I have always had money trouble. Just do not know how to handle it, I guess. Maybe there is some kind of thing inside me that no matter how good it gets, there’s just one thing that will never be above average and that thing is money.
Did not help that I went into library school at exactly the wrong time. And I had a job waiting on me. I worked for my mom as a reference librarian until she retired, then I moved up to the director spot. Then I lost that. I shopped around a bit looking for other jobs and there are just not that many out there based on my “experience” level. Here’s a hint to anyone out there that looked at this blog as a “maybe I will try out this career” gauge (and gods help you if you did): “If you can not afford to get your Master’s in Library and Information Science without taking a loan, do not do it.” All the advice I can give.
So I lost the director’s gig a couple of months back and let the bills pile up. To help alleviate some of this, I have taken a second job. What is this second job? Night stocking at the ToyChest toy store until after Christmas.
And it is... different.
Not the job, not really. Your basic manual labor for just above minimum wage position that is held by dozens of college students across the land. It’s easy. Just take boxes, open boxes, take out shit and put shit on shelves in an appealing way. Nothing to it.
And the people are fun. For example, take Denny. Denny is in his mid-twenties with a slight build, red hair sparsely growing out of his face and sticking out from underneath the red baseball cap he wears. Denny has lived in about ten states, from New York to Florida. His favorite place? California, up north just outside of Sacramento. Why was that his favorite place? Dude loves Charles Manson and was out that way the last time Manson went out for parole. I could not make that shit up.
Or how about Pete, my boss. A veteran of the toy biz, Pete is about forty, balding and built like a linebacker. Which is what he was in high school. I shadowed Pete my first couple of nights, learning where everything was, etc. Like the library, the best way to learn inventory is to simply put the stuff away. After that, you are the person who knows where things are because, well, you are the person who put them there.
Pete’s first advice to me when stocking? “Start with boys stuff. Easy as pie. RC cars are the worst, cause they’re bulky, but after that it’s just about putting action figures on hooks. Get the easy stuff out of the way first, then handle the hard stuff.”
Then his shoulders sagged a bit, “Do girls last. I hate doing girls.”
I laughed at that and he did not. Then we got to the girls section.
Aisle after aisle of things that make no sense to gods or men. See, boys toys really are different. They are in small packaging, often able to be strung along in tight groups. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on row A3, section 1, make sure the Leonardo’s don’t mix with the Splinters.
Girls toys, though... Ugh.
An example is the Barbie aisle. More times than I can count over the last few days I have had to ask someone, “Okay, I know this is part of the Malibu collection, but this is a baby doll, so?”
And gotten the response from Pete, “Nah, man. See, this is part of the Malibu makeup collection. You put makeup on it, see? So it goes in the makeup section of the Barbie section. Row D4, Section 1, Quadrant Roman Numeral XI, Subset Alpha, and for heaven’s sake don’t mix it with the Kimber or Maryanne or Tisha stuff... I hate girls.”
And the variety is not the real problem. The real problem comes in the size and shape over every little thing. Ladies, next time you are looking around a toy store, notice how everything is arranged in the girls section. I can bet you there is a loose order, but depending on who is doing the stocking, that shit just gets fit in where it can because nothing, and I mean nothing, fits together. Girls toy packaging designers around the world are making bets with each other on how to design the perfect package that cannot and will not fit near anything else in a meaningful way.
Pete’s other advice to me? “Don’t worry about the infant stuff. That guy that stocks that... He’s a little anal. Just leave it alone.”
To this day, after four weeks, I have never seen the guy who puts up the infant care stuff. At the end of the night, the stuff just appears on the shelves, all the bottles and spit up rags and what have you. I try not to question it.
The job is fun, but time consuming. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night I am locked in the toy store with several deviants from 10pm to 6am. We get a smoke break and a lunch, but for the most part we open boxes and put shit on shelves. That part is easy.
What is not easy is the adjustment. I work the library from 8am to 5pm on most days, giving me little time on Friday and Monday to adjust my sleep and often just end up awake for 20 to 30 hour stretches. I am not sure what this will do to me in the long run, but sometimes you just do something and worry about it after.
As for the library itself, I have stayed out of the politics as much as I can. Mom has left, replaced by a new director. With the new director, we also got a new children’s librarian. Natalie is here running circulation and doing a good job of it. She’s dating someone else and I am not going to pry. Our forced part time help, Adam and Bern, are here everyday after school and have acclimated to the job quite well.
I promise to get into all that at a later time, but right now I am focusing on getting my shit straight. I am tired of wandering through this life half caring about what happens. The Banned Library is something my family built, something I have been groomed my whole life to do, so I cannot abandon it. But... there is life outside of it that I have been neglecting. The past month has been about sorting that life out and finding what is important.
I hope that I have chosen correctly.
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