Got hired by a South Korean millionaire
Millefleur was an immense cosmetics store close to the Eiffel Tower. Entering the store there were no other persons other than the South Korean owner Jee Eun Kim. Later I learned that this young lady wearing a woman’s suit and Chanel sun glasses was in her late sixties. I also learned that her father was a general during the military dictatorship and his picture had been printed on one of the South Korean banknotes.
The Millefleur brand had been established by a famous French makeup artist and had had its glory in the fifties when movie stars and show -business people were using the products. The previous owner had gone bankrupt and this Korean millionaire had taken on the company. The store’s high round mirror walls were still there as reminders of the old time luxury but most of the window spotlights were broken.Some out-of- date lipsticks were still lying on dusty display stands.
Jee Eun Kim was not like the tough human resources professionals I was used to dealing with and I got the job, wow! However, she was tough with money and only willing to pay me a minimum salary, not more. It was not much but together with the RSA income support benefits it would do. In order to keep the system going I was then obliged to report the earned salary to the Family Allowance Fund every three months. The complementary RSA would be paid accordingly.
No clients showed up
At the end of my first working day I was surprised that not a single client had shown up. At the end of the week I was fully aware that no money was coming in. A ten year-old stock of cream bottles and lipsticks was lying in the arched medieval cellar. The cabins behind the store were crowded by half empty cartoon boxes. Nobody came in and nobody called except the owner. I still got some rare requests from the old clients who didn’t know the previous owner was bankrupted. I was advised by Jee Eun Kim to tell them that the product will be available again next month. But this was a short-term solution as some tenacious clients called me again after a month had passed, and were kindly invited to call again in one month. And so on and so on. That’s how we maintained that some illusory business was going on.
I already understood that Jee Eun Kim had no knowledge about economics or business strategies. She considered that being a heavy user of cosmetics herself made her capable of easily running this business. And a heavy user of cosmetics she was. She never showed up before eleven a.m.in the office, in order to execute the complicated makeup routine, which made her look young.Instead of any productive work, I was occupied by Jee Eun Kim’s personal problems like late Tax Free payments from the Vuitton and Chanel store or missed appointments with a home decoration deliveryman.