Give it to the interns.

15 Nov

What follows is a story of how a pair of extraordinarily warm and comfortable hand-knit socks gives me an anxiety attack brought upon by overwhelming guilt every time I put them over my chilly toes.

For my first job after college, I had to dress up as a mermaid and take pictures at an Under the Sea themed party for a group of Polish businessmen. (A friend was working as a party planner, and I was way cheaper than a professional mermaid.)

My second job was tending bar at the poolside bistro of a well-to-do golf club. Mostly I made a lot of smoothies for kids and helped husbands get drunk on John Dalys* without their wives noticing.

Then I was hired as an event-planning intern at a fairly iconic upscale department store (here on called Store). For $10 an hour, I stuffed tote bags and mailers, designed posters, coordinated catering, and prepped the greenroom for the fashionistas/os who hosted our promotional events. My wardrobe changed from my golf polo uniform to Elie Tahari’s last-season markdowns, and I quickly became an expert at changing from sneakers to heels en route from the train.

It was all very glamorous, and I was thankful to have an internship that presented new tasks every day. I was never very into fashion, but I didn’t hate my job – which was more than most of my fellow graduates could say at the time.

Well, I didn’t hate it until the day I was tasked with crushing the hopes and dreams of a roomful of up-and-coming Argentine designers. That was the worst.

Apparently a group of Store’s execs were flown down to Buenos Aires for an all-expenses paid trip to Argentina’s fashion week. In return, a group of Argentina’s best designers wanted a chance to meet with our buyers. Now, Store carries brands like Gucci, D&G, Prada, etc. It isn’t very known for promoting new ideas. Instead, it just sells very expensive, very established, very shiny things (when sequins and/or lamé are in). And it seems to be a successful business model.

So Store just took advantage of these people; the execs had a free vacation all the while knowing there wasn’t a chance in any of Danté’s circles, much less among their rarefied ranks, that these designers would be picked up.

So why waste the buyers’ time? Just give it to the interns.

“Listen to their presentations, nod, smile, tell them they’ll hear from us, don’t go crazy with the cheese platter.” (Three of us interns were sent on this dastardly mission, but the last part of our instructions was undoubtedly directed toward me.)

We saw five designers every hour for six consecutive hours. The cheese platters were routinely refreshed. They brought in their best designs, told us about the indigenous people who inspired their color palettes, the farms where they collected their wool, the famous people who loved their overcoats. One designer worked solely with knit materials. She made everything from slouchy pants to couture draped gowns – with yarn! As a thank you for seeing her presentation, she gave us each a pair of (THE BEST EVER) knit socks.

We nodded, smiled, told them they’d hear from us, and admittedly went a little overboard with the cheese platter. And about once every three minutes we’d exchange glances with one another to silently communicate our shared sentiment: “We are going to hell forever. These designers think our professional pointy heels mean we have a semblance of power in this company when yesterday we were on our hands and knees in the storage closet looking for extra keychains to stuff into our inconsequential Fashion’s Night Out tote bags. And here we are blatantly lying and stiletto-stomping the dreams of these hopeful, talented people.” (Our glances were very expressive.)

Thankfully a few months later I received an offer from my current place of employment, and this job description involves far fewer instances in which I need to emotionally eat entire cheese platters and heels are not required. But there is way more sock wearing because (along with YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, and All The Wonderful Things) we are not allowed space heaters.

*John Daly a) A pro golfer. b) A shit ton of vodka disguised by miniscule splashes of iced tea and lemonade.


One Response to “Give it to the interns.”

  1. Sotorya (Tory) December 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    You wouldn’t happen to know where one could purchase a pair of the best socks ever do you? Mainly because those look like the best socks ever,

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