29 December 2010

Rage Against the (Corporate) Machine

I finished my bookshop job last week. It was a temporary position for the holidays and I did not take up the shop's offer to continue working in January. I've never worked in retail before and I hope to never work in retail again. After only 2 days, I came home and announced to Steve that I felt oppressed by the corporate machine. Did you know that the corporate office dictates which books face out on the shelves? For some reason that strikes me in exactly the wrong way. It makes my skin itch. It makes my skin itch even more than the fact that employees are trained in the correct way to make small talk with customers, a way that encourages the buying of books.

I prefer libraries to bookshops. When I heard customers speak to co-workers about e-books and how much it would cost to download titles, I wanted to hustle the customers outside into a side alley and whisper to them that they should go download the books for free at their local libraries. And while libraries are always making noises about going to a more bookstore-like system of shelving books, I must confess that I find the bookstore system to be rubbish. No one knows exactly where the books are at any time. They could be in so many places. I was shelving books one night and asked what I should do when there's no room on the shelf. Another bookseller who was also struggling to fit a title in the most logical place said, "I don't know. Just give up and go home." I actually needed an answer but no one was forthcoming, so I figured that was close enough to saying, "Just stick it anywhere," which I did. Under a display table of a different topic. I actually missed the Dewey Decimal System in that moment. And having pages to shelve books for me.

Keep your fingers crossed that my next job in Scotland will be better.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's so true, retail is all about profit, as it has to be in order to meet the needs/wants of the owners. Libraries as well must meet a bottom line with the funding supplied through fees and taxes levied on the users or non-users (as in the taxed masses) who for the main part have made their income through supplying or working for retailers.
The worm turns.

KWB

Anonymous said...

PS: Good luck on your next employment adventure.

KWB

eliana23 said...

This is such a sad post. We drove in oodles of rain and fog today and I thought of Scotland. And you, by extension.

Anonymous said...

So when you start up a new job, avoid the ominous portent of slipping and falling in the display window. Maybe all things will go swimmingly along after that, if you can just start out on your feet. MarmLovinDad

ldsjaneite said...

Concerning your diatribe about libraries vs. bookstores: Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.



And amen.

Brooke said...

Oh, I love this post. Say what you will about the difficulty of using an OPAC, at least it is attached to a system!

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