Tuesday, December 1, 2009

French Press Jerk

On Sundays we open at noon. I do not open the doors at 11:37 because the rest of the staff is not there, the tills are not ready, and I do not have to open until 12:00.

Last Sunday, at about 11:37 a.m., I saw a young man yank on the door. He had a french press in his hand, which means he was probably after a new glass beaker to replace a broken one. He looked down at the posted hours and then walked away.

When I did open the doors at 11:56 a.m., he was sitting outside our doors with his french press. He asked the price of replacement beakers. I led him to the coffee supply section. After I told him the beaker price, he unloaded his little planned speech:

"Wow. Your replacement beakers are almost as much as a new french press. Yea, I already went and bought a new french press because you guys opened late. Thanks though."

As we parted ways I said "we open at 12:00 on Sundays" to remind him that we opened right on time.

So he found that we were closed, went somewhere else for 15 minutes to buy a new french press, then came back to wait outside the store so he could "punish" me by telling me he didn't need the thing he had needed because he went somewhere else and bought it AND it was cheaper AND we opened "late."

Um, jerk.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sassy replys in the waiting

For the mummies and grumpies who buy products without taking any sort of responsibilities and then don't like them and want a full refund, my future reply is "we are not Walmart." Oh, we may take the damn thing back and take a loss, but I will stretch it out and attempt to drum up some guilt from you. I think "renting" from Walmart is gross and shameful. I find the process of buying, really using, and returning things extremely distasteful, even if it is at Walmart. Maybe Walmart can take the hit, but it creates this mentality amongst people that they should be able to do that everywhere. Customers bring back a thing because "they don't think they like it."

Maybe it is just me. I never shop like that. I may listen to a clerk's opinion, but I would never take it as complete truth. I think deeply about every item and imagine it in my life. I consult the internet. I consult friends. I investigate the intricacies of the return policy. Then I make my decision. I have the power as the consumer, but I also have the responsibility. Nobody makes anyone buy anything.

Manipulating clerks and threatening that people didn't do their jobs because you want to return something is Tacky. Do not do it. And lady with all the citrus accessories? I mean you. Your kids seem nice; hopefully they won't take after you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Daylight savings: what is time?

I was laying in bed this morning, relishing the thought that I didn't have to be to work for 5 hours. I only had about 5 hours sleep, which is not enough for me. And we are only open for 5 hours on Sundays, so it will be a nice short day. In the span of 20 seconds, I had felt delight, dispair, and relief for 5 hour time frames.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Disclaimer post

I am not turning into a grumpy turd. I am not constantly selfish and feeling sorry for myself. Though I have been kind of a jerk lately, I do acknowledge that my life is pretty great and I am generally happy. There are customers that I actually enjoy and who are pleasant and have made a point of remembering my name and that makes me feel like maybe they are not all evil.

Though I do feel trapped occasionally, I feel lucky to be employed and to have a job that is not humiliating. I get to work with beautiful things and I get a discount. I learn about food and cooking and science and design and fabric and marketing. I love my co-workers; they are my friends and family.

Finding balance, taking the good days and the bad, this clerk will get by and it will be okay.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Customers are not unique like snowflakes; they are more like slush

If there are so many types of people in the world, everyone being special and unique, why are so many customers the same? We clerks can be similar because we have training and policy. Customers will say and do the same things over and over, each one thinking they are the clever one to come up with it. A classic example is gift wrap, but there are more.

When I go shopping, I barely speak anymore because I fear that I am mindlessly repeating phrases that clerks hear all day.

Diarrhea of the Heart

I didn't want to write too much about my heartbreak/break up/weirdness because I am trying not to dwell on it. And he could read it. But the damn thing is effecting me alot and at work too.

When it is slow and I am pacing or straightening shelves or folding napkins, I think about it. The thought that living closer may have made a difference eats away at me. I get intensely depressed when it seems that being poor and stuck could cost me happiness. My co-worker tries to console me with a story of her "Good thing, bad timing" romance, but it also depresses me because, when applied to me, I have no control over my crappy, simple, wage-slave life.

