Jessica McConnell

Archive for the ‘Diary of a Shop Girl’ Category

Diary of a Shop Girl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on December 8, 2009 at 8:47 pm


Since I never expressly said, I ended up not taking the job at Saks Fifth Avenue…I decided, a commission only job was not what I had in mind when I said I’d try and find a “full-time” job. So instead, I’m back to working at my two jobs, thank God they loved me enough to take me back with my same hours and schedule. In the meantime, I’m working with a designer to help get her line of specialty bridal headpieces and veils, as well as trendy headbands, off to a good start. I’m looking forward to fashion shows and trade shows, where hopefully, she sells lots of merchandise!

Anyway, funny thing today…I’m at the consignment store, working of course, and despite the many unusual people who walk in and out, not including the junkies and drunks, I was most appalled today at a mispronunciation that left my jaw permanently glued to the floor. This woman walks in with 2 girls in tow. They perused every rack, the one with the blonde wig and missing tooth making my boss extremely nervous. One of the girls clearly hadn’t showered for days, her stench permeating everything she touched, including my precious designer clothing. As she picked up a pair of Antik denim jeans, I cringed. She later scoffed at the  price. She clearly needed new jeans though, because the ones she was wearing bared so much ass that you would’ve thought she was a celebrity gone bad in a tabloid. Unfortunately, this was no Britney Spears.

Her friend, who smelled much more pleasant, came up to the counter and asked me to see a backpack. So I pulled down the black nylon Prada and handed it to her. She turned to her platinum haired companion and asked, “What’s P-ur-aye-da?” I stopped all thought processes and just stared as the response was, “I think it’s designer, ain’t it?” She says this to me as if this is something normal that everyone asks. All I could manage to say was, “Prada.” I pronounced it properly and attempted to unhinge my jaw from the floor.

My job puts “being fabulous and broke” in true perspective for me and constantly tests my patience. If nothing else, it keeps things interesting and drama infused for sure.


Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion, Uncategorized on October 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm

It’s official….I’M BAAACK.

Wearing Tory Burch, in a brand new saga, and more fashion to make me (and you) swoon all the way to the moon.

My training began this week, which basically consists of me sitting in a tiny room on a computer, which still insists on being air conditioned. Needless to say, I now have the flu after two days of the ‘ICE-OLATION BOX.’

So my story for today consists of major movies and a major celebrity.

In a nutshell, they’re filming yet again, another movie in Pittsburgh. And so, this particular celebrity comes to Saks, of course…

His body guards descend down the escalator and secures the perimeter while the men’s department phones security. Apparently, they felt the star’s group of body guards was actually a professional shopping ring, there to steal their livlihood.

Obviously, they were ashamed of themselves when Russell Crowe himself appeared before them and proceeded to spend a small fortune in like 20 minutes

Alas, my shopgirl days have not ended, they’ve just begun a crazy new chapter!

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on September 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

My quest for a new job literally caused me to have writer’s block. On top of that, I gained a cat…

My days as a shop girl, splitting my time between two different stores, one high end, one consignment, haven’t quite ended yet though. I write to you now, as an officially hired Saks Fifth Avenue girl…based out of shoes and handbags, of course. My search for a full-time position while I continue to finish my degree/decide what I want to be when I grow up has ended in a job that most people my age in the retail sector would kill for. Despite the daunting interview process and criminal background checks, I’m elated. SAKS FIFTH AVENUE!

There is, however, one drawback: Business Attire.

What does that mean? I did not sign on for an office job where cookie cutter black suits and standard computer job pumps were a part of my daily selling routine. So, I suppose I need a new wardrobe. I didn’t sign on for that either…at least not for one that I plan to change out of immediately after my last client leaves.

We’re not required to purchase clothing from Saks, leaving only business-like apparel to be the most appropriate option, I suppose.

Interview outfits, cover letters, resumes and job hunting have pretty much left me exhausted and at a loss for words. A full-time job (that I actually like) with benefits is difficult to come by these days and I was prepared to take what I could get it. I’m so lucky and thankful it was Saks…and to top it off, shoes and handbags. But it got me thinking, I had the resume and experience but with so many people to compete with, is all of the extra stuff necessary?

For each interview, I made absolutely certain that my resume was polished and presented in the most perfect way. My cover letters were thought out but creative, and my outfits were professional. I was in need of a job but in order to set myself apart, I realized I should save the skimping for later.

