Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 1, 1993)
Toying in retail reaps rewards
This summer, 1 ike the Genera
tion X-er I am, I slacked off.
I did absolutely nothing that
will ever help me find a job within my
majors. For four months I left the
career track and just kind of hung out.
I slept nine or 10 hours every night,
watched TV and ate a lot of French
fries. I didn’t even think about jour
nalism. Or my future. Or whether or
not I actually believe I’ll graduate in
I didn’t dress like a slacker, though,
so maybe I didn’team the title. I don’t
own any flannel shirts, and we weren ’ t
allowed to wear holey jeans at Toys
Uh-oh, maybe you can’t call me a
slacker; I had a job.
For the second summer in a row, I
worked at Toys “R” Us—the world’s
biggest toy store, proud home of
Geoffrey the giraffe.
Contrary to popular belief, work
ing at a toy store isn’t always fun and
games—I think I’ve always wanted
to say that. For example, I give you
the June sidewalk sale, which takes
place every year in the hallway that
stretches from the store’s entrance to
the building’s entrance. The manag
ers line up tables in the long hallway
by the entrance and lay out all the
During the sidewalk sale, an em
ployee —quite often me—stands in
the hallway to make sure no one steals
I don’t believe in eternal hellfire,
but if God did want to send evil people
someplace to suffer ever after, I would
recommend the Toys “R” Us hallway.
There I stood, all alone in the hot
hallway, cut off from the air condi
tioning, the Muzak and humanity it
self, with no one to talk to but the
motley crew of toys; broken Skip-Its,
discontinued Teddy Ruxpin tapes and
an occasional New Kids, heart-shaped
During those four-hour shifts in
the hallway, I sometimes regretted
coming back to Toys “R” Us. I’d
make mental lists of all the other
places that might hire me. I even
considered telemarketing. But I
I don’t believe in eternal hellfire,
but if God did want to send evil
people someplace to suffer ever
I after, I would recommend the Toys
“R” Us hallway.
Oh, technically, I could. I never
signed a contract. But I couldn’t stand
the thought of leaving the toys. For a
year, I had been responsible for those
toys, making sure they were out, they
looked nice, they wore the correct
prices. They needed me.
Especially Aisle 7C, boys’ action
figures and accessories. Most of my
fellow toy-pushers hated 7C. It con
stantly needed filling, was always a
mess and usually clogged with 40 or
50 grabby, desperate 8-year-old boys
lookingforoneNinjaTurtle that Play
mate stopped making three years ago.
All the action figures were pegged,
and the kids were always convinced
that the last Bruce Wayne figure or
the new Data was cleverly hidden on
the top-most peg at the very back. If
you’ve never seen a 6 year old with a
yen for the second-ed ition Macho Man
Randy Savage standing on his broth
er ’ s shoulders to knock A)wn 30 Worl d
Wrestling Federation figures, let me
tell you, you’re missing out.
When I had nothing better to do.
I’d lurk around 7C trading info with
pre-teens and sharing my wealth of
knowledge with confused grandpar
One such day, some moron had
filled the X-Men pegs with X-Force
figures and I was about to set matters
straight when 1 noticed a very sad
I asked her if I could help her find
a specific figure, and she told me —
no, thank you, you’d never find him.
There’s nothing like a challenge to
improve my customer service sd 1
begged her to give me a chance. She
told me how her son wanted a Gambit
action figure more than anything in
the world. Every night before he went
to bed he’d ask her, “Mom, will we
EVER find Gambit?”
But, she said, she’d looked every
where, even at Walgreen’s, and she’d
never found him.
Well, Gambit, a cajun charmer,
was at the top of everyone’s list this
summer, so of course he was never in
the aisle for long, but I knew for a fact
we had Gambit-laden boxes in the
storeroom. I told her to take five and
returned to 7C in a Hash with three
And ... she hugged me. Twice.
Usually, I don’t like to hug strangers.
Usually, I don’t hug anyone but my
mom, and she makes me.
But this woman, also a mother,
was so thrilled she had tears in her
eyes. Two weeks later, she brought
her son in to thank me personally. He
treated me like visiting royalty or
Michael Jordan. Thank you so much,
he said. I thought he might hug me,
too, but he didn’t.
This may sound silly, maybe even
a little dumb, but finding Gambit that
day was the highlight of my summer.
That day I made Andrew, age 7, very
And making someone happy is
I’m not sure I’ll ever make some
one that happy as a journalist, and
unless 1 write Nike ads, it probably
won’t happen in advertising. So I’m
glad I skipped the internship scene
this summer. 1 had important things to
I found Gambit.
Rowdl la ■ Jailor newt-editorial, adver
tising and English major and a Daily Nebras
Life frustrated by fruit, finances
Ive just gone without an income
for seven weeks. It’s been an
exercise in creative living.
Except for a few months during my
housewife phase. I’ve had regular
paychecks since I was 10 years old. I
haven’t always liked what I’ve done
for paychecks. My dad used to tell me
that I would have to do things I didn’t
like. I don’t like Pap smears, but they
don’t make me hate my life. When I
hate my job, I start to hate my life.
