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January 23, 2014 1:32 PM   Subscribe

"Recently, I applied for a retail job. Upon receiving my resume, the owner of the store emailed me asking for a full breakdown of my payment and benefits desires along with my availability. After sending her an email back explaining my negotiations, she then wrote me back asking for a video of me explaining my abilities and what skills I would be able to bring to her boutique. ... This is when I realized that I have been going about applying for jobs all wrong! So here's my new resume."
posted by Potomac Avenue (154 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
Blatantly stolen from emptythought in this thread sorry emptythought.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:35 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Huh. I guess that whole Tim & Eric thing is a lot harder than it looks.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:39 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


I laughed. Especially at the dad cameo.
posted by codacorolla at 1:40 PM on January 23


Huh. I guess that whole Tim & Eric thing is a lot harder than it looks.

I'd wager those boys have a lot of video of themselves when they were this girl's age, looking pretty much exactly like this.
posted by davejay at 1:41 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


I thought it was pretty funny. I'd hire her.
posted by empath at 1:41 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


Her response email is classic, and that kind of subdued snark is hard to do well. She has a lot of talent as a writer.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:42 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I wanted to hate this, but I love this. Cats! Hangers! Shitty employers!
posted by fermezporte at 1:44 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Drugs are for it being home not for it being work
posted by neroli at 1:54 PM on January 23 [21 favorites]


Ha! Casey rules! Look at her go!
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:05 PM on January 23


Deschanelesque, but funny.
posted by cashman at 2:05 PM on January 23


cat. cat. cat.
posted by The Whelk at 2:23 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


I also wanted to hate it and ended up loving it.
posted by Captaintripps at 2:27 PM on January 23


I wanted to love this, but I hate it.
posted by dabitch at 2:32 PM on January 23


Sardonic Pixie Dream Girl FTW!
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:35 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Be sure to read the linked post, too. She has a good point:
With the majority of people in this country living in poverty, it is understandable that we would begin to bend over backwards for any sort of financial gain whatsoever. But, we are also the majority, and eventually we have to be willing to put our foot down. [...] It is our responsibility to not allow this behavior from our potential employers, in hopes that we can train them to treat us as people.
In the email exchange, her final bit of advice to the potential employer is pretty devastating, too.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:37 PM on January 23 [32 favorites]


I want to be her friend.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:45 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Yeah, definitely take the time to read the email exchange, especially the last one. I found this hilarious and pointed (unlike Tim and Eric, who I find joyously incomprehensible and annoyingly incomprehensible).
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:45 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I didn't think what the shop owner did was bad. The owner asked for her skills, the applicant highlighted her video making and editing ability, and so the shop owner asked for a short video. The applicant never asked to talk in person or by phone before then, never asked again the questions re salary and hours etc, and in short never let on that she REALLY wanted answers to those items right away. Maybe the shop owner should be more sensitive to her inherent privilege in this situation, but to me, suddenly turning this into a class war seems like blowing things out of proportion when you bragged about your video skillz in your original email.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:54 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Be right back, going to update resume with I HAVE FIVE HANGARS
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 3:00 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


It seemed like giving up on dreams of a future in San Francisco was the only logical economic step in obtaining the blissful American marriage while staying off of welfare.

Holy crumb, this girl's living my life. Except San Francisco WAS my home town and I had to run away cos a teacher's salary wasn't cutting it. I did get a husband out of it, though, and now I'm sort of willingly-unemployed. My last job was the most demeaning retail job I've had ever, and I quit with no notice when my asshole boss refused to respect my privacy (I didn't want to talk to him about my wedding because he made fun of EVERYTHING) and then made a comment that insulted both me and my dying father-in-law. All that for $9/hr, I peaced out. But I'm lucky to be able to do that.

GO Casey! I understand that employers have some of us over a barrel, but Jesus McGillicutty Christ some of the shit they try to pull. And that's the bosses -- sometimes they're waaay worse than the customers.
posted by polly_dactyl at 3:09 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


I like the grammar she formulated for the video. It's a kind of nervous lolcat speech.

Also, I would like a green screen now.
posted by ignignokt at 3:12 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


I don't know. I didn't think what the shop owner did was bad.

By itself, yeah, it's not terrible, although I think it's still kind of a crummy thing to do when you're hiring a minimum-wage shop clerk who you can replace at the drop of a hat if it's not working out. The thing is that looking for a job is full of these sorts of situations, where everyone wants you to "go the extra mile" and "show initiative" and jump through all sorts of frustrating hoops for what are ultimately shitty jobs that offer miserable wages and no sort of job security. If you look at each situation individually, sure, you can work out a way where it's not that bad, but from the perspective of the person looking for a job, you're getting it from all sides, even from people who are sincerely trying to help you out. Hell, even the advice you get is both unhelpful and frequently contradictory, because when you're looking for a job the hiring process is completely opaque and subject to the impossible-to-discern whims of one or two people about whether any conceivable aspect of your personality and presentation is Too Much, Not Enough, or Just Right.
posted by Copronymus at 3:21 PM on January 23 [40 favorites]


Be right back, going to update resume with I HAVE FIVE HANGARS

I added it to my LinkedIn profile as a skill. Now I hope my contacts will endorse this skill.
posted by birdherder at 3:26 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


I hope she gets "Hide your kids, hide your wife" famous.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:26 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


going to update resume with I HAVE FIVE HANGARS

You should just sell some of your planes, maybe
posted by echo target at 3:28 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Hope to get "Hide your kids, hide your wife" famous.
posted by cashman at 3:28 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


DUBSTEP FOLDING!!!
posted by Hicksu at 3:32 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Having just recently ended a job search, I'm blown away by what employers are asking of candidates these days. One company required a total of 15 interviews - 2 over the phone, 7 in an East Coast office, and 6 more in a West Coast office. Another company also required multiple days of in-person interviews, during which they grilled me as if I was on trial and mocked my lack of experience (though they kept continuing with my candidacy), then asked me to send along 15 pieces of example work, including not only the best examples of my work but the worst, i.e. examples of bad work on my part (and wanted to have an in-depth conversation about it where I told them what I did wrong and how I could improve on those pieces.) Job searches these days are exhausting - aside from all the skills necessary to be a great interviewee and candidate, it feels like a horrible war of attrition.
posted by naju at 3:37 PM on January 23 [43 favorites]


I don't know. I didn't think what the shop owner did was bad. The owner asked for her skills, the applicant highlighted her video making and editing ability, and so the shop owner asked for a short video.

I don't read that she was pushing her video editing skills from her response at all. She mentioned that she had a side gig, and that while the hours are flexible for the side gig, she'd like a set schedule for her day gig. Telling people your scheduling preferences and giving reasons (when appropriate) is part of a finding a job that's a good fit. It's not an invitation to show off whatever creative side skills you have that are completely unrelated to your job. Back when I was looking for a part time evening retail job I always asked about getting time off, and explained that because I'm a gigging musician and sometimes I'd need a weekday night off because I'd have a gig or rehearsal. I didn't expect that they'd say "well, write and perform song about why you want to work here."

Asking someone to do something they trained extensively for, requires expensive equipment, and takes several hours is bad enough when it's related to the work (in fact, that's why professionals have portfolios, demos, or whatever: so they don't have to do that for every individual job), it's down right insulting when it's for a low paying retail job that wouldn't use those skills.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:37 PM on January 23 [56 favorites]


This just confirms my biggest fear that I'm never going to have another fucking job again and I'm going to starve to death on the streets. I mean - really? A bloody video audition for retail?

(She was awesome and I hope she gets a good job doing something she loves.)
posted by Space Kitty at 3:43 PM on January 23 [25 favorites]


My first thought was that a retail job asking for a short video from potential applicants was a way to avoid bringing anyone in for an interview who didn't look a certain way.
posted by inertia at 3:43 PM on January 23 [29 favorites]


Exactly! She was looking for a reason to say No without actually having to say it to her face. Especially after the applicant wrote that she was looking for $15 an hour.
posted by Roger Dodger at 3:47 PM on January 23


She didn't completely obscure the boutique's name and address. I'm tempted to write a Yelp review for them: "this store has nice fashion clothes but where are the CATS."
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:49 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


I love this, but it's pretty obvious that the boutique owner was never going to understand what she was going for, unless it was a comic book shop or an indie video store or something.

To the point that I'm fairly sure that it was created for the purposes of mocking exchanges* like this, and not an earnest response to the boutique owner's request.

*Speaking of which, I could tell stories... I will say that it is ONLY people looking to hire menial workers who ask for this kind of thing.
posted by Sara C. at 3:54 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I like the grammar she formulated for the video. It's a kind of nervous lolcat speech.

It's an exact ripoff of this one episode of 30 Rock, and also Tim & Eric, as others have already pointed out. Not saying it's not funny, but what it definitely isn't is inventive.
posted by Sara C. at 3:56 PM on January 23


I found it about as funny as Tim and Eric. Which is to say not very. But it did have less poop references, so points for that.
posted by shinynewnick at 4:00 PM on January 23


She didn't completely obscure the boutique's name and address. I'm tempted to write a Yelp review for them: "this store has nice fashion clothes but where are the CATS."

Frankly I think the fact that she reproduced the email conversations and didn't fully obscure the shop owner's information is worse than anything the shop owner did here. The shop owner is trying to run a business and now her Yelp and other reviews are going to be full of pranks and poor reviews over this person's perceived slight.

The author of the video applied to a boutique retail clothing store, and when she was asked what she was looking for in her next job in terms of growth, etc., she responded in part that she had a video gig on the side and wanted regular hours to set aside for that, and that she wanted to be paid $15/hour (min. wage in CA is $8) and be full time in the near future. Then the owner asked her to make a short video of herself discussing what special skills she'd bring to a boutique. I don't think that's crazy or out of line or deserving of mockery. I certainly don't think this shop owner's Yelp and other on line accounts should now be the battlefield on which this scuffle is played out.
posted by onlyconnect at 4:15 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


And because I can't let this go yet -

At my last serious interview for an admin position, I learned I would be expected to manage their PR campaign, handle reception, work on their website and - when it was slow - help in the kitchen and do housekeeping.

I would be responsible for tracking my kitchen and housekeeping hours, so they could reduce the pay by .50 cents an hour while performing those duties.

I only wish I had the video chops to have sent something like this instead of the bland, 'No, that won't be possible' email when I reluctantly turned down their generous offer of $9.00/hour.
posted by Space Kitty at 4:18 PM on January 23 [34 favorites]


It is completely insane to expect a prospective retail employee to make a video for you explaining why they should be hired to fold clothes and ring up customers.

Completely and totally batshit insane.
posted by winna at 4:19 PM on January 23 [60 favorites]


Re $15, there's a reason she asked for that amount when asked for her salary requirements.

Because here's how this works.

If you assume it's a minimum wage job and say "oh really anything is fine!" or "whatever you think is best", you'll be getting $8/hour.

If you ask for $9 or $10 an hour, you'll be getting $8/hour.

You need to ask for at least $12 to have any chance of getting something you could actually live on, because if you ask for that, they'll suggest $9 or $10.

Asking for $15 indicates two things:

1. She's basically saying that if the owner doesn't offer her a living wage, she'll walk. But without actually coming out and saying it.

2. She would realistically like to be making in the range of $12/hour. Which is a perfectly reasonable rate for an upscale boutique in a wealthy area.
posted by Sara C. at 4:19 PM on January 23 [32 favorites]


Her initial email wasn't cutting edge of emotional labor 'let me grovel in delight and pretend that when my working hours are over I go under the couch like a Roomba' patter as is the current expectation of employees in America, but that doesn't matter at all in comparison with the deranged Napoleonic entitlement of expecting someone you're going to be paying to fold shirts to make a video to explain why you should hire them to fold shirts.

