Thursday, October 15, 2009
We found great joy in helping someone complete their dream nursery, or finding the perfect gift for their new niece. Sometimes we knew about the baby before Dad did, because Mom stopped in on her way home from the Doctor to buy a silver rattle she was going to put on Dad's dinner plate. Sometimes, we helped divorced dads create new home-y rooms for their daughters and I swear I taught a kid to read. When I worked there, PBK was a fun, amazing place - to shop in and to work. When they partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, I made it MY cause. I bought candy, soda, and snacks at Costco and sold it in the breakroom for a profit. All of that money went to our registers as St. Jude donations. I told my dad I didn't want a Christmas present in 2006 because I'd rather have a donation to my store. He showed up the next week with a check for $2,000. Our store raised over $15,000 alone for St. Jude.
In the summer of 2007, things started changing. Management began leaving, Christine got her teaching degree, Renee moved to the new Apple store, Ricky left to write the great American novel, Amy was on a never-ending maternity leave and Toni was moving to Florida. I didn't like the direction the store was moving in and I didn't think the new management had the same ideals that I associated with MY company.
It's still MY store and I haven't worked there in more than 2 years. I built that store - literally - and I grew up in that store. I was freshly 17 when hired and almost every important thing in my life occurred while I worked within those walls. I rarely go to the Manhattan Beach Mall anymore (it's tiny and geared mostly towards women with small kids), but when I do, I involuntarily glance at the window decorations and notice the quik-ties, the dust, the lopsided banners - all things I would never have let fly. So many mornings of my life were spent right there in front of those big doors, waiting for a manager to show up with a key. So many others were spent there, waiting for my associates to show up so I could let them in.
I still get the catalog, as well as Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma (they're all a part of Williams-Sonoma Inc.) and I leaf through them. Granted, none of it is as exciting without the 40% discount, but I still feel a connection with the company. If they had let me, if they hadn't changed what they stood for, I could have worked for Williams-Sonoma Inc. my whole life.
*Can you find me in each group picture?*