So I learned the hard way what a rag house is....
I had sent my resume to a company who wanted someone to help them with their "wholesale vintage" business. Since I have been freelancing for both a fantastic vintage site and a designer selling apparel wholesale, I figured this would be a no brainer, I like vintage...or so I thought.
Apparently what I like is high end designer pieces sourced from private sellers that are immaculate and will only hold their value as my children age. I like investment vintage if you will- and fortunately, that is really the only vintage that I am familiar with. The site that I sometimes work for is just that- amazing pieces that are sourced one by one and treated with an incredible amount of respect.
When I arrived at my interview I gave an enthusiastic hello to the receptionist who ignored me. Okaaaay...so I stood there. She then informed me hastily that the interviewer would be running 15 minutes behind. Her attitude was a bigger deal than the wait honestly, so I sat down. I noticed that the ceiling tiles were half on, the walls looked like someone had spilled coffee on them and nobody cleaned it up and the carpet was downright scary. Hmmm.
The man that interviewed me was about as pleasant as the receptionist. He informed me that he had just let go an entire creative team and was going to replace them with just one person. (as if the state of the lobby wasn't a red flag, this was a blaring fog horn to get the fuck out of there.) I politely answered questions and then took a tour of the warehouse. This is when all hell broke loose. The word "bedbugs" shot through my mind as I saw hundreds of workers wearing masks and gloves sorting through piles and piles of clothing in a space as big as the biggest Costco you can imagine, only it was downright dirty. What I mean is, the public toilet I used on the drive down was cleaner than this place. He then informed me that I would be spending most of my time sorting through inventory.
Now, I don't mind a little manual labor..in fact I get bored if I have a job that doesn't require me to move around and move stuff around, but the stuff I move around is usually clean clothing. And I have seen pictures of rag houses before, (like the one pictured above) and they aren't really that dirty looking. But this place took it to a whole new level...I felt like I had been dropped into the worst episode of hoarders ever and it was then that my senses took over.
My interviewer asked me for the names of some shoes that are hot on the vintage market right now, you know, big sellers. I was in such a state of shock that I think I said something like, "I can't really think of any right now..." as I stared around dumbfounded. He snidely replied, "really? you can't think of any right now" and that's when I said, "No. I can't. Well not beyond a great pair of designer shoes that have been cared for properly. Thank you for your time, but I am definitely not the person you are looking for to fill this position."
I don't even think I stopped to shake his hand, I just hightailed it out of there leaving him now looking the deer.
A good friend told me that when you interview for a job you are also interviewing the potential employer while they are talking to you...I always ask how many people had the position that I am interviewing for in the last 2 years, what is their management style and most of all I am seeing if I will be able to happily work with this person in the future.
In the case of the rag house...no way. And I will think twice and do the research next time I am looking for vintage.
oh and by the way, www.zuburbia.com has some amazing vintage pieces if you're in the market for well cared for, impeccably collected items.