ThinkGeek has long been a go-to destination for geek shoppers online, so when I was introduced to one of their Merchandising Assistants and she immediately divulged she is a geeksugar fan, I realized we were a match made in heaven.
Andrea Owens, who describes herself as "laid back, high strung, random, a little bit crazy, fun, and a little bit of an organizing control freak," had always been a fan of Thinkgeek and had joked it would be so awesome to work there. After moving to Virginia, she checked the website to look at a gift for her husband noticed they were hiring. Needless to say, that was a match made in heaven.
These days Andrea's job consists of monitoring ThinkGeek's stock of current products, ordering stock, researching (can you imagine how much fun that is?), and the best part, product testing. What's the seemingly perfect geek job really like and what makes Andrea so geek chic? Check out my interview with her!
Geeksugar: What is day to day life like at ThinkGeek headquarters?
Andrea: We're a really small operation. When I started there were just 13 people and now there are 19 of us to do just about everything. Most of the year is pretty laid back. Come September we begin preparations for the holiday season and things start to get a little nuts. Hours get longer, people get crazier, and there is too much to do for us to keep track of. The good thing is that when things are crazy we're still mostly pretty relaxed. You'll usually find someone in the halls playing with an R/C toy or a cube weapon. Recently one of my office pals has decided it's funny to shoot a suction cup dart from a blow gun at my office window at 8:30 AM. That could wake the dead! Most people think our office is full of toys and caffeine, and it usually is. (And sometimes there's cake, pudding, and pie!)
Geeksugar: Tell me a little about the team...what percentage are actual geeks?
Andrea: Honestly, most of us would call ourselves a geek of some sort or another. We have coder geeks, gadget/tech geeks, Rennfest geeks, Star Wars/Star Trek/Dr. Who/Potter fans. We have a great mix. There's only one or two that might say they weren't geeks at all. We're a happy little geek family.
Geeksugar: How many hours are you online everyday?
Andrea: Usual schedule is check a few of the important websites before work, email, weather. I am mostly online all eight hours I am at work. Then at home I catch up on personal blogs and friends for a bit. A lot less time online now since I have kicked the Warcraft addiction!
Geeksugar: Your first computer was a ...
Andrea: An Apple IIc, but it was my brothers so I didn’t have it all to myself. My first machine that was all mine was a piece of junk HP, just for the usual school work, IRC, and games. After that I started moving to custom built desktops. Now I get by with a custom box with dual 19” LCDs and a Dell laptop for when I am sitting on the couch.
Geeksugar: What are three things you guys sell that you really want/had to buy?
Andrea: Just three? That is completely unfair. My house is completely filled with ThinkGeek stuff. I can’t help it. Okay back on topic… Three huh? Hmmm. Okay the Nabaztag, Pleo (he is coming soon!!!), and the Sun Jar are my current wants. Just for fun three of my haves, Laser Stars Projector, a small collection of Giant Plush Microbes (Great gifts! Give someone Syphilis!), and an assortment of Japanese toys.
Geeksugar: What is your favorite thing about your job? What is your favorite thing about ThinkGeek?
Andrea: The work environment!! It’s a laid back environment, folks are pretty mellow. Any other place I have worked it always felt like work, what fun is that. Doing product testing on the latest gadgets and toys is tons of fun. We also bring our dogs to the office (sometimes a cat or two) which provide a much needed distraction at times. There are some of us who don't wear shoes in the office! It makes doing the work part much easier to deal with.
Geeksugar: What are five of your favorite websites?
Andrea: Okay, five sites I'm at at least 3 or more times in a day. All of the Sugar sites. It's true, I spend way too much time here! ThinkGeek, of course. My LiveJournal, Engadget, Akihabara News, and right now Etsy is my new obsession.
Geeksugar: Do you use an RSS reader? If so, many feeds do you subscribe to?
Andrea: I read a few. I'm always looking for new ones. Currently I have National Geographic News, Wired News, Mental Floss' feed for the stuff that's a little more adult. For my daily cute fix I have Cute Overload, I Can Has Cheezburger, Stuff On My Cat, and Stuff On My Mutt.
Geeksugar: Who do you think are the top three sexiest male geeks in the world?
Andrea: Masi Oka, completely adorable. Alton Brown, he's just awesome. John Fraizer from ThinkGeek. He said he would fire me if I didn't say that, but I don't know that he has that authority. Best not to test it.
Geeksugar: Who do you think are the top three sexiest female geeks in the world?
Andrea: Kari Byron from the Mythbusters, cute, artsy, and geeky for the experiments she does. For the anime geek in me, Lain. The last one is always hard to pick. I'm gonna cheat though and say girl gamers are hot. I've known too many awesome gaming females to just pick one. It's completely not a cop out either.
Geeksugar: How do you feel about being called a “geek”?
Andrea: I'm totally cool with it. It feels different being called a geek now than it when I was in school. Back in school it felt like it was meant as an insult but I was well used to being different from everyone else. Now it feels like there's more respect with it. It feels more like something I earned with the years of IRC, BBS, online journals, webcams, history obsession, and gaming. Now it's cool to be a bit of a geek.
Geeksugar: What is the geekiest thing about yourself?
Andrea: I don't know, maybe the anti social behavior. Maybe that I'm planning on getting a tattoo of a cupcake and one of Slimey from Sesame Street. Others in the room are saying that it's my crazy ability to recall song lyrics and other useless things. I think the geekiest thing though is my life long history/anthropology obsession. As far back as I can remember I have loved the past, other cultures, and dead things. Maybe that's a little goth though. I actually remember telling people that I wanted to be an Egyptologist and it baffled them.
Geeksugar: Anything else you want to share?
Andrea: I love the word whomp. I chew my fingers when I'm nervous. I met my husband on LiveJournal. I had the hardest time with the sexy geek questions, really, I did. Chinchillas have 60 hairs per hair follicle. Everyone should buy Rocking With Hawking! I love that shirt!