Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things I Hate About Working Retail

  Since July 2009, I have worked at Kohl's as a sales associate. I am very, VERY grateful for my job, and consider it a relaxing change of pace from my previous jobs waiting tables (which is just about the most stressful job out there, from what I can tell), I have noticed a few less than pleasing patterns while working there. Here I have collected the things that I hate the most about working retail. Enjoy!

1. People who call me by my first name.
Okay, here's the thing. I don't CHOOSE to wear a name tag. I have to. It's part of my job. It would be one thing if I had been having a pleasant, friendly conversation with a customer and then they said, "Thanks, Kendra!" as they left the store smiling. That kind of thing is tolerable at worst and heartwarming at best. But when I get these random middle aged men who say nothing to me while I ring them up and seem not even to notice my presence while I do so, then slowly say, "Thanks, Kendra," I get a little creeped out. Even worse is when the middle aged man is one of those guys that try to be funny unsuccessfully while you ring them up and then say your name almost flirtatiously.
Even women who do this freak me out a little.
Generally my policy is that unless we've been introduced (or even just know of each other by reputation), I don't want you to call me 'Kendra'. It feels almost like an invasion of personal space, ya feel me?

2. People who honestly believe it makes sense to spend $12 extra in order to get a $10 coupon.
At Kohl's we give out $10 of 'Kohl's Cash' (basically a store coupon) for every $50 that you spend on certain days. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone spend, say, $38 dollars and then say, "Aww, damn! I was so close to getting my Kohl's Cash! Tracey, go get that blouse so I can spend twelve dollars extra in order to get a ten dollar coupon that I can only spend in ONE place!"
Now, I understand wanting to save money. I LOVE saving money. But this just...doesn't make sense.

3. People who accuse me of false advertising.
Yeah. So. I've heard the "This is false advertising!" bit quite a few times.
I'm sorry, but it's just not false advertising. Everyone knows that you have to read the fine print these days, and with Kohl's coupons, it's not even fine print. All the information you need is printed right on the coupon. So people, before you complain to me and treat ME like crap because Kohl's is apparently committing an offense against you by having conditions for their offers, strap on your reading glasses and READ the coupon. If you don't like what you see, then maybe you can save yourself a trip.

4. People who get mad at me for 'letting' someone else cut in front of them.
When I'm at work, I am a very busy person. Anytime I check someone out, there are many things that I have to pay attention to. I have to simultaneously ring up and bag each person's items, find out each person's method of payment, and depending on which form they choose I may have to either scan a card myself or count change for them. On top of that, most forms of payment require a photo ID which I have to check. It may not sound like a lot, but the process requires my full attention.
Put simply this means that while this is going on, I'm not paying attention to the order of the line; especially since the line order changes all the time.
If someone cuts in front of you, take it up with them...not me. And please, if you are of a different ethnicity, don't make the whole situation even worse by implying that I'm racist because I 'let' a white woman cut in front of you.

5. The fact that none of the 'sales' are really sales at all.
Don't get me wrong, a deal is a deal. But I have to say that it irritates me when I see a shirt go from $10 to "Buy One, Get One Free", with the price now being $20. 
What I mean is that the price never changes, no matter what sales are going on. True, you may have a coupon that saves you some money, but no matter where you go, no matter what coupon you have, you will ALWAYS be paying more than an item's real value. You can take that to court. 

6. Middle aged men wearing muscle shirts who come through my line and literally give me a headache because they are SO drenched in cologne and call me pet names the whole time I'm ringing them up.
...Do I really need to elaborate...?

  There are a bunch of things that irritate me about retail. These things are just the beginning. But I'm not in a particularly spiteful mood right now, so I'm going to let that be that for now. I may add to it later =) 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Love is Strength

  Just now, I posted a status update on facebook that read:

Kendra Forsythe always has been, is, and will be strong=)
I'm done believing anything else.

  I wrote this not because I was feeling rebellious or independent; not because I was trying to prove something to myself or anyone else. I wrote this because I have lately been coming to an important realization: Love is strength, not weakness.

  Growing up, my parents always had problems. They fought almost constantly, and although each parent tried their hardest in their own special ways to be good parents for us kids, the example that their relationship set for us hurt my perception of relationships in so many ways. I saw the pain of rejection over and over. I saw that the person doing the rejecting generally seemed to walk away from an argument unscathed while the rejected person was usually left in tears. I saw that open expression of sadness was generally met with mocking and cruel remarks. Through all of this I learned two principals that have helped to shape the way all of my relationships (both romantic and friendly) have played out for my entire life. These are: 1) Caring is weakness, and 2) Indifference is strength. As childish as it may seem, I have always felt a sense of pride in being the person sought after in any relationship. In friendships, I tried to remain cool and detached. In romantic relationships, I took pride in always being the one to end them before my partner had 'the upper hand'. In ALL my relationships, any sense of sadness and dependency was quickly converted into anger (because yelling seems so much tougher than crying, don't you think?). These habits were deeply engrained in me.

