I worked at Payless Shoesource once. It was while I was engaged to my husband in 2003. I had never worked in a retail store before. I had worked as a nanny in someones home, at a concession stand in a movie theatre, at a restaurant as a waitress, at a lunch truck as a cashier, at a wilderness therapy program as a field guide, at an eating disorder treatment center as a care technician, and other odd jobs here and there, but never shoes.
Was I excited to work with shoes? Not really. But I needed a job, so shoes it was going to be.
Here's a few long-lasting memories I have from working at Payless:
-This particular store was going out of business, but they still needed someone to work there until it closed down. I was promised a job for 3-4 months, which would have to do.
-Women with extremely large feet shop at Payless because they carry large sizes for women. I saw some of the largest feet you will ever see while working there. You would never know how large these women's feet were by looking at their faces.
-One of my jobs was to re-organize the shoes in the boxes on the shelves after customers
came in and messed them all up. The left shoe lies on it's side, toe facing the top of the box while the right shoe lies flat, toe facing downward. This is the rigid order of the shoes that I organized over and over and over and over again.
-I found my wedding shoes while I worked there. A new shipment of Espadrilles came in and when I opened the box I immediately knew--these were the shoes I'd wear on my wedding day! They were white, sparkly, beaded, and beautiful! I even got 15% off.
-One slow day at work my manager asked me to organize an entire closet full of shoes that were all mixed up by sizes, brands, and colors. It took me 4 hours of non-stop sorting, organizing, stacking, and labeling, to get the shoes ready to sell. I was really proud of myself that day for my hard work and dedication to get this task done. Yes, even Payless Shoesource provides workplace gratification!
-I worked the night shift the day before I went to the Temple for the first time. I was nervous about it so I eagerly confided in a co-worker ( whom I rarely knew) who was also LDS.
"I'm taking out my endowments tomorrow," I said,"and I'm a little nervous that I'm not prepared enough." She looked at me blankly whilst twirling her hair and said," I don't know..I think there's like a scripture you're supposed to read or something. Yeah, there's like a scripture you're supposed to read in Moroni but I'm not sure. I can ask my brother if you want, he went to the temple before."
"Never mind," I replied quite assuredly,"I'm pretty sure I've got this."
-There were a lot of parents who let their children run circles around the shoe shelves in the store. The toddlers and babies were cute and endearing, but when the older kids did it I got irritated. Instead of making a fuss and talking to the parents about it, I just calmly, quietly stuck out my foot and tripped them as they ran past me. There was always a crash and an "Ow!" as they hit the carpet at full speed, never knowing what tripped them. Of course I would keep organizing my shoes as if I hadn't seen a thing. Sometimes I would even help them up and make sure they were okay because I was such a helpful employee.
-I hated working Sundays because I had to miss church, but I had no choice. Also, since I lived in a predominantly LDS town, the store was nearly vacant on Sundays, whilst most everyone kept the Sabbath day holy. It seemed too slow for business to keep the store open that day but Payless corporate policy was to be open 7 days a week. Pity.
-One time a family came in on a busy Saturday afternoon desperately needing black shoe polish. They were headed to a funeral and they wanted their shoes to look their best. The only one we had left was the sample on the cashier's counter so I gave it to them. It felt really good and right to help them out. I never asked my manager's approval, but she never noticed it was gone anyways.
-I bought a lot of shoes those few months I worked there, and I'm not the kind of person that likes owning a lot of shoes. I ate a lot of Pizza when I worked at Pizza Bob's, too.
-To this day when I go into a Payless Shoesource I arrange all the shoes properly on the shelf in front of me. Old habits die hard, I guess.