Seriously I am flabbergasted that anyone could possibly think that the idea that having someone shoot a video to audition to fold clothes is anything less than 'turn out the lights, there is no socially shared conception of the inherent value of human dignity anymore' level of crazy.
posted by winna at 4:25 PM on January 23 [53 favorites]


Frankly I think the fact that she reproduced the email conversations and didn't fully obscure the shop owner's information is worse than anything the shop owner did here. The shop owner is trying to run a business and now her Yelp and other reviews are going to be full of pranks and poor reviews over this person's perceived slight.

Oh, please. Exposing an idiotic, shameful thing is not more terrible than doing an idiotic, shameful thing.
posted by KathrynT at 4:32 PM on January 23 [59 favorites]


MetaFilter: When my working hours are over I go under the couch like a Roomba.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:43 PM on January 23 [19 favorites]


> The owner asked for her skills, the applicant highlighted her video making and editing ability, and so the shop owner asked for a short video.

This. I'm thinking the owner was simply asking (poorly worded, yes) for a short sample of her video work that might have application in the boutique's business... like maybe doing the boutique's TV ads in the future. Surely every aspiring videographer has a "reel", yes?

So, I don't think this is "look! stupid employers!" it seems more like a missed opportunity.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:50 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


I'm going to go out on a limb and assume she would not be paid the going rate for any videography she did for the business, instead she'd paid the folding shirt rate.

So that would be also dreadful in another way.
posted by winna at 4:54 PM on January 23 [14 favorites]


Why? The boutique is not hiring her to make videos. The boutique is hiring her to do customer service, keep the till balanced, and keep the place organized.

On the slight chance that she got the job -- and keep in mind she has not even interviewed for the job yet -- and was asked to apply her video skills in some way, you can bet that it would be "for exposure" and not paid.

One thing I would potentially give the boutique owner is that I bet she was expecting a 30 second iphone video of her giving a cute little shpeil about her superb people skills. Which is why she was so nonplussed.
posted by Sara C. at 4:56 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


This is a ridiculous request on the part of the boutique owner. Not only that, it's insulting. Given that looking for ANY kind of work these days can lead to such degrading experiences, I expect there to be a whole lot of resentment down the road (if there isn't, already) toward the "wo/man".
posted by Vibrissae at 5:10 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


I've heard of people submitting video job applications more and more recently and it terrifies me. I probably have video production skills in one manner or another (mostly from shooting photography which isn't the same, but I imagine I could compose a scene pretty well and light it properly) but I definitely don't have the utilities.
posted by gucci mane at 5:13 PM on January 23


I know the video was a joke--and I thought it was pretty funny--but, had the employer taken time to really think about it, she would've realized it was a really good resume as well.

Casey was demonstrating that she was quick on her feet, responding quickly without fear or rage--which, let's face it, is skill number one in retail, far more important than folding shirts. She demonstrated that she's capable of thinking about fashion--she's picking laser backgrounds and a wardrobe out of a Tracey Gold after-school special because she understands these are way out of line, as were the dumpy t-shirts the dad character brought out. Her eye for the wrong color combos was great. If she'd chosen attractive kitsch, rather than the permanently dated and horrible type, it would've sent a different, lesser message. She's saying, "I know what you don't want." She's obviously funny which means she'd be sooo much easier to work with than a more oppressive personality. Even the fact that the humor was pretty derivative makes sense for the resume, it's a signal that she can learn from others.

I hope she ends up getting some kinda job out of it!
posted by mittens at 5:14 PM on January 23 [26 favorites]


onlyconnect: "The author of the video applied to a boutique retail clothing store, and when she was asked what she was looking for in her next job in terms of growth, etc., she responded in part that she had a video gig on the side and wanted regular hours to set aside for that, and that she wanted to be paid $15/hour (min. wage in CA is $8) and be full time in the near future. Then the owner asked her to make a short video of herself discussing what special skills she'd bring to a boutique. I don't think that's crazy or out of line or deserving of mockery."

It's asking the applicant to do skilled work for free that she usually gets paid for, so that she can apply to a shitty retail job. Seriously, as far as employment etiquette goes, there are few things that are more out of line.

Artful Codger: "This. I'm thinking the owner was simply asking (poorly worded, yes) for a short sample of her video work that might have application in the boutique's business... like maybe doing the boutique's TV ads in the future. Surely every aspiring videographer has a "reel", yes?"

lol
posted by invitapriore at 5:15 PM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Wow, am I calibrated so differently from almost everyone else in this thread, filled mostly with women who I really respect? It gives me pause. Maybe I'm off here. I don't know. I'm really not trying to offend everyone.

I did notice, as Sara C. mentions, that her initial email has that "sent from my iPhone" footer to it, and I assumed a short selfie iphone video was what the owner was looking for. With people being interviewed on skype and similar these days and people making their own videos on their iPhones these days as regularly as they go to the bathroom, I didn't think this was crazy, but I appreciate that I seem to be in the minority here and will try to sit back and just listen for a while.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:16 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


I wonder if, like internships, this is meant as a de facto barrier to entry for people who are lower-class. You need video equipment, editing tools, editing savvy, and - this being SF boutique retail, probably a decent amount of signifiers for hipster style cachet - and you should be able to make a cute appealing video using all of that, before you even get your foot in the door for an interview. Good luck if you're the kind of person who is struggling to get by. Which is ironic and deeply sad, considering this is apparently happening on the minimum wage end of the job spectrum now.
posted by naju at 5:18 PM on January 23 [19 favorites]


I have had skype interviews, and I have had weirdo makeshift interviews where I was given a list of questions and asked to video myself answering them verbally.

But those seem pretty different from having to create a finished video project, and also I did the skype/video things in lieu of an interview, rather than as a creative thing.

This is more like "Oh, you're a writer? Write me a sonnet about why you deserve this job" than like using technology in inventive ways.
posted by Sara C. at 5:18 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Dear Applicant,

I see you're in a band. Please record a short song about why you'd be a good member of our team.

Dear Applicant,

I see you're a painter. Please create a watercolor that shows your understanding of customer service.

Dear Applicant,

I see you were once a travel agent. Please send me an amusing series of photos of you in different parts of the world making friends with people.

Dear Applicant,

I see you once were a mortician's assistant. etc. etc.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:19 PM on January 23 [43 favorites]


This is more like "Oh, you're a writer? Write me a sonnet about why you deserve this job" than like using technology in inventive ways.

Exactly. I'm sure this woman thought she was being harmlessly quirky with her request-- oh, this person will surely appreciate an opportunity to show off their creativity! Because an artistic skill isn't real work, just a fun hobby.
posted by sonmi at 5:27 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


At my last serious interview for an admin position, I learned I would be expected to manage their PR campaign, handle reception, work on their website and - when it was slow - help in the kitchen and do housekeeping.

Space Kitty, you just described almost every admin job I've ever had, except for it being actually a lot worse. And that was before the economic downturn.

I thought it was a cute video and so what? She's young, she's talented, and she has enough chutzpah to go far. Hope she keeps it up.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:27 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


God, I'm glad I'm a programmer. If I wanted a shitty job, I could just answer one of the eighteen million calls I get per week offering me $30k a year to write PHP and fix printers for Joe's iPad App Development and Used Car Emporium.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:29 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


I assumed a short selfie iphone video was what the owner was looking for. With people being interviewed on skype and similar these days and people making their own videos on their iPhones these days as regularly as they go to the bathroom, I didn't think this was crazy, but I appreciate that I seem to be in the minority here and will try to sit back and just listen for a while.

Here's the question, I think: what information is the shop owner going to gain from a video that she can't gain from a resume and some email? I mean, she asks her to "explain what her gifts are that would be an asset to the boutique." Is a video the best format for that? No; that can be handled by her resume and an email.

However, a video is definitely the best format to determine if she's young, white and conventionally attractive -- and whether or not that was the shop owner's intent (I doubt that it was), those are the sorts of unconscious biases that get acted on by the owner thinking "Oh, now this girl is my kind of person!" or whatever. Video "applications" are just a terrible idea.
posted by KathrynT at 5:37 PM on January 23 [35 favorites]


Oh, god, I once had the most terrifying interview for a consignment shop where they made me dress a mannequin in the outfit of my choice.

On the one hand, it was kind of fun?

On the other hand, omg if you are ever anxious about people judging your fashion sense, don't EVER dress up a mannequin as part of a job interview.

The sad thing is that it was sort of a cool shop, and it was in walking distance from my house, so I wanted the job at the same time as I had complete disdain for the entire situation.
posted by Sara C. at 5:41 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Blatantly stolen from emptythought in this thread sorry emptythought.

It's chill, but here's another similarly golden one i was going to pop in my FPP. I also posted a screenshot album for when craigslist takes it down. It's truly a work of art. Seriously, go read it. It's straight from the mind of Dwight Schrute. You are doing yourself a disservice if you don't read it, it's art.

A bonus quote from my friend about an encounter he had with the guy years ago:
I once came by his shop while job hunting and asked if he was taking resumés
"no but I'll take a loook."
(to a customer) "ugh I should have a resume writing workshop for high schoolers" "Hardworking? no you're not, This means nothing I could convince you within 5 minutes that you're not a hard worker. Ugh this isn't the 80s you can't just print out one resume and submit it a bunch of places you have to tailor every one to the job you're applying for (note I had no prior work experience besides volunteer work)... essentially after already stating he wasn't hiring decided to take my resume and give his douchy unsolicited critique of it in front of a customer and me. I was kind of taken aback and unsure how to respond
So the same guy who had that encounter, years later responded to that current ad:
I'm responding to your post not so much because I need a job but because I'm ready to wake up.
I've wasted away year after year in a fantasy world I now realize. There is no God, there is no value in being a “nice person”. I come to you not because I think I can convince you I’m a “hard worker” or am “polite and well mannered with customers” but because I am ready to crawl naked out of my mother’s womb at last into the real world. A world where the customer isn’t always right, where a select few individuals grease the gears of capitalism with blood, tears and juice.

As of now, I am of little redeeming value to anyone. I have come to learn that unearned self esteem is a crutch. I remind myself each night before going to bed of my own insignificance in the world, such is the only way to remain honest. If at 19 years of age with only a high school diploma and limited entry level work experience I die in my sleep the world has lost nothing. I seek to change this, and based on your post and battery of deceptively absurd questions, can tell that you are one of the few people worth knowing. Just as muscle must be stripped away before it can regrow stronger, the process of self recognition is a painful one, anyone who insists on “being nice” to you to coddle your feelings is not truly your friend.
god i love my friends sometimes.

EDIT: his blog is also a goldmine of dwightness.
posted by emptythought at 5:42 PM on January 23 [19 favorites]


[Please do not hunt up the business in question or the real names of people involved, etc. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 5:43 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


the sorts of unconscious biases that get acted on by the owner thinking "Oh, now this girl is my kind of person!" or whatever.

This is par for the course in hiring for retail jobs. I don't think there's anything about the video aspect that makes this any worse than the interview where they're clearly looking for a friend and not an employee, or the thing where you show up and they've clearly made a lot of assumptions about you already.
posted by Sara C. at 5:44 PM on January 23


emptythought, the best thing about that job is that the job title is barista, but the job description is not actually looking for a barista.
posted by Sara C. at 5:47 PM on January 23


Frankly I think the fact that she reproduced the email conversations and didn't fully obscure the shop owner's information is worse than anything the shop owner did here. The shop owner is trying to run a business and now her Yelp and other reviews are going to be full of pranks and poor reviews over this person's perceived slight.

This shop owner obviously needs to learn a few things about actually running a business, not playing shop for laffs like fucking Marie Antoinette. It'll be good for her. Or she'll close up and stop wasting the time of real non-garbage people.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:47 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


the best thing about that job is that the job title is barista, but the job description is not actually looking for a barista.

it's pretty par for the course if you've ever been a barista before. that job, especially at a small place usually means "catchall service lackey who does anything i say" and often includes everything from hands and knees scrubbing the toilets to all kinds of food prep.

Everyone just says barista because it sounds sexier than "cashier and prep" or something.
posted by emptythought at 5:52 PM on January 23


No, see, that's exactly the thing.