  Over this past year, I've fallen in love. I've been closer to someone than I've ever been to anyone in my life, and I have made myself vulnerable to him. There have been times over the course of the past year when I have been utterly ashamed at myself for being so 'weak', and for caring so much. There have been times when I have been hurt by things that he's done and I found myself crying and thinking, "What happened to me? I used to be so strong..." Before I go on, I will admit that I have been weak over this past year. I have made some wrong decisions that were weak decisions to make; but I'd like to emphasize that it wasn't love that weakened me. I was weak over this past year because I have a short fuse, because I had not yet learned to refrain from perceiving little things as rejection, and overall because I lacked self-control.

  But love has never made a person weak. Maybe it has motivated people to make decisions that aren't easily understood by those on the outside looking in, but it has never made a person weak. It was love that motivated Jesus Christ to lay down His own life (in a very violent and brutal way) for us. Can that be called weakness? I don't think so. The Bible says this about love:

1 Corinthians 13:4 - 7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud, it is not rude.
It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, It keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  None of the Bible's description of love sounds like weakness to me. Although I cannot say that my love matches up to this standard of love completely, I can say that the more I learn to open my heart and realize that love is not a weakness, the more my love starts to look like this. The more I learn about love's true nature, the more I realize that indifference is actually weakness. It's the easy way out for people who are afraid to get hurt; for people who have seen others get hurt by love too often. This being said, I want to clarify that love DOES hurt sometimes. As I've said, I have cried over the one that I love many times. He is an imperfect human being who has done things that were insensitive or rude, or even just annoying. Again, I refer to Christ's sacrifice; we all know that being mocked and beaten and crucified was no walk in the park for Him. But He endured it all because He loves us. As countless 80's songs will testify, love hurts. However, it is worth it.

  In conclusion, I'd like to say thank you to Jacob Beam. You are my love, and the person in my life who made it worth it to open up my heart and see what real love is like =) Thank you for sticking with it, and not giving up on me, even when I've tried to be indifferent. I love you.

Friday, February 11, 2011


  Lately, emotional pain has been a topic of extreme relevance for me. This is both because I have been hurting, and because several people very close to me have been hurting beyond what we ever would have expected at this point in our lives. Life's random twists and turns have not been kind to 'my circle' as of late, and there have been many desperate attempts to assuage this pain. Some of these have been healthy and constructive, and some of them have been anything but. In addition to the pain that I've been feeling, I have not been very close to God lately. Since I was young, I have never turned away from God even in my pain, because I learned about His character, and I realized that He is good in all circumstances. However, I HAVE turned away from Him to pursue my own desires. I have kept my creator at arm's distance, afraid of what He might ask of me if I let Him any closer. And so in some of my darkest hours, when I needed Him the most, I haven't had Him to turn to because...well...I decided I wasn't going to.

  I've had a lot of time to think lately, and I've decided to break this cycle and open my heart and mind to God. I've come to realize that God knows me better than I know myself. He knows my desires. He knows what it is that I want that is keeping me from pursuing Him. He knows my heart in its entirety, and I truly believe that the desires I have are there for a reason, and that God wants me to be happy. Because God knows me, He knows exactly the best way for these desires to be satisfied. He is a god of love, and will not deny me my desires simply to be cruel, but rather channel them in a different direction than the one I would choose on my own. Reminding myself of this particular aspect of God's character helped me to open myself up to Him, and so today I sat down for the first time in a long time and prayed that God would use His word to speak to me. I then opened my Bible to a random section and came to Job 6. This is the verse that stood out to me the most:

"What strength do I have that I should continue to hope?
What is my future, that I should be patient?"

Job 6:11

  The reason this verse stood out to me is that this is such a comon feeling/question for a despairing person. I know that recently, while my pain has been so potent, I've asked almost this exact question many times. At this point, everything had been taken from Job: his livestock, his servants, his children, and even his own health. It is completely understandable that Job would have no hope of strength of his own. And yet, anyone who knows the story of Job knows how the story ends. God not only restores but doubles Job's previous wealth, and allows him to have more children. The Bible says that Job lived 140 more years after his suffering (which is so long compared to the length of time during which he suffered), and that God blessed the second half of Job's life even more than He had the first.
  Because I know the wonderful end to Job's story, it's so reassuring to read that Job asked these questions. It reminds me that like Job, I don't know the end to my own story, but God does; that He is a light in every situation, and that He rewards your faithfulness when life's hard circumstances don't turn you away from Him. I think the main thing I've taken away from Job's story is that God won't come right out and say, "Look, here's the deal. It's going to hurt now, but give it (insert amount of time here) and I'm going to double what you had before and make everything all better!" I think He doesn't do that because He wants us to have faith in Him...He wants to see that we'll love Him and continue to look for Him even when life hurts. Besides that, we don't need to know the end to our own story in order to have faith that God will come through for us. You can get a glimpse of God's character just by looking in His word and seeing how He has come through for people (Job being just one example) all through the years.

  One more thing that I want to share that I've learned lately is this: Keep praying when you feel like you're praying to a wall. Keep asking God to get to you. Keep talking even when you feel like you're talking to your imaginary friend. He is faithful. He WILL come through. Not feeling Him there when you talk to Him is normal, and I think it's another tets of faith. If God sees that you will keep praying and keep believing that He's there even when you are not emotionally stirred by Him, He will make himself known to you.

  Anyway. These are just a few of my thoughts as of late. Thank you for reading!