My friends and family are going to hate me. This post will no doubt alienate me from them and I’ll trudge on, but this has to be said. I could never work for Remember Salem.
For those who don’t know, Remember Salem is a well known shop on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts. Pre-Harry Potter, I do not know what their claim to fame was but in the past four years that I have lived there they have been known primarily for one thing: Harry Potter. This has made them so well known that they actually opened up a wand shop, which caters to both the Harry Potter fans and the prominent community of polytheistic religions that use a wand in their ceremonial practices, called Wynott’s Wands.
They do sell merchandise for other popular franchise as well like The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. I’m sure if the watchdog parenting groups hadn’t shut down the His Dark Materials Trilogy you’d be able to buy an alethiometer as well. Though not relevant to this post, it should also be noticed that there is a sister store in Plymouth.
Yesterday they posted on their Facebook page that there was an opening and that they were accepting job applications on Tuesday, but that you had to show up in person to leave an application. I just so happen to have tomorrow off and for a moment I entertained the notion that I might like to work there. So why did I have a change of heart this morning?
Because Remember Salem is fun to me. I have a great memory of the place from a few years ago and I like chatting with the owner whenever I’m in there. But working in a small shop in a major tourist town has certain challenges that I don’t have to deal with working in a major corporate chain like Rite Aid or Generimart. I know this because I tried working at Turtle Alley back in late 2010, when I first moved to Salem.
The person I was working with was, well, picky to be generous. I could be less generous, but then they might read my blog and complain, so I’ll go with picky. She had a problem with everything I did. Oh there were things I did right that surprised her. But I wasn’t allowed to wish customers “good luck” or to say my signature, “be safe” as they left the store, because that would be, in her words, “presumptuous”.
Have a nice day is not presumptuous, because I have every right to tell people what kind of day they should have?
It was a negative experience and I didn’t last long there. They’ve since moved out of the mall and across the street, so I went back in there recently and the woman who tried to train me wasn’t even in there. But the point is that it soured my enthusiasm to ever work for a shop like this ever again.
That’s not to say that I would have the same experience at Remember Salem. But the other reality is that Salem may be a year round town, with tourists travelling from all over the globe, but it does have it’s dead season. I’m not at the stage in my life where sheer loyalty can keep my focus for very long and after a while, I’m going to need a bigger paycheck than the post holiday rush can offer. A shop that makes it’s bones solely on the popular culture market is going to have it’s slow days and that’s going to cost me time and energy I simply can’t afford.
Remember Salem is a great little shop. I got my sister’s scarf there and I enjoy drinking the butterscotch beer they sell but beyond that, sometimes a great place to shop is not necessarily a great place to work. And this is in no way intended to assume that I know what it would be like to work there, so if the owner, or any employee of that store reads this, please understand that this is not meant with ill intent. I would definitely hope that whomever you decide to hire of the many applicants who will no doubt swarm the store, that this person will be everything you need and will bring you nothing but good credit and great business.
I want Remember Salem to be a fun place with great memories that I one day want to take my family and friends to see. The stress of trying to survive the initial 90 days would ruin those memories.