Merit Badges (Thrift Store)

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Merit Badges are an experiment in volunteer/staff training being developed in the Thrift Store.

You Know You Want It.


Merit Badges are an experiment in volunteer/staff training being rolled out in the Thrift Store. It is meant to allow for training duties to be shared among store staff, and to ensure nothing is missed and that training proceeds in an orderly fashion.


A four-tiered path to mastery based loosely on the Cub Scouts' model, where there are four milestones, each requiring a subset of training, education and the demonstration of skills.

The Four Tiers

The Path to Mastery
Rubber Band Ball Pricing Gun Atari 2600 Game Controller The Whistle

Program Elements


Badges represent specific areas of learning. They may require full understanding of a particular area, or could be further broken into basic, intermediate and advanced levels.


These represent the four major leaps forward. Each milestone would have a set of required badges, and possibly. Once the appropriate badges have been received, the final step to advancing to the next milestone is to recite a stupid oath; a trinket may be involved, as well.


Each badge would have a corresponding "worksheet," essentially a Teachers' Guide to help track the fussy details of training. These will most likely being simple .txt files that are linked to from the badge's page, to be printed out and checked off on paper, of all things. The cadet won't really see these, as they're mainly tools to help store folks with the training process.

The worksheets gauge small steps and ensure all areas are covered.

Volunteer Interns would be trained in the first two tiers of the program.

As time goes on, we will develop the higher-level tiers to aid in training store staff.

A Closer Look At the Tiers

The skills required to run the store properly are divided into four tiers with an ascending level of difficulty. The first two tiers are applicable for all volunteers and workers in the store. Volunteers will hopefully be trained up through the first two tiers. The remaining tiers are for staff only.

The Rubber Band Ball

Represents an ability to perform basic support tasks in the Thrift Store.
  • Orientation
See Store Training Orientation
  • Processing (100%)
    • Determining what goes in which bin
    • Cable wrapping
    • Shrink wrapping
    • Cleaning monitors
    • System Badges/Price tags
    • Which items get price tags/which don't
  • Neatening (100%)
    • printing labels
    • location of tape, tags, paper, pens, rubber bands, other basic supplies.
    • taking out trash and recyling
    • cleaning floor, glass, and counters
  • Putting things away in the store (100%)
    • Bargain Bin
    • Network devices
    • What goes in the case
    • Cables of all kinds
    • The free box
  • Stocking the store from other areas of FG (80%)
    • Returning stuff to Receiving
    • Shopping from Basic testing
    • Shopping from Advanced Testing
    • Shopping from Receiving
    • Shopping from the Warehouse
    • Location of Paper, Tape, Credit Card paper, and Staples reloads
    • Print out Ubuntu FAQs, Spanish FAQs and Advanced.
  • Recite Rubber Band Ball Oath

The Price Gun

  • Prerequisite: Complete Rubber Band Ball
Represents an ability to perform basic customer service, sales and cash-handling functions.

Badges are based on Simpsons characters.

  • Basic Pricing (80%) (Comic Book Guy)
    • All items that can be priced using basic price guide.
    • Bargain Bin items.
    • Tested by pricing a set basket of items.
  • Basic Till Operations (80%) (Apu Nahasapeemapetilon)
    • Entering transactions.
    • Entering CC transactions.
    • Learning proper gizmo types.
    • Comments and Description fields
    • Recent Purchases (how to spot abusers and uphold policy).
    • Determining which items are "as-is" and which are exchangable
    • Processing exchanges issuing and applying store credits.
    • Tested by ringing up set baskets of items.
  • Basic Customer Service (80%) (Gil Gunderson)
    • Engagement (greet, help, thank)
    • Managing expectations (know when to fold 'em/LWIA)
    • Basic Scripts for FAQs
    • Managing and answering the phone
    • Learning Store Policies.
    • Explaining Policies without conflict
    • Deferring all exceptions/questions to 2600s and Whistles.
  • Advanced Gathering (20%) (Bumble Bee Man)
    • TARDIS (RAM, HDDs, systems), optical drives, the Treehouse, other items from recycling (pc fans, heat sinks, etc.)
  • Plus two elective badges
  • Recite Price Gun Oath

The Atari 2600 Game Controller

Represents an ability to perform full range of support, customer service and cash-handling tasks in the Thrift Store.

(Badges named for classic video games)

  • Advanced Customer Service (20%)
    • Selling systems
    • Enforcing policies (saying "no").
    • When to fetch (special trips to get items from "the back").
    • System returns/tech support intake.
  • Advanced Till Operations (20%)
    • Searching for sales
    • Credit Card snafus
    • Closing and Counting the till
    • Processing Store Returns over $10
  • Advanced Pricing (20%)
    • Researching high-end and oddballs (not on the list)
    • Pricing Systems and Laptops
    • Maintaining price list (spotting what's out of date)
  • Advanced Stocking
    • Displaying wares/creating signage
    • Printing labels and store documents. Filing them/putting them away.
    • Improving existing displays.
  • Plus two elective badges.
  • Recite Game Controller Oath

The Acme Thunderer

Represents an ability to perform all duties required to run the Thrift Store in a Jedi-like fashion.

The equivalent of knighting someone. The whistle requires the unprompted handling of a store Kobayashi Maru scenario.

These aren't so much trainable skills/tasks, but qualities that need to be observed under fire; once you get so far, we start to keep an eye out for potential "whistletude." Obviously, the hardest thing to codify.

Basic idea is to create badges based on Star Trek Captains from the original series, and assign a different attribute to each.


Perfect Attendance

In the course of day-to-day shleppage, a store person may be nominated to receive one of these, based on something accomplished in the course of duty. This nomination would come before the Thrift Store Working group, and if agreed, the badge would be awarded.

Just a thought for now.Tonyc


A long list of things that scouts could pick and chose from according to their interests/skills. Offer a spread of crafty/tech/OCD/and easy.

A few suggestions:

  • Production
    • Package mouse balls
    • Burn Distros
    • laminate 2032 cards
  • File System development
  • Documentation
  • Making Ethernet cables
  • Safari Guide (the pith helmet)