"Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail" by Caitlin Kelly

Caitlin Kelly, author of "Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail"
CBS
Caitlin Kelly, author of "Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail"
CBS

"CBS Early Show" News Anchor Jeff Glor interviews Caitlin Kelly about her new book "Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail."

Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Caitlin Kelly: I was inspired by the fact retail is one of the nation's largest and most powerful industries, with 15 million workers, yet we know next to nothing about the people we buy from every single day -- the salesperson across the counter from us. Every business story I'd read about retail focused only on senior executives and stock prices, but not the people actually selling those products and services every day, without which no retailer could survive or make a profit. Sales associates, who are everywhere around us, remained invisible. I wanted to tell their story.

JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

CK: Writing memoir, which the book is in its description of my own experience as a sales associate in a suburban New York mall, was really challenging! I've been a journalist for decades and am used to writing about other people and their most private feelings. To reflect on my own experience and try to describe it artfully was emotionally a little scary and professionally a new step.

JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

CK: Interior design or running my own little shop. It's hard to imagine not being a writer, though.

JG: What else are you reading right now?

CK: I'm re-reading "The Imperfectionists" by Tom Rachman, a fellow Canadian and University of Toronto grad; loving "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" by David Mitchell and very slowly reading a great biography of Elizabeth I by Anne Somerset.

JG: What's next for you?

CK: I hope to write my next book about work and how we can thrive in a job even without a big paycheck, which millions of us are now having to do in this recession. I've also been invited to speak at a number of conferences and universities about my book and my insights about retail.

For more on "Malled," visit the Penguin Group website.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.