Monday, October 29, 2007

The New Face of Retail

According to an excellent article in New York Magazine, the Trader Joe's store on 14th Street is staffed with college-educated, artistic, multiethnic, attractive, bohemian 20somethings mostly from well-to-do families. Why the hell are they working at a supermarket?

"The young workers are attracted to Trader Joe’s for its groovy, noncorporate aura and also because it, unlike most of the sorts of jobs arty kids do while waiting for their big break, offers health insurance...I am assigned to a warm, mid-twenties clerk who is also directing a Restoration comedy, dramaturging a friend’s show, and performing in a comedy troupe. But she has a lot of student-loan debt, so in addition to Trader Joe’s, she’s a waitress."

That's all well and good, but if people so appealing can't find real jobs paying more than $11.25 an hour, it doesn't bode so well for the economy as a whole.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it probably bodes pretty well for the economy that "bohemian 20somethings" who prefer a "groovy, non-corporate" job while "waiting for their big break" are able to find a job meeting these requirement while paying twice minimum wage and providing health insurance and a schedule flexible enough to accommodate a "clerk who is also directing a Restoration comedy, dramaturging a friend’s show, and performing in a comedy troupe" while maintaining another job as a waitress.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, they didn't get degrees in something that was actually marketable. Engineering Students make fun of liberal arts majors for this very reason.

George said...

I got an advertising degree - just about the most 'marketable' communications degree you can get and I would be tempted to take an $11.25 job with insurance (especially if it had a HSA and matches to a Roth IRA). The creative economy is awful right now, and it isn't looking good in the future.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, anonymous 9:15, everyone should get engineering and computer science degrees and then the American economy would have no where to go but up. And we'd all have to face even fewer choices in quality entertainment than we already have. I, for one, don't need any more reality TV shows in my life. And if that's the best the Military-Industrial-Entertainment Complex can come up with now, I'm loath to think of how bad things would be if everyone with a college degree worked at Microsoft or Google.

Jose Hose B said...

Life is full of trade-offs. Working at Trader Joes is easy and cool. The tradeoff is that is doesn't pay much. My suspicion is that the kids who work there would choose this line of work over dirty hard work that paid twice as much. Viva la revolucion!

Anonymous said...

First off, engineer, thank the stars they weren't THAT ambitious, because it might make your job search more difficult and less high paying...
That said, uhm, if they're from well-to-do families doesn't "waiting for that big break" actually read: "waiting for that big trust fund"?

I mean, in NYC, you have sons and daughters quite literally of wealthy dentists alongisde third-generation industrial economy who are now BILLIONAIRES. The people who act and dress "derfy" are putting on a show. Get real and don't believe them.

Manikandan said...

Hi .nice blog.I am HR of a well-developing concern.I need to post jobs .can anybody

suggest best way..
thank you............

Manikandan said...

Hi .nice blog.I am HR of a well-developing concern.I need to post jobs .can anybody

suggest best way..
thank you............