Before the school year began, Danza went to the warehouse in the area where school supplies were available to buy decorations for his classroom. The cashier was a fellow teacher, working to earn a little extra money, and he knew immediately that Danza was a first-timer when he saw that Danza was charging the decorations to his own credit card. (Philadelphia teachers received a hundred dollars for classroom supplies at the time.) The teacher had one piece of advice for Danza. "Never smile before Christmas," he said. "Smiling puts you at their mercy. They'll eat you alive."