I have been a barista before.

A barista is a person who uses an espresso machine to make coffee drinks. (And sometimes does other coffee and tea related beveragey things, but mostly it's about espresso.)

This is a job listing for a "counter person", or maybe some kind of cook type position. Baristas do not make salads or soups or hummus. They make coffee.

There is no mention of coffee anywhere in the job description. While, yes, sometimes baristas have to do tasks that are not making coffee (ringing up customers, cleaning, side work, plating food served in the cafe), baristas as a rule do not exclusively not-make-coffee.

(I also find it hilarious that he refers to his own menu as "weird shit".)
posted by Sara C. at 5:57 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


It seems to me that this intended more as a 'viral' video for a comedy duo, rather than an actual response to a job inquiry. Yeay viral fame, maybe this will get them a job. Except you know, it would be better if it was funny. Did you guys really think that was her dad in the video? You're metafilter, you're usually not this gullable.
posted by dabitch at 6:25 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Eh, it is pretty much exactly what every 23 year old comedy person is doing right now.

Especially people who want to do sketch/FunnyOrDie/improv ish stuff.
posted by Sara C. at 6:26 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


A piece of light wisdom: repeating the same insult is holding up a mirror. If, like juice bar guy, you think everyone in the world is self-obsessed, maybe that says something about you.
posted by Apropos of Something at 6:33 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Once I got a job soely on the basis of knowing lots and lots of classic movie actors.

It was a movie material store, prints and posters but also usage rights for TV and movies, so if you wanted to use a photo of Marilyn Monroe in your newscast, you came to us. My "interview" was a questionnaire - name four movies starring this actor,Cary Grant, Lana Turner, Rita Heyworth,etc etc." and then directors and shit.

I aced it but they went bankrupt six months later.
posted by The Whelk at 6:34 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


You're metafilter, you're usually not this gullable.

What was your first clue, Sherlock, was it the link to their comedy page at the top of this post?
posted by empath at 6:39 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


not this gullable.

I am indeed usually much less gullable. I'm all, 'go away, gulls! I know your game!'
posted by winna at 6:43 PM on January 23 [19 favorites]


Also, frankly, I like the idea of a sort of topical/personal "Comedy Video About A Funny Thing That Happened To Me". It's sort of Standup 2.0.

In fact, I like this idea so much that I might steal it for my next project.
posted by Sara C. at 6:45 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Did you guys really think that was her dad in the video?

Well, instead in halfway attending to this video (and encountering it first on Facebook, not here) I had a moment that massively revealed my own confusions about how old I am, other people are, and whether I can trust my radar any more. You know how when you're young you can't really tell the difference between someone 30 and someone 50, or 65? It's like in my middle age I'm getting the reverse of that. I can't tell the difference between my own age cohort and people who are still in their 20s . I saw the guy come on, assumed he was a friend/co-conspirator of hers. Then she said "Thanks Dad!" and I went into a spin of, OMG, is that really her Dad? He seems so young to be her dad! But then I realized, but hey, he could be her dad, because he looks like a lot of my own peers, and some of them definitely are of an age where they could have her as a daughter. But at the same time, it seemed kind of odd, because they didn't have a convincing dad-daughter energy. And I'm continually amazed at the relationships my peers have with their young adult kids, so much different than our own relationships were with people my parents' age. So I was like "weird somehow, but maybe. Whatever. I'm getting old."

So, I'm gullible only if complete generational confusion and head-checking when my from-the-hip age-estimation seems to be totally off is part of being gullible.
posted by Miko at 6:48 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


Oh, god, I once had the most terrifying interview for a consignment shop where they made me dress a mannequin in the outfit of my choice.

That, at least, is related to skills for the actual job. I've had to take literature quizzes for bookstore jobs. Though those should be less "Who wrote Don Quixote?" and more "A customer is looking for a book; it has a green cover, came out sometime in the last two years, is probably a novel and is about relationships. What is the book?"
posted by rtha at 6:50 PM on January 23 [18 favorites]


What was your first clue, Sherlock - the general unfunnyness of the skit.
posted by dabitch at 6:51 PM on January 23


Though those should be less "Who wrote Don Quixote?" and more "A customer is looking for a book; it has a green cover, came out sometime in the last two years, is probably a novel and is about relationships. What is the book?"

*fist bump* I can tell you also worked in a bookstore, comrade. Exaggerated not a whit.
posted by Miko at 6:52 PM on January 23 [9 favorites]


But scarily enough, you could usually just say "Bridges of Madison County?" and be right.
posted by Miko at 6:59 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


These days I'd be all "Hang on, I'm gonna ask metafilter. I'll let you know in five minutes what book you're talking about."
posted by rtha at 7:16 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


She folded the shit out of that top.
posted by anothermug at 7:42 PM on January 23 [5 favorites]


I knew I'd seen her on the Interweb before--where her fiance did the same engagement poses as her.
posted by reiichiroh at 8:16 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


"Except you know, it would be better if it was funny. Did you guys really think that was her dad in the video?"

u are right who made this lets just go watch DAD HUMOR videos together because they are funny this doesn't even have real dads i will call the police
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 PM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Man, there have been a couple threads on MeFi recently to this effect, but it still astounds me how entitled some employers are about the way they communicate with prospective employees. I'm going to be doing some interviewing for our office soon and the thought of making some poor job-seeker jump through humiliating hoops like this makes my stomach churn. How hard is it to just be respectful to people you communicate with? I don't know what has happened in our society that some people think they can treat those looking for a job like disposable NPCs.
posted by deathpanels at 8:33 PM on January 23 [13 favorites]


The dad is her fiance, btw.
posted by Sara C. at 8:39 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Also, for Miko's sake, assuming the Daily Mail article is recent-ish, he is in his mid 30's and a decade older than she is. So not old enough to be her father AT ALL.
posted by Sara C. at 8:49 PM on January 23


The dad is her fiance

And that's why I never take a case in Chinatown.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:05 PM on January 23 [24 favorites]


She did, indeed, fold the hell out of that shirt. I'd hire her.
posted by arcticseal at 9:06 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


"The dad is her fiance"

what is this
the country all Republicans live in after gay marriage?
posted by klangklangston at 9:15 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


u are right who made this lets just go watch DAD HUMOR videos together because they are funny this doesn't even have real dads i will call the police

dad humor dot dad, local dads want to joke with YOU! <img src="laughdad.gif">
posted by jason_steakums at 9:25 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


If you run a boutique clothing store in a major city, you probably have, or will soon have, a web presence. (The consignment shops in my area do, for example.) It is possible that someone with video making skills could come in handy for major events or announcements at the shop. I still don't think asking for the video was as clearly far removed from possible future job duties as most others here seem to think.

It also seems clear to me that the ability to communicate effectively and present yourself well was going to be something that the store owner wanted and needed, because it seems like the customers were often asking for help finding the right outfit and that was something the new hire would have to deal with. And being someone the store owner herself would get along with was also important, since the owner spent so much time in the store alongside the employees. All of those things are information that come across in a video, to some extent, and not a resume.

I still think it was bad form to reprint the email conversation without truly obscuring the identifying information. Is it only here on MetaFilter where reprinting emails without permission is considered impolite and is in fact disallowed? I guess because I don't see the request for the selfie video as egregious in the first place, the value of "exposing" the request doesn't trump the unwritten rule of not publishing private email correspondence on the internet, but I may be an outlier.

I did think the shop owner's final email, after receiving the video that was clearly made to take the piss out of her, was remarkably polite. Granted, I didn't discern what other places she suggested the applicant apply so maybe there was some veiled insult in there I couldn't read. But the shop owner acknowledged that there had clearly been a misunderstanding about their expectations of what was to be in the video and said straightforwardly that it wasn't going to be a good fit. I guess I'm one of the only people here who has a higher regard for the shopkeeper at the end of this saga than the comedy team. I know most of you are going the other way on this, and again, I'm not trying to be insulting. I just don't think asking for a selfie video from someone with an iPhone is so terribly weird in this age.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:42 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


She did, indeed, fold the hell out of that shirt. I'd hire her.

Are you all kidding? I spent 16 years in retail and left with zeeeeeeeero marketable skills, but even at a distance of years, I could still freehand-fold three shirts more evenly than she did in the same time. AND SMILE PLEASANTLY AT THE CUSTOMER WHO UNFOLDED ALL THE SHIRTS WHILE I DID.
posted by Elsa at 10:08 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


onlyconnect: If you run a boutique clothing store in a major city, you probably have, or will soon have, a web presence. (The consignment shops in my area do, for example.) It is possible that someone with video making skills could come in handy for major events or announcements at the shop. I still don't think asking for the video was as clearly far removed from possible future job duties as most others here seem to think.

That would be a bullshit thing to expect from a retail clerk though unless it was clearly outlined up front that those would NOT be normal job duties, and that if you were going to be doing that kind of stuff it would be at a separate pay rate either as a contractor or otherwise completely separate from your regular, low wage retail job.

And you KNOW that would not be the case. No asshole running a shop like this would ever do that. Their entire hope would be to pay someone pennies to do that kind of work because they're "learning".

I honestly think that expecting both from one person is almost a conflict of interest and very easily unethical, because the separation between one job and the other would have to be handled flawlessly with no bullshit or pushback on the part of the store owner as to what was paid for what.

I still think it was bad form to reprint the email conversation without truly obscuring the identifying information. Is it only here on MetaFilter where reprinting emails without permission is considered impolite and is in fact disallowed? I guess because I don't see the request for the selfie video as egregious in the first place, the value of "exposing" the request doesn't trump the unwritten rule of not publishing private email correspondence on the internet, but I may be an outlier.

In a reddit thread i don't really want to link to about this video, she mentions that she made a good faith effort to obscure that info but just didn't do an awesome job because everyone there was HAMMERING her to keep posting updates and she rushed it.(tons of "op will deliver, yea right" memes and stuff non stop flooding her). Everyone whined at her to post it until she did, then they whined at her for not obscuring it well enough but the cat was already out of the bag and people over there started doxing the shop and shit. It was definitely NOT her intention.

I mean, she revealed her info too, not just the shop owners. I don't have any reason to disbelieve her on that one.

I just don't think asking for a selfie video from someone with an iPhone is so terribly weird in this age.

Mainly because, if you care enough to want that time commitment from someone then bring them in, jesus christ. I think that once you get by more than 2 or 3 steps of "ok, now do this and get back to me" you should either be saying sorry or bringing the person in. It's just leading-on hoop jumping bullshit. And i feel like the people who don't think it's "that weird" havent been job hunting in the past few years. I've been trying to be my nicest on that point, and i think others have here too, but really it's one of those ones where i think the people who think it doesn't seem that bad just don't get it.

deathpanels: Man, there have been a couple threads on MeFi recently to this effect, but it still astounds me how entitled some employers are about the way they communicate with prospective employees.

Holy shit, that thread made me RAGE. I really wish i had seen that thread when it first came around, but it honestly reminds me of an experience i had.

See, through a friend who worked there i secured an interview at Super Desirable Software Company. SDSC is one of those small-ish shops of a few hundred employees that everyone wants to work at, and no one even gets an interview at. They're secretive, weird, and make a ton of money.

I slam dunked the phone interview surprisingly easily, the 2 people conference calling with me seem to love me. Come in, they say. They sounded excited! So I rush out and buy brand new interview clothes. Used of course, i didn't have any fucking money! Thrift shop dress shoes that were current and fashionable looking, some levis slacks, and a short sleeve oxford(hey, it was summer). The button popped off the pants and i had to safety pin them. But you couldn't tell and i still looked dapper as shit, whatever.

They said to show up at the beginning of the workday, so i did. Little did i know this was going to be a freaking all day interview.

It ended up being either 3 or 4 cycles of at least 1.5 hour rotating interviews with different sets of two people. One of them included designing, and demonstrating a new feature i thought one of their products should have. This was at least an hour of white boarding and Q&A with the two guys about how various parts of it would be implemented.