As I said before, I lucked out. And despite the business attire dress code, I am able to skimp now. A few, essential key pieces are necessary in order to start the job right but with a conservative dress code, I am able to mix and match those particular basics to create a classic look. While I noticed other employee’s frumpy trouser looks, I realized that I can manage the professional look with a few great jackets, white button downs, and an amazing pair of black pants.

I learned that a simple suit is always right and you can never go wrong. Don’t go for trendy, you’ll look over done and employers may only get one shot at finding the right employee. They want to know your creative AND professional. So go with the suit and kill them with an innovative cover letter and interview. It worked for me.

I work at Saks Fifth Avenue, frumpy is not a part of my vocabulary, in fact, I’m scratching it out of my Webster’s as we speak.

(A friend once told me you can never go wrong with a suit. He helped me get through my magazine internship interview, which I got, by the way. I was wearing a suit…he prepared me in every possible way, down to the presentation of my portfolio. I took all his advice and used it to get this job. So here’s to you, Christopher, even though you’re gone you’re still a part of my ‘every day.’)

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on August 11, 2009 at 10:26 am


I feel like Rebecca Bloomwood today in “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”


It’s now day 8 of working and I’m at the consignment store today. And while the black Louis Vuitton wallet is calling me, egging me on, I can only give it those sad, dreamy, puppy dog eyes it deserves and leave it in the window for others to admire. I have put myself on some sort of leash, meaning: I’m skipping Starbucks, packing my lunch, and avoiding buying anything for the rest of the week.

But perhaps, like Rebecca, none of us who view shopping as a true companion are actual savers but are “Make More Money” gals instead. In real life though, after working for 8 days straight, I don’t believe that idea translates as well as it does in a book.

So for now, I’ll have to put up with the junkies buying sterling silver and hope that nobody buys my  black Narciso Rodriguez pants, a perfect addition to my fall wardrobe. Training yourself not to purchase something each day, especially when you work in 2 clothing stores, is daunting. And if I appear overly dramatic about the situation, it’s simply because I really do love fashion, and also because I’m overly dramatic. 

But seriously, all of my fall fashion issues are arriving and it’s such a tease…

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on August 6, 2009 at 10:34 am


If I haven’t told you already, I also work at a women’s consignment store on top of the boutique I work at regularly. I’ve been working there for about a year now and I swear, I’ve had some of the strangest encounters with people there than I’ve had in my real life.

A public transportation stop, aka bus stop, is directly outside our door, making us like a fly stuck on one of those sticky traps. Sometimes when I arrive in the morning, ‘they’ are waiting outside our door. The worst though, is when they tell you they were supposed to be at the grocery store across the street because they have no food but instead, they’re buying some unnecessary piece of jewelry. Hey, it’s not my fault if their 3 kids starve, right? From the wealthy to the welfare, to the crack addicts and wives of Jewish Rabi’s, the consignment store spares no one. And lucky for us- we cater to everyone. Including yesterday, when a collection of clothing we were going through was deemed, “A slut’s wardrobe.”

Covered in rhinestones and glitter, hankerchief tops, low-cut lingerie style tanks, the list goes on. She even had some witty t-shirts about boys. Shocking. I find out that this woman, who only wore slut-gear, married an uber rich man from Fox Chapel. So, because the ladies at the country club would never dare allow her to play golf in an Apple Bottoms halter, she brought them to us. How nice of her…

We sifted through slut clothes, pitching most of them, and realizing that yes, some of these things would sell in a heartbeat. There are others like her, presenting themselves as a hooker in order to snag any rich, idiotic man who only thinks with his eyes.

Note: The clothing described in this story should never be worn, at least not on a real date, and Halloween being the exception.

Diary of a Shop Girl

In Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on July 7, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Like so many of us shop girls, I’m underpaid. Even with a hint of commission to boost my paycheck every other week, sometimes it’s not worth the countless perfect bodies who are in constant denial that they’re actually as thin as they are. In all actuality though, they know this, but they look to us for assurance or for their own ego boost every other week. We’re a customer’s ‘commission,’ so to speak, whether they suffer from low self-esteem or simply can’t get enough of themselves. But in this one particular incident most recently, my assistance was not needed or wanted, in the case of a woman, no older than 30.

