What it’s really like to work for $7 to 10/hour? Caitlin Kelly’s new book, “Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail” is the story of the author’s two-plus years working for The North Face as a sales associate, and Kelly will be discussing the intimate, thorough and candid details.
I had no idea – but in September 2007 I found out – hired by The North Face, a manufacturer and distributor of outdoor clothing, to work in an upscale mall north of New York City. I was 50, had no previous retail experience, and was glad to get hired after fruitlessly seeking another journalism job after being laid off in 2006 from the New York Daily News, the nation’s sixth-largest daily. Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail, my new, second book, tells the story of the next two years of my life, working part-time selling merchandise to some of the country’s wealthiest shoppers. I survived three holiday seasons, two Black Fridays and Christmas Eve; you can read the gory details in Chapter Three: “Deck The Halls, Not The Customers.”
Described by biographer Meryl Gordon, as “rollicking and riveting”, Malled takes you behind the cash wrap and the stockroom doors. Malled explains the global industry that Kelly was involved with in vivid and awe-inspiring detail – including accounts of factory workers committing suicide in China and Americans struggling to support large families, usually on part-time poverty-level wages with no benefits.
- The six reasons shoppers so easily abuse retail workers
- What it’s like for other mid-life, mid-career former professionals now working in the nation’s third-largest industry
- How retail veterans like Costco CFO Richard Galanti, high-end clothing retailer Jack Mitchell and best-selling author and consultant Paco Underhill think the industry could make shopping better for all of us
- How stores and malls are designed to woo us in and keep us spending – since we still buy 90 percent of our goods face to face
Caitlin Kelly’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Seventeen, Town & Country, Glamour, New York, and Sports Illustrated, among others. Visit for more information about the author, and www.scarsdalelibrary.org for additional on the autumn 2012 speaker series.