Recently, I came across a book by Caitlin Kelly with the simple title “Malled: My Unintentional Career In Retail”. (http://malledthebook.com/) It is a witty, devastatingly sharp critique on our big-box retail sector. Written by a 50-year-old journalist who after losing her job at the Daily News landed in the alternative universe of a large retail franchise in the Westchester Mall, it is part autobiography and investigative journalism rolled into one book.
Truth be told I have little (if any) time for recreational reading. But I found the book riveting because in many ways Ms. Kelly’s experience mirrors my own as a real estate agent. When you deal with the almost surreal demands that the public puts on sales people day after day you can easily feel that you jumped through the looking glass.
There have been times in the past few years that I have felt more than a little “mauled” by clients who do not understand the limits of civility not to mention common sense. Although such clients are a distinct minority - the fact that they consume 90% of my time sometimes makes me feel as if they are in the majority. They do have that power - to overwhelm our time and resources. Often it seems as though they trying to convince me that the sky is green and the grass is blue. This housing recession has created many a client who is wildly unreasonable and doesn’t want a little thing like “facts” shattering their dream of selling their home for “X”. Or more likely in this market it is the buyer who insists they can buy the Taj Mahal for the price of a 1 BR cooperative in need of a gut renovation.
But more important, than the sharp-witted, hilarious commentary, “Malled” makes us take a second look at our priorities as a society. Perhaps it even offers some insight as to how our economy came to the brink of disaster. The “let them eat cake” and “I’ve got mine” mentality that our culture has allowed and even applauded gave rise to the rapacious greed that has dominated the first decade of the new century.
“Malled” is the story of the “Suits” vs. “the rest of us”. Customer service - what’s that? Fair and decent compensation? You’ve got to be kidding me! How about a promotion for a job well done? What are you thinking? Sadly this pattern is being repeated across every field and every industry in the United States. It doesn’t matter if you are a store clerk or a Ph.D. - everyone and everything has become a commodity. Welcome to the new robber baron economy.
© 2011 - RMG Hicks - http://www.therobberbaroneconomy - All rights reserved.