Controversies: Overachiever Rejected From Container Store Gig Divides Facebook

container-store-rejection-letter.jpgPhoto: Getty

Salaries at The Container Store are way generous by retail standards, and the competition to get them must be steep. A woman who graduated from Harvard, wrote a New York Times bestselling book, and won an Emmy just published an essay online about how she got rejected from a job as a seasonal holiday greeter with The Container Store. Deborah Copaken’s completely depressing post on about losing her job as an editor, having breast cancer and uncertain health insurance, and not being even being able to get a seasonal retail gig is lighting up Facebook. And KJ Dell’Antonia of the New York Times see it almost as a Rorschach test in terms of Facebook users’ responses to the essay.

On one hand, if someone really, really wanted to be a greeter at The Container Store, they would probably apply in person instead of online and maybe stress customer service skills instead of Emmy awards. “One might even think that Ms. Kopaken did not actually want a job at The Container Store, but rather, what she got: a rejection from The Container Store and a metaphor for her disorganized, chaotic present and her uncertain future,” Dell’Antonia writes.

But while some Facebook commenters saw Copaken as “entitled” and “whiny,” others viewed her story as a reminder how easy it is to slip over the edge without a safety net. Dell’Antonia writes: “I wasn’t so much moved by The Container Store’s rejection of Ms. Copaken as I was by the rest of her story: the layoff, the disappearing husband, the abrupt and confusing end to Cobra insurance coverage, the breast cancer diagnosis, the insurance application windows—the whole litany of possibly preventable-but-who-can-plan-for-everything bad luck.”
· Writer, Rejected for a Retail Job, Is Embraced and Vilified on Facebook [NYT]
· How I Got Rejected From a Job at The Container Store [Cafe]
· Container Store Staffers Make Double the Average Retail Salary [Racked]

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