Student Experience Blog

cgefre's picture

My Life Amongst the Disappearing Shoes

Like I mentioned back in my first post, I've been spending the majority of my summer working at Marshalls. If you've never had the pleasure of dropping in, think of it as a kind of classier mix between Ross and Savers. We've got clothes, we've got cookware, we've got a little of everything--all for 20%-60% off, all day, every day. It's a pretty sweet deal if you're looking for quality merchandise without having to sell a kidney or a lung, especially if you're in the market for some new shoes. Trust me on this one--after spending almost 3 years working in Marshalls' shoe department, I think it's safe to say I know more about footwear than most women. Maybe more than some Nike executives, too.

Although most of my shifts this summer have been spent at our service desk assisting customers with returns and purchases, whenever I'm assigned to the sales floor I usually find myself surrounded by shoes. When I first started at Marshalls, I worked exclusively in our shoe department. As a result, even though I can work the rest of the store just as efficiently, I'm often the associate on the day's crew with the most experience working in shoes. If you were to walk into Meridian's Marshalls and look directly to your left, you'd most likely see me balancing a half dozen shoe boxes that needed to be stocked in the appropriate runs, or browsing our clearance wall making sure everything is labeled and ticketed correctly, or even just patrolling the perimeter of the department, making sure that not a single case was out of place. If you approached me looking for a certain kind of shoe, I'd be able to direct you to its location, even if you just gave me a vague description of the style. Sometimes after long shifts, I even begin seeing shoes in my sleep. It's a tad eerie.

Of course, if you really did walk into our Marshalls these days, you'd probably notice that it's looking sort of...empty. That's because we've been spending all summer preparing to move locations. Our new store is literally going to be across the street from our old one, but in my opinion, it really is a way better place to set up shop. We're going to be a stand alone store now, no longer attached to Ross and Rue 21, and we're going to be next to some more interesting specialty stores, like Bath and Body Works and Chick'Fil'A. Now that we've officially stopped receiving stock at our current location, we're all set to sell out our current stock and start setting up our new store. Still, the atmosphere since we stopped getting stock has been a sort of somber excitement. All of us are ready to move, but until the new location officially opens on September 6th, we're going to watch the current store grow more and more barren. It's already spooky to walk to the back of the store and see a bare wall where all our wall decor used to hang, or to look at a women's section that has been condensed to half the size it was just three weeks ago.

And, of course, my shoe department is no different. Even as I write this post on my day off, it's being cut up and resewn together like some sort of horrible Frankenstein monster. The clearance wall in the picture isn't going to be there anymore--instead, those fixtures are going to be taken down, and all the shoes that used to rest there are being put out on tables. We used to have 11 runs of boxed shoes--that's going to be reset to a much smaller number. In two weeks or so, it's likely that the shoe department, which used to take up a respectable fifth of the store, will be reset to one or two small runs. Over the years, lame as it sounds, the sight of all those shoes has been comforting, because it's always been a place where I know I do good work. But now most of them will be gone, and it's like I'm losing a part of me. It's weird.

Seeing everything change like this just puts in perspective how much time I've worked here. I was a bright eyed and bushy tailed 16 year old working his first job when I started, a kid that didn't even have a driver's license yet. Now I'm 3 years older, I'm a college student, and the place where I've spent long work weeks is going to be empty by the time I return to my classes. I won't even get to see the new store's grand opening, because September 6th is also the day classes begin at C of I. I won't get to actually work at the new place until Christmas break starts up. Seeing everything in boxes is making me reflect a lot on my time here, and even though I know I'll be back to work once the holiday season kicks up, it almost feels like I'm closing a chapter of my life. I think I'll miss the old place more than I think I will once the move wraps up.

But there's still a month until that happens, so I've got plenty of time to savor the old location's charms. If you're in the Meridian area and want to buy some shoes or just say hi, pop by Marshalls. I'll probably be around! (And you can sign up for a TJX Rewards card and save even MORE money while you're at it!)

-Clayton Gefre