Retail is an art. I learned some of it from Mr. Murry, as I always thought of him, though I was unknowingly substituting the first name for the last.
I was sixteen and working jobs on weekends. I had managed a crafts store at a scout camp that summer and learned how to sell. I turned to trying to sell women’s shoes on commission until I got notice that I wasn’t selling enough and would be let go immediately. So I looked up the r0w in the Falls Church strip shopping center and found Murry’s and he wanted a stock boy.
Might have been Mr. Murry was actually elsewhere in the business which had been expanding since 1958. This was 1960.
I paid attention and learned. Handling the frozen steaks, then an oddity, drew people all by themselves. But cooking one on a grill on the sidewalk, which I helped do, made all the difference. They got to see, smell and even taste a bite.
Cook steaks frozen, he always said, even the cheapest steaks eat tender that way. I have ever since.
I also remembered Mr. Murry’s deft management of a few simple principles in what I came to realize was the art form of retail.