My wanderings through the Til you drop exhibition had me reflecting on my former life, before I was a librarian, when I was a Myer Girl.
I worked at Myer Geelong for 7 Christmases from 1989 to 1995. It’s like in Ballarat where, if you are a recent arrival, you measure your life here in winters (I’m coming up to my 7th winter); in retail, you measure it in the number of Christmases and subsequent stocktake sales you have survived.
My first Christmas was spent in Confectionery, where I discovered the joy of Lindt chocolate for the very first time. I also discovered that after a couple of days working in Confectionery you got sick of the smell of chocolate, and you became quite immune to the lure. Well, except for Lindt!
Then, just before uni started, a job came up in the records and video department, and I was working Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday morning as a casual.
It was like being let loose in a candy shop- a huge music collection of all types of musical genres, classical, rock, pop, country, jazz, blues. Mind you, there was a lot of dross-(Jive Bunny which was particularly loved by one staff member), but it was there I was exposed to a lot of music I wouldn’t have otherwise listened to, for free. It was there I learned to love Lou Reed, David Bowie, the Who, Rolling Stones, (early) Elton John, the Beatles, the whole grunge/grrl scene and punk.
A lot of it had to do with the staff with whom I worked. Being right next to Home Entertainment and Computers, I was working in a predominantly male environment, who were constantly ‘borrowing’ stock to demonstrate sound systems. I really enjoyed working alongside boys, and I still do. They were funny, rude, protective and looked quite fetching in their shirts and ties- well, some of them more than others…
- I don’t like being called toots.
- I learned to stand up for myself. Lessons 1 and 2 followed very closely.
- I learned that there were a lot of mothers who would get Enya’s Watermark for Christmas and 18 year olds who would get Bat out of Hell as a present.
- A cassette will melt if left on the dashboard of a car on a 40 degree day, and it is not the fault of the manufacturer, but of the customer.
- I learned to love black. I wasn’t working in fashion, but I had a discount card and a 25% discount off black and white apparel for work. My wardrobe still bears the mark of being a Myer girl. An untested theory arises from this- does it mean that Melburnians wear a lot of black because they used to work at Myer or aspired to work there?
- The experience stood me in good stead for my first library job, which I got largely on my customer service experience (as well as my grad dip).I worked alongside staff who had been working at Myer for years and who took great pride in the service they delivered. They were incredibly professional in their approach to their work.
- I still love Lindt.