"Why do white women shoppers more often refuse to check their bags at the counter than African American or Latina women shoppers do? Why do male shoppers act more annoyed at having to be in the store than their female counterparts? Based on her experiences working in two toy stores, Christine Williams offers a cornucopia of illuminating observations. By focusing on the various ways gender, race and class influence how we shop and sell, she exposes the concept and ideal of consumer citizenship.
In this, Williams give us an important idea and an original angle of vision."Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of The Commercialization of
Intimate Life, and editor (with Barbara Ehrenreich) of Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy
In this brilliant book Williams lays bare the social complexities of shopping for toys in America. She describes how shopping and working in toy stores are shaped by race, class and gender, and how children are taught how to consume. This is sociology at its best-laying bare the intricate nature of everyday life, showing us how the world can be different and better, all the while documenting the human drama that swirls around us. This book will change the way you shop, and the way you think about consumerism, inequality and the nature of 21st century American life."Mary C. Waters, author of Ethnic Options: Choosing Ethnic Identities in America
"Williams doesn't just talk about consumption. She goes out and gets herself tough jobs selling toys, and comes back to tell the rest of us what selling and buying for kids are all about. Readers who care little about social scientific treatments of consumption will nevertheless learn from her lively account. Specialists will rapidly adopt her stories, observations, and arguments."Viviana Zelizer, author of The Purchase of
"Christine Williams has really gotten inside the big box selling machines of our day to reveal for all of us the strange, perverse logic of work, authority and sales in a retail industry driven by ethnic, gender, and class hierarchies. Read this book and you'll never buy another toy without thinking about the men and women who put it on the shelf!"Nelson Lichtenstein, editor of Wal-Mart: the Face of 21st Century Capitalism