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Retail evangelist

What I learned selling shoes

One year when I was between interim gigs I became a sales associate at Macy’s. I’d be a natural, I thought, and so I took a job selling women’s shoes.

When I alerted Facebook friends to my new vocation, one of them sent me a cartoon of a medieval painting of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. A disciple asked the kneeling Jesus, “Do you have these in a 10EE?” and Jesus replied, “Let me check in back.”

Despite my initial confidence, the job had a steep learning curve. After all, my last retail job had been during college, and things had changed. Every morning, the management and staff started the day with a rally in the handbag section. We applauded sales associates who had opened the most new accounts, cheered if we had reached our sales goal the day before, and heard pep talks about new sales goals. We left with an injection of “atta-boy” adrenalin.


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