This is a random post about my job at Zany Brainy. I worked at Zany Brainy in high school and some of college. It was possibly the best job ever. I love my job now, and my Classic Cinemas internship was great, but seriously, what beats working in a toy store?
I actually started working at the Noodle Kidoodle in Woodridge. They were basically the same store, but Noodle Kidoodle was far superior to Zany Brainy. Alas, not long after I started, Zany Brainy bought out Noodle Kidoodle. So that was that. Then one day, FAO Schwartz bought Zany Brainy. This was fun because we got some cool FAO Schwartz toys. But they were outrageously expensive and no one bought them. So they closed our store. This was sad because I pretty much ran that Woodridge store. It was basically just one big huge good time. On the bright side, we had to liquidate the store which meant lots of cheap toys. The even better part was FAO Schwartz sent us all these weird random things that they wanted to get rid of. So, I purchased an amazing Judy Garland doll, I Love Lucy doll, and embarrassing amounts of Hello Kitty merchandise...all for 80% off.
Anyway, after the Woodridge store closed, I transferred to the Oak Brook store which was staying open because in Oak Brook, people spend significantly more money on toys. But apparently not enough money. That store closed about a year later which mean more liquidation and more cheap toys. Sweet!
Here are the highlights of my Zany Brainy experience:
- After having built up a decent amount of seniority, I began to take complete control of the music and movies that were played in the store. We had a "theater" area in the back of the store with a large TV, and we had a CD player up front where we could change the music as we pleased. When my dictatorship of the in store media was fully realized, the only movies playing on that TV were Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Parent Trap. And the only CDs playing were, Broadway Kids, A Child's Celebration of Broadway, A Child's Celebration of Showtunes, Bedtime with the Beatles, and The Parent Trap soundtrack (the new one). It was so amazing.
- I am a master gift wrapper. I can wrap in record time and I can wrap just about anything. The giftwrapping was my favorite part of this job. Christmas was the best because I would actually be assigned to doing nothing all day except giftwrapping. It was heavenly.
- I built a K'nex Screamin' Serpent Roller Coaster. It was so fabulous and it worked perfectly. The only problem was that it was displayed in the store within the reach of all the little brats that came in and felt the need to touch it and break it. Sometimes I stood guard and gave them evil looks if they came near it.
- Working at a toy store during Christmas is incredible. My Christmases have not been the same since then.
- When the Woodridge store closed, I took the Girls bathroom sign. It had a little Noodle Kidoodle girl on it and it's very cute. I hung it on my bathroom door at home and my friend brought her son over once and he wasn't sure if he was allowed to use that bathroom seeing as it had a "Girls" sign on the door.
- This job is the reason I'm obsessed with Hello Kitty. It's also the reason I'm not actually any more mature today than I was when I was 15. Actually, I think it may have de-matured me.