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My Soul-Sucking Experience Working at The Container Store (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: TCS PBPB MCD SBUX

Anyhow, on the morning of 9/11, I was on the bus from my neighborhood near Haight-Ashbury to Downtown San Francisco when I heard. Once we knew the specifics of what happened in New York, reports on local radio indicated that the Golden Gate Bridge was a potential target. We knew what was going on, but we really didn't.

Some of my co-workers -- which came as a shock to me -- decided to leave work and go downstairs to drink at Harpoon Louie's. While I understand some folks in Manhattan actually headed to bars on 9/11, I was too shaken to do anything but head back to my apartment and, through a mix of shock and tears, watch the coverage on television.

Once the emotional dust settled -- and I presume that process moved a lot faster for somebody in California -- I reassessed my life. Long story short, I dropped everything now and made the refreshingly obvious choice to attend San Francisco State University as an Urban Studies major. January 2002 kicked off my first semester of what would turn into 4-1/2 of growth, birth (my daughter was born in late 2003) and rebirth.

Heading into the drastically different experience of college, I figured I would go all the way. To make extra cash during my tenure, I settled on a retail job. I wanted to do the opposite of what I had always done, thereby arming myself with the type of life experience that would help me do things such as write articles for TheStreet.

The Container Store was opening in Downtown San Francisco at the same Fourth Street location, adjacent to Old Navy, where it stands today. They put out ads for staff, touting, as per usual, benefits such as flexible hours and "great pay." I applied and got a gig as something called a "retail associate" or some such.

"I was supposed to weigh the meat. Four ounces per sandwich, as I recall."

That's how Dan Freed described part of his Potbelly responsibilities. And, really, that's not a bad way to illustrate what me and my fellow associates had to do at The Container Store.

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