Let me cut myself right off there and note that the job was an entry level helpdesk position for their users. Not dev, nothing.

Other interviews actually did cover support, ticketing, how i'd handle various situations, etc that did seem relevant. But it just went on FOR EVER. Questions would be re-flung at you by different people in almost trick-question ways to see if you'd give consistent answers.

The most infuriating part was all the interviewers would meet between sessions like cops at the police station talking about a suspect on the other side of the one way mirror, then a different set of guys come in to fling new questions at you mixed with trick-question versions of previous questions. They'd also kick you out of the room and make you sit in some weird interstitial part of the office for awkward, like 30 minute amounts of time while they did this.

Oh, and i was told to dress "Professional", but i was the only person in the entire office who wasn't wearing a pit stained, faded, ripped metal shirt or a meme tshirt or something. I looked like a complete try-hard social climbing fool.

At least in the middle i got to go to their awesome lunch hall and eat tons of expensive hummus and pita chips and badass stuff made by the company chef for free.

At the end they sent me a series of email "open ended response" questions like the bizarre ones in that juice shop want ad i linked. I gave it 110% and wrote the most thoughtful responses i could. I never heard back from them, and they ignored any attempts to contact them i made.

Oh, and they totally stole my idea i spent an hour demonstrating. Just saw a new product from them that seems to be using it. Still kinda butthurt about that one, it was pretty smart. I was convinced if i didn't make a good effort to demonstrate something cool and that i was more useful than capable of doing stuff beyond that job they wouldn't want me.

In the end i couldn't believe that between the phone interview, ridiculous day-killing in person session, and weird email exchange they had wasted over 2 weeks of my time to never even give me a direct response if i got the job or not.

And this was for a job that paid like, 35k? It was low-midrange for what the job was, and PATHETIC for how incredibly rolling in the dough the company was and how many tickets you'd have to deal with non stop(and they were also piling extra duties like "troll the net and find forum posts about people pirating our products so we can see how they're doing it and try and foil them").

Oh, and this was as i said a place lots of people wanted to work. It was also a place that people imagined or often said was a "dream" place to work. My friend got fired a month or so later and only found out months later through a work friend that it was because of some really tiresome, bizarre office politics crap when he thought everyone liked him. Total daytime tv drama house of cards crap.

I can never really look at that company or their products the same way again. It was a total shitshow.
posted by emptythought at 10:35 PM on January 23 [27 favorites]


"If you run a boutique clothing store in a major city, you probably have, or will soon have, a web presence. (The consignment shops in my area do, for example.) It is possible that someone with video making skills could come in handy for major events or announcements at the shop. I still don't think asking for the video was as clearly far removed from possible future job duties as most others here seem to think. "

It's possible, sure, but it doesn't sound like it. If it was mentioned when she dropped off the resume, I'd figure that someone with videographer skills would have replied to that in the initial message. And honestly, you're trying to put a lot of hats on her already — video editing isn't maintaining a web presence, and neither of those are customer service, really.

So, it's not mentioned, it's not something that would necessarily be a related skill, and to do it right is way more effort than you're giving credit for.

"It also seems clear to me that the ability to communicate effectively and present yourself well was going to be something that the store owner wanted and needed, because it seems like the customers were often asking for help finding the right outfit and that was something the new hire would have to deal with. And being someone the store owner herself would get along with was also important, since the owner spent so much time in the store alongside the employees. All of those things are information that come across in a video, to some extent, and not a resume. "

Or, in an interview after you answer questions about job duties, pay, schedule, etc.

But I'm really not quite clear on why you're bending over backwards to give the employer the benefit of the doubt. I mean, it could all have been a legitimate need expressed in a cruddy way by the boutique owner, a way that's cruddy because it's blithe and vapid cliché. Make a video about what her "gifts" are?

"I still think it was bad form to reprint the email conversation without truly obscuring the identifying information. Is it only here on MetaFilter where reprinting emails without permission is considered impolite and is in fact disallowed? I guess because I don't see the request for the selfie video as egregious in the first place, the value of "exposing" the request doesn't trump the unwritten rule of not publishing private email correspondence on the internet, but I may be an outlier. "

It's not some scandalous roman à clef of Victorian England — and there's no rule against publishing correspondence on the internet. It's something that's banned at MeFi because it can be toxic in a community and has led to some ugliness here before.

Is it just that you relate more to the shop owner than the applicant?

"I did think the shop owner's final email, after receiving the video that was clearly made to take the piss out of her, was remarkably polite. Granted, I didn't discern what other places she suggested the applicant apply so maybe there was some veiled insult in there I couldn't read. But the shop owner acknowledged that there had clearly been a misunderstanding about their expectations of what was to be in the video and said straightforwardly that it wasn't going to be a good fit. I guess I'm one of the only people here who has a higher regard for the shopkeeper at the end of this saga than the comedy team. I know most of you are going the other way on this, and again, I'm not trying to be insulting. I just don't think asking for a selfie video from someone with an iPhone is so terribly weird in this age."

So, think about it this way:

When I was last looking for work, I applied to, oh, let's say ten jobs a week to make the math easier, though my average was higher than that. If each of them wants me to make a video explaining my "gifts," that's at least 20 hours worth of work just for that alone, and that's without even getting an answer on what the duties are? It's rude because it's oblivious, and we countenance that because the boutique owner is the owner.

Instead, Casey Grim responded to the rude request by pointing out both how rude and how stupid the request was. I mean, come on: "Drugs are for it being home not for it being work" is pretty funny and skewers the "good employee" rote bullshit.

I just hired a part-time designer at work — I got a shit-ton of applicants, picked a handful to interview, was clear about what the job is (hours, pay, duties), and had the final three candidates do about an hour's work of something that is exactly what 80 percent of their daily work is going to be like. Now I've gotta contact a lot of people and let them know that they didn't get the job, because the fade bullshit is just obnoxious and strings people along. But out of that, I got someone who can do this work at a professional level, and who knows exactly what they're signing on for.

I tried hard not to waste anyone's time, and to make sure to treat applicants like they're people with shit going on in their lives outside of some part-time gig, at least in part because I've gone through the terrible fucking job market right now, and dealt with tons of shitty application processes.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 PM on January 23 [20 favorites]


When the revolution comes, it will be in the form of a viral video and a Reddit thread. But the global economic system will never have the decency to email back letting us know our revolution has been unsuccessful.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:42 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Frankly I think the fact that she reproduced the email conversations and didn't fully obscure the shop owner's information is worse than anything the shop owner did here.
Would you feel the same way if the owner had actually used the words "are you fat or black?"
posted by fullerine at 4:35 AM on January 24 [12 favorites]


I just don't think asking for a selfie video from someone with an iPhone is so terribly weird in this age.

Don't you think that at the least, this could expose the boutique owner to an employment discrimination charge?

I don't think anybody comes off super well here. I agree that the shop owner is out of line, but also that when the actress got asked for the video, she wasn't thinking "what a labor outrage" but "material!!" It's interesting that it does expose an issue of employers' privileges and princely whims in this horrendous economy, but I think we also wouldn't be seeing it if it weren't, in essence, another kind of résumé .
posted by Miko at 5:25 AM on January 24


She didn't completely obscure the boutique's name and address.

Is that 'edgy', 'hip', or is that just poor editing of an image? Because if the goal is to be a video editor isn't that about editing images?

MetaFilter: When my working hours are over I go under the couch like a Roomba.

Many threads on The Blue are like that - going in a straight line until hitting an obstacle then picking a new direction and spending sometime in a dark, not often cleaned place while sometimes getting stuck.

fat or black

Perhaps in under 30 days someone on the big bad internet will 'figure out' the name of the place and gather evidence to support that idea. If it takes more than 30 days, no chance of it getting linked here.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:24 AM on January 24


> Casey was demonstrating that she was quick on her feet, responding quickly without fear or rage

but not that she was good at sucking up to entitled rich ladies like the shop owner & I'll guess, the shop's customers. It's not just folding and cash registering, but salesperson-ship that matters.
posted by morganw at 7:56 AM on January 24


I agree that the shop owner is out of line, but also that when the actress got asked for the video, she wasn't thinking "what a labor outrage" but "material!!"

Those two aren't mutually exclusive. Using life experiences to inform your art is pretty common, and it doesn't diminish the real emotion felt at the moment. Eric Clapton wasn't cackling with cynical glee over being able to write "Tears in Heaven."

The thing about being a freelance anything, but especially someone who does creative stuff, is that you are CONSTANTLY being asked to work for free (excuse me for "exposure"), or cheap, or whatever by people who are genuinely clueless about how much work and money you've invested to be able to do whatever it is you're doing. So you create this filter to sort people who value your time and talent and people who don't. It just wears you down, and no it might not be clueless person number 543 asking you to do something's fault that they're number 543 and not number 5, but they still chose to ask without any consideration of what it would cost you.

Throw that on top of the ridiculous hiring culture out there, and why shouldn't she get mad? Maybe viewed in isolation, it's not that bad, but as just one more incident in a series of incidents, it is that bad

but not that she was good at sucking up to entitled rich ladies like the shop owner & I'll guess, the shop's customers. It's not just folding and cash registering, but salesperson-ship that matters.


So, ask about salesmanship in an interview. That's what interviews are for. This is for a sales clerk job. There is no reason that the shop owner needs to know if she's good at producing videos or not. Unless she want's to hire her to make videos, in which case there's no reason the owner needs to know about what skills she would bring as a sales clerk.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:11 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


(mean to include this in the comment above, sorry)

It seems to me that this intended more as a 'viral' video for a comedy duo, rather than an actual response to a job inquiry.

Nah, it was a response, it's just that the response was "No" rather than "sure, here' a video."
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:18 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I found this quite amusing. I'm all for people giving the finger to employers who want you to jump through ridiculous hoops for a ten-bucks-an-hour job.
posted by Mister_A at 8:46 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Also, to reiterate, the video request is absolutely a way to see what she looks like, in order to exclude her, if needed, from the candidate pool without Casey ever having to darken the doorway of this prestigious shit-hole establishment. They are lucky they got off with a sarcastic video instead of legal action, the bastards.
posted by Mister_A at 8:48 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Conscientious employers don't ask for headshots (unless they're talent agencies, which aren't really exactly employers of the models and actors per se but you get my drift).
posted by Mister_A at 8:51 AM on January 24


If you run a boutique clothing store in a major city, you probably have, or will soon have, a web presence. (The consignment shops in my area do, for example.) It is possible that someone with video making skills could come in handy for major events or announcements at the shop. I still don't think asking for the video was as clearly far removed from possible future job duties as most others here seem to think.

Here's the problem with this line of thought.

You know what happens all the time? You go out in search of a day job to do while you make your silly comedy videos. You find a day job, but because it's 2014 and there is no justice, your boss doesn't expect you to treat this job as a day job. In service to that, your boss slips in all kinds of mentions of the fact that, you know, maybe someday, if you prove not to be completely useless, maybe you'll also get to make some videos for the site. And the boss holds this out as like some kind of "goal" for you. It becomes a "privilege" that you could lose by not meeting your sales goals.

Of course, let's keep in mind that your goal isn't to make commercials for a local boutique or create content for some business you don't give a shit about. You do comedy. You make videos as part of your art, either for yourself or for your comedy audience. Why are you scrambling on this treadmill for the supposed carrot of getting to make a video for your job's stupid website?

Suddenly, you've been roped into this Retail Career at a business you're actually supposed to pretend to care about, turning your passion that you got this day job in service of into a sad parody of a bourgie Life Goal.

Maybe this woman isn't looking for all that. Maybe she wants a day job folding shirts at a store, not some kind of "start in the nosebleeds, maybe we'll let you think you actually hit the ball" career nightmare.
posted by Sara C. at 8:58 AM on January 24 [14 favorites]


really it's one of those ones where i think the people who think it doesn't seem that bad just don't get it.

