At Viceland, our cousin site, Chicagoan Ben Majoy offers a tell-all about working in a robot store.
Most exciting about this: there is such a thing as a robot store. The piece is as much about Greg, the perplexing owner (and former pinball machine repairman and Anthrax and Poison roadie), as it is about the store, RobotCity Workshop. The shop’s not as crazy as it may seem.
Though our robot store is primarily a robot store, it also doubles as a robot museum filled with a veritable Radio Shack’s worth of past attempts to jumpstart the robot market. Obviously this points a big mechanical finger at the nature of Greg’s business model being roughly, “I like robots, so I’m going to start a robot store.” I mean, I really love lime popsicles, but starting a lime popsicle store would be absolutely ridiculous. Sure I’d have a few resolute customers who share my appreciation for this incredibly small facet of our world, and I’m sure that they might want to recite to me all of the lime popsicle references in obscure cult sci-fi films they’ve seen, or share their lime popsicle celebrity body molds that they’ve made, but the other 98% of my clientele would be people who walk into the store solely because it exists and they want to know how it’s possible that a business that specific could actually make money. Just in case you missed it, there are parallels between my fictitious lime popsicle store and the robot store.
However, we do make money. Greg is a smart man. Early in the robot store’s existence, he performed a cunning audible and struck gold (pyrite) by dipping his fingers in the lucrative business of birthday parties and afterschool workshops. I initially got my part-time job when Greg asked me, “Can you come to a birthday party on Sunday? We’re going to have like twelve kids and I really don’t want to spend my Sunday with kids.” Now I spend my Sunday afternoons eating strangers’ children’s’ birthday cake and listening to Kraftwerk.
Read the rest at Viceland, learn more about Motherboard’s own robot obsessions, and see our documentary on robot- (and Barbot-) builders NYC Resistor.