My Unintentional Career in Retail

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
One woman's midcareer misadventures in the absurd world of American retail.

After losing her job as a journalist and the security of a good salary, Caitlin Kelly was hard up for cash. When she saw that The North Face-an upscale outdoor clothing company-was hiring at her local mall, she went for an interview almost on a whim.

Suddenly she found herself, middle-aged and mid-career, thrown headfirst into the bizarre alternate reality of the American mall: a world of low-wage workers selling overpriced goods to well-to-do customers. At first, Kelly found her part-time job fun and reaffirming, a way to maintain her sanity and sense of self-worth. But she describes how the unexpected physical pressures, the unreasonable dictates of a remote corporate bureaucracy, and the dead-end career path eventually took their toll. As she struggled through more than two years at the mall, despite surgeries, customer abuse, and corporate inanity, Kelly gained a deeper understanding of the plight of the retail worker.

In the tradition of Nickel and Dimed, Malled challenges our assumptions about the world of retail, documenting one woman's struggle to find meaningful work in a broken system.
Publisher: New York : Portfolio/Penguin, 2011
ISBN: 9781591843801
Branch Call Number: 658.85 KEL 2011 22
Characteristics: ix, 226 p


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 22, 2013

This should have been a book about retail itself and not about the author herself in retail. Most of it is facts about retail and not much about her personal experiences. I realize that she worked at her store for over two years, but for one day a week? Her experiences in retail were mild compared to mine. All her complaints were about nasty, whiny people which is standard in retail..childs play compared to my experiences. When she can write about people tossing their credit cards and $100 dollar bills at her or having to clean up human waste on the bathroom floor, then I will feel sympathy. Read "Retail Hell", at least it is entertaining.

Nov 14, 2012

Caitlin Kelly has put in plenty of time in the retail trenches at her local mall. As an experienced journalist, she brings common sense to bear on the way her chain is managed - and the potential for a better retail experience for everyone.

Jan 28, 2012

This is a flawed book. It reads like a series of columns sewn together. The stitching shows and is sometimes weak. One problem is that the prose is irritatingly repetitive. At least fifty pages could have been trimmed, and Malled would benefit. Don't get me wrong, Kelly's material is interesting, and her managers and co-workers make great characters. However, the segues from her research and interviews to a first-person narrative (of her time as a disposable associate in retail) and back again can be awkward. I've noticed the same deficiencies in other works by journalists. Their proficiency at writing feature articles and blogs doesn't translate to book-length non-fiction. Still, this is an important subject which is rarely treated; so it's well worth reading.

Jun 10, 2011

The author worked only one day a week at The North Face and wrote a whole book complaining about it. Not a true portrait of retail work and not very good.

debwalker May 03, 2011

The inside scoop on the horrible-ness of working in retail.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at FSPL

To Top