West Side Stories | Essay | Chicago Reader
comment

All the years at Sears I was happy enough. But when I left I was on cloud nine.

At Spiegel's I was a junior executive. The first Christmas I got a bonus of $125. That was the first bonus I ever got. No--I got $50 from Sears for their 50th anniversary. Anyway, the $125 bonus was just the greatest thing. And then after I was at Spiegel's for about a year I made $50 a week. I'd been making $23 at Sears.

I worked in a collection laboratory. We composed letters, and then we tested them to see what the results were. If the result was good, then we passed it on to the collection department. They would use it as a form letter.

We had letters that said, "You are vulnerable. You have not paid us. You will pay. The amount is so much." A lot of trick words, trick letters. I used some of that stuff when I went to Alden's 20-some years later. They thought it was terrific.

Now when I went to Spiegel's I thought Mr. Hanna was going to be my boss. That was a disappointment. It turned out that Mr. Schumacher was my boss. Chuck was over the whole area, but I worked directly for Schumacher. Bill Schumacher, who went to the priesthood. He's now a priest in Dallas, Texas.

But when I first went to Spiegel's I wasn't very happy. For one thing, at Sears I would take a ten-minute nap every afternoon in the lounge at two o'clock. They had a beautiful lounge with big couches. But when I went to Spiegel's there was no lounge. All there was was a washroom with a hard chair in it.

And every day at two o'clock I could not stay awake. I would go in the washroom and sit there on this hard chair and try to get a few winks so I could wake up. People would come in and say, "What are you doing? Don't you feel well?" I was so used to my two o'clock nap.

Add a comment