WHAT HAPPENED AT THE TOYS R' US JOB INTERVIEW?Eh, not all that much. It was kind of short.
The interview pretty much cut to the point, with very few of the touchy-feely Barbara Walters kind of self-descriptive questions and no hypothetical "what would you do if" questions, and I appreciate that.
The three main questions were basically,
- "Why do you want to work for Toys R' Us?" with the basic truth there being, "Because I need money.", but I happen to quite legitimately like Toys R' Us as a retailer, since they sell videogames and those big-ass 1/18th scale Hot Wheels cars, and have since the one in Pointe-Claire, Quebec opened in 1986.
- "The job is unloading a big truck three times a week, and hauling down and assembling big items for the customers. Can you handle that?" Yeah, I'm not in the best of shape, but I can lift a fair amount a fair distance, and I have plenty of experience assembling... well, more furniture than toys, but it's the same general deal. Also, they said that I'd be the last face of the store that the customer sees (no job at these stores ever seems to be purely "behind-the-scenes"), so I would have to still deal with customers, even if it's not the primary part of the job, but I'm fine with that.
- "We're talking to 20 to 25 other people for this one position. Why should we choose you?" I gave a straight and honest "Bob Maplethorpe from Bottle Rocket" kind of reply ("Dignan, look, I’m just not that good at this selling yourself stuff, okay, so I’m just going to tell you the truth. I really want to be a part of this team, and I’m the only one with a car.") I said that, essentially, I need a job and I live within easy walking distance to the store, so transportation is not a problem and I'll never be late because of traffic. (I live in the same "super block" as the Toys R' Us, meaning I don't even have to cross any major thoroughfares to get there, just side streets.)
The stickling point was references... I'm still fairly new to this city, and I don't know anyone here well enough to have them be my references, so I just don't have any references on my CV currently. And I don't really have any formal job experience, so I don't have any work references, period, either in Ottawa or in Montreal. But they demand references, so they had to give me a phone number to call when I could wrangle up some references, and my mother had to e-mail some church friends from back in good old Pincourt to ask permission to use them as references. And she hasn't told me if they replied yet, so, at best, I would be phoning in my references a little over three days after my interview (and I'm pretty sure that the manager would not be in on a Sunday). As such, I'm not terribly optimistic that I'm going to get this job (and I've always assumed that, when they mention they're speaking to 20 to 25 other people, it's polite code for "thanks, but no thanks").
One thing I did not mention was my theory about Toys R' Us being "the Nexus of the Universe", a thought that occurred to me this one time in the summer of 1997 when I visited a Toys R' Us in Northampton, England, and the store was downright identical in pretty much every way to the Toys R' Us in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada when that one opened in 1986, from the architecture of the store to the floor plan to the general arrangement of the toys. I mean, there were a few token local differences, like how the prices were in pounds and how they had action figures of popular soccer stars instead of popular ice hockey stars (and all the signage was in English instead of French, duh), but, otherwise, no matter which way I looked in the store, I could quite easily convince myself that I was actually in the Pointe-Claire store. (One minor difference was that the Northampton Toys R' Us still had the system for when you wanted to buy a videogame that you take a voucher for the game you want from the display case and pay at the cash and then take the voucher, along with your receipt, to a glassed-in counter behind the check-outs to the right of the exit to get the actual game you purchased. By that time, the Toys R' Us in Pointe-Claire had converted the videogame section to a store-within-the-store with its own cashier and alarm system, but, before that, it had the same system as the Northampton store.)
I did mention that my sister has her baby registry at Toys R' Us, probably at the Merivale location where my interview was. Hopefully that gave me some brownie points.