So this all happened yesterday morning, about an hour after unlocking the doors.
I work for a small jewelry store located in the Southeastern US, and while I primarily design custom jewelry, the holidays have required my presence on the actual sales floor. No problem, I've worked retail and sold all manner of goods and services for years now. I'm confident, not cocky, and my clientele has always been very comfortable with me.
11am, in walks an older gentleman, around 70, and being the closest one to him, I walk up to and greet him.
Me: "Hey, what's up? How's it going?" (I'm extremely informal and relaxed, because fuck pretentious jewelry shops.) " What brings you in today?"
Man: "Well, my wife has had the same diamond ring since I asked her to marry me 43 years ago, and I figured this Christmas would be the perfect time for an upgrade for her."
Me: "Oh wow, good deal, that sounds awesome! Well, you and I stopped at the right spot, because here, we've got all our diamond fashion and engagement rings."
At this time, my boss, the owner of the store, had begun speaking to a woman about charm bracelets, about 10 feet away.
Me: "So, were you thinking like a true engagement ring upgrade? Or something more like a right-hand ring that will allow her to keep wearing her original one?"
Man: "Well, y'know son, I hadn't thought of that, actually. What do..."
Boss: "Excuse me, GuessWhatIdioth, I'm sorry, I just... would you mind... could you show this lady some charms? You know, you're just so much better with that than I am. Haha! I'll help this gentleman out, haha! Hello, how are you today?"
I look at her, shocked. Are you kidding me? She had sprinted across the sales floor to steal my sale. I glance over at the lady, who apparently she cut off mid-sentence to interrupt me. She was incredulous, mouth hanging wide open. The man was incredibly uncomfortable, not saying a word and just shifting in his seat.
But of course, she's the owner of the shop, so...
Me: "Um...yyyyeah, sure... I'm sorry, sir. It was nice to speak with you, if only for a second..." I cut a look at my boss who refuses to acknowledge the extra little quip from me.
I go over to help the lady, and apologize for how rude my boss has just been. Turns out she was looking for Star Wars charms, which unfortunately we don't carry, so my time with her was short.
It stayed busy non-stop for about 3 hours after the "incident," but when the activity finally calmed down, I stepped in the back to confront my boss, but she started talking before I could.
Boss: "GuessWhatIdioth, you need to work on your timing for handing off the sale."
Me: "Actually, in the short time I was with him, he had already warmed up to me, sooooo that was not one I would have handed off."
The owner believes that everyone is there to set her up for the big sales. Despite the fact that she will calculate monthly and yearly goals for each salesperson, that doesn't stop her from butting into and stealing sales, and then fussing at everyone when their goals aren't met.
Boss: "Well, when I move over to you, you just need to make the transition smooth for me."
Me: "You know what, no. This has been happening for way too long. When you interviewed me, why did you hire me?"
Boss: " Because of your sales experience, but..."
Me: "And the last time this happened, and I told you I would like to focus my energies off the floor on custom design and marketing, what did you tell me?"
Boss: "I said 'absolutely not, because I need your skills on the sales floor.'"
Me: "Right. Every time you encroach upon my sales, you're basically telling me the complete opposite of that. That you don't trust me to do the job you hired me to do. However, in the past 3 hours, I've sold a $3000 emerald bracelet, $800 in charms, ordered 6 monogram necklaces, and a $2000 diamond solitaire pendant. Because you were either too busy with someone else to notice me, or you had already latched onto someone else."
Me: "Listen, this is your store, so you obviously can do whatever you want with it. And yes, there are times when I don't connect with a customer as well as you or someone else could, but I'm smart enough to feel it out and make that call myself, so please, until then, just let me handle my own sales from now on."
Boss: "Well, we'll see. I'm just doing what the analysts are telling me to do, so we'll just see, won't we?"
She's obviously not happy with me at all right now, but she's also not stupid enough to fire me during the busiest retail time of the year. I imagine I'll be back on the hunt for a job when New Year's rolls around, but for now, I get to awkwardly work alongside her for a few more weeks... but hey, some people need to hear the hard truths, even from an underling, so sorry, not sorry...
While my sales skills would certainly make it easy to move on to a new sales position elsewhere, I'm ashamed to say they're a little wasted on me, as I don't enjoy sales at all really. Most of the clients, sure, they're awesome. They usually make the job enjoyable, and networking is fantastic in this position. But a fatal flaw in my personality is that I simply do not care to be under any hierarchical system of management.
For lack of a better term, I...don't really respect authority all that much, especially when I feel very strongly that that authority is ill-gotten, corrupt, or just plain stupid...
For that very reason, I've been working for the past year to start my own business, one in which I am the only employee, and the only "boss" I ever have will be the clients who scout my talent, work with me for the duration of a project, pay me, and then move on. Because the combination of (1) the nature of my current job and (2) what I aspire to become is such a unique situation, I won't be divulging my career aspirations, but just know that I've taken great strides over the past year while in the meantime dealing with this sales position, and I am very close to realizing my dream.