Merit Badges (Thrift Store)

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Merit Badges are an experiment in volunteer/staff training being rolled out in the Thrift Store. It is in its beta stage, but we are going to start using it and develop the program on the fly.

You Know You Want It.

The basic idea

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 the the demonstration of skills.

The first implementation will be rather unattractive and scrappy, as we prototype the tiers/steps. Once we settle on a workable model, we will put work into making the system more usable and attractive.

The Tiers

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

The basic framework is as follows:

Enter the program

The first step to working in the store is to go through the basic orientation. This includes tiny, fussy steps such as:

  • signing a volunteer agreement
  • getting on the store email list
  • Printing out a merit badge sheet (the doc that would be used to track progress. may be physical, may live here)
  • Arranging a schedule


These represent the four major leaps forward. Each milestone would have a set of four required badges, and four elective badges. Once the appropriate badges have been received, the final step to advancing to the next milestone is to effectively train another person in x-amount of required badges (2?).


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. Each Milestone would have four critical badges that would be required. Additionally, there would be a list of potential elective badges, representing useful, non-critical skills that we need to have around, but don't need every single person to accomplish.


Each badge would have a corresponding "worksheet," essentially a list of specific skills that need to be trained in order to earn the badge.

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

How it works together

A basic layout of the proposed tiers. Each title refers to a "tier." Each sub-category refers to a specific, required merit badge. Each merit badge would have a corresponding wiki page detailing the steps of learning that particular area/badge. (Names are proposals. Not yet naming the badges, but will most likely be animals).

The Rubber Band Ball

Represents an ability to perform basic support tasks in the Thrift Store.

Please note that the degree of understanding expected is in parenthesis

  • Triage/Sort (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/Stocking supplies (100%)
    • printing labels
    • location of tape, tags, paper, pens, rubber bands, other basic supplies.
  • 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

The Price Gun

Represents an ability to perform basic customer service, sales and cash-handling functions.

(Badges named for small, cute cuddlies?)

  • Basic Pricing (80%)
  • Basic Till Operations (80%)
  • Basic Customer Service (80%)
  • Advanced Stocking (20%)
  • Plus two elective badges

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 charismatic mega-fauna?)

  • Advanced Customer Service (20%)
  • Advanced Till Operations (20%)
  • Advanced Pricing (20%)
  • Basic Volunteer Management
  • Plus two elective badges.

The Acme Thunderer

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

(Badges named for things you wanted to be when you grew up?)

The equivalent of knighting someone. Someone with a whistle can be scheduled to work a shift, solo. It's hard to imagine a sitch where a whistled person wasn't getting paid, frankly. Existing subs would likely get a fast-track through this stage, given the demands of their regular positions. Easy to test-out, as any paid position here requires similar attributes...

These aren't so much trainable skills/tasks for volunteers, 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.

Possible areas for badges:

  • Demonstrate diplomacy and wit,
  • project management.
  • brush-fire extinguishing (making an angry customer leave happy, without capitulating
  • creating effective signs
  • suggesting and implementing procedural/structural changes that improve production/flow
  • suggesting and implementing changes that improve customer experience and sales
  • documentation (the scribe?), etc.


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:

  • Package mouse balls
  • Burn Distros
  • Signage
  • Displays
  • Stock Organization
  • File System development