“She walks like she owns the store.”
I overheard those words spoken by a customer while working in Alexander’s, a now-defunct retailer most known on the U.S. east coast.
My job at the time was as a sales clerk in the boys’ department. I was in an aisle walking around merchandise tables I recently organized, checking it all out to make sure the appearance was inviting for customers. It looked well done.
The store was quiet as the words were spoken, which magnified the person’s voice. I naturally looked up to see who spoke. This customer was talking to a friend, and they continued walking and giggling about the mean-spirited comment.
I was 18 or 19 years old at the time, and my heart sank. You probably remember being sensitive to certain words or phrases at some point in your life, too.
My next thought was to not appear so statuesque when they returned. I didn’t want anymore unnecessary redicule.
Thinking back, what really showed up in my presence was self confidence.
The job was easy. In fact, the duties were beneath my skill set.
- Arrive on time
- Keep clothes organized
- Answer customers’ questions
I was there to make fast money; that’s all.
My life had taken lots of turns. I graduated in the top 1/5th of my high school class, overcame a huge health challenge, and was deciding which profession would make me happy. No wonder my posture threatened the customer. I was young, pretty, well dressed, and had opportunities galore in my future.
Okay, perhaps I’m going overboard with what the customer was thinking, but I’m glad she stated those words even if, at the time, I didn’t realize how polished I appeared.
Now, years later, those words that were meant to put me down are viewed as they really are – a compliment. I had the look of a professional before I knew it.
My “kingdom” at the time were clothes in sizes 6 to 12, and as I stated, it was super easy to oversee the care and maintenance of my designated area. It was a minimum wage job that I treated as though I received a manager’s salary. There are no regrets.
Too many people are not happy with themselves, so they turn their personal disdain outward and attack innocent people. In some instances, that will be you they’re talking about, and it’s up to you to perceive the words in a manner that keeps your heart and mind positive.
Give yourself permission to turn harsh words into self praise. Carry yourself everywhere you walk like you own it.