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Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail Hardcover – April 14, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Kelly's debut book reveals the thankless job of a tireless retailer in a very personal way, after becoming one of the legions of low-wage workers persuading customers to buy marked-up goods. She worked for two years and three months as a retail sales associate for North Face, an upscale outdoor wear maker, after leaving her chaotic journalist career when "unwanted drama" as a reporter at the Daily News convinced her to seek solace in a mindless retail job. At age 50 and adrift careerwise, Kelly thought the retail position would be a cinch, until it became a punishing tangle of long hours, erratic shifts, rude customers, excessive workloads, and insensitive bosses. It's a stretch when she compares the horrible plight of Chinese and Asian workers to herself and her crew; their overworked, underpaid American counterparts definitely fare better. Burned out, bored, and physically deteriorating, Kelly quit the store before she reached the boiling point. While Kelly's tone is slightly whiney, she does offer an intriguing look into the retail business.(Apr.)
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"After losing her job as a journalist in 2006, Kelly, middle-agedand mid-career, went to work as a part-time salesassociate in a suburban mall. This is a clear-eyedaccount of the often thankless world of Americanretail: the low pay, physical demands and corporatebureaucracy."
-- The New York Times, paperback row
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is insightful only if you've never worked a day in retail in your life. As written, it is a perfect accompaniment to the saavy shopper who wants to feel "connected" to the plight of the lowly retail worker.
If you're a SAHM who is a demanding customer, you'll love this insider view. Otherwise, don't waste your time.
As many have pointed out, this really was a magazine piece stretched into a book. So much so that I really have to wonder which bits and pieces from her "memory" were embellished to fill the pages.
Sadly the book started out with promise but never got out of first gear...
I got the feeling, shortly into the book, that perhaps she took the job simply to get material to write a book. If her finances were that dire, would 5 hours a week at a poorly paid job make that much of difference? Especially when she mentions that she has to pay to park (one hour of her wages) and eats in the food court (another hour of her wages). So essentially, she wants the reader to believe she is depending on about $27 or so a week to keep her financially afloat? I felt deceived.
Much of her material was recycled over and over again in the book. It could be half the length. But than it wouldn't be a book--it would be a short story in a magazine, which is really where this belongs.