Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Malled by Caitlin Kelly

Goodreads:  One woman's midcareer misadventures in the absurd world of American retail.

After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly was hard up for cash.  When she saw that The North Face - an upscale outdoor clothing company - was hiring at her local mall, she went for an interview almost on a whim.

Suddenly she found herself, middle-aged and mid-career, thrown headfirst into the bizarre alternate reality of the American mall: a world of low-wage workers selling overpriced goods to well to-do customers.  At first, Kelly found her part-time job fun and reaffirming, a way to maintain her sanity and sense of self-worth.  But she describes how the unexpected physical pressures, the unreasonable dictates of a remote corporate bureaucracy, and the dead-end career path eventually took their toll.  As she struggled through more than two years at the mall, despite surgeries, customer abuse, and corporate insanity, Kelly gained a deeper understanding of the plight of the retail worker.

Kritters Thoughts:  An interesting memoir of sorts.  A bit repetitive and a little on the whiny side, I enjoyed reading someone else's take on the retail industry, but this is not on my top of list of favorite non fiction reads.  

Throughout the book she repeated many details over and over again - from describing her co-workers to the fact that corporate made all the decisions, except they were miles away from her store.  With each repetition of her points, it made her book sound like a list of complaints and she wasn't providing any new points to convey her arguments.

I respect her efforts to try out a different industry that is completely out of her comfort zone, but being a retail alum - I am appalled at how much she complained and only snuck into her book once that she only worked two days a week, which quickly changed to one day a week.  You don't know retail until you work nights, weekends, and everything in between.  Two days or even one day a week would not a retailer make.

Definitely an interesting read which I think I could enjoy more than others because I spent many a days behind a cash register during my college days.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages:  256

GR Oct-Dec 2011 Challenge: Madonna

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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