
"You can't wear it that way, I didn't design it like that"
"So you've had a boyfriend?"
"I'm not getting you a folder! "
"If you can't cope then maybe you should think if this job is right for you"
Over the last 5 weeks I've been in a new fashion store in Woollahra. Sales were not just great they were outstanding. I'd never experienced a breaking of records like it. Her easy affordable fashions were a hit with the shopping mum crowd.
She, the designer and boss, was gushing about having me manage her store. She knew I had run my own store for 5 years, had set up a retail program and was a phenomenal seller. I came for the inflated price of $25 per hour. A casual. No contracts, I said, until after Christmas until the business was established, plus if it didn't work out, easy to leave.
Her reputation for brash, barking dialogue preceded her. You can run the store, she said, I'll do my designs and can travel. You're in charge, she said in a quick verbal conversation before the opening.
Marry in haste, repent in leisure. The same applies to jobs. Take your time, put it on paper, have a sit down conversation.
It started to fall apart when she asked for complex sales figures when we were using pen & paper and a calculator. While I put in 8 hours a day, 6 days a week to start with she worked late into the night and all weekend, then left me with tasks I was unable to complete while alone and frantically selling on the shop floor.
The computer system was still in decision making limbo while she checked ebay and tried to make cash deals. 'Buy the stupid system' I thought and get on with becoming a more efficient business. I left her tasks. 1. Install the second change room. 2. get the building rubbish removed. 3. buy me a chair.
We had a debate over clients using the toilet. One customer, who was mid purchase, asked if her menstruating daughter (her words) could use our toilet. "The boss doesn't like people using the toilet, but I'll ask". She didn't' want anyone using it, I argued it was rude and should be available to clients when asked. It was a no answer.
After the client left, thankfully another sale interrupted the toilet request, she took me aside to clarify the toilet policy. "Tell them we don't have a toilet" she barked. " I can't lie, I'll say something else instead" "No! " she looked at me with fierceness " Tell. them. we. don't. have. a. toilet ! " The conversation could not conclude until I agreed to use her wording. Besides the client had purchased; justifying her policy.
Makes you wish that no-one ever asks to use the toilet. Too stressful.
The next working day was like she took the right pill in the morning. The computer arrived and being the 'expert' I was there to set it up. Panic set in when I remembered how long the system took me 4 years ago to get going. "She's not going to like this" I thought. Because she wanted me to get it up and running that afternoon. I had to be honest and say it would take at least a week to set it all up. She didn't like that.
"I don't really think this is working out" she said for the second time in 2 days. This time I matched her. " Neither do I. Before I go I think I'll use the toilet"
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11 months ago