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MIT student blogger Keri G. '10

It’s like a bag of sand! by Keri G. '10

I go on a quest to legally obtain music and movies.

I was going to save this post for whenever my summer job had given me enough witty, engaging stories to constitute an entire entry, but in light of some less-than-important recent events, I decided to put up a short post.

1: I got pushed off the MIT Admissions front page. If you obsessively (or even just sporadically) read the blogs, then you probably know that this happened quite a while ago. My days have been filled with RA training for the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, which I’ll affectionately refer to as either “CTD” or “nerd camp” from here on out. Our week-long training was almost entirely composed of twelve different authority figures telling us not to kill the kids and a psychologist delivering sweeping, vaguely inaccurate generalizations about gifted students. (“These children are cognitively advanced, but only at the expense of being emotionally and even physically delayed…” And to think, my gifted teachers just said I was “special.”)

…there’s more to it, of course, but do you really want me to elaborate? Anyway, working with the kids (all of whom moved in on Sunday) has left me no time for the essential things in life, like sleeping (I HAVE TO BE AT BREAKFAST BY 7 AM EVERY SINGLE MORNING FROM NOW UNTIL AUGUST. WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?!) and spending too much time on the Internet. It’s just as well, since this post has nothing to do with nerd camp and instead has to do with –

2: My first full day off, which was on Tuesday. I took advantage of this day and set out on a Very Important Mission. You can tell that my Very Important Mission was Very Important because it took six months to complete. Also, I keep capitalizing the “Very Important” descriptor.

Back in December, I got a Christmas present from my close friend Adrian. In true Adrian fashion, this gift had the following characteristics:

-It was something I absolutely loved.
-It was something really, really obvious that no one else had thought of before and that, consequently, I had never received.
-It was absolutely riddled with issues.

See, this gift was a $40 gift card to Virgin Megastore.

Attempting to redeem the thing has been one of the most frustrating experiences ever. EVAR. Netspeak is absolutely necessary here. This is because every Virgin Megastore in the Eastern United States is closing or has shut down. The Miami location closed not two weeks after Adrian got the card, and the Boston store had been nonexistent for over a month when he gave it to me.

Fine. I can just use it online, right? After all, the web address is displayed in a splashy font across the front of the card. As it turns out, – a subsidiary of Amazon – DOESN’T ACCEPT VIRGIN MEGASTORE GIFT CARDS.

That’s right. The Virgin Megastore website does not actually sell anything itself, instead redirecting you to Amazon.

I have yet to understand this.

What store doesn’t allow you to buy things off its own website? Was there some revolutionary logic involved in making this decision, or is it one of those things that just managed to slip through the minds of every single person in a management position? Had I called customer service, the only response they could have possibly given me would most likely run along the lines of, “Whoops! Sorry for the inconvenience, but we only sell things in our actual stores! Looks like you’ll have to go to the nearest open location in Chicago! Come on, quick like a bunny – they’re closing in two weeks!”

This is, of course, exactly what I ended up doing. I flew thirteen hundred miles and spent a full day in the pouring rain for the sake of getting a Busdriver CD, Young Galaxy’s debut album, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin on DVD. And yeah, I came up here for that summer job thing too. That, however, is another story to be told another time, like after tonight’s dance. I’ll be sure to fill you in on my four hours of racing around with a flashlight and a ruler – “No grinding, guys! NO GRINDING!”

20 responses to “It’s like a bag of sand!”

  1. Wings '11 says:

    There’s a Virgin Megastore out here! COME TO CALIFORNIA! (Actually, I haven’t been to that particular mall in a year, so it may be closed…)

    Grinding? How old are these kids?

  2. Snively says:

    Aw, sad, emotionally and physically delayed! Did they actually tell you that? Tragic!

    The question that is begging to be asked is, how many of them brought Rubik’s Cubes to nerd camp. The next big question is how many are going to take said Rubik’s Cubes to the dance?

    Good luck with the grinding Keri, I’m sure you’ll survive, and enjoy your Virgin swag.

