How to: Work for a clothing company that takes itself way too seriously

You realize, in May, that you are without any real work experience, your resume is lackluster at best, you have about $3 in your bank account and no hope of an internship. You then receive a phone call from an overenthusiastic retail store manager saying that a friend recommended you — because, you know, you’re just so hot — and asking if you would like to come in for an interview. You walk into the store. The strong scent of cologne and dim lighting makes you wonder if you have just walked into a cave rather than a moderately priced clothing retailer. The walls have more naked people on them than the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. You try to get to the register, avoiding getting distracted by the pictures that are one thrust away from pornography on the walls, but are thwarted by an oddly placed forest of large plastic ferns. You have hit rock bottom in your job search and you accept the job offered to you as a “model.” After a few weeks of mind-numbing folding, you start to feel like hot shit as your stand directly underneath the machine pumping out perfume at what seems like liters per hour. “I smell great, I look chill. Grey, white and navy look great on me,” you think. You begin to start singing the next song on the playlist of sweet techno beats before it even starts playing and you begin to become pretentious around newly hired employees about which type of T-shirt fold is your favorite. A customer asks if you can let her into the fitting rooms. “Actually, I’m not allowed to leave my very important station here at this table, looking chill,” you respond very seriously. You send them over to Hunter, or Forest, or… you have learned not to remember the names of your coworkers as they come and go faster than the company emits risqué, homoerotic magazines. Hunter, you’ve decided is his name, stands behind the register in a chill-looking, hungover daze. “Sorry, I don’t have the key. Maybe Brent has the key,” he says as he calls over Brent. “Sorry, uh, I’m on break,” Brent responds. The customer leaves frustrated and confused. One day, you get to witness the surreal experience of seeing the executives of the company. An over-tanned 65-year-old with bleached hair dressed like he’s 23 walks into the store like he owns the place. Oh wait, he does. He sizes you up, then waits expectantly for you to recite your lines and flash that smile. You acquiesce happily letting him know that, yes, our jeans can make you famous. This spurs you to paint a picture of your life in 10 years. Your skin looks like leather and your wardrobe consists of only three colors. You come to realize that your 5-foot-4-inch stature and affinity for food aside, your status as a model comes not from your immense talent as a walking, talking clothes hanger, but from the company’s desire to be able to hire you for your beachy hair and fire you if you put on a few pounds without a lawsuit. This scary thought forces you to reconsider your life. You emerge from the vortex that is this retail store four months after entering, reeking of cologne and conformity. This column is not meant to be taken as actual advice, but rather as social commentary. The Cynic does not advise you to do or not do any of the activities mentioned above.