Our lives as: Abercrombie, Club Monaco employees

Horror stories from people who work in retail for tireless hours in low-paid conditions have become commonplace. This is not the case, however, for CAS sophomore Michael DeLuca, who currently works at Club Monaco, and CAS senior Raquel Montagne, who worked at Abercrombie & Fitch for eight years. Working in retail has proven to be a fun learning experience for both of them.

DeLuca and Montagne chose to work in stores to experience the retail industry. Like the jobs of many NYU students, DeLuca and Montagne’s retail experiences offer reasonable pay and part-time hours that work with their class schedules.

DeLuca said another benefit is working at a brand he likes to wear.

“The combination of finding a way to afford the clothes I like and make a little money in the meantime led me to Club Monaco,” DeLuca said.

One of the downsides to working in retail are tedious duties like folding clothes.

Montagne worked at a number of Abercrombie & Fitch locations, including the flagship store on Fifth Avenue. She said the environment was always busy and fast-paced. From tourists to natives and from the trend followers to the fashion-clueless, retail employment in New York City has put her in contact with a diverse customer base.

“I loved the international clientele,” Montagne said. “I got to learn and speak several languages.”

Working around 20 hours per week, both students found the fast-paced environment to be positive — no shift was too slow or uninteresting. Like any day in New York, every shift brought something new to the job.

“It’s fun to deal with the people that come in and talking about clothes is a nice change of pace from my politics classes,” DeLuca said.

Overall, their experiences working in retail have been positive, and the relationship between the staff allowed for an encouraging team. At Club Monaco, DeLuca found that working side-by-side with his supervisor disproved the idea of a controlling boss who stays away from the dirty work.

“Seeing your boss do the same work you’re doing keeps you from starting to think like a basketball player when they see their coach on the sidelines like, ‘He has us running 20 laps when he couldn’t run one,’” DeLuca said.

Montagne had a similar experience with supportive staff at Abercrombie & Fitch.

“I made a best friend from working at Abercrombie, and all of my managers and coworkers were great,” Montagne said.

Working in retail provided customer service skills that have created memories for both DeLuca and Montagne, as well as offering them many lessons.

“Retail is retail. You make of it what you want,” Montagne said. “I learned a lot about myself as a person during that time.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 10 print edition. Email Lauren Craddock at [email protected].