Yep. We all had em, some still do, and my sweep and mop of the lobby goes out to you denizens of the hourly wage and the name tag. I'm nothing special. I was in radio, doing what I wanted for my career, but still wore several name tags. Believe me, since I'm not in my career choice but something where I make a living, I'm only steps away from a name tag gig. Question is, why do I have so many in my collection? Aside from the few I had where my name was actually imprinted in it, most were just cheaply done with one of those old style Dymo labels. Of course, the names have been removed to protect the 3.35 an hour. Mud and Fudd were the names of choice.
We'll start with a home made one from Jr. High school. We had an "Academic Challenge" style gave in house. We were put in teams and we could walk around and bad mouth other members of other teams. In the morning, they would have two teams fight it out during the announcements and the winner went on and the losers were out. We were asked grade appropriate questions. History, Geography, Math, I had a smart guy on my team, the rest of us were typical products of our school system. We were the "R-Team" and I was Muscleman T (Torture) because I couldn't be Mr. T. If you saw the weakling that I was, you'd agree with not calling me Mr. T. I would have been called "Muscle Milk T" or "Mouseman T" or "Muselix T" or even "MST3K" (Kick starter, bring it back, just look for it on the weeb). We lost after the second round and I didn't answer any questions at all. "What two countries are attached to the United States?" "Um, Cuba and Texas?"
Here's a brand you may remember. Or not. It was a pimple on the 70's mall ass. When I first moved to MALL CITY U.S.A. I remember this store being in my mall. They always had a massive projection TV just outside the store playing the video of the day. Big screens started as "Projection" TVs. There was a huge concave white screen and then a huge box with red, green and blue lenses that made barely a picture. Of course, they were better in a dark room. Plus, they were hugely expensive, got dirty really fast and were always needing to be focused. Sure they came out with all in one cabinets by the time I was shlepping screens. My friend and band mate actually worked at the store for a bit in his earlier days. I didn't know it was a Radio Shack company until he told me. The chain folded and a few years later Shack would try again with "Incredible Universe", which also failed. Can you believe that a 2 hour VHS videotape used to cost $10? (This was before EP speed!)
Here's one of the electronic stores that I was longest tenured at. This was Northeast. When someone asked us what A.S.A.P. meant, (I think I was asked three times in almost two years) we just made up an answer. Why? We were never told what it meant. Er, check that. I believe it stood for "Appliance Store Assurance Plan". Yep. Northeast's parent company the Appliance Store was too damn cheap to get Northeast Appliance badges made up for us. We just said it was for "As Soon As Possible" appliance delivery. Of course, "All Sh*tty A** Products" was a favorite. "No Highs, No Lows, Must Be Bose" was another favorite. When a salesman got in trouble after he said that to a Bose secret shopper, we all heard about it from our managers. I dunno, I think they sound great. I bought a system...but it was mostly free from the Bose points I earned from selling them pieces of wood. I wouldn't actually buy them. Now that I've had them for 20 years, maybe I would. Turn the name tag over to see how we really felt. :)
I was always known as a little odd. I always said that if I was at a party wearing a toga, I'd dump a big jug of mustard all over myself for no reason (just like Brother Bluto from Animal House.) It was a small hell we lived in for the time I worked there, but we were a band of brothers. Our store was so empty, the assistant manager and I worked out a game where we would toss a roll of packing tape up at all our portable stereos and other crap behind the counter and score by the number of things we knocked off. I still have the chair I sat on all those hours. When they closed our store, they tossed the chairs, and well, my junk.
Here's a tag from Bess Buy. I had two tenures working for this company. Likely this was from my first. All of the stores I had worked for had gone under because of this behemoth. So, being the out of work dumbass I was, I went to work for the company that killed the traditional "you make lower" business model that I'd know and hated. I was assigned to the video department as that's what I felt my strongest expertise was. Well, not really, but I did know the ins and outs of a "flying erase head" and "Diamondvision". I could sell on the floor and talk product with my customers and say "this one is better than" without thinking "I'll make x on this one if I sell it as opposed to Y on the one I think I'd like for myself." Actually, that wasn't true. I had been through the wringer and lost on all ends. I never sold a TV based on the fact that it had a $10 spiff. I sold that 25" Zenith Hotel Style TV for $299 because it was a good deal if you didn't mind not having fancy stuff like on screen junk and inputs. No, Best Buy was worry free selling. I was paid by the hour. I could flip burgers or make another dollar to not have to wear a polyester uniform, paper hat, and smell like dehydrated onions for a day.
Of course, they just wanted to blow out all the peeps like me that had mad skills at knowing the difference between "Scandium Oxide" tubes and "cable ready" as opposed to "cable compatible". So a few days after I started working there, they asked me if I'd help with a truck. Then they would ask more and then I'd be handed a dolly when I came in. No use complaining. Bye Bye Blue Shirt Crew. I had mad skills. You want fries with that? Would you like to get a coffee with that bagel sandwich? That's 10.63 for those three bags of manure. Repeat.
