Isabell Sass manages the northern-most Telekom shop in Germany on the island of Sylt – in the last few weeks of the year, she recharges her batteries for the summer “when all hell breaks loose” and celebrities with their collars turned up come into the shop. We chatted to her about the Advent period.
At this time of year, when the east wind brings a tranquil breeze, employees at the Telekom shop on Sylt can pause and collect themselves. Take a deep breath. In the cities, Christmas shopping fever is in full swing and the infuriating search for a parking space is enough to make some shoppers want to give up before they’ve begun. On Sylt, it’s quite the opposite. “At this time of year, we attend to the matters that we neglected in the peak season. And we find time to do some training or move the shop around,” explains Isabell Sass. Raised in the Harz region, she has been working in the only Telekom shop on Sylt for seven years. She has been the manager for the last two.
The mild climate and countless hours of sunshine attract around one million tourists in the summer – an almost inconceivable number for a small town with 15,000 inhabitants. Families with children, watersport lovers, the rich and the beautiful all come to Sylt. In summer, it all takes off at the Telekom shop, located not far from the kilometer-long sandy beach in Westerland. Up to 500 people per day demand the latest smartphones and MagentaTV, or ask endless questions about what a connected home involves. “In the summer vacation months, it’s buzzing here and our shop is crammed full,” explains Ms. Sass.
Plenty of celebrity customers
An extra sweetener for the shop staff on Sylt is that celebrities regularly come in during the peak season. Unlike at some hotels, Telekom employees are not forbidden to ask for autographs or selfies. “Each time, you have to decide for yourself whether to approach a celebrity or take a step back,” adds Ms. Sass, showing her trust in her team’s instincts. If – as happened recently – a famous German actor comes in with their coat collar turned up and cap pulled down over their forehead, it’s safe to say they should not be approached. The best known German quiz master was more amenable, however. “I did speak to him. Although I help my staff on the sales floor every day, in my role I don’t have such a direct line to the celebrities any more,” explains the 27-year-old.
Sylt is a paradise in summer and one of the most popular vacation destinations in Germany. In winter, it becomes more tranquil. “I always tell my people: Fall is coming, time to get prepared. It’s loud and hectic here in summer, but then it gets much quieter – you have to be able to withstand the less busy spells,” says Ms. Sass. Some find the occasional sea fog and east wind a strain, while others enjoy exactly that: nature in the raw.
Swenja Meyer positively glows when she talks about Germany’s largest North Sea island. As the Flensburg regional sales manager, she is in charge of ten shops in the north in total: “In virtually no other shop across the entire Deutsche Telekom Group can you experience nature as closely as here on Sylt. I love the vastness of the sea, the freedom, the pristine air,” Ms. Meyer explains. And she’s always happy to connect with new colleagues who feel the same way: work in a place where others vacation.
Working on the island brings people together. The three Sylt residents and six mainlanders, who make the crossing via a half-hour train journey from Niebüll to Westerland every morning, help each other out. If the train is cancelled or the railroad is blocked, if a storm hurls beach chairs through the air or an employee from the mainland is ill and cannot open up the shop – Isabell Sass checks her train and weather apps and lets her other colleagues know on a WhatsApp group. Then the Sylt colleagues leap into action and get to work early or leave late. As Ms. Sass says, “I don’t know if anyone in a city ever says ‘I’m coming in an hour early to unlock the door.’ That has to happen here on Sylt or the shop would not be able to open.”
Sylt also has its charm in the winter. You should try it. Switch off. Drop down a gear. Reflect on what really matters. Nature. Beauty. For the first time in years, there’s a Christmas market back on the island. Isabell Sass and her team are drinking mulled wine. In perfect peace and quiet. The summer will come, that much is certain.
Are you a natural-born salesperson too? Is engaging with people in your blood? Have a look for “Telekom shop sales staff” in our Job Search – we regularly advertise jobs in our Telekom shops.