Retail Religion is about an exclusive department store on the Texas border run by a sinister owner. He will cheat all including family and friends. Strange people and dishonest activities lead to turmoil for two young men in a business that devours its own. Paul and Osteen learn skills for a new and better venture. Though a story in fiction; the plot is based on real business occurrences. More
James Harkin is expanding business in the 1970’s. Moving to a new mall will supply big-ticket grandeur to the Texas border department store. The personnel are to be increased and new employees would work under the stern patron. One of the new hires crashes a plane into a religious shrine and a funeral follows. The plane was a comet of premonition. Osteen Swain is the personal choice of egocentric and cunning owner, Harkin. Swain is the qualified and pricy jewelry man. Harkin uses his business acumen to deceive family, friends, and all that cross his path. A woman’s shoe buyer, Paul Pratt is recruited. Osteen is to instruct the new buyer in the corporate discipline. Harkin banishes Osteen and Paul to the construction site to sweat the summer heat. Osteen is indiscriminate in his seductions and avoids all responsibility while devising schemes to avoid work through flexibility and adaption. Harkin sends Carla Trull, his best friend’s daughter, to enforce the house rules. O’Friel’s, the Friday night watering hole, unites Talbert a computer-tech and Gayle, the furniture manager, with Osteen and Paul. The O’Friel boys are a group that melds ideas, adventure and gossip into fables. The New York market trip is Paul’s first solo buy and adds to his self-confidence. He discovers why Osteen was banished to the foreign legion on the Texas border. Construction on the store ends and the opening approaches with an opulent presentation. Harkin informs employees that, “Jesus will not return on Wednesday because I play Golf that day.” Paul’s change comes when Carla trollops him into a torrid relationship and lures him into a San Antonio trip. He rides a delicate teetering edge with his boss’s social connection. Meanwhile, O’Friel’s becomes the sanity balance in a tormented environment. The doldrums of retail turns into the Christmas rush. Osteen encounters Bobbie Tipton, an ordinary but smart and driven farm girl. In a reversal of fate, Osteen is pursued as a focus of desire. Christmas comes with the usual presents exchanged but dinner for the two single men is eaten alone. Spring erupts with Paul being caught by Carla’s father in the wrong place. Paul’s parents travel south for a winter visit with the unemployed son. The spring accounting brings reform. Harkin tightens his grip with an employee shake up. The owner selects new pet employees without scrutiny. Harkin knows his current ferial employees need taming and to learn respect. The O’Friel boys sink to a low profile. Osteen goes to a gemological meeting and is called back to the store as diamonds are missing from the vault. Harkin’s new primadonnas are flamboyant crooks. Osteen, under suspicion, quits and goes into hiding at Bobbies hunting camp. Bobbie warms his chill and Osteen discovers he likes country life. The Harkin family sends James Harkin on vacation while his son, Rodney, tries to rectify the personnel problems. The money-making ostracized managers are lured back as cash is drained without effective people. Osteen and Paul’s insecurity and obligation moves them to discover, what you project is not necessarily who you are. Paul learns that romance does not have to be tumultuous. The O’Friel boys find new and evasive ways to deal with the mercurial standards of management. Osteen and Paul try humor and talent to misdirect their retail monster from devouring its own. A new stratagem with refined skills focuses them on a path that avoids the sinister owner. Harkin is rewarded in kind. Though the book is fiction, all business sequences are based on real occurrences.
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