GETTING MORE TALE #599: Tagged
Let’s say you’re in a store and you need help. Who do you ask?
There are usually three good answers to this question:
- Look for the checkout counter and ask the person there.
- Find a person wearing obvious store uniform/gear.
- See if someone is wearing a “STAFF” tag.
We had “STAFF” tags in the Record Store days, as well as store shirts and hats. Fortunately they didn’t have our names on them. Wearing one of these was compulsory, but lots of people hated wearing the tags. They were printed on card stock paper, laminated and punched with a hole for a lanyard. Ugly and cheap. They were quite large – about 5” x 7”. They bent, frayed and ripped quite easily.
“See, they look like a backstage pass,” the boss used to say to assuage us. They did not look like a backstage pass, except maybe for some crappy highschool band.
People hated wearing them because they made us feel like walking billboards. The boss used to say he’d walk in the store and see the staff immediately put their tags on, because they hadn’t been wearing them. It was true! And some stuff refused to wear the T-shirts or hats too. Presumably for fashion-conscious reasons. One higher-up in particular always got a free pass on wearing tags and shirts. I wore mine all the time, because there was nothing wrong with our staff shirts.
In fact I still have one. My blue store sweatshirt was amazing, and it has come with me on many adventures since. I slightly modified it after I quit the store. I sewed on a patch for the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (which I visited in Drumheller, Alberta), over where the store logo was embroidered in. That didn’t fool guys like Tom, who immediately recognized the shirt from the store. It did fool lots of other people! “Where did you get the cool Tyrrell sweatshirt?” I donated the rest of my old staff shirts and hats to Goodwill, but I will always keep my old “Tyrell” sweater from the Record Store. It has a hole in it and I do not care. I have always loved that shirt.
Regardless of comfort or style, I think there was one overwhelming reason why staff hated wearing those tags. It’s because you’d be out working on the floor, when some goof asks, “Do you work here?”
Once I answered, “Nah, I just wear this for fun.” Fortunately the guy got the joke.
I will say this. Wearing a staff tag is still a hell of a lot better than an apron for flipping burgers.