Thursday, April 06, 2006
Meet Barton and Kate
Barton and Kate both work full-time at Michaels, a nationwide corporate owned arts and craft store. Barton is 20 years old and started working at Michaels as a sale associate and three months later was promoted to retail. He likes Michaels because he uses about ninety percent of the things that he sells. When asked if he was an artist he said, “ No, I can’t really paint or draw but I do the crocheting and the calligraphy and card-making, scrap-making and macromae”. He says he is not really into sports or anything else like that. But Barton does like the physical side of the job, “You know I stock a whole lot and unload trucks and stuff like that and I kind of like the manual labor, you know what I mean? It is not extreme manual labor but I mean it’s healthy, it’s enough to get you going”. Barton says that this is the best job he has ever had. He prefers this much more than sitting behind a desk. When he was in high school his parents only let him work during the summer so he worked at a Dollar Store. He also tried working at McDonalds but quit after six days because he hated it! The smell of food all day long really got to him and made him nauseated. Barton recounts a story about his most bizarre customer experience at Michaels. “I had a guy come in and he does an NA (Narcotics Anonymous) class and he needed something that looked like a kilo of coke that he could stomp on so I gave him Celucay!” Kate laughed and added, “That’s just what he told you, he was probably trying to sell it”. Barton was born and raised in Louisville. He would like to go to college but is holding out until he knows exactly what he wants to do. That way he will have the focus and determination to actually do it. He said it would be great. “I went for radiology but there was too much math that I did not care about.” Barton would love to do clothing design even though he thinks he is really bad at it.
Kate is 23 years old and has worked at two different store locations. Her career at Michaels began in Elizabethtown, KY in the set-up department. There she was promoted to cashier, then lead sales and finally head front-end supervisor. Kate moved away for a year and a half and when she came back, the Elizabethtown store had no positions open. She loved the company so much that she found a job at a Michaels in Louisville. She now drives an hour from her home in Radcliff, KY just to get to work. In Louisville, she started in sales but now works in the retail department. Kate’s favorite part of the job is the customer service because she gets to meet so many interesting people. “ I always ask you know, what project are you doing today?” The strangest thing that a customer has asked Kate for was spray-on hair dye to paint their dog. Kate has worked in the retail industry since she was fifteen; “I had to have a work permit back in the day”. Kate has also worked at Gatzu clothing store and a laser tag place, but she considers Michaels her definite “nitch”. She is an army child and was born in Kansas but later moved to Radcliff, KY. She loves beads, has tons of them and considers that and making jewelry her thing. Kate says that if she decides to go to college she would want to be an art teacher. During this interview another Michael's employee interrupted us to tell Kate that she would be training a new employee in about twenty minutes. "Hold on, she's doing a interview about the job", Kate said. "Well it needs to be quick", her coworker said and then stood there waiting, arms crossed until we finished.