She was accompanied by an older man, one who appeared distinguished but who clearly feared losing his age. He was dressed in a Hawaiin printed button down shirt, one that reminded you of something from the Tommy Bahama collection. He paired it with khaki shorts and leather loafers. His full head of white hair and distinct tan did not indicate that he was visiting because I had seen his ‘type’ before. People underestimate the shop girl, as if we don’t really know what’s going on?

The woman he was with tiptoed through the sale racks after I told her they were 50% off but after he announced that she’d never find anything to fit her in a sale rack, meanwhile she was a size 4, she retreated upstairs while he relaxed further into the chair.

The woman, of Asian descent, spoke plain as day while in the comfort of the second floor. She did not flounce about or tip toe. She behaved like any other woman, choosing the things she liked, without asking permission. It was not until her trip back down the stairs that it was clear she had no say in what she wore, how she dressed, and most likely, anything for that matter.

The distinguished man with a tan flipped through her clothing and immediately said ‘no’ to several items, much to the dismay on her face. She ran back to the fitting room, looking like a child coming down off of a sugar high, being told she could not have any more candy. She was adorable. But upstairs she was beautiful and well-spoken, a woman. In front of this smug man she pranced about in the navy silk blouse and funky Free People dress, all of which he said no to, explaining why they didn’t look right on her. She barely spoke in front of him, just pouted, and peered at me behind dancing eyes and a girlish smirk that played upon her lips as she made her way back to try on yet another ‘no.’

The woman, clearly intelligent and of sound mind, knew when to put on a show and she did just as she was taught. Like I said, I have seen this before. And if she wasn’t ordered in the mail, then I’d be shocked.

It’s constantly appalling to see a woman in society being dictated to, and in boutiques, us shop girls see plenty of men with opinions who degrade their women. They think that just because they carry the wallet that it gives them a right to dismiss a woman’s way to make themselves feel and look beautiful. While clothing is not the main concern, it is one of the many signs that women are bearing the brunt of an unhealthy relationship. I cannot stress enough how much I wanted to reach out my hand to this woman and explain to her how as a size 4, there was not an inch of fat on her body and that despite this man’s ridiculous notions, that she looked good in everything she tried on. But alas, I did not, because after all, I’m just shop girl, right?

Diary of a Shop Girl

In Diary of a Shop Girl on June 28, 2009 at 12:22 am

Public enemy number one for small boutiques like the one I work at in Pittsburgh are shoplifters who are not even intelligent shoplifters but just happen to walk in on the right day and get you at a bad time.

I watched an extremely overweight woman, after she had left of course, hike up her skirt in front of our security camera and proceed to shove the orange Linea Pelle handbag down her pants or undergarments or…? She did several lunges to attempt her theft, while customers and an employee were down at the front desk, only several feet away.

Bloody Hell.

A $498 handbag gone all because we were helping our none predatory customers and assumed we didn’t need to tail her (and her daughter)  as if we were on a high speed car chase.

My disgusted and horrified look contorted my face in such a way as I rewinded the security camera tape that I once again realized how unglamorous a shop girl’s job truly is.

I’ve read Steve Martin’s novel but then again, I’m also not in the market for a man more than a dozen years older than myself. If only we could all be Claire Danes in real life, then it possibly wouldn’t matter if we were standing behind glass display cases selling hand-rolled silk scarves for a living.

Diary of a Shop Girl: A Good Reason Not to Wear An Ankle Bracelet

In Diary of a Shop Girl on June 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

It’s after 8 pm and I’m breaking down and having coffee.

After a day filled with shop lifters, a ghetto-fabulous woman with yellow glow n’ the dark nails, and someone’s unpedicured feet in my face as she asked me to attempt to secure an ankle bracelet on her ankle, ( P.S. Don’t wear ankle bracelets, unless they’re tattooed on) I swear to the heavens that some people have no shame. Forgive me for being slightly insensitive, but when you say to me,”I always lose my ankle bracelets, I never take them off and I’m always lookin’ for em’ in my sheets the next day,” and the woman next to you tells you not to sleep in them, you should never answer with, “Oh please, I never take em’ off, I change my ankle bracelets just about as much as I change my panties.”

Bloody hell.

If for no other reason than not wanting to be this woman who wore no bra, pretended she shopped at Saks 5th Avenue, and tried on a Michael Kors dress 4 sizes too small, do not purchase ankle bracelets. And if you do, please don’t sleep in them.

It’s now after 8:30, and I know I’ll regret it later tonight when I can’t sleep, but my God, you can always count on coffee to wash away the aromas of ghetto-fabulous cracked toe skin.