Which leads me to one of the shortest tenures of any of these stores I'd worked for. Technically, this was the competition that put the old style stores out of business, but indeed the were no match for the store in blue. I had been on the "beach" for a bit after Northeast went under. I walked into my Sun store and found several retail "vets" (debris) working gigs at Sun TV. Now, this was a company that sold the cheapest of the cheap and advertised it that way. They were big in the new personal computers trend and pretty much ate the markets lunch for the appetite of new style IBM clone computers Windows 3.1. It was now "easy" to operate a computer and at $2500, it was cheaper than ever. *Cough* So, with a good word from one of the retail "vets" to the manager of the joint, I was in like Flynn but had to start by selling personal electronics. (Demoted!) I could sleep and sell a boombox. Of course I had to sell the computers as well. I steered clear of them. If it didn't have an Atari "Fuji" and a cassette drive to "Cload" "Bruce Lee" for 17 minutes, I didn't know anything about it. Then I discovered that, if I didn't work in appliances, I wouldn't make more than my minimum anyway. No incentive to learn about computers, but only the most costly paid anything. I was taught about the importance of selling their "extended warranty" and well, that was what did me in. We had cashiers where people could come and get self serve stuff and they had to sell the extended warranty. Pretty sure even the security people had to suggest the warranty. Another reason why there wasn't much money in personal electronics to be made when the phones could be picked up like a Wal-Mart and walked to the check out.
I actually made a BIG sale in my time there. ONE big sale. A $300 boombox that was nothing like the ones I sold a ton of a few years earlier. No, this was a deluxe, everything but a turntable boom box. So, here's how it went.
1. Sell the damn thing.
2. Carry it to the "sales desk" (sort of like buying a car.)
3. Get the info from the chump (er...customer), and then begin trying to sell them the extended warranty. Refusal #1.
4. Try to tell them all the things the extended warranty would cover and the advantages. Refusal #2.
5. "Fake" that something was wrong with the computer or the printer, grab another sales person, have them say they were an assistant manager and give the selling of the extended warranty another try, (Really, we had to do this! Of course, if that guy was successful, you split the sale.) Refusal #3.
6. Finish typing up the ticket, and then go to the cashier.
7. Wait in line for a checkout! (Yes, they made us do this as well. If it was busy, we had to wait. Everything went through a cashier when it came to payment.)
8. The cashier would ask again if the customer wanted to add the extended warranty! Refusal #4.
9. Customer cashes out and then you would walk them to the central desk, where bigger items needed to be checked off and I'd have to hand them a copy to be signed off on.
10. Finally the customer had to be checked that they actually paid for it by the security guy at the door.
SERIOUSLY! It honestly took ONE HOUR to sell a boombox from my introduction to the customer leaving with their purchase. Needless to say the next day I worked, I had two friends visit and they were going to have lunch, see a movie, then go to the happy hour at a participating Chi-Chi's restaurant. I said I'd join them for lunch..... After the movie, I went back to get what little I had in my locker and left to stuff my face with nachos and salsa. Mmmmm. Happy hour. One week. Done. Hills is hiring!
This one is quick. When I worked for the temp agency in Louisville, I was issued one of these so I could work at State Farm as a phone and file jockey for flood claims. The phones were hopping and overtime was had by all. Then we started to slow down. When I was one of the last temps there, I was told I could take this tag off as they knew us by then. Wow. Before 9/11. Good times. My boss found a "pocket rocket" in the trunk of his rental car. Good times. Steemie Steul and the Irregulars. Good times. "Put that Photon laser tag gun away or I'm sending you home!" Good times.
Like Sun did to Northeast, Builders Square did to Forest City/Handy Andy. Bigger, cleaner, everything piled high to watch them buy. Plus, they were K-Mart! They had a huge buying power so they could get that $69 storm door or that $20 faucet. I worked the last few weeks stocking shelves of this new hardware palace and then signed the 2x4 beam that they sawed apart when we opened to the world. A few weeks later, I realized I was just a cashier. Sure I wanted to know about Karlin boxes and the differences between wood and machine and drywall screws. However, as the weather became nicer, more and more I was working as a nursery department cashier and stock lackey. After moving pallet after pallet of fertilizer, I realized that, breathing, something we all as humans need to do, was becoming a chore. Coughing and sneezing and being stuffed up seemed the new normal, until I was a half hour later in fresh air. Hmmmmm. Ya think moving all that stinky chemical crap was having some kind of.... So, I was back on the front lines and "Telechecking" declined checks and the writing was on the wall.
Here is one I self created. It's how I would eventually feel over many of the retail jobs I held. There were a few more pins in the collection. The McDonalds one in the beginning frame is going to have it's own junk blog post coming up. I had an extra Best Buy tag from my second time working there in addition to a broken Northeast tag. There was also a bonus pin with "Do The Right Thing" style lettering advertising Pioneer car stereo. It was one of the few "promo" pins we had to wear at Northeast. I'll wrap up with this relic from the past. a Junk Blog BONUS.
Electronic Fun With Computers And Games. A Wikilook and another click will get you to PDFs of the issues of this rag. I didn't have a lot of money back when, but I bought the issue of this with E.T. on it announcing that E.T. was "ready for X-Mas" and had E.T. playing HIS game (or something like his game) just 1 inch from the screen with a joystick in his hand. It didn't show that he took it back to Kiddie City and asked for his money back because it was such a crappy game. You can read all about how 1983 video game crash was pretty much blamed on this game. (Pac-Man was the opening salvo of the crap to come. However that title sold in huge numbers because it was the only way to have a crescent wrench that opened and closed on square dots while flickering pieces of digital dung tried to touch you and make you shrivel up like the eye on a Woolensak reel to reel tape recorder.) Whew! Bonus points to those who got that one. Reference Obscura (TM). The only way I got this key chain is either I sent a letter in about a game or it came free with one of the magazines. I think the latter. I only got a few of the issues. The only ran less than two years. It was a good read at the time, with honest reviews of all the crappy carts I'd be buying for two dollars at Fisher's Big Wheel as all the video game companies crashed. They tried to change their name and be more computer orientated, but "It's OVER Johnny."