January 23rd, 2023Just sayin’…
By Donna Kelly
SO, MYER Frankston has closed. The final shopping day was Sunday, January 15 but according to social media, most of the bargains were long gone.
Myer Frankston opened in 1972 when I was just seven years old. Eight years later it became my first workplace. I was in form 5, or today’s year 11, and tired of pocket money being dependent on whether I had been good or bad.
Up until that stage I had been pretty good but in form 5 I swapped from Mt Eliza High to Frankston High and met a whole new group of people and it all pretty much went downhill from there. Grades wise that is. Social life wise, I had the best time of my life, but back to Myer.
I had already failed an interview at Target, just over the carpark from Myer. The feedback was I was “too slow”. Now that’s a bit rude. How you can be too slow in an interview? I think I answered everything but maybe I was too considered. A slow burner. Anyway, I am nothing if not determined, and quickly decided my skill set would be more appreciated at the then, upmarket Myer.
Unlike Target, I passed the interview with flying colours and after a couple of days of training in cash registers, customer service and how to check for stolen credit cards by looking up a huge piece of paper with numbers stuck under the till – this was before computers, kids – I started my first day.
Actually, it was an evening shift, Thursday night, from 5pm to 9pm. I was in the children’s shoe department, a good starting place, and ready to do my best. At 5.05pm the phone rang. Now, we had done the training but no-one mentioned phone calls. Who would be calling? Why were they not shopping in person? Like a deer caught in headlights, I stood still and listened to it ring, and ring, and ring.
I looked up and saw a saleswoman, aged about 20, striding across from children’s clothing. She was very made up, well dressed, high heels. Yay, I thought. My saviour. But sadly no.
“Are you f…king deaf?” she screamed. “No,” I said, clearly a hearing person because I answered her question. “Then answer the f…king phone.” And I did.
It was a mostly good job for five years, helping me pay my way through two years of high school and three at university. I can’t say I really enjoyed fitting school shoes to kids with smelly feet, strange ulcers on their legs and runny noses. But then I moved to ladies’ shoes, ladies not women, and that was great.
Many women just came to grab a seat and have a rest, others were keen for a chat and the saleswomen I worked with there were lovely and encouraging. I remember coming to work one day sans stockings, a bit worried, but was told kindly by one: “It’s OK, you young ones can get away with anything these days”.
I also remember wearing heels every work stint, nothing out of control, but you know, a couple of inches. Those long days, 12 hours, over the school holidays were a real killer. I didn’t dare take my shoes off for any of my breaks in case I couldn’t get them on again. Of course, we also got a shopping discount, and also knew when the shoes were going to be marked down so could hide a pair out the back for that date. Wrong but, you know, there have to be some perks.
I think I was last in Myer Frankston about a year ago and it was looking tired and worn out. Fifty years is a long time for a store to hang in there and while many loyal shoppers will be sad to see it go, I will always feel happy I was a part of it, for a short time anyway. Myer was really my store. Just sayin’…