Saturday, April 21, 2007

Working at Sears

I first worked in the boy's department at Sears, and Connie was my supervisor. (start date: 07-25-1977)I was so nervous to start work and probably folded more 'toughskin' jeans than anyone! Dorothy Railsback was an older lady who worked in the same department, and she taught me a lot. Working on the cash register was fun, some of the time, but I usually had to carry notes in my pockets to remember all the codes we had to use. The store had an escalator and a candy/popcorn department, which were the two biggest draws for our customers. The switchboard was the old 'pull' type, with lines plugging in here and there. Joyce at the switchboard always had a pleasant voice. I probably only made about $2.40 an hour to start, and the store was only open 'late' until 8pm on Thursdays, and closed on Sundays. I went full time and moved to the men's department where my supervisor was Perry Beene then Felix Cortez. I also 'floated' to other departments as needed, such as fabrics (which I did NOT like) and the hardware department. Soon after going full time, I moved into my own apartment. Thought it was kinda cool to be 'on my own', but Grandma and Grandpa had me come over to do my laundry, or she did it for me if I would drop it off. The apartment was a furnished 1-bedroom with a kitchen, dining area, living room and bathroom. It was on the second floor of what was then a relatively new apartment complex, Villa Victoria. I remember paying cash for my rent ($225) to Mr. Curtis every month, and utilities were included! There were lots of people at Sears who became life-long friends, including Connie, Barbara, Pam, Dan, Virginia, Nancy, Jane, Shirley B., Bunny, Norma, Chuck, Margaret, Kyle, Karen, Gail, Nanette, Michele, Jenny, Marlene, Felix, Martin, Glenn, Mr. Helms, Mr. Zorn, Mr. Haddad and many more. There were also the part time workers, working their way thru school who were lots of fun. Sears moved from 18th & Waco Dr. to the 'new' Richland Fashion Mall in 1980. I was proud to be chosen to go to the store early to help put the Men's department together. The grand opening of that store was something else...wall to wall people. The men's department sold everything from suits to work clothes and western wear. We learned to mark suits for alterations and our tailor, Katie, was a dear person. We were located on the first floor near where the optical department and kids are now. Appliances were right next door, and upstairs was furniture, house wares and the management offices, along with the cashier's office. And we went through so many changes from day to day, month to month, year to year. I met Margaret who worked in advertising and told her that I wouldn't mind doing that job, since I had some experience with layouts, etc. When the opportunity presented itself, I went to work in advertising, then located in the Personnel Office, while Margaret went to work in the store manager's office around the corner. I was also in charge of supplies for the store - cash register supplies, forms, etc. We used to do several print ads each weeks, and I enjoyed working on them, writing copy, doing layouts, etc. I had my own office and was also in charge of posting the weekly circulars throughout the store. I eventually worked with the cash registers overs and shorts, looking for errors, running tapes, etc., working with the Audit Department and sorting the store mail. Mr. Helms was the store manager, with merchandise managers, Smith and Zorn and a few different assistant managers such as McKenzie and Hagy. Our store used electronic sensor tags on high-priced merchandise. It was never fun to have to ask someone to stop and return to the counter. I also witnessed several shoplifters in my time in the men's department, including once when a guy took off with a whole rack of suits.

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