Inside Toyland by Christine L. Williams Essay

Inside Toyland by Christine L. Williams Essay

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Inside Toyland, written by Christine L. Williams, is a look into toy stores and the race, class, and gender issues. Williams worked about six weeks at two toy stores, Diamond Toys and Toy Warehouse, long enough to be able to detect patterns in store operations and the interactions between the workers and the costumers. She wanted to attempt to describe and analyze the rules that govern giant toy stores. Her main goal was to understand how shopping was socially organized and how it might be transformed to enhance the lives of workers. During the twentieth century, toy stores became bigger and helped suburbanization and deregulation. Specialty toy stores existed but sold mainly to adults, not to children. Men used to be the workers at toy stores until it changed and became feminized, racially mixed, part time, and temporary. As box stores came and conquered the land, toy stores started catering to children and offering larger selections at low prices. The box stores became powerful in the flip-flop of the power going from manufacturers to the retailers. Now, the retail giants determine what they will sell and at what price they will sell it.
One of the first things Williams noticed in the store was the workers themselves and the genders and races of people and the hierarchy of positions in both stores. In both toy stores, they had directors at the top, then management, supervisors, the associates, security, and cleaning crew. In Toy Warehouse, the directors and management were all white males except for Olive an African-American women, and the associates were both men and women, all of different races. The men mainly worked in the backroom and the women were the cashiers. The security officers at Toy Warehouse black men and the c...


... middle of paper ...


...earned about people where I had worked.
According to Williams, a renewed commitment to the values of the citizen consumer is necessary to bring about changes in the retail industry. She said that the political economy of shopping must change and that the retail industry must be reined in by new legislation mandating worker rights to living wages, health care, and equal opportunities. I think that what she says is true. The whole retail system need revamped to take in the consideration of the workers, and until the consumers start to realize this and demand changes, nothing will change.
I learned a lot from this book. I learned a lot about why some stores are structured the way they are and how race, class, and gender are deeply imbedded in everything in the world and in everything we do. There is nothing we do that does not involve at least one of these aspects.

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