For as long as I have been at this university, I have gotten a weekly email from the University Bookstore about something called “Geraldine’s Pick.” While the majority of these emails have gone over my head, I could not help but be intrigued by the consistency. I began to ask myself, “What is Geraldine’s Pick?” and “Who even is Geraldine?”
So, naturally, I decided to start reading the emails. Each week, Geraldine provides her pick, which is usually an item sold in the bookstore. Geraldine’s pick is something that has been going on for years, so I was inherently curious as to how she continuously comes up with an item to pick each week.
Geraldine Moser is someone that most of you have probably seen upon purchasing something from the bookstore. But she isn’t your run-of-the-mill bookstore employee — Geraldine has been at the University Bookstore since 1987.
The legendary staff member originally got involved at the bookstore by working with somebody that was scheduling people for book rush, which is how she refers to the time at the beginning of the year when every student on campus needs to buy their textbooks.
This job was only supposed to take up a very temporary, small block of time. Somehow that small block of time turned into 35 years, with this January marking the 35th year for Geraldine.
Her main role at the bookstore has evolved into cashier, but she is eager to work wherever she is needed. This has ranged from working the cashier’s office, running over to the warehouse and even in shipping and receiving.
“As long as I’m busy, I’m fine,” she remarked.
The beginning of the year is Geraldine’s favorite time of the school year to this day. She enjoys meeting people, and during this time, she gets to meet an abundance of students, alumni and community members. Recently, guests who have visited Geraldine at the UW Bookstore have received buttons with a picture of the renowned employee on them.
Though that’s not to say that Geraldine’s always known that she wanted to work in a college bookstore. Throughout my interview with Geraldine, a very common theme that cropped up is how vastly different this lifestyle is from the one she grew up living.
Geraldine grew up in Ireland, and originally had a career as a nurse. Eventually, she became a midwife.
However, despite the differences and vast distance between Ireland and Wisconsin, the world remains quite small. She mentioned how she met one customer who has an uncle in Ireland. As it so happens, she knew the uncle.
Not only is Geraldine from Ireland, but she has lived in Massachusetts and California. As a result of this, there’s always someone among the people she meets on a day-to-day basis that recognizes her.
So, how does she decide on her pick each week? How does she decide which red hat, back-to-school necessity or gameday shirt gets featured? Upon being asked, she said the following:
“I decide with the buyer what there is [enough] available of,” Geraldine said. “I have people that come from all over the country who see it over the app, so there needs to be a big order of the item. I need to make sure there is enough stuff.”
In her free time, Geraldine loves to cook, bake and go on walks. Out of all these activities, walking is her favorite. On these walks, she is usually by herself. But that decision is by choice.
“I recite poetry, I sing to myself, I go to places there's no one around so I can do whatever I want,” she explained.
Geraldine said that, on average, she talks to a couple hundred people a day — especially on football Saturdays and parents’ weekends. While she cherishes the conversations she has with each and every person on campus, it’s her connection to the students that she holds most near and dear to her.
“I love dealing with the kids on campus, and some of them I have befriended so that we recognize each other and chit chat,” she said with a smile. “I call them the little darlings on campus.”