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Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail

por Caitlin Kelly

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12012173,311 (2.95)8
After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly took a part-time job at an upscale outdoor clothing company at her local mall. In this memoir, Kelly recounts her mid-career misadventures in the absurd world of American retail.

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In this memoir, a fifty-something journalist recounts her experiences in part-time retail work. Caitlin Kelly, having recently lost a steady job writing, turns to hourly work in a new North Face store. After landing the job and going through training, Kelly begins her “career” as a retail associate, although her time in the job really only lasts a couple of years (hardly a career). She describes the feeling of being a part of a cog in the machine of corporate owned and run business, of being a faceless employee and having to adhere to rules handed down from headquarters. Although she points to her financial struggle as a reason for seeking such menial work, Kelly has the luxury of only needing to work one shift a week, with her freelance journalism work and her employed fiance’s support. Throughout the book, Kelly seems to be attempting to relate to her co-workers, including those who are single parents, uneducated, or in much worse financial straits, but almost always comes off with a superior attitude, and this mars any sympathy or empathy I might have for her situation and her encounters with fellow coworkers or customers.

Overall, I enjoyed this book much less than I had anticipated. Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed” is a much more interesting and genuine recounting of a journalist in retail and hourly work. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
In the end, repetitive and self-centred. However, it did open my eyes to the lot of the sales clerk. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Do you work retail? You should read this book. Do you shop? you should read this book. I would have rated it higher, but i did find Kelly's incredulity about the state of American retail a bit naive (read: annoying). Really? Never worked with anyone without a degree? Shocked that part time associates don't get benefits? Horrified that retail workers generally make little more than minimum wage? Where has Kelly been, an ivory tower? Regardless, Kelly's words ring true. Retail workers are cannon fodder, punching bags, assumed to be stupid, etc. For sure, some of them are. But what other business model would find 50% turnover at 90 days and almost 100% at a year acceptable? Read it. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
While I understand the plight of retail work (I have been there myself), I don't think working one or two days a week for a couple years can be called a career. It might have given her a better understanding of what it is like to get out and work a demeaning job, but there are people who do this for a living, every day, full time.

It was an interesting book and a good read, but I wasn't fascinated. ( )
  bookwormteri | Aug 25, 2015 |
Ha-ha! Totally relatable, even though, really: she has no retail experience. (Part time for a place as relatively cushy as The North Face? I did three years full-time at Wal-Mart: honey, you ain't seen nothin'!) Still, a good read, brought up a few memories... :) ( )
  Heduanna | Jun 22, 2014 |
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After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly took a part-time job at an upscale outdoor clothing company at her local mall. In this memoir, Kelly recounts her mid-career misadventures in the absurd world of American retail.

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