Keep in mind, too, that if you're on the job hunt, you're heading down like 10-15 of these rabbit holes per week.
posted by Sara C. at 9:05 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


You find a day job, but because it's 2014 and there is no justice, your boss doesn't expect you to treat this job as a day job.

Yes!

Lately I've been thinking about Wallace Stevens. He wrote his poetry while he was a VP for an insurance company. Nowadays that would be laughable! No one at that level has the time to do anything but go to meetings eighty hours a week!

And that expectation trickles down so that none of us are expected to do anything but pine to work all of our time. God help you if you don't have kids - the people with children can at least use them as an excuse to take time off sometimes.

I like my job, but the idea that I should be glad to give up doing things I love to do for work is vile.
posted by winna at 9:29 AM on January 24 [8 favorites]


First, I thought the video was cute and funny. I was also 100% on the side of the OP when I first read the post. The job market sucks big time, especially for anyone on the low-end or in any kind of art or social service.

Second, I looked at the website for the store (it's easy to see in the e-mail).

You can tell they spent money on the site, and as you'll see, there is a video section with a single video that's not very nicely lit or well done. It does appear that they have a legitimate need for someone with video experience.

Now, it's also possible that the video was asked for to filter out people who "shouldn't" be working there, but my guess is that the shop owner is actually in the clear here.

I think the right thing to do in actually trying to get the job would have been to request a phone interview and ask about the video request. However, I can understand the OP being frustrated by a long, annoying process applying for not very good jobs and taking it poorly.

Ironically, the production value of the OP's video is much better than the shop video. It seems likely that the actual truth here is somewhere in the middle.
posted by cnc at 9:30 AM on January 24


klangklangston: "Is it just that you relate more to the shop owner than the applicant? "

This is the thing that frustrates me. It chafes to see sympathy for the shop owner being advocated at the expense of sympathy for the applicant, especially when the attempts to marshal such sympathy rely entirely on hypotheticals (maybe she was just asking for a quick iPhone video, maybe she planning on expanding the role for this person into video work, etc.) which are all laughably implausible to anyone who's had to scrounge for work in the last five years, and when the shop owner already enjoys a comparatively vast portion of society's sympathies in general. It's not a good look.
posted by invitapriore at 9:35 AM on January 24 [11 favorites]


(maybe she was just asking for a quick iPhone video, maybe she planning on expanding the role for this person into video work, etc.)

If the shop owner wanted to also have Casey Grim make videos as part of her job as a sale clerk isn't a point in the shop owner's favor. Because the cost of hiring a professional (like Casey) to make and edit videos is way higher than what a sales clerk makes. She'd be taking advantage of her position as Casey's employer in an unfair way.

You know how in Mickey's Christmas Carol Scrooge has Mickey do his laundry and it's presented as how bad of a boss Scrooge is? This is the same thing.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:43 AM on January 24 [13 favorites]


She and I need to be friends!
posted by stormpooper at 9:46 AM on January 24


Conscientious employers don't ask for headshots

Speaking of this, I hate hate hate the new LinkedIn-driven culture where including a picture with your resume/CV is the new baseline expectation.
posted by naju at 9:48 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


It does appear that they have a legitimate need for someone with video experience.

They should put up a job ad looking for a filmmaker, then, and ask to see people's reels or links to their work, not "make me a custom video about how much you want this job."

If you're looking for video content for your website, you don't put out an ad asking for a salesperson.
posted by Sara C. at 9:58 AM on January 24 [6 favorites]


You can tell they spent money on the site, and as you'll see, there is a video section with a single video that's not very nicely lit or well done. It does appear that they have a legitimate need for someone with video experience.

If they spent money, it was to get an out-of-the-box Joomla theme and hosting, which is less than what they would sell a pair of boots for. The product photography is poorly lit and looks washed out, and the random illustration elements look like they were made by somebody's nephew.

They have a legitimate need for a lot of multimedia stuff, but the store owner didn't mention any of that. And, like you note, the video that she got was actually more on point, so if she wants professional video work she knows where to look.

The owner got burned for being blithe and privileged. As much as she has a legitimate need for videography. she also has a legitimate need to get told to treat potential employees like professionals and not dick people around.
posted by klangklangston at 10:52 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Wow, this thread is confusing. So you're all in on the joke and still want to pitchfork the shop that quite possibly is part of the gag? Or are you taking it as described, and not a joke at all, and still berating me for pointing out that's not her dad in the clip...? I don't get it are we all playing the straight man here?
posted by dabitch at 10:54 AM on January 24


The shop is not part of the gag.
posted by Sara C. at 10:55 AM on January 24


[Couple of comments deleted; again, let's not be posting the name of the business? Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:53 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


They should put up a job ad looking for a filmmaker, then, and ask to see people's reels or links to their work, not "make me a custom video about how much you want this job."

If you're looking for video content for your website, you don't put out an ad asking for a salesperson.


It's a little standalone fashion shop owned by some lady who already spent a bunch of money on a website. You don't hire a "filmmaker" for a business like that.

I will agree that the owner should have clarified her reasoning. It's entirely likely that the video part stood out to her because hiring someone that could clerk and do video would be kind of a coup for a little retail shop. She very possibly focused on that aspect in her response because it was more interesting to her.
posted by cnc at 2:56 PM on January 24


If they spent money, it was to get an out-of-the-box Joomla theme and hosting, which is less than what they would sell a pair of boots for.

Because ladies that run fashion shops know how and where to buy a domain name, web hosting, choose a CMS, go to CPanel (or whatever) to install the CMS on their host, go find a theme for that CMS, purchase, download and install the theme, setup administrative users, manage security, take and upload photos, figure out where the photos should go, crop them correctly, setup a YouTube account, take, crop and edit the video, upload it to YouTube, then embed that into the website so it doesn't look terrible.

Besides the fact that there is the name of company that did the work at the bottom of the page. To do all of the above takes several days at a minimum, even if you know what you're doing. Which costs money.

Sure. They just bought a Joomla theme and hosting.

Again, it's entirely possible that the shop owner thought she could get someone who could do both video and be a clark and the whole thing was just a misunderstanding.

I guess indignation is more fun.
posted by cnc at 3:07 PM on January 24


It does appear
it's also possible
my guess is
It seems likely
It's entirely likely
She very possibly focused on that aspect
it's entirely possible


You know why you had to put all those conditionals in there? Because there is NOTHING in the shop owner's responses that supports this scenario. This is nothing but plausible fiction. In fact, there's almost no data in the shop owner's responses at all -- she's asked for a huge amount of information from the applicant, but hasn't given out any in response, not even to let her know whether her scheduling and compensation needs are in line with what the shop can offer. That's one of the things that's so frustrating as a job seeker, is when employers won't tell you anything about what the job has to offer the employee, or even confirm that the stated requirements are acceptable.

And you can't assume that saying nothing means that they're acceptable, either. My husband applied for a job two years ago; they didn't give the compensation range in the listing, but rather asked him what he was looking for. He gave his number, and they arranged a phone screen, which went well enough to land an in-person interview, and he was offered the job. . . at exactly half of his stated rate. Of course, by then, since it was a job offer, he had to accept it or lose his unemployment benefits. That's just rude -- and it backfired on them, since he left the job four months later when he got another offer at his actual bill rate.

Everything out there about job hunting makes it clear that the interview goes both ways. Employers shouldn't be surprised when their inconsiderate, unclear behavior reflects back on them.
posted by KathrynT at 3:30 PM on January 24 [14 favorites]


From the decor & fittings it looks to me like the shop this was filmed in is one of Buffalo Exchange's locations, though I'm not sure which. I've only been inside the Austin, TX shop & apparently there's several scattered across the Western US that all look pretty similar.
posted by scalefree at 4:15 PM on January 24


90% sure that shop in the background of the dad scene is green screen but I don't really know why it matters. Anyway lol this thread is still going.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:19 PM on January 24


You know why you had to put all those conditionals in there?

I put those conditionals in there because I don't claim to know what happened. I have enough self awareness to admit that this entire thread is based on speculation and - I wasn't there.

I'm sympathetic to your family's job issues. Someone close to me with a graduate degree was involuntarily out of work for nearly two of four total years. However, it seems like you're personalizing this. Neither of us knows what happened. I'm merely trying to present what I think is a possible scenario. There is no need to attack me for it.
posted by cnc at 4:22 PM on January 24


From the decor & fittings it looks to me like the shop this was filmed in is one of Buffalo
Exchange's locations, though I'm not sure which. I've only been inside the Austin, TX shop & apparently there's several scattered across the Western US that all look pretty similar.


We've been asked not to name the business, so I'll say it's in Northern California and not Texas. It is not a chain, at least based on the website.
posted by cnc at 4:24 PM on January 24


To clarify, I think scalefree is referring not to the hiring business that sent the emails, but to the random business where the linked video was shot (the latter business didn't send any emails).
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:26 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


You don't hire a "filmmaker" for a business like that.

OK, so then you don't ask the person applying for a sales job to submit a video.

Either the business is a booming concern that is probably also looking to hire someone to create video content, or the business is a wee fragile little thing that couldn't possibly be looking to hire someone to create video content.

You can't really have it both ways.
posted by Sara C. at 4:30 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I put those conditionals in there because I don't claim to know what happened. [. . .] There is no need to attack me for it.

I'm not attacking you; I'm just pointing out the problems with assigning 100% of the benefit of the doubt to the employer, and how legitimately frustrating, demeaning, and demoralizing these requests (and the entire system!) are for the job applicant. It's not that "outrage is more fun," as you so snidely said above; it's that these are real problems with real consequences.
posted by KathrynT at 4:41 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


"Because ladies that run fashion shops know how and where to buy a domain name, web hosting, choose a CMS, go to CPanel (or whatever) to install the CMS on their host, go find a theme for that CMS, purchase, download and install the theme, setup administrative users, manage security, take and upload photos, figure out where the photos should go, crop them correctly, setup a YouTube account, take, crop and edit the video, upload it to YouTube, then embed that into the website so it doesn't look terrible.

What?

1) Plenty of ladies that run fashion shops can do all that.
2) Plenty of ladies that run fashion shops can hire someone competent to do that for them.

She most likely didn't construct the building she's in either, so why wouldn't she find someone whose profession is renting and managing space to lease it to her? That costs money too.

Besides the fact that there is the name of company that did the work at the bottom of the page. To do all of the above takes several days at a minimum, even if you know what you're doing. Which costs money.

Yep. They did a cheap-ass job for money. If she wants someone to do a better job, she could probably find them for money.

Again, it's entirely possible that the shop owner thought she could get someone who could do both video and be a clark and the whole thing was just a misunderstanding.

I guess indignation is more fun.


I guess sycophantic speculation is more fun for you then, since you're not really making any coherent arguments aside from an inferred narrative where the shop lady was blameless because she expects great creative work for no money.

"I'm merely trying to present what I think is a possible scenario. There is no need to attack me for it."

Hold on, chief, you're the guy who got all indignant over indignation. And you're merely spinning out some scenario with no more basis in fact because… there's a way that possibly this was OK? So what? We got a funny video, the lady didn't hire someone who made fun of her for being dumb and wasting time — what's your stake in this? As far as I can tell, the system pretty much worked.
posted by klangklangston at 4:51 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


Job creators can do no wrong, klang. Surely you got the memo!
posted by winna at 4:59 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


cnc: I will agree that the owner should have clarified her reasoning. It's entirely likely that the video part stood out to her because hiring someone that could clerk and do video would be kind of a coup for a little retail shop. She very possibly focused on that aspect in her response because it was more interesting to her.

And i maintain that there is no way that this isn't abusive, and dishonest reasoning. TANSTAAFL and whatnot. It's like hoping to hire a clerk who has experience working at geek squad so you never have to pay someone to do basic maintenance on the computer in the managers office again.

The entire purpose of wanting someone with both sets of skills would be so that you could take advantage of them and pay them less than market rate for their skills. That is bullshit, and should not be applauded, defended, or given any sympathy at all which you seem to be doing.

