stories of the evil employee discount

I started working in retail in 2000. My first retail job was at a women’s clothing store and what probably impressed me the most was the employee discount. I was told it was ‘generous’, but of course, it’s really just a discount at cost. It’s pretty much like that everywhere. You pay what it costs the company to buy a product, usually at 30 or 40% below what the retail price is.

But at the time, I thought I had hit the jackpot. There were all these amazing clothes that I loved and I had a hard time not spending an entire paycheck at any one time.

My closet was over flowing with clothes. It was kinda gross. The kicker, and tipping point was about three years into this job, I was rooting around said closet for something to wear and found a stack of tee shirts in various colors…..all with the price tags still on them.


Ok, I thought, I get it. I don’t need EVERYTHING.

Next job was at a major department store. The one good thing was that to take advantage of the discount, employees had to have a store credit card. At the time, my credit rating (due to my own stupidity and from defaulting on student loans)was drowning in the deep end of Lake Michigan. But the store gave me a card anyway, with a very small credit limit.

Ha. Since we were paid weekly, I’d max the damn thing out and pay it off the next paycheck. Again, overflowing closet full of stuff. Not as bad as from the last job, but enough that my husband finally made a comment about it when I came home with a designer handbag….in my defense, the discount nabbed me a great deal, but it purse still cost me what I paid in rent. Needless to say the husband hit the roof. I canceled the card so that I wouldn’t be tempted to use it. Which of course ment no more evil employee discount.

Next job was the gift shop at one of the museums in town. My down fall there was books and jewelry (earrings). The discount wasn’t as great, but the museum is a non profit, so it’s not like they are in it for the money.

By then I had learned a few things.

I paced myself on my spending. One book OR one pair of earrings a month. Also, from my previous jobs, I started weeding out clothing yearly. If there was something that I had not worn in a year, out it went. Either in the rag bin under the sink if it wasn’t in good enough condition for the thrift store, or to one of the thrift stores in our neighborhood.

The books were amazing, I got some really nice art books. And the jewelry wasn’t the run of the mill crap you see in department stores. A lot of the earrings I own are one of a kind.

I briefly worked at a kitchen supply/cooking store. Given that I love to cook, that could have been REALLY *DANGER DANGER*, my saving grace is that we have a small galley kitchen and not a whole lot of counter space. My purchases there were limited to small gadgety type of things, but I did treat myself to a couple of nice sauce pans.

Currently I’m working at a bookstore.


I swore that I would limit myself to one book a month. Ha. I’ve been there since mid October. I’ve been averaging one book a week.

Have I ever mentioned that our living room is already three walls of books?

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