Friday, July 31, 2015

Raymond Melendez

39/60 When Raymond Melendez, 43, goes into a store, particularly into a big shopping club, he notices everything.

Raymond Melendez

Raymond Melendez
Raymond Melendez

39/60 When Raymond Melendez, 43, goes into a store, particularly into a big shopping club, he notices everything.

And sometimes, what he notices is not good.

"It drives me nuts," said Melendez, of Bensalem, an unemployed marketing and retail manager. "I can get it in better shape. I'm itching to go.

"I love the work, anything having to do with retail," he said. "It's fast-paced, and there's always a challenge."

More coverage
Looking for Work: The 60-day series so far
A walk on the nonprofit side
A man of varied interests
Two generations out of work

Melendez grew up on welfare, but ran his way out of poverty, landing a track scholarship to college. Shortly after he graduated, he met his wife and went to work for her family's business, a bar and grill.

Later, he moved onto retailing. Soon, he became the overnight manager at a 24-hour drugstore. "When I left in the morning, the store had to be immaculate," said Melendez.

In 2000, he joined Kmart Corp. "I thought they were a stable company," he said, "and I could see all the opportunities for advancement."

He was just in line for a promotion when, in 2002, Kmart closed 360 stores. "I got laid off," he said.

Soon, he landed at Sam's Club, where he was sent to manage the bakery department - not that he knew a thing about baking. What he did know, after looking over the sales records, was that cakes were very profitable, if there was someone always available to decorate them.

"I had everybody trained on how to decorate cakes," he said.

Later, he became marketing manager at a different Sam's Club, selling memberships. "When I got there, we were in the bottom-20 club in the nation," he said.

Melendez focused on one type of membership. "We were not only to make it to number one in the market, but in the whole division" in that membership category.

Update: As of December 2011, Melendez was working fulltime as an assistant supermarket manager.

  • RaymondMelendez
  • Hometown: Bensalem.
  • Profession: Retailing, marketing manager.
  • Experience: Recruited, trained, and directed a
    high-performance sales team.
  • Education: St. Peter's College -
    bachelor's in business administration.
  • E-mail address:

In September 2010, he lost his Sam's Club job when he needed to take off some time to handle a family matter. He hopes Sam's will hire him back again.

One plus of being unemployed is that he gets to spend more time with his children, age 15, 14, and 10.

"I didn't think I'd be out of work this long," Melendez said. Unemployment benefits help, and his wife works a lot of overtime.

"My son said, 'I'll help you, Dad. I'll give you money.' It's nice to hear your kid say that, but I would have a hard time taking money from my kids."

The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should conduct their own background checks.

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or

Inquirer Staff Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
Also on
letter icon Newsletter