The Bookworm Sez: ‘Big Fancy' packs a lot of laughs
The holidays are coming. That means you'll need a little extra.
Extra time to go gift-shopping, for sure, and extra closet space in which to hide packages. More importantly, you'll need extra money for all that buying, which means you're looking for an extra job.
There are a lot of openings at the mall, but be careful what you ask for. According to Freeman Hall in his new book "Return to The Big Fancy," that part-time gig you grab might just be extra irritation.
Hall figured he'd done his time at The Big Fancy, an upscale department store chain with a Burbank location. Hall worked the "Handbag Jungle," where he dealt with nasty "custys," greedy co-workers and a store manager he called Suzy Satan.
He put up with them all while bringing home an insultingly small paycheck so, when he got the chance, he escaped to pursue his dream of being a screenwriter.
But screenwriting didn't pay the bills. Working at The Big Fancy did. Shortly after leaving, it was back to Retail Hell for Hall.
The new department manager of Handbag (never "purse") Jungle was a wonderful woman Hall calls Maude and, since she knew about his past at The Big Fancy, she was happy to hire him. As a former Handbag manager, Hall brought experience to the Jungle. He also brought back his best customers. As for Hall, everything was familiar, and depressing, from the start.
Forbidden to use an elevator or mall entrance, employees were forced to climb several flights of stairs to get to work. Every day began with ear-splitting announcements and admonishments over the PA system from Suzy Satan to rally (or annoy) the troops.
Since The Big Fancy paid its sales associates in commissions, "sharking" (stealing customers) was common and destroyed any sense of teamwork.