These Women Built Careers In Retail. The Pandemic Tore Through Their Stores

When Diana Newcomb looks back at a retail job she had in the 1970s, it sounds bonkers. She and other 20-somethings would sit in the office of a Rhode Island department store and tally sales stubs by hand. They would note sales in a ledger, like this: five pairs of boys size 6 Levi’s — sold. “I was renting a garage apartment and living off of canned vegetables and Triscuits,” she says and laughs. “You know, I thought I was being independent. I was at that point.” Newcomb is one of millions of women who built careers stitching together work like this. Retail is the most common job in America, and women hold the majority of jobs in clothing and department stores and gift and souvenir shops. They run cash registers everywhere. About a fifth tend to be 55 and older. Read more at NPR.