Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping, and Social Inequality
"I got my first job working in a toy store when I was 41 years old." So begins sociologist Christine Williams's description of her stint as a low-wage worker at two national toy store chains: one upscale shop and one big box outlet. In this provocative, perceptive, and lively book, studded with rich observations from the shop floor, Williams chronicles her experiences as a cashier, salesperson, and stocker and provides broad-ranging, often startling, insights into the social impact of shopping for toys. Taking a new look at what selling and buying for kids are all about, she illuminates the politics of how we shop, exposes the realities of low-wage retail work, and discovers how class, race, and gender manifest and reproduce themselves in our shopping-mall culture.
Despite their differences, Williams finds that both toy stores perpetuate social inequality in a variety of ways. She observes that workers are often assigned to different tasks and functions on the basis of gender and race; that racial dynamics between black staff and white customers can play out in complex and intense ways; that unions can't protect workers from harassment from supervisors or demeaning customers even in the upscale toy store. And she discovers how lessons that adults teach to children about shopping can legitimize economic and social hierarchies. In the end, however, Inside Toyland is not an anticonsumer diatribe. Williams discusses specific changes in labor law and in the organization of the retail industry that can better promote social justice.
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Inside toyland: working, shopping, and social inequalityUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Williams, the editor of the journal Gender & Society and author of Still a Man's World, takes the Nickle and Dimed approach to toy retailing by working as a cashier in a high-end and a big box toy ... Read full review
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adults advertising African American argues Asian American asked Barbie big box Bob the Builder boys break room cashier CHAPTER THREE chil child choices clerks consumerism consumption corporate coworkers cultural department stores Diamond Toys discount doll economic employees example experience gender George Ritzer gift girls groups hired HISTORY OF TOY INSIDE TOY STORES interactions Juliet Schor KIDS IN TOYLAND labor look Macy's mall managers manufacturers marketing Mcjobs merchandise middle-class mother Olive ORGANIZATION OF TOY parents percent purchase race and gender racial profiling racial/ethnic retail workers sadomasochism sadomasochistic salesclerks scheduled seemed segregation selling service desk service workers shoppers SHOPPING FLOOR SHOPPING IN AMERICA social inequality SOCIAL ORGANIZATION SOCIOLOGIST SOCIOLOGIST INSIDE TOY sold stereotypes sumer tion told tomers TOY SHOPPING Toy Ware Toy Warehouse TOYS AND CITIZENSHIP union Viviana Zelizer wages Wal-Mart wanted white customers white women