How YA Contemporaries Lied to Me: Work Edition

how ya contemporaries lied to me

A while back, I developed this short life series called How YA Contemporaries Lied to Me. I took on popular YA contemporary tropes and how they have completely RUINED me for romantic expectations. I mean, I expect all of my enemies now to become my lovers when I haven’t even had a single enemy???? YA contemporaries have totally lied to me, and I had to set the record straight in part one, two, and three. I have brought back my award-winning series (aka, someone told me that they enjoyed it once, so it won an award of Not-Completely-Sucking), and brought you a special YA Contemporary Work Edition.

Myth #1: The Customer of Your Dreams

Okay, I used to work in retail, and if you ever work in retail, you know peeps be insane. Like really insane. When I entered into retail, I didn’t think hot men would be walking through the door left and right – in fact, I didn’t think they would be walking in at all, really, since the place I worked catered to old ladies and middle age women that would literally throw adult tantrums over coupons.

However, if you work in retail in YA books, alllllllllllll of the cute customers come in. You have regulars – and not just the old lady who comes barreling in with the shopping cart ten minutes to close to play with singing animals but you love her anyway because she’s just so nice but REALLY, GIRL, TEN MINUTES. The regulars/customers are always funny and sweet and there is just this connection that you can feel over the burning lights emitting from the laser scanner on the cash register. They always pop in when you’re working and maybe they even bring you something – even though you’re supposed to be servicing them?? You enjoy each other so much that one things leads to another and then you’re being asked out and have to have at least a page discussion of what does one wear OUTSIDE OF A WORK UNIFORM????

Um, yeah, no, my regulars were never like this, and if men were coming in, they were usually coming to shop for the women in their lives and our total interaction with them was “thank you for shopping.” One time, though, I had a solid hope for a minute. There was this cute guy that came in with his dad, and he was super chatty, and my co-worker totally thought he was flirting with me. He was buying a stuffed animal, and I’m like, a man comfortable enough with buying adorable fluffy things? Okay, I’m down with it…until I wasn’t because he launched into some super weird story about how he lost his other stuffed animal and he was going off to college and he needed one – NEEDED ONE TO SURVIVE – and he just kept repeating it over and over and I’m like, oh no. He launched into how weird this must be and got REALLY excited about life in college (with his stuffed animal), and I casually just bagged his animal up real quick and pushed it at him.

Check out more customer to lovers stories here: Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss (customer + busboy + store robbery = unique love story for the ages), #famous by Jilly Gagnon (Alex from Target falls in love), and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (boy boss + cute doggies = me in love as well).

Myth #2: The Co-Worker

So, this is the most readily available and actual logical chance for love in YA books. I mean, it’s super realistic, and I know people that fall in love with their co-workers all the time. Most of the time, co-workers usually start off as haters to lovers, but the more time they are stuck together to work on a project – or being the fake prince to their even faker princess – they realize they actually aren’t the horrible being they always thought them to be???? Or, they just completely vibe from the start and there’s the whole unrequited love and adoring eyes over the gentle sound of customers losing their minds and demanding to speak to their manager. They can share chuckles over that crazy customer or even just general work craziness.

In my prior job, this was a super no-go for moi. We only had a few men employees. One I never saw, and one I literally NEVER saw. Every time he was scheduled for work, I was never in, and the one day that I was finally going to meet him, the kid decided to do a little underage drinking, get so hungover he didn’t wake up until 3 hours into his shift, and then his butt got promptly fired.

As for my current job, I do have some promising prospects…as in, I totally think, goodness, they’re cute, but dating is a lot of work and then what happens if we ever broke up, because THEN HOW WOULD I EVER WALK IN THAT AREA AGAIN AND THERE WOULD BE AN OFFICE DIVIDE AND IT WOULD BE AWKWARD AND I’M NOT PREPARED FOR AWKWARD LIFE. As you can see, Mandy is nothing but a paranoid, delusional pessimist. Anyway, I’m slowly but surely working on this, but I mean, I’ve been slowly but surely working on this since January and one dude has left because he had a secret finance so there’s that. OOPS.

Check out more co-worker love stories here: Dream Factory (fake Cinderella falls in love with fake Prince Charming at Disneyland – yes please!), How Zoe (Dream Factory Part II), and Wesley James (these two but haters to lovers)!

Myth #3: The Building Next Door Will Always Have Hot People

Okay, YA has a thing for having cute men/women always next door to the work. I mean, honestly, are these wo/men actually doing things? IDK, but they just always pop in or the MC just stares across the street at them. It’s quite logical since they are super close, but I mean, WHY ARE THESE MEN/WOMEN ALWAYS NEXT DOOR???? It leads to a lot of adorable run-ins and screen time and mishaps because these MCs only have a short jaunt to romance.