It's too bad, but if you want decent videos you DO hire a filmmaker. You don't need to hire some hollywood director of photography either, there's plenty of freelancers on craigslist and elsewhere who will come out and shoot some video or photos for you for a lot less than i bet some of the shoes or other items at that store cost.

I honestly think if you're defending this, you've never worked with one of these asshole vanity business small business owners. They have piles of money, but are incredibly entitled and uptight and try and fuck people over at every turn whenever they think they can save a buck. They care about nothing but themselves, and to an extent the image of their business(and not among other people even in their own industry, just customers). My city is FULL of assholes like this and i've interacted with more than a couple, and heard stories about many more. Just the email chain let me know that she was interacting with one of them.

Be fortunate if you haven't dealt with one of them. But know that it's not like she, by which i mean the business owner, is entitled to below market rate video work just because her business is "small". Fuck. That.

Sara C.: You know what happens all the time? You go out in search of a day job to do while you make your silly comedy videos. You find a day job, but because it's 2014 and there is no justice, your boss doesn't expect you to treat this job as a day job. In service to that, your boss slips in all kinds of mentions of the fact that, you know, maybe someday, if you prove not to be completely useless, maybe you'll also get to make some videos for the site. And the boss holds this out as like some kind of "goal" for you. It becomes a "privilege" that you could lose by not meeting your sales goals.

Of course, let's keep in mind that your goal isn't to make commercials for a local boutique or create content for some business you don't give a shit about. You do comedy. You make videos as part of your art, either for yourself or for your comedy audience. Why are you scrambling on this treadmill for the supposed carrot of getting to make a video for your job's stupid website?

Suddenly, you've been roped into this Retail Career at a business you're actually supposed to pretend to care about, turning your passion that you got this day job in service of into a sad parody of a bourgie Life Goal.


I know i've posted several stories about myself and friends dealing with ridiculous asshole companies or bosses recently, but this specific line REALLY reminded me of another one.

A friend of mine is a bit of a high plains drifter type. He moves every few months, and is regularly hopping to a new job while couch surfing or in the process of moving in to a new apartment. He only came to my city completely on a whim. He has tons of experience in mid level restaurants, barista stuff/espresso training, dog grooming, retail/backstock/management, you name it. If it's on the consumer facing front end of some business, he's probably done it.

So of course, he's encountered more than a couple of those types. My favorite story though, is about the hardware shop.

Now i forget this owner guys name, and i wouldn't want to use his real name anyways, so let's just call him Steve.

Steve was a midlife crisis having, drunk, delusional semi-wealthy dude with a receding hairline. He drove a souped up audi and talked fast. He owned a hardware store in the rapidly gentrifying "yuppie" part of town right near the amazon HQ surrounded by "flats" and "lofts" and condos. He was a total knob, if this wasn't already obvious.

He ran his hardware store like a cult. He expected this kind of shit from EVERYONE, and always dangled it like a carrot. He wanted tons of weird work from people off-hours, and wide open availability even if they were only going to get the same part time shifts every week. In school? You're obviously not taking your career seriously!

To give an example of the kinds of stuff he expected, he had an IMPECCABLY designed super slick tumblry(might have even been hosted there, actually) blog for the store. He expected employees, but of course only certain employees who had proven themselves cool enough, to update this blog ON THEIR OWN TIME when they were at home. And this wasn't a suggestion.

There was lots of other bullshit like this.

My friend ended up getting fired for trying to adjust his schedule around school, and not updating the blog during his own time when he was trying to do homework in what little spare time he had. There was no like, scheduling conflict or anything. Other people wanted his hours, and the hours he wanted weren't very desirable and were actually a time cut. He was also always covering shifts, and doing extra extra stuff he saw needed to be done that people were cocking off on while he was working(which the same dude praised him for!)

I'm sure someone could make an argument that "well, he wasn't available enough!". But only a truly soulless fucking asshole. Yea, the boss bullshitted up a "legitimate" reason to fire him, but delivered it with absolutely no notice a few days after the schedule had been accepted by him with a fucking like half hour long speech about how he "wasn't taking his career at the hardware store seriously, this could go somewhere son!".

Several other complete bumlicker employees he tried to commiserate with after the fact just repeated the party line and went "yea man, you just have to give it 110%!" kind of garbage. A few people agreed and called the guy a jackass, but wow.

Just wow.

people who aren't like this exist, and no one should be defending these chodes.
posted by emptythought at 6:21 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


I wonder, do people in the more "enlightened" areas of Europe have to put up with this type of employer belittlement? Are there even any jobs over there? Are we maybe doing it wrong here in the US? Is belittlement even a word? I wonder....
posted by nowhere man at 8:17 PM on January 24


I worked at two boutiques like this during and after college. One in particular was straight up ran by this rich European guy's mistress and she'd always be flying back and forth to see him. And then randomly showing up at the shop maybe once every 3 months, forcing us all to go drinking with her, ask us personal questions, and then break down crying that the boyfriend wouldn't marry her. Other crazy stuff she did:

- Routinely forgot to pay us on time
- Started making us wrap people's purchases up like presents. Whether they liked it or not. And they didn't like it because wrapping a shirt like a present, with ribbon and everything takes WAY more time than just wrapping it gently in some tissue paper and putting it in a bag.
- Failing to reorder all the designer stuff and then running out and buying bargain basement clothes that she would then insist we could sell at the same prices as the designer clothes we used to sell if only we kept the store looking nicer and were better sales people. Oh and when she finally realized this was never going to work, she started buying designer clothes again except she'd lost all her rich customers who stopped shopping there that was also our fault.
- In addition to forgetting to pay us, she would forget to pay the store's bills, which we were not allowed to open and fax to her (or even mention to her because that would imply we were reading her mail) even when they said "3rd Notice" in red on them, so when the collections people came they shut down the store and started itemizing all the contents for immediate sale we had to convince them to give us a 24 hour reprieve and started calling her in Europe until we got her on the phone and she paid the bills and we could reopen.

If there had been iphones back then, she definitely would have made us make her chirpy videos on a daily basis and send to her.

Oh yeah we also had to buy her a present at Christmas and no of course we never got bonuses or presents from her. I mean she was giving us a job, so obviously we had to thank her...
posted by whoaali at 1:10 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


> I'm responding to your post not so much because I need a job but because I'm ready to wake up. I've wasted away year after year in a fantasy world I now realize. There is no God, there is no value in being a “nice person”.

Ha -- I got that far and figured out who it was from having seen the Craigslist ad.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:27 PM on January 26


I understand that some people here are saying that the shop owner can't expect to hire a video professional for a shop clerk's wage, and I generally agree, but I don't really think that $15/hour is a normal starting wage for most shop clerks. I also think that if Grim had seemed like a good fit for the store, she might have been hired at a shop clerk's wage or slightly higher and then paid an even higher wage for any hours she spent making videos for the store. Although frankly the store owner should at least have been able to give a range of what a starting salary would be in the email exchange, she may not have known what she'd pay Grim until she knew if she'd be just a shop clerk or a shop clerk with the potential to help the website with video, etc. I think the shop owner should have communicated more clearly or just asked Grim for an interview and gone from there, and I do think her actions revealed her privilege and power as the employER vs the potential employEE and revealed a sort of thoughtless entitlement to the employee's time. But who among us has not been a bit boneheaded at times? Take Grim, for example:

With the majority of people in this country living in poverty, it is understandable that we would begin to bend over backwards for any sort of financial gain whatsoever. But, we are also the majority, and eventually we have to be willing to put our foot down. In Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, families moved to America only to be trapped into factory towns, worked to death, their vision of life in this country to be only dark and hopeless. But by the end of the book, the main character decides he is no longer willing to live this life. He begins simply walking away from the factory town, and discovers a world of opportunity, hope, and betterment. It is our responsibility to not allow this behavior from our potential employers, in hopes that we can train them to treat us as people.

So this bit at the end of Grim's blog entry about her video resume where she says a majority of Americans live in poverty (okay 18%, but why quibble?) and compares her humiliation at being asked for a video selfie from a boutique store owner to the problems of immigrants in the early 20th century who were swindled, forced into child labor and prostitution, and killed in conditions of absolute despair -- is she being serious or is it a part of her comedy bit? I mean, she's 25 and she's struggling a bit to find a job with regular hours and high enough pay so she can pursue her real dream of being a comedian, but she's not exactly dying of consumption. If she's being serious, then comparing her plight to the very real poverty, corruption, systemic oppression and death in The Jungle demonstrates the same sort of internalized privilege and entitlement that the shop owner has, just at a different level of the food chain. And I don't think it improves things if she was just kidding and used really oppressed people as a punchline. (She also does this on her public coupleofn3rds facebook page re, e.g., people with AIDS and human trafficking victims -- classy!) I think Grim may be just as thoughtless, selfish, privileged, and self-aggrandizing as she portrays the shop owner to be, except that Grim doesn't (yet) have the same power.
posted by onlyconnect at 11:05 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


So this bit at the end of Grim's blog entry about her video resume where she says a majority of Americans live in poverty (okay 18%, but why quibble?) and compares her humiliation at being asked for a video selfie from a boutique store owner to the problems of immigrants in the early 20th century who were swindled, forced into child labor and prostitution, and killed in conditions of absolute despair -- is she being serious or is it a part of her comedy bit?

I take serious issue with that 18% number. The poverty line, and minimum wage are an absolute joke. I've exchanged blows on this on this site in the past, but i think it's fairly inarguable than in the majority of america based on population, not geographic area, you can get up to 200-250% or even 300% of the poverty line and still be scraping by. Minimum wage in a lot of places puts you at about 150%. This is for a single person, living alone by the way. Even with 2 people at 200% you would be pushing it.

I tried for a bit to find some serious stats about how many people are living at or below the various levels, but i don't think it would be that weird to say that a huge portion of the population, and an even huger one below say, 30 is living below 250% of the poverty line.

The other thing to consider is that there is no such thing as a full time minimum wage job anymore. It just does not exist. Obamacare hosed that even further when previously it was "you'll never get 40 hours a week", now a lot of the time it's "good luck getting more than 30".

While i agree that some of her comparisons are tasteless whether they're a joke or not, i also think that on the other side of the coin a lot of this stuff gets downplayed. Because i mean, being about her age and living in similar conditions it really does seem fucked. I'm not even at the 300% mark, and i'm doing better than almost any other person i know my age. Shit's depressing.

When there's no other option besides underemployment(and getting two jobs isn't even potentially possible, since a lot of places won't even employ you if you don't have "open availability" so they can shuffle everyone around at will), rent is at a bare minimum 50% of your income even if you share housing, and the outlook is having roommates until you're approaching middle age... then yea, some comparisons to fucked things elsewhere in the world and in the past seem pretty apt.

There's privilege involved here, and you can argue its toxicity, but i think that saying it's cut of the same cloth as that of a wealthy shopowner who practically treats their employees and potential employees like playthings is in the same spectrum of distasteful as some of Casey's more eyebrow raising comparisons.

I could really write pages about this and expand on so many points of it, but suffice to say i absolutely understand where she's coming from. And relate to her and sympathize with what she's saying and her situation in a way i never could for the shop owner.
posted by emptythought at 11:26 PM on January 26 [3 favorites]


I've exchanged blows on this on this site in the past, but i think it's fairly inarguable than in the majority of america based on population, not geographic area, you can get up to 200-250% or even 300% of the poverty line and still be scraping by.

