Siragusa, '07, breaks from acting for shoe retailMonday, August 25, 2008 By Daniel Edgren, Reporter
By DANIEL EDGREN Reporter When Isabel Siragusa, ’07, had to find a summer job, she expected community service work. Her parents had other ideas. “[They] said I couldn’t do anything exciting,” Siragusa said. A sophomore at Yale University, Siragusa likes to keep busy. She served as Octagon editor-in-chief as a senior, and performed in a Yale production of “Esdras” last year. So she wanted a summer job that would dovetail with her activities. But her parents decided that she had done enough volunteering and should learn the ropes of a paying summer job. This left Siragusa at a loss. Eventually, she chose to apply for jobs based on one of her interests, shoes. She began applying to department stores, and Macy’s, one of her first options, offered an interview. Though she preferred Nordstrom, Siragusa opted to try Macy’s out, and was struck by the casualness of the group interview. “We really just talked about style,” she said. At the end, interviewees who hadn’t contributed were asked to leave, while Siragusa advanced to the next level. She then attended an eight-hour computer training session. Expecting tedium and difficulty, she was surprised to find the job rather easy. The most challenging operation turned out to be opening credit card accounts; she had assumed it would be mastering the cash register. Siragusa liked Macy’s pay—$9 an hour, plus commission. “If [Nordstrom] had offered me more money, I would have gone for it,” she said. Her only real perk was a 20 percent discount on most merchandise, which she admitted her mother took frequent advantage of. “She gives me the money, and I buy the shoes,” Siragusa said. Another bright spot was the dress code, or lack of it. “Lenient dress, nothing too casual, is what they want, she said. “They want you to look professional.” Siragusa worked at the downtown Macy’s (600 K St.) as a cashier, which explained several of her more eye-opening stories. She said that numerous men hit on her, many of them rather nefarious characters. Having been told that department store employees meet interesting customers, Siragusa was disappointed, but she discovered among her colleagues a multitude of ethnic backgrounds, financial stability, and engaging histories. She worked with two Afghanis, a Cameroonian refugee, and a Mexican woman fearful of her boyfriend’s deportation. Siragusa still hopes to become an actress and, failing that, attending graduate school. Though she enjoyed her time at Macy’s, Siragusa hopes it won’t factor at all in her future.