Monday, December 15, 2014

Chapter 19, part 1: Summer Job

On a gloomy June morning a few weeks after getting out of school, I sat at the kitchen table thumbing through the classified section of the Citrus Valley Gazette. If I was going to earn enough to pay off my credit card and have some spending money for the trip by the first week in August, I needed to find something that paid better than the minimum wage I had been earning so far working at the church bookstore. I’d be happy with a full-time job or possibly a second part-time one to bring my hours up.
A customer service position offering $15 per appointment caught my eye.

I dialed the number. A perky girl at the end of the line asked a few cursory questions before saying I was just the sort of candidate they were looking for. Could I come in for an interview that afternoon? I certainly could!
I wondered if I could catch a ride from Mom, or better yet, borrow the car. At least Kirsten wasn’t around to compete for the family Expedition – she was away on a post-graduation camping trip with her high school youth group and wouldn’t be back until the following weekend.
Mom gave permission to use the car, as long as I did the grocery shopping on my way back.
I came home from the interview on cloud nine. My new manager said that unlike most who applied, I had what it took to be a successful customer service representative for the fine cutlery the firm marketed. My three-day training would start on Monday, and then I’d be ready to start going on those $15 per hour service appointments and rake in the commissions.
“Giselle, is that you? Do you need help bringing in the groceries?” Mom yelled from the back of the house.
The groceries! Between the initial group interview and the second personal interview, I’d spent more than two hours at the offices of Velocity Marketing. With my head so full of dreams and goals for my new career, there was no room left for something so mundane as trip to the market.
Mom came out to the kitchen. “Giselle, what took you so long? I was getting worried. C’mon, walk with me out to the car. I bet the ice cream is melting.”
“Sorry, Mom. My interview took longer than I thought, and I didn’t actually get the groceries.”
“You didn’t tell me you were going on a job interview. What’s wrong? Aren’t you happy at the bookstore?”
“No, it’s fun working there, but it’s only open twenty hours a week, and I need to earn a lot more money than that if I’m going to pay off the trip expenses and other things I’ve racked up on my new credit card.” Not to mention the $150 for the knife demo kit I’d just shelled out.
“Sounds prudent. So how’d the interview go?”
“Great! I got the job!” I handed her a brochure.
Mom read the cover copy but didn’t open the brochure. “Velocity Marketing? Giselle, I thought you were wiser than this. Please tell me you haven’t given notice at the bookstore yet.”
“I haven’t. Why? What’s the problem?”
“This looks like a scam—”
Before she could continue, I interrupted. “The sales manager told me you might say that. When you see the product, I’m sure you’ll change your mind.” I sounded a lot more certain than I felt.
That weekend I took Mom and Daddy through the whole scripted demonstration I’d been taught during the interview/training. Daddy shocked both of us by buying the second largest set of knives. My parents even gave me the names and numbers of all their contacts from church.
We Gottliebs were a prominent family at Blessed Redeemer Lutheran, and I found it easy to set appointments with Mom’s affluent friends. By the end of the first full week, I had won the office award for top sales and earned my first promotion. Following the script Velocity provided, I even set an appointment with my boss from the bookstore when I gave notice.