My second job in Vegas was at a perfume kiosk in Caesar’s Palace. My first job had been at Bruegger’s Bagel Bakery, and my stint there only lasted for a month. I was sixteen and the only thing I remember clearly about the bagel joint was that, one day I was leaning on the counter, propping myself up on my elbows, with my hip popped and my manager turned around and said, “Lexi, please don’t stand like that.” The perfume kiosk was far more interesting than bagels and they didn’t care how I stood.
The kiosk was by far the sketchiest place that I have ever worked. It was a part of a little franchise owned by a pretty blonde woman who seemed to disappear after she hired me, and her Hungarian husband, who managed the Caesar’s Palace location. The job was commission only and there were three stores (read: two kiosks and one actual shop front)– Caesar’s Palace, Circus Circus, and Flamingo. Flamingo had the store front and that is where I finally made my first sale. God, I will never forget standing in high heels on marbel flooring for that long.
But anyway, Caesar’s was where I normally worked. The kiosk was located on the third floor of the Caesar’s palace shopping mall, right out side of Anthropologie and twenty feet away from the escalator that led to the third floor. The woman who worked the kiosk would position themselves between our little perfume island and the escalator and take turns reciting the same line to whoever would make eye contact: “Would you like to try some perfume?”
It should be noted that I was the only person without a Hungarian accent who worked at the stand, so by the end of my shifts, I would go home speaking as though I had one.
I remember my first day at Caesar’s really well. The shift was long and it was a Friday. I was to work from 4pm to 12am, and then Hungarian Dude Boss would drive me home. (Yes, you read that correctly. I always got rides from Hungarian Dude if I got off work late. It was either that or take the Flamingo Road bus at midnight and that was a far worse idea than some weird dude’s Lexus). I think I may have sold one set of perfume on that shift, meaning my dinner from the Planet Hollywood restaurant on the first floor cost me more than I made that day. I took my pasta bolognese dinner break on one of the stone Roman-esque benches and watched tourists go by in packs.
The women I worked with were quick to teach me the rules of working at the kiosk. If you ask a person to try the perfume and they refuse, that’s your turn. Everyone else has to ask someone before your turn comes around again. You have to take turns in the order that you are standing and you can’t change the order. You can sit down near the kiosk basically whenever you want, but you can’t ask people to try anything if you are sitting. It never seemed like any of us really made any money. We all sat a lot.
After a bout six weeks of this, I quit, without another job lined up, which made my dad pretty cranky. My stepmother really wanted me to be working. But the week after I quit I got offered a receptionist gig at the ballroom studio I trained at. My dad wasn’t paying my tuition, so the owner said I could work off my balance. That sounded great compared to an endless round of, “Would you like to try some perfume?”