Did you know,
I learned a lot about people at a supermarket.
And at a rather young age.
My first job after SPM was selling kuih at Melawati Pasar Ramadhan, it was nice and interesting and the owner of the stall really liked me because of my loud voice and witty commentary when calling upon customers.
"Aaa mari-mari kuih kak kuih boleh rasa boleh rasa..."
It only lasted a month (well it was a pasar ramadhan) and after that I was jobless and penniless. So one day I decided to apply for a job at the Supermarket behind my house. Oh wait, it's bigger than a supermarket, it's a hypermarket and it is called Carrefour.
So there I was still 17 (my birthday is in September) went into my very first Job Interview. At that time a nice fellow by the name of Mr Thiru was interviewing me. I was interviewing for a store clerk position, you know the people that carry cartons of drinks and restock the aisle. Mr Thiru was impressed by my English he decided that even though I was not 18 yet, it was best if I were to become a Salesman instead, an Appliance Salesman.
Hence began my life as an Appliance Salesman at the age of 17 at Carrefour Wangsa Maju.
There I was in my black pants, office shoes (the one that goes click clack when walking on tiles), white shirt and that memorable red carefour vest which has "May I Help You" written on the back. Salesman in Carrefour wears a red vest by the way. I was a wee bit proud at that time for now I have A real job, Really real job, with EPF and Socso when just a few weeks ago I was just selling kuih.
My dad was somewhat happy when I told him about it to which he said I would learn alot about life and people.
Oh how he was right.
I remember selling a doctor a 29 inch TV while waiting for his wife to finish buying grocery. I remember explaining about Hari Raya Korban to two nice Catholic Ladies while carrying a television to their car. They kept calling me Encik and was surprised when they found out how old I was.I remember hearing a man who is in his mid 40’s explaining to me the reason he is buying this cheap VCD player is so that he can watch porn with his wife in their bedroom.
Ahh yes, I remember loads of things.
It was also the place where I first learned the value of earning a paycheck, how happy I was getting the hard earned money I worked for and how proud I was with the amount of commission I got. I remember the feeling I had when I first brought something I earn to home. I also learn that the customer is always right and yet at the same time I also learn that people working in a Supermarket are humans too and that they have emotions. I learn how to talk to people depending on their age. I learn that if you work hard and sincerely that people would appreciate that. It’s the place where I experience being told off by a total stranger and flamed by the boss.
I never thought that trying to sell someone a 29 inch TV or a Fax Machine can really teach you about life.
Perhaps the most memorable thing I experience during that time was what Mr Thiru said in a meeting with the fellow Salesman..
“You must approach your customer yes, don’t be afraid and be proud of what you do. Take for instance, look at Zaidel, even though he is just a salesman but he can afford to wear a Rolex Watch. That is the pride of being a Salesman.”
By the way, it’s a fake Rolex I bought at Petaling Street.
And yes Mr Thiru knew that.
P/S –Ironically, After years of studying and a degree later now I work just 500 metres away from the place when I first became a Salesman. I occasionally have my lunch there and yes they still wear that ridiculous red vest.