You can be rich and still just be scraping by, if you mean just barely paying your bills, or being in debt. Whatever you are talking about, it isn't 'poverty' in any sense that would be recognized by the rest of the world. Get out and see how poor people outside the first world actually live, before you talk about someone make $30k a year as poor.
posted by empath at 4:47 AM on January 27


a wealthy shopowner who practically treats their employees and potential employees like playthings

Respectfully, emptythought, you're projecting. We don't know anything about how the shop owner treats her actual employees, although the ones on her website appear to like her well enough to have stayed with her for several years. And regarding her potential employees, all we know is that in this one situation, she thoughtlessly asked an applicant with an iPhone to film a short video of herself. We don't even really know much about her "wealth" -- the shop owner may own her own business, but it's a secondhand clothing store, and I don't expect she is raking in piles of cash from that. In my neck of the woods such stores are closing down all the time because they can't make bank. She's doing better than Grim, yes, but the shop owner has also been working in the secondhand clothing business for over twenty years. I mean, is she really the enemy because she did one dumb thing? Is that the lesson that this twenty-five year old who claims she is living in poverty but btw owns an iPhone and a bunch of video equipment and spends hours making videos for Funny or Die is trying to teach us? I do not wish to subscribe to her newsletter.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:53 AM on January 27


I hardly think that the fact that Casey Grim is not The Poorest Person In The Entire World invalidates all of this.

The phenomenon documented here is a Thing.

Just because it's not The Jungle doesn't mean it's not a shitty thing to do.

The business owner is not owed any sort of courtesy here. I mean... she didn't do anything illegal? Nobody died? Doesn't mean she's not a dick. Should she be doxxed? No. But "someone makes a comedy video on the internet calling out your shitty behavior" is not really beyond the pale.

And, hell, now I know where to get a $400 handbag if I'm ever having a designer purse emergency in San Rafael, CA.
posted by Sara C. at 10:02 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I don't expect she is raking in piles of cash from that.

Weirdly, in my experience it is struggling middling sort of business owners that are much more likely to pull this shit than someone who is actually wealthy and successful.

I once had a really bad experience working with a well-off woman with a cute side business, and I will NEVER do it again. The hiring process had all kinds of red flags like this, too. AND she had me doing my creative side project type stuff for her pretty much right out of the gate. AND I later saw her dick over other potential hires in similar ways to what happened in Casey Grim's case.

I think a lot of upper middle class women who don't actually work* real jobs think that Craigslist is a fun game and not an actual classified ad resource that other people use in good faith to find gainful employment.

*Caveat: yes, being a stay at home mom is work. Yes, having your own business is work. But you don't have to interview for those jobs, so there's a degree of distance from what it's actually like to be on the job hunt, when that's your reality.
posted by Sara C. at 10:08 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


onlyconnect, I agree that likening her situation to the one described in The Jungle is shitty and thoughtless, but it's pretty orthogonal to the discussion we're actually having and it feels like a dodge on your part. So too do your periodic and weirdly personal references to Grim's apparent gall in doing things like asking for more than minimum wage and owning a smartphone. Who's projecting?
posted by invitapriore at 10:15 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Is that the lesson that this twenty-five year old who claims she is living in poverty but btw owns an iPhone and a bunch of video equipment and spends hours making videos for Funny or Die is trying to teach us?

Poor people are allowed to own nice things (plus iPhone doesn't automatically equal new and with an expensive data plan) and have hobbies.

I've been thinking about the story that the owner was just asking for a quick iPhone video. It could be true, but if that was the case, why didn't she protest when Casey e-mailed that she wouldn't be able to get the video done right away because she needed to unpack her equipment? I mean, for that to make sense, the owner read the signature (which right now seems to be a pretty ubiquitous and part of the background noise of e-mails) and realized the implication, and then DIDN'T think about the implications of the actual text of a follow up e-mail.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:52 AM on January 27


Both of my grandfathers were coal miners; one emigrated here from Poland and the other was the son of an immigrant. Both of my parents grew up in real, actual poverty during the Great Depression.

My father's strongest memory of the slightest luxury when he was growing up was when his mother once made him a whipped cream sandwich, which is just what it sounds like -- two slices of white bread with whipped cream in between. In this case the whipped cream had expired and it made him sick, but he still remembered it decades later as a delicacy. My father's father drank and beat my father regularly, so he left home at fourteen and made pennies picking vegetables. My father never finished elementary school.

My mother was the oldest child of seven. She wanted to be a teacher or a nun but her mother made her work at a dress factory and give most of her earnings to the family to help support them. Her father drank a lot of their wages. The kids dressed in rags during their childhood and there was never enough food. They were made fun of regularly by others in the neighborhood, also dirt poor, for how abjectly poor they were. My mother remembers being so proud for having saved enough money over a course of years to be able to buy a dress for her high school graduation so for once she wouldn't have to be ashamed, but then her mother got pregnant again and needed the money for the baby. My mother was strong as a fucking mule, but she cried and cried.

Until four years ago, I myself had had at least a part time job for all of my life since I was fourteen years old, and worked two jobs over the summers before and during college, one on weekdays from 8 to 5 and the other on weekdays from 6 to 11 and also on weekends. I spent my twenties after college living with my parents (paying them rent) while I worked full time for $15-18K/year and developed skills that would get me somewhere else. It sucked, but I know that I was not even close to living in poverty and I never pretended I was.

My parents faced hardship after hardship that were so much more shaming and character testing than the incident described by Casey Grim that so many people here think seem to think captures the height of ignominy or something close to it. Someone thoughtlessly asked you to waste your time and voluntarily make them a video, and you agreed, and suddenly you are comparing yourself to, in essence, my parents and grandparents, who would be surprised to learn that poverty embraces iPhones and video equipment and jobs planned around your hobby/artistic dreams as well as whipped cream sandwich delicacies and high school graduation dresses lost to a new baby. That sounds just as privileged and entitled to me as the shop owner seems to you guys. I guess I just have a different perspective.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:25 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


empath: You can be rich and still just be scraping by, if you mean just barely paying your bills, or being in debt. Whatever you are talking about, it isn't 'poverty' in any sense that would be recognized by the rest of the world. Get out and see how poor people outside the first world actually live, before you talk about someone make $30k a year as poor.

Yea, but this is really context ignoring and a dumb pan and zoom of the camera to bring up. The entire thread, and current discussion is about employment in the US, or at least in the first/western world. And then as soon as "you can't complain because you have nice things" type of stuff gets trotted out, then calling BS on that and the national poverty line is crap because there's starving children in africa?

This is the kind of stuff that really grinds my gears. So the people, who as i said see no end to often living on public assistance(as EVERYONE i know did immediately after college or high school when they qualified, and for years after) and living with six roommates because the crappiest studio is $1000 a month should do what exactly? Move? With what money?

The entire "you're not actually that poor" argument just completely ignores context and the realities of the actual situation. What are these people who aren't even really and "truly" poor compared to those people elsewhere in the not first world supposed to do, move there? Volunteer for some aid organization to "gain perspective"?

It's not going to improve their situation, and these aren't some bougie SV tech workers whining that they didn't get a raise making 95k-150k.

It's not just barely paying your bills or being in debt, it's having literally no other option outside of doing those things and no opportunity to at any point in the next ten years actually pay down any of that debt.

This may not be "poverty" in the context of the greater world, and yea, you could probably dig up some "real" poverty if you went to Appalachia or various native american reservations, but all you're doing then is moving the goalposts to prove a point and helping assist in creating a hidden class of poorness that people are increasingly refusing to acknowledge.

Basically, i take issue with this because "shut up, someone is more fucked than you" is a crappy argument. These aren't kids complaining about getting a red mercedes for their birthday instead of a yellow one.

Feel free to call bullshit on my premise here and just say i'm some priveleged first worlder who doesn't know shit. because, whatever. I just think there's an entire new class of young working poor on the american coasts here that is struggling and often living in pretty fucked conditions, that no one wants to acknowledge as poor and seems to just regard it all as being a "lifestyle choice" or something.

onlyconnect: Is that the lesson that this twenty-five year old who claims she is living in poverty but btw owns an iPhone and a bunch of video equipment and spends hours making videos for Funny or Die is trying to teach us?

for fucks sake, just because someone has a video camera and an iphone doesn't mean they have money. All of my broke ass friends, even when we were making $600 a month had shit like that. We would save up for ages, resell shit from thrift stores(which there is real money in), barter, haggle, and buy probably stolen things off of craigslist. We all had nice bikes we had pieced together, iphones, and music gear. None of it cost us much(i actually had an iphone because i bought a smashed one for almost nothing and put new glass on it), but it was exactly the kind of thing people would point at to go "look at that, no, you have money, stop lying/complaining". Aspirational items or equipment to pursue a hobby doesn't equal not poor, it just means you made the conscious decision that "I want to work towards having this specific material object because XYZ"
posted by emptythought at 2:44 PM on January 27


"Whatever you are talking about, it isn't 'poverty' in any sense that would be recognized by the rest of the world. Get out and see how poor people outside the first world actually live, before you talk about someone make $30k a year as poor."

On the other hand, it's worth noting that some 60 percent of Americans would be unable to cover a $1000 unplanned expense, according to the last financial insecurity survey I saw (I can probably dig it up if it's really important).

"My parents faced hardship after hardship that were so much more shaming and character testing than the incident described by Casey Grim that so many people here think seem to think captures the height of ignominy or something close to it."

And after your Four Yorkshiremen walked uphill backwards both ways in the snow, did they have a three-minute long parodic video made about them? Since you seem to think that's the height of ignominy, or are unable to discern your hyperbole from anyone else's.

"Someone thoughtlessly asked you to waste your time and voluntarily make them a video, and you agreed, and suddenly you are comparing yourself to, in essence, my parents and grandparents, who would be surprised to learn that poverty embraces iPhones and video equipment and jobs planned around your hobby/artistic dreams as well as whipped cream sandwich delicacies and high school graduation dresses lost to a new baby. That sounds just as privileged and entitled to me as the shop owner seems to you guys. I guess I just have a different perspective."

Oh, bullshit. I mean, first off, if you're going to seriously contend that Monet was never poor because he had money for paint, which is the same case as arguing that a videographer isn't poor because they have video equipment, you can trot that shit over to the next Ayn Rand Memorial Symposium. Likewise, take a trip down memory lane with why your ancestors might not be the only way to think about poverty.

Next, the fundamental sneer there, that artistic dreams/"hobby" are "entitlement" is just fucking obnoxious philistinism. The only way that makes sense is if it's the bitterness of artistic failure on your part, and then you shouldn't put that on someone else.

Finally, do you really want to play the poverty olympics with me? My first job at 13 was working full time breaking asphalt in the sun at my housing project. I've had a job since then — or wanted to, since I've had periods of unemployment. I had a point in my life where I was living off of flavor-ice and stolen mustard packs. So back the fuck up off of this "entitled" bullshit. What, she should kowtow because you've swallowed the classist propaganda of the aristocracy? Fuck that.
posted by klangklangston at 2:49 PM on January 27 [4 favorites]


"The entire "you're not actually that poor" argument just completely ignores context and the realities of the actual situation. What are these people who aren't even really and "truly" poor compared to those people elsewhere in the not first world supposed to do, move there? Volunteer for some aid organization to "gain perspective"?"

Yeah, that's a fair point — onlyconnect's grandparents weren't even poor then, because it could have been worse. They could have been gleaning in some kulak's ditch! Spoiled cream? Luxury!
posted by klangklangston at 2:50 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Also, to the extent that onlyconnect's grandparents were kept poor and miserable because of questionable labor practices, it seems kind of weird to jump from "my ancestors were poor" to "therefore this shady business owner is perfectly justified in trying to milk prospective hires for all they're worth".

My ancestors were poor, too, but part of the reason I grew up middle class is that there are labor laws, unions, and fair hiring practices today.
posted by Sara C. at 3:07 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


And after your Four Yorkshiremen walked uphill backwards both ways in the snow, did they have a three-minute long parodic video made about them? Since you seem to think that's the height of ignominy, or are unable to discern your hyperbole from anyone else's.

klangklangston, I was not saying that having the video made about the store owner was the height of ignominy as you seem to be suggesting. I said that given the way people here are reacting, you guys seemed to think that what the store owner did to Casey Grim was exactly that, ie, asking Grim for a video was about the most shameful or disgraceful thing that could have happened. I'm not sure what the video parallel for my parents would have been. My father making a mocking, green screen video about the mining company after his father died of black lung? It's ridiculous by comparison. But hey, thanks for dismissing my parents' struggle via a Monty Python reference and the implication that they (or I) exaggerated their hardships. So funny! That is some cold shit, dude.

