May 14, 1970 |
Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook
Feuti grew up in Pascoag, Rhode Island, where he and his older sister were raised by their single mother, who worked in a screen windows factory. “Growing up in a single-parent family during America’s first ‘Great Recession’ wasn’t always easy, but I look back on my formative years fondly,” said Feuti. He drew in high school but wasn't impressed enough by his drawing ability to apply to an art school. He is a resident of Plainville, Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, Feuti had over 15 years of retail management experience at seven different stores, selling everything from arts and crafts supplies, jewelry and men's footwear to clothing, giftware and toys. He first worked at a convenience store, recalling:
- They insisted we wear an apron. Our clientele was generally getting out of a bar late at night, coming in, yelling that we were out of their brand of cigarettes, and we still had to put on an apron to create an air of respectability.
Next, he was employed at Father and Son Shoes, selling backpacks:
- As the company moved into the backpack business, it asked employees to wear a backpack around the store and compete to sell the highest number. Customers mocked him, the bag proved uncomfortable and, in the end, he said, the only contest winner was the store's manager, who received a color television. Soon, he switched to Bostonian, an upscale shoe store where the merchandise was more expensive and the customers complained more loudly. One shopper called the store to report that a shoelace had broken off. It was unclear how the lace had broken, or what it had to do with the store, but the man angrily demanded that Mr. Feuti mail him a new one, which he did. After that, Mr. Feuti worked at Learningsmith, an educational toy and gift store, where, he recalled, he encountered parents who thought that their children were little geniuses in the making. When Mr. Feuti steered one mother to a series of Looney Tunes-themed workbooks she sneered that her highly literate children "never watch television."
In 2008, Feuti created a second strip, Gil, as a web comic on his website. The main character is an eight-year-old boy named Gil who is raised by his single mother Cheryl in a poverty-stricken household. Gil also sees his father Frank occasionally, a ne'er-do-well who often offers Gil questionable advice. Secondary characters include Gil's friend and confidant Shandra and his antagonist Morgan. In 2011, Gil was picked up for syndication by King Features and launched in newspapers on January 2, 2012.
Living in Massachusetts in 2012, Feuti dreamed up Gil ideas while observing his children, along with memories of his own childhood experiences.
Feuti's book Pretending You Care: The Retail Employee Handbook (Hyperion, 2007) is a manual for dealing with the problems of working in retail with Retail comic strips serving as illustrations.
- Moore, Matt. “Seriously Funny”. Associated Press, March 6, 2012.
- "New kid on the page". The Sun Chronicle. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
- Barbaro, Michael. "Panel by Comic Panel, a Retail Clerk Exacts His Revenge". The New York Times, December 31, 2005.
- Racine, Tom. "Norm Feuti Returns". Tall Tale Radio, September 26, 2011.
- Locally drawn comic strip 'Retail' about to hit retailers nationwide The Sun Chronicle 12 October 2012
- "Review of the Day: The King of Kazoo by Norm Feuti". School Library Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2016.