This absence of paychecks is most
ly self-induced. While a majority of
students go to college to get a real job,
a growing number of us are leaving
real jobs to go to college. A college
degree is supposed to give us more
real jobs to choose from, including
those we may actually enjoy.
In the meantime, my college ca
reer is giving me exciting new expe
riences in poverty. I really can’t re
member another time when I had to
purchase feminine hygiene products
with a major credit card.
i vc ucvci uccii uiucpcuuciuiy
wealthy, but I've learned to expect a
few luxuries, such as food. I haven’t
been starving, but it’s a good thing I
like peanut butter and jelly. There
have been a few 14-hour days on
campus when my body has started to
During the last few weeks, I’ve
coveted fruit. Anything has an entire
ly new appeal when you can’t have it.
Things like beer and cigaretlps arc
easy to mooch. People give away all
kinds of things when they’re drink
ing, but try to bum a piece of fruit. I
live on fruit. It’s probably a semi
conscious effort to counteract the years
I lived on beer and cigarettes.
I finally managed to buy some fruit
last weekend when a friend gave me
$20. Taking a handout should proba
bly be humiliating, but my parents
used to humiliate me regularly. They
were obviously preparing me for the
I asked for $300 to buy books. He
wanted to know how books could
cost as much as my adoption. I
told him I didn’t know, but I
thought they taught us that when •
we were seniors.
time in my life when I would be
begging for fruit while my peers were
taking out second mortgages.
My parents had a chance to rein
force their lessons when I called home
to borrow part of my inheritance. I try
toavoid borrowing from my family. It
puts me into therapy. My dad asked
me how much I needed. I asked for
$300 to buy books. He wanted to
know how books could cost as much
as my adoption. I told him I didn’t
know, but I thought they taught us that
when we were seniors. Well, he sup
posed that I just had to quit my job to
go to school. He said he wouldn’t let
i ne wuu just aooui paid ior my
books, which turned out to be of little
nutritional value. A month after my
dad told me that he wouldn’t let me
starve. I was ready to cruise the city
parks for fruit trees. When my girl
friend came through with the $20,1
headed straight for a produce section.
I bought bananas, apples, pears, grapes
and assorted veggies. I went home
and feasted like a drunken Viking.
Evidently all of the fruit enzymes
in my stomach had gone intodorman
cy. One wreckless episode with pro
duce, and I was going to die of spon
taneous combustion. The dog wouldn’t
even come downstairs.
I saved my family the embarrass
ment of my death—alone andpenni
less in a basement, a victim of spon
taneous combustion. 1 survived by
fantasizing that my financial aid check
would actually arrive. I went to stu
dent accounts to beg for mercy be
cause 1 couldn’t pay for tuition until
my financial aid came through. That
would be fine, they said. I would just
have to pay a $25 late fee. Add that to
the $10 that the bank charged me for
overdrawing my checking account by
66 cents, and poverty has cost me $35
in fees. Maybe when I learn why
books are priced like major applianc
es I will also learn why people are
charged fees for being poor.
I also expected a final paycheck
from my summer job in St. Louis.
Five weeks ago, I was told that the
check had been mailed. To where, I
have no clue. I did something the post
office calls “moving within a for*
warding period." This is your postal
service's way of saying, “Ifyou can’t
stay put, don’t whine to us if we can’t
find you.” I’ve had four addresses in
as many months. My junk mail can’t
even find me.
Creditors, on the other hand are
telepathic. 1 think credit cards contain
hidden tracking devices.
I should have a paycheck by the
end of the week. It will go straight into
the hands of my landlord. One thing
that I’ve learned in college is that it’s
eto take years for me to recover
;ia!lv. I hope I don’t end up
wishing that I would have spent the
money on fruit.
McAdaau It a tophoaiore aewi-adltorial
aiajor aad a Dally Nebraikaa coluaialst.
' - ' t •.
All You Care To Eat
Original Sauce Spaghetti & Two
Slices Garlic Cheese Bread
Offer good for Lunch or
Dinrer - Mon., Tues., and
Wed. only. Must present
coupon when ordering.
Expires Oct. 30,1993.
228 N. 12th St.
WE RE BACK
MUELLER PLANETARIUM (472-2641)
THIS WEEK: U2 at 8, SfcSO & 11 pan. (FrL & Sat. night)
All Seats $4
Coming in future weeks:
THE CURE L£3>amUN DOORS
Coming Oct. 2900, A speciad show featuring the first new release
by producer Alan Parsons in over 4 years. You could win the entire
collection of the Alan Parsons Project on CD.
Listen to KTGL Radio far details.
DIRECT FROM LOLLAPALOOZA...
SUNDAY, OCT. 10 • PEONY PARK BALLROOM
TICKETS AT ALL TICKET CENTERS
CHARGE-BY-PHONE: .Jfc- CHARGE-BY-PHONE:
402-422-1212 -jH- 402-475-1212
IN OMAHA“IN LINCOLN
Powered by Open ONI