Why It’s Frustrating Working in a Family Owned Business

By: Brad Manock

          store  I have a family member who owns a store, this store sells things like: furniture, antiques, collectibles. Basically useless shit. I ended up having to be a helper in this store for about half a year. This was probably one of the longest six months of my life. In this article I will discuss some of the frustrations that can occur when an individual has to work in a family owned business.


“You Want This”

            I have a very entrepreneurial attitude towards making money. The “security” of what would be considered a normal job does not appeal to me. My number one value in life is low stress, this is what I measure all of my decisions against. I want to be independent of any employer and control my own destiny, lack of direct control is a very stressful thing.

            My family is well aware of my attitude towards traditional employment, they would use this to try to convince me that running a gift store would be great for me. However this particular situation didn’t have the benefits from either entrepreneurship or traditional employment. People like traditional employment because of the security, this business was definitely not secure. People like entrepreneurship because of the control, I did not have control. Yes, it was not traditional employment, but it was still stressful and shitty. I made of had a little bit of creative control of the business in terms of offering suggestions, but a lack of control is stressful to me unless I have ALL of the control.


“No, put it on the Flat Part”

            Throughout the course of a day at this store, I would be told to do certain things, usually odd jobs. There was usually a bit of vagueness with these commands, if I was told to “turn the couch around” I would assume they meant to turn it 180 degrees. However there would be frustration when they told me that I had done the task incorrectly and that it had to be “facing ‘that’ way” while pointing their finger in a certain direction. This vagueness and room for interpretation made for some frustrating situations.

            One time, while decorating the store for the Christmas season, I was told to pin up ornaments around the store. I got to a shelving unit and was given thumbtacks to pin the ornaments onto the wooden shelf. I was told to “put it on the flat part.” Are you kidding me? This whole shelving unit was nothing but flat surfaces and right angles. She might as well have been saying “you know that one spot in the ocean where there is a lot of water.” You could not be much vaguer. So I am standing in front of the shelving unit playing a very retarded version of the “hot and cold” game trying to guess the “flat part” being referred to in this instance.


“Is this Pine Wood?”

            My position at this store was “cashier” I did not buy any of the inventory. Yet when customers had questions about certain items, they would always ask me. There was one older lady who was looking some wooden thing, she asked me if it was pine wood or not. I said I don’t know. Then she walked out of the store. People would always ask questions about the inventory and then not buy anything. They were never smart questions, there was never an instance where I heard a customer ask a question and then I said “you know, that is a very good question.” It would always be like “why the fuck would anybody ever care about that?!” I wouldn’t say that of course but I was usually thinking at them loud enough that they received the message.

            I would have called customers retarded if not or one fact. The actual retards made the best customers, they were happy all the time and they didn’t ask questions. They would just buy stuff because they liked it and then that was it. The smarter someone was walking through the front door, the less likely they were to actually buy something before walking back out. I don’t contribute to that store anymore, they figured out that I really do not want to. I would much rather be broke and happy then making money and stressed out all the time. That store had two of the things that stressed me out the most, lots of stupid (not ‘retarded’ but ‘stupid’) people and lack of direct control.


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