I graduated from Southwestern University in 1992, and held a job as a manager for a rental car company for about a year. After leaving there (which may be the subject of an entirely different post someday), I had a period of time when I was unable to find a job. I finally went to work for Dillard's department store in mid-1993.
Now, one of the reasons that I eventually got into real estate is that I enjoy variety in my tasks. I do not do well with repetition. The old scene from "I Love Lucy" where Lucy and Ethel are trying to wrap chocolate candies from an ever-faster conveyor belt is like a nightmare to me, not because they get behind, but because it seems like such a terrible job.
I went to work at Dillard's in "Men's Collections", which was essentially the nicer guys' clothes with recognizable names. Back then, it was Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Perry Ellis, and others. This job offered a ton of mind-numbing tasks for me and my co-workers, including folding giant loads of clothes, hanging giant loads of clothes, intricate and repetitive cashier work, and my personal favorite: standing.
Yes, standing entailed much of my job as a full-time employee. I had to wear a suit every day, which is something else I really don't care for. So, wearing a suit and standing. It sounds easy enough, but with dress shoes (or at least with the dress shoes that I could afford), my feet and lower legs began to ache around hour number four.
The point of this post was something that I don't have to worry about now that I am in real estate. Here's the best part, and I should probably note that this is the absolute truth: I was mistaken for a mannequin no less than FOUR times. I know that my friend Candace Robinson will appreciate this story, since she used to work at JC Penney dressing mannequins.
I suppose that this could be taken as a compliment, since mannequins are generally attractive, at least the ones I have seen. The reason that this happened so much was that I was standing stone-still for long periods of time waiting for something to do. An unsuspecting customer would start to browse near me, and I would notice them and turn to greet them, at which point they would jolt and shout, "I thought you were a mannequin!" After this happened twice, I started to think about just standing up on the little podium along with the mannequins in order to intentionally freak people out. This is where your mind goes when you are ridiculously bored.
The funniest occasion when this occurred later became a story that my wife has asked me to repeat many, many times to friends of ours over the years, and I will never forget it. I was standing rigidly at attention in the Nautica section, and I heard someone behind me, so I turned and said, "Hi, how are you today?" I honestly think that the women might have wet themselves they were so surprised. The best part was, they spoke French, and the only word I could pick up was "mannequin", which sounded like "mahn-eh-keen".
Thankfully, in the eleven years of my real estate career, I have never once been mistaken for a mannequin. I can state with some level of certainty that this is something that won't happen to me again. I have several stories that I may choose to share from other previous jobs of mine.
Needless to say, my tenure at Dillard's was short-lived. I think I was there for about four months, which was probably three and a half months longer than I could tolerate.
Thanks for reading!