By: Gabriel Aponte
Cate Collins, a senior media studies and anthropology double major, tends to the More Store register while shuffling her music.
She is wearing baggy jeans, comfy Reeboks and denim jacket with leopard collar. She chats with her roommates, Anna Aronowitz and Nadia Keynejad, awaiting the influx of students about to bombard the store. It’s the Friday night rush hour: midnight up until closing time, 2 a.m, it never fails but Cate is always prepared. As she eats the popcorn she just microwaved, a staple to all of her shifts, the first group of students enters with a ruckus.
“I know that most of the people coming to the More Store during this time have just been out partying or are about to party, so I like to make it a lively environment for them to feel like the night is still young,” says Cate. This is also to keep her awake and pumped through the tail end of her shift.
As Cate rings up a customer, Nadia details the adventures of living with Cate.
“It’s never a dull moment,” says Nadia. “Whether it is watching professional dance crew compilations and trying to mimic their moves or snacking on pickles.”
Nadia and Anna keep her company during her shift because, “We just miss her sometimes. When she’s not in the apartment, it’s like a vibe is missing,” says Anna.
As the line grows, Cate keeps her patience and tends to every customer with the same care. Since New York State’s plastic bag ban, Cate’s question to every customer is, “Do you have your own bag or would you like a paper bag for 10 cents extra?”
Customer after customer, Cate flows naturally through the process. Scan, tap, place down, scan, tap, as if muscle memory has taken over. Students on line dance and sing along to Cate’s More Store Spotify Playlist, she has one for every variety of shifts, depending on the time of day and weather.
Currently playing is “All Star” by Smashmouth. “The cashier makes it feel like a mini after-party,” says Shanelle Lopez, a junior who has just made her way from The Stood. “Everyone is still hyped.”
At about 12:30 a.m., the More Store hyper rush dies down for a bit, allowing Cate to share moments of her upbringing.
“Growing up in upstate New York has its perks. There are certain things that aren’t possible in city-life. There are different understandings." Cate says of growing up in Rhinebeck, NY. "You know the fire pits around campus, my friends always look to me to start them up and I’m just putting sticks together in a tent formation hoping for the best,” she adds with a laugh.
Cate goes to pick up her book, “Jane Austen”, and then remembers, “The fact that I’m being interviewed and almost started reading my book…”
It is in this moment that Cate’s personality really shines through. Laid back, in her own world of literature, awaiting her next motive.
“I read whenever no one’s in here because it allows me to forget I’m at work for a brief second. I love working here but slow work in general can make me lackadaisical.”
At approximately 1:58 a.m. the last customer comes in, Cate sighs with relief as she can finally lock the door and ring up the last few people.
“I like these last five minutes the best because everyone usually makes it known that they know I wanna clock out.”
As she clocks out and assures she has all of her belongings, Cate looks back at the More Store before locking up and whispers, “See you in 13 hours!”
With Anna and Nadia walking ahead to the car, Cate’s extends her kindness in offering a ride. Her generosity warms the cool end-of-Winter night and as she takes one last look back at the More Store, to reassure she has left it safely, she smiles.