Also, the fact that you have personally experienced more poverty than me doesn't mean I'm wrong to feel that Casey Grim has blown this single thoughtless and privileged but truly comparatively small slight by the shop owner out of proportion, and that it is distasteful and entitled of her to equate this incident to The Jungle. I feel the way I do because my parents experienced real poverty and despair in their youth and I did not, just routine hardship and hard work, and nothing from Casey Grim's blog or LinkedIn or Facebook or youtube videos suggests to me that she knows the difference. I don't doubt your poverty cred, and it entitles you to your apparent opinion that Casey Grim is a modern proletarian hero, but it doesn't negate the basis for mine. We have, as I said, different perspectives.

it seems kind of weird to jump from "my ancestors were poor" to "therefore this shady business owner is perfectly justified in trying to milk prospective hires for all they're worth".

What seems weird to me is to jump from "this shop owner wrote one thoughtless email asking for a video" to "therefore this shady business owner has tried to milk prospective hires for all they're worth." I don't think they're the same thing, and you do. I don't feel like you and others in this thread have a sense of proportion about this incident (and you probably don't think I have one, either). But for what it's worth, I too am certainly in favor of, grateful for, and have benefitted from labor and fair hiring laws as well as unions in my lifetime.

For what it's worth, "therefore this shady business owner is perfectly justified in trying to milk prospective hires for all they're worth" is not my position. I do think the shop owner's "ask" showed privilege and entitlement and a disregard for the value of the applicant's time and that she shouldn't have done it. But I think it is a small thing, and possibly when added up with more similar small things it could be significant, but no amount of video requests or similar could add up to The Jungle, and Grim's suggesting it does is, to me, extremely distasteful, boneheaded, and yes, entitled.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:53 PM on January 27


She's asking someone to work for her for free without even taking the time to meet them or give them even the vaguest amount of information about the job in question. A job that has little to do with the task she asked this prospective hire to do.

Sorry, but it fucking boggles the mind.
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Feel free to call bullshit on my premise here and just say i'm some priveleged first worlder who doesn't know shit. because, whatever. I just think there's an entire new class of young working poor on the american coasts here that is struggling and often living in pretty fucked conditions, that no one wants to acknowledge as poor and seems to just regard it all as being a "lifestyle choice" or something.

It seems like you want to define poor as 'people who don't have as much economic freedom as they'd like' and that's just not what poverty is. Not everyone is going to be upper middle class. That's just a fact of life, but unless you can't feed yourself and pay the rent, you aren't poor.

That's not to downplay the real problems of the middle class and especially the lower middle class, but you don't need to torture the english language to stretch poverty to half the US population in order to recognize that a middle class existence can be precarious, also.
posted by empath at 11:52 PM on January 27


"klangklangston, I was not saying that having the video made about the store owner was the height of ignominy as you seem to be suggesting. "

Well, since no one said that the shopkeep's blithe selfishness was the height of ignominy, perhaps there was a point there that you missed.

"I said that given the way people here are reacting, you guys seemed to think that what the store owner did to Casey Grim was exactly that, ie, asking Grim for a video was about the most shameful or disgraceful thing that could have happened."

No, they're saying that it was shameful and disgraceful enough to get a snarky video riffing on it, a video that had some pretty funny lines in it. That's you getting off into the thin branches with your read on the reactions.

"I'm not sure what the video parallel for my parents would have been. My father making a mocking, green screen video about the mining company after his father died of black lung? It's ridiculous by comparison."

Because your father lacked the video production skills he'd need to be a retail clerk?

"It's ridiculous by comparison. But hey, thanks for dismissing my parents' struggle via a Monty Python reference and the implication that they (or I) exaggerated their hardships. So funny! That is some cold shit, dude."

Man, if only I'd made that reference in conjunction with talking about poverty olympics, and how your Real Poverty™ argument was pretty bullshit both because of the misplaced comparison and because you don't own a monopoly on poor-people's sanctimony. Then, it'd be like, an ice burn in the greater context of an after school special.

"Also, the fact that you have personally experienced more poverty than me doesn't mean I'm wrong to feel that Casey Grim has blown this single thoughtless and privileged but truly comparatively small slight by the shop owner out of proportion"

It doesn't mean you're right, either. That's where you keep getting tripped up.

"and that it is distasteful and entitled of her to equate this incident to The Jungle."

Glad we're all back on how it's OK to be an entitled shopkeep but not an entitled worker, and how because of that the video was bad but the shopkeep comes out looking better. Casey is literally as entitled as Hitler in Silesia.

"I feel the way I do because my parents experienced real poverty and despair in their youth and I did not, just routine hardship and hard work, and nothing from Casey Grim's blog or LinkedIn or Facebook or youtube videos suggests to me that she knows the difference. "

So, you feel that way because of some irrelevant stuff from your past and some quick judgments you made about Casey Grim? OK. You kinda see how that's not really a convincing argument, right? I bet your parents still get annoyed if someone wastes their time or expects them to jump through inane hoops for no real reward, instead of fondling a rosary and blessing Jesus for leading them out of Mordor. I mean, do you go around YouTube telling people not to be mad their dog shit the bed because AT LEAST THEY HAD BEDS AND DOGS AND GRAMMA HAD TO EAT FLUFFY?

"I don't doubt your poverty cred, and it entitles you to your apparent opinion that Casey Grim is a modern proletarian hero, but it doesn't negate the basis for mine."

Yes, my apparent opinion is that I'm going to spend the next week rewriting Joe Hill to Casey Grim so I can play it at the next Occupy Meeting. That is 100,000 percent an accurate representation of my views. As opposed to My Steinbeckian Upbringing Makes Me Unsympathetic To Roustabouts and Bohemian Types. (Tortilla Flat: How Alcoholism and Indigence Ruined Torelli's Investments.)

"I don't feel like you and others in this thread have a sense of proportion about this incident (and you probably don't think I have one, either)."

Which others? I tend to think that the response the owner got was pretty proportionate — it was a funny video that hurt nothing but her pride. I don't think any Jungle references overwhelm that since what we've seen as the action — making a snarky video — is what those references support, not require. I'd feel differently if she was calling for a boycott or burning the shop down, but without that, yeah, it just seems like you're weirdly fixated on proving Casey Grim is a bad person so she deserves to be treated like an object by her prospective employers.

"But I think it is a small thing, and possibly when added up with more similar small things it could be significant, but no amount of video requests or similar could add up to The Jungle, and Grim's suggesting it does is, to me, extremely distasteful, boneheaded, and yes, entitled."

Except that she only obliquely compares it to the Jungle, in that the way the protagonist got out of the cycle of dysfunction was walking away. Getting fixated on THE JUNGLE is like complaining that someone's White Whale isn't a murderous beast of reified obsession and besides you've never experienced the squalor of an 19th-century whaling voyage. It's not like you disagree with her conclusion — that if she doesn't like that kind of request, she shouldn't comply. It's just this weird Upton Sinclair crush you have (and he's pretty great, even if The Jungle is a terrible read).
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 AM on January 28


empath: It seems like you want to define poor as 'people who don't have as much economic freedom as they'd like' and that's just not what poverty is. Not everyone is going to be upper middle class. That's just a fact of life, but unless you can't feed yourself and pay the rent, you aren't poor.

The thing is, you seem to have skipped over the point that that's exactly what i'm describing. And don't twist this around and make some kind of "hurr durr people making 30k cant feed themselves" because that's not my point either. I'm talking about people working jobs like the one Casey applied for, or other low wage retail/foodservice/other customer service jobs. You live with roommates in a place that likely technically does not meet city code, and EVERYONE in the house will qualify for EBT/government benefits. Everyone living like this is nearly always either on food stamps, receiving parental assistance in their mid 20s, and also probably living in some type of situation like "Oh, we don't have a living room because Evan just walled it off with curtains and that's his room now" living literally more people than their are rooms in a place.

I think you're creating an artificial goalpost of poor here, because i grew up in a part of town that had a lot of poor people who wouldn't meet your requirements. They had food, and they paid the rent, but they were otherwise living just on the brink and their families often had a pretty sad existence that involved parents working two jobs, possibly dealing drugs, and probably having addiction issues.

Having seen both, the differences seem really cosmetic to me. They're young, and they usually have cool clothes from a thrift store or some buffalo exchange type place and maybe some video games or a guitar or a camera something.

Your goalposts of poor though honestly seem to be essentially, homeless. But in the groups of people i run in "yea man, this week is fucking stupid. So and so couldn't pay the rent on time and now we owe the fee and the landlords on our ass, and i cut two shifts cut because one was switched without notice and they're all pissed off i didn't show" is pretty normal. So i don't know what your definition of "can't pay the rent" is, but wondering "fuck, what am i gonna do" seem about in line with it.

That's the kind of life you lead working say, 22-32 hours a week at $10 an hour(32@10 consistently, which never happens, would still only be 16k a year too... which is 14k take home). Maybe in the bay area you really would make $12 like was suggested above, but how much more expensive everything is specifically there(which is like, the most insane place on earth) would just erase any difference that would make. No one does up here though. Friends of mine have chatted after getting a 25 cent raise after 6 months.

I guess i just don't understand how "A $1000 unplanned expense would either seriously fuck up my life, and would probably cause me to be evicted if it sucked the money out of my account and overdrafted me" isn't poor. Because that's what every single person i know would call poor. If you can't save up more than a couple hundred bucks in a few months since there's just no water left in the well after everything else is dealt with, you're poor. If you want to argue semantics about that term, go ahead i guess, but what i'm talking about seems to be what everyone but you thinks is a reasonable definition.
posted by emptythought at 2:14 AM on January 28


I'm sorry, but you said that 300% of poverty is poor. That's not someone making $16k a year. That's closer to 30k a year. 16 k puts you in the bottom 14% of incomes in the US, not half of the country. If you want to reach the majority of the country, you have to get up around 50k a year household income. I'm not going to quibble about the 15k a year range, but that isn't what you said upthread.
posted by empath at 2:48 AM on January 28


Sorry, onlyconnect, I'd like to apologize for that last comment — rereading it now, it came across as far more dickish than I meant it to be. I still disagree with you and how you characterize the reactions, but some places where I meant to be goofy now just look mean. Sorry about that.
posted by klangklangston at 11:57 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


empath: I'm sorry, but you said that 300% of poverty is poor. That's not someone making $16k a year. That's closer to 30k a year. 16 k puts you in the bottom 14% of incomes in the US, not half of the country. If you want to reach the majority of the country, you have to get up around 50k a year household income. I'm not going to quibble about the 15k a year range, but that isn't what you said upthread.

Yea i realize i shifted gears there, but i stand behind that one. I live in one of the cheapest apartments in my city and split it. It's under $1000/month. It's in a popular area, but even if i was to move to the outskirts of town i would struggle to spend much less. If i was making 300%, which i'm not even, the landlord still would not rent it to me. When i was striking it out on my own and trying to rent a place solo no landlord i found would rent to me because i "didn't make enough money and it would be too much of my income". Anywhere in the city, even in totally crap areas or apartments where restaurant grill fans were blaring loud blasting smoke in to the kitchen window 24/7 and rattling half the apartment.

My dad was also disqualified from low income housing making about 25k because his income was too low. It took a very long time to fight them on this, and find a place through them that was cheap enough that they would allow him to rent it. In low income housing! If you're too poor for low income housing, making almost 30k, how is that not poor?

I'm hanging this one up though, not really interested in duking it out forever on this.

I did, however, receive an email from Casey. I can screenshot it if someone is skeptical(or something?) but she just wanted to say:
Oh and tell everyone I'm sorry the information isn't bleeped out! Lol I just read more[Ed note: of this thread] I didn't realize how easy it is to read. So embarrassing.
posted by emptythought at 4:12 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


klang, I appreciate that. I took a little break from the thread. It's all good, though, thanks.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:43 PM on January 28


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