  3. Mikey says:

    Keri –

    At the risk of sounding old and crusty…back in MY day, stores didn’t even have websites to begin with, let alone online shopping! And even after they came out with it, nobody ever bought anything online for a while unless you were super super rich. Of course now, it’s different I guess. : P

  4. Paul '11 says:

    Wait, Keri, how do these kids know about grinding? Aren’t they supposed to be emotionally and physically delayed or something?

    Oh, and Wings, I actually went to this exact same “nerd camp” when I was in high school, so I can answer that question, they’re rising sophomores through rising seniors.

    Although I don’t recall there being any sort of dance when I was there. (Maybe my dorm had an unusually high ratio of physically delayed kids?) Rather, we had a talent show, wherein some Asian kid did an absolutely amazing cover of Marc Broussard’s “The Wanderer” and consequently earned an eternal place in my heart.

    True story. Except for the “eternal place in my heart” thing. raspberry

  5. Keri says:

    Paul – I’m a Spectrum RA, so I’m waist-deep in middle schoolers.

    Mikey – I’m not saying that everyone SHOULD have online shopping enabled, but why bother putting “Shop for our stuff at our site!” on your store’s gift card when you can’t use it on there anyway? ^_^

  6. Keri says:

    Guys, the kid was 15. This program runs through rising tenth graders.

    Even so, I’m a little unsettled every day of this program, since I’m mistaken for a student at least twice daily.

    Maybe this “I look 12” thing will be an advantage when I’m 40.

  7. Mike A. '11 says:

    Yeah, that thing about the gift card sucks. I had a similarly ripoff-tastic experience when I went to use an itunes gift card online from my aunt, scratched off the foil gunk covering the activation code, and accidentally scratched off the code itself, therefore wasting twenty bucks worth of online music.

  8. Paul '11 says:

    Aw, I forgot about Spectrum. Clearly, Equinox > Spectrum.

    Moreover, the thought of little seventh through ninth graders grinding on each other is very, very disturbing.

    This is morbid curiosity talking, and I’m not really sure I want to know…but I have to ask: how old was that kid who was hitting on you?

  9. Hank R. says:

    The kid hitting on her was probably 12 or 13. Seeing as everybody thinks Keri’s 12 anyway.

    Besides, grinding is like, a family event now. Remember to check the bushes, Keri. ugh.

  10. Paul '11 says:

    Such a cynic, Hank. :D

  11. jenn '11 says:

    middle schoolers grinding?! what is the world coming to?

  12. Hank R. says:

    Well, Keri. It might come in handy when you’re 40…

    ….or you could get picked up by a pedophile.

  13. Nina says:


    Oh, you’re making me nostalgic for my own days at Nerd Camp.

    Remember to tell them to shower.


    Oh, you’re making me nostalgic for my own days at Nerd Camp.

    Remember to tell them to shower.


  14. Hawkins '12 says:

    My big sister has the same problem! (people think she’s 12). Thatisall.

  15. milena '11 says:

    Paul, the kids might be physically delayed, but they still get boners.

    I’m just saying.

    I love Virgin Megastore!! Do they still have that big store in Times Square?

  16. Snively says:

    I’m pretty sure the Times Square one is still there

  17. Omar '10 says:

    hope you’re having fun at home.


  18. Omar '10 says:

    oh and yeah, virgin megastores are good.

  19. deb says:

    hahahaha CTD. OH DEAR i totally have loving memories of that camp. Nerd camp, affectionately. hahaha yea i hope that is going well. 7 am is kind of rough, but then again i’m babysitting HS students who are anxious to do research in a program at stony brook. I’m being nagged on a daily basis about protocols, ideas, research crap and pathetic little excuses about life. Perhaps the only thing thats good about it is that I get a) free dorming b) free dorming with air conditioning.

    haha you gotta love those kids at CTD. grinding and all. xP

  20. Kayla says:

    I had the same problem with a Borders gift card.. I know it’s too late now but when it forwards you to Amazon, it’s their “store” on Amazon. You just add stuff to your cart and at the Amazon Checkout enter the gift card code. More than a little infuriating..