Simon Market Place Working Hours… Not too Shabby!

I worked at a Simon mall as a guest information representative at the booth in the middle of the mall. I was responsible mainly for selling the Visa gift cards as well as general customer service (location of stores, lost & found, renting wheelchairs, information about the surrounding area, you get the gist of it).

I’ll start off by saying as a whole, I liked the job for being a college student. It paid for what I needed it to pay for.

90% of the year, the Marketplace is slow. On the rare occasion, I would get corporate orders for gift cards which I actually looked forward to since it gave me something to occupy myself. Since there was nothing much to do, I would whip out my homework. Management didn’t necessarily like that and told me doing homework was frowned upon. I understood I was at work however the alternative to looking busy and doing my homework would be staring into space, looking like a zombie. The second a customer would enter my periphery, I would be happy to help them. Alas, management still shook a finger at homework so that was out of the question (until they left for the day… oops!).

The remaining 10% of the year is actually busy. Quite busy. From the first week in December through Christmas is when busy season hits. Everyone is looking to buy gift cards for their kids, grandkids, parents, friends, next of kin, you name it. The week of Christmas is almost unbearably busy as I would be working an 8-hour shift standing the entire time. There would be no time for a 15-minute break and my usual 30-minute lunch would be cut down to “however long it takes you to cram a sandwich down your throat”-minutes (normally about 10 minutes).

The most annoying thing about Christmas time are the customers who would wait 15-20 minutes in line and, instead of having a list prepared of who they need to guy gift cards for, they would write out said list when it was their turn. Excuse me. I don’t need you ‘hmm’ing about who you need to buy for and make everyone else behind you wait an additional 5 minutes because you were too lazy to make a list while standing in line. I really don’t understand people.

Although I can’t complain of it being too slow and too busy, there needs to strike a happy medium somewhere. Sometimes during various mall events, the action would pick up a little and I would get an increase in customers which was much appreciated.

I tend to talk about how mundane the guest info booth can be but trust me, I have handled some pretty random, sometimes serious situations. I’ve called the fire department and police a handful of times. From bushes randomly lighting on fire outside to dogs being locked in cars when it’s 90+ degrees out to adolescents playing in center court and hanging tampons on the d├ęcor to toilets being clogged up because the you-know-what is too big and won’t flush to lost screaming kids who don’t know their parents names to a schizophrenic customer who would come in every morning and scribble love letters to the manager at Sbarro. You really need to be ready for anything when working at the guest information desk because when a customer has a complaint or any type of question, they look to you.

I worked at the Simon Marketplace for 4 years throughout my time at college and didn’t regret it, despite a couple thoughts of quitting here and there (mostly during the hectic Christmas season) but those were fleeting. I had of course run into the occasional PO’ed or crazy customer, but you get that in any job. My philosophy was just to brush it off.

After college, I hung up my hat and moved onto my first “big girl job” at United Healthcare (that’s a whole ‘nother story…). I had returned to Simon Marketplace, however, for seasonal help for a couple years after they had called me. I figured why not? The extra money would be nice and they wouldn’t need to train me. I’ve punched out for the last time for good now and would still recommend the job to anyone looking for some easy, part time work.