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Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store Paperback – Bargain Price, October 18, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
For Hall, retail was destiny, for he came from a family of retail workers, including his great-grandfather, who owned a furniture-and-appliance store in his hometown of Reno, Nev. But Hall, as he explains, had a different dream: he wanted to be a screenwriter. He didn't give up those aspirations, despite having retail jobs during his growing-up years. When he moved to California to get closer to the film industry, he looked for a job that could help him pay the bills and look fabulous at the same time. He landed a job at a department store he calls "The Big Fancy," an upscale emporium known for its customer service. Those who've worked on the front lines of the service industry will relate to Hall's bitter memoir (and recognize the retailer as Nordstrom, where he spent 15 years as a handbag salesman). Hall's memoir chronicles wacky training exercises, sleep-inducing staff meetings and, of course, the customers. Every nutty client becomes a character, from foul-mouthed Lorraine, aka Shoposaurus Carnivoarus, to more generic Serpents and Bloodsuckers. Screenplaylike renderings of Hall's dreams pop up throughout the book, as do rants about co-workers, customers' endless capacity for lying in the service of returning obviously used items and more. Hall's voice is sharp and sometimes funny, not unlike a retail-centric Perez Hilton--but the book will leave readers wondering why Hall stayed in retail for decades if he hated it so much. -- Publisher's Weekly, 7 September 2009 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book opens with a customer demanding a last minute of the day return of an obviously used $2,000 handbag by a 'customer' that Freeman remembers is not the one who bought it. On the other side, however, he's pressed by customer-service focused manager that directs him to accept the return, which also docks his commissions. Unfortunately, this farce is repeated a number of times throughout the book, cheating both the salespeople and the store.
Then Hall flashes back to his first day on the job - orientation. Loads of corporate H.R. baloney (eg. emphasizing "How key," "How important employees are," all the while one realizes from other presentations on rules that you're expendable, disposable, and replaceable. The conflict is most obvious between the Employee Handbook (1 rule - You're in Charge), vs. the reality that there is a long list of expectations that must be met - else termination.Read more ›
The critics clearly do not have a job in Retail and some are probably the same customers who act all crappy and jerky in stores to employees just like Freeman. I don't understand how someone could pay as high as $800-$2000 for a silly old handbag, but I definitely understand how they walk all over you as if they own the place just because they get to spend money like that! The only ones who are fit to judge this book as critics are ones that have worked Retail themselves, and this book brings a lot of laughs! It takes a lot for a guy like Freeman to put in the years of Retail like he did, putting his dreams on hold to do so, and even having to suffer the agony of attending stupid conference meetings on his DAY OFF!!! When I read about him having to get up early in the morning to do so, I kept thinking, "My company doesn't pay ME enough to attend their stupid meetings on my day off! No way in hell could I do that!Read more ›
I loved this book. It was extremely funny and author Freeman Hall has a wonderful way of telling the story. I have to say that Freeman is kind of a major pain in the derriere himself and I can just imagine having to come face to face with him behind the counter. He comes across as extremely sarcastic and frankly, a bit of a snob, but this only adds to the "fun" factor in the storytelling.
I laughed when I read about the (what feels like) million of stairs he and his fellow co-workers had to use everytime they entered and left the store. The crazy, over the top enthusiasm from the store managers was also hilarious (although I can just imagine how annoying it must be to have this woman giving orders).
This book, while taking a funny and bitting look at our love of retailing and spending, spending (how crazy is it to spend so much money on a handbag? although I have done it myself!!!), I could not help but also feel some sadness. This book also shows us just what is wrong (in part) with society right now - spending too much money on our "wants", working at jobs we don't like, people disrespecting each other and big corporations trying to "brainwash" us.
However, I am being way too serious here, because this book is a delicious insight into what it is like to be on the "other" side of the counter and I loved every minute of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an employee of "The Big Fancy" myself, Freeman Halls' experiences hit close to home.. From the crazy customers to the absurd and tedious procedures, and last and always least:... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
I work for Nordstrom and it's sad to see Freeman trash the Company. Of course the customer stories are funny but if he hated the Nordstrom culture he should have found a job he... Read morePublished 1 month ago by pupfoster1
I work in "Retail Hell". This book made me feel so much better about working there and gave me a million laughs!Published 1 month ago by Cathe
Best book I've read in a long time! I appreciate it because I used to work retail. I quit when I realized I wanted to strangle everyone who walked in the door. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rachel Miller
This book is amazing! For Anyone who
has worked in retail, this is a must reads I had purchased if for my Kindle, but decided to purchase a hard copy for all of the owners in... Read more