THE first time I went into Topshop, I was 16 and it was a ‘teenager on holidays’ heaven! Armed with our holiday spending money and lots of London sightseeing behind us, my sister and I managed to spend several hours (and all our money) in this overwhelming multi-story shop nestled on Oxford Street. We came out with our bags full of clothes which we couldn’t get at home and stories of the store that had, like, everything.
Nowadays, Topshop has gone from being my heaven to being my hell. I know that sounds dramatic but I have good reason — Topshop was where I first worked on arrival to London. I managed to get the job through a temp agency and was extremely excited to finally be earning some sterling and doing it in such a fantastic place! My excitement soon turned to exhaustion after my first of many long days of shift work.
Those of you who have been into the store might understand how exhausting and overwhelming it is to shop there. With its several levels of clothing including, shoes, accessories, vintage area, specialty pieces often by celebrities, denim section as well as the beauty parlor, EAT café, personal shopping, information desk and yes sometimes even a DJ — there is just SO much going on in the store.
While all this was going on it was our job to tidy the sale rack (I still shudder thinking about this), hang clothes by style, colour and size order in the fitting room, unload trucks, debag clothes while putting them in storage in the underground basement. In other words – the behind the scenes work that goes into the smooth running of this massive store. We had to do all this while dealing with the crowds of up to 200,000 customers a day not to mention about 1000 staff who churned through the place.
Not only was working a shock to the system after being a backpacker who had bummed around Europe for four months but looking at some gorgeous clothes and shoes while being dirt poor was torture! Although working there was not all bad, after two weeks of hard work and long days I was happy to earn my very first pounds as a Londoner. I was also extremely lucky to meet a good friend who I have since stayed close with two years on.
Even though the memories of working there have put me off the place, I still manage to pop into one of the smaller stores occasionally. Don’t let my rant deter you either. It really is a great place to go if you want a true London high street experience and a justified addition to London’s Top 100 list!