Lol, the retail job used to be actually be by some kind of military thing? Idk, what it actually was, but sometimes on the weekends, all these men and a few women would do some training thing and they would accidentally do them in front of our store. It was super awkward for me since I would forever make accidental eye contact with like 5 hot men at the same time as they were doing some intense stretches, but goodness, the old ladies gobbled it up. I mean, I tried to discreetly gobble it up, but these ladies just hardcore stared and were like, “My goodness…whatever are they doing????” as they were licking their lips. So I mean, I guess YA wasn’t lying for this one????

What do you think? Has YA lied to you about romantic expectations? Were any of these actually true for you? Let’s discuss in the comments below!



36 thoughts on “How YA Contemporaries Lied to Me: Work Edition

  1. Oh, girl, although I was not working in retail or anything, I soooo can relate to this. And it is not just YA. Every book out there makes this wonderfully pink picture about the perfect life that you cannot have. I am still waiting for my paranormal prince to saunter into my life and drag me to an adventure. XD :´)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yessssssssssssssssssss, so agreed! Every book really gives us such unrealistic thoughts. Lol, and once our paranormal prince whisks us away, we’ll of course find out we’re secret princesses????


  2. I think that is their intention haha like to use common behaviors or situation to create home and maybe make you fill that one day that will be you, and I agree that is completely unfair… I think that we read them because of the voyeurism kind of thing that “we want this to happen to us” but it actually never happens so that is why we read it? haha, it is so sad! It is like believing in fairy tales XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahaha it certainly us! XD And I definitely think it is a form of good escapism that we can just put ourselves into the story – or the fairy tale – and be like, this could be me. It’s just the down side of having to drag ourselves out of them, LOL. But totally agreed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is the worst part… You are there at the cafeteria waiting for that one to talk to you, and then you realize that this is real life haha but it is nice read haha
        I think that is why Simon’s ending was so annoying to me haha

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg😂😂😂 the college guy with the stuffed animal😂😂😂 and I do believe YA is constantly lying to uuus letting us get our hopes high 😭😭😭 I personally always had the hope of a nice exchange classmate, but I guess that never happens😂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I cannot stop laughing. This series is LIFE keep it coming. Like I have legit cackles going on. (small typo btw “finance” instead of “fiance”)

    The military thing I’m dyyyinnnggg.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is hilarious. I also worked in retail during college and it was something else (although my store was targeting the HS/college demographic). No grand romances, just crazy adventures, and one date.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ahahah loved this – and yep, agreed !!

    my customers ain’t too bad as im working in an adult shop now; but eeeeh.. let me tell you it’s *probably* not where a knight shall be met. One, he may already have another princess, or two … he’ll be after something else x)
    As for coworkers, im gonna be honest I did thought about this one – but all of us are ladies. and since it’s not the way I swing .. DOOMED !!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my gosh this post is amazing!! I feel the exact same way, both YA and Shoujo manga are big culprits for this. In all the jobs and classes I have been in the majority are female, so I’ve never had a chance to get a co-worker romance or a chance meeting in a group project. I’m still waiting!!
    This is a wonderful post, I love these 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. lol I’ve heard retail is a nightmare, so I’m not too surprised that you find these work stories unrelatable. But yo, that guy with the stuffed animal…is it weird that I find a dude attached to stuffed animals kind of cute? 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Retail can definitely be a nightmare. So much yelling. D: And lol, I kind of thought so too! I mean, I was down for it…until he wouldn’t stop talking about it. It had a sweet story back to it. But I’m totally with you. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This. This. This.
    Despite never having worked in retail, I’ve always dreamed of bumping into the cute guy in the bookstore. Where we flirt shamelessly (bc in my head I am a shameless flirt) and you know we buy drinks and books. Has never and will never happen. XD
    You brought up so many excellent points, Mandy! YA contemp is full of these tropes, which really raised such high expectations! XD And those old ladies you mentioned…that is the type of old lady I aspire to be XD!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg, that sounds like such a brilliant fantasy. I want in on this. But I love me some good YA romances…my expectations just need to take it down a notch. And ahahahaha ikr. They are living their best old lady life.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh man, I love this post! I got 2 retail job offers on the same day and decided to pick the one where I had scoped a hot guy working when I went in for my interview. It was like– job at a kids clothing store?? or hot guy co-worker?? Kind of an easy choice.

    It ended up being a good choice because I got to flirt with the cute boy and we became friends. It wasn’t a YA romance, but it was nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Omg, SUCH an easy choice. Ahahaha, and what a great sounding YA premise that sounds like. But that kind of works out the same since you get a friend out of it and some good flirting in. At least it was a YA friendship story in the end?


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