I want to run away. I was hatching a plan with some friends to move to a different city, but it seems the job scarcity issue could squelch that. So this is my life. I am the clerk: lean, poor, thrifty, and scrappy. I am surrounded by caricatures of consumers. My love might as well live on the moon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Christmas is coming.

They are prepping for Christmas at our store, or the Holidays, as I refer to it for customers. "We get more of (whatever weird item they want) around the Holidays." The timing for displaying seasonal merchandise is tricky; you want to do it soon enough that there is plenty of time to sell it at full price, but not so soon as to shock customers.

The funny thing is that usually customers usually ask for the seasonal items before we have them out. "When are you going to get your Thanksgiving stuff?" Then other customers complain that we are forcing the holidays on them too early.

One of my favorite times of year is when we have both Christmas and Halloween items on the floor at the same time. Why not have some glittery spiders or bats or pumpkins on your Christmas tree?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekly Highlights. I mean rants.

-The old man who was pissed off that we didn't have a pineapple peeler. Is that what getting old is about? Obsessing about weird tools that will allegedly make it easier to peel an expensive fruit with a spiny exterior that is clearly saying "I do not want to be eaten!"? By the way, I love pineapple, and when I went on a cruise, I ate my weight in pineapple. But the tool this man wanted (one that would make the little rings like canned pineapple) would waste a lot of precious juicy flesh, so it is a stupid tool for the home kitchen. And is a knife any more difficult to use?

-The lady that was upset when the glassware she bought in the past was discontinued. I don't know why people are always surprised when something is not made anymore. She came in to get some glasses, because she broke 2, and we only had the larger size left. "Oh, I'm just sick!!" she said as she freaked out. Really? You are sickened because you can no longer buy the stupid, cheap, boring glasses to match the ones in your home? While I can maybe see how this could be mildly disappointing, becoming sickened by it seems extreme. When I think of what might make me "sick," I think of genocide, famine, and racism.

-I sold a kitchen scale to a woman yesterday and was highly amused by the photo on the packaging. It featured a pristine kitchen, a clear counter, and on the scale, a single, perfect grapefruit half. Who weighs half a grapefruit? Obviously an attempt to appeal to dieters or people who think they might diet. Why not show the scale being used as a baking tool? Weighing ingredients for perfect results? Because food is bad and it makes you fat. If you had a scale, you would weigh your food and you wouldn't be such a fat ass pig.

-Yesterday a woman brought back a coffee maker. "I can't use it because the plug is too big!" She was being loud and had gotten herself all worked up before she came in. She was rambling on about how the plug didn't work in her outlet. As I half-listened to her babbling, I thought to myself, "I'm sure there is a ridiculously simple solution to this problem." I nodded and uh-huhed and proceded to process her return. "I want to see you plug it in!" She insisted. Really? She was going to make me shame her? I unpacked the coffee maker and looked at the plug. It had a plastic cover over the little cord tongs. Problem solved.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My boyfriend broke up with me and all I have is work

Yesterday morning my boyfriend broke up with me through an email. It was a nice email, considering its purpose. He lives on the other side of the country, so when I tell people we broke up, the look in their eyes saws that it was inevitable. We met at a weird time. I'm sad.

I am so grateful for my co-workers. They listen to me while I dissect every detail and give support and insight into relationships, men, and life. They cover me if I have to run off and cry. They even bought me icecream and flowers.

We are a family and I love them. Even when they make messes or misinform customers or don't wash their breakroom dishes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plastic Bags

I try to ask customers if they "need" plastic bags. I do this purposely and avoid the word "want." Sometimes you just know someone wouldn't think of not taking a bag, so you sack up their purchase without that conversation.

Occasionally you will get a customer that asks for a bag and then is really excited by the bag. "This is a nice bag!" they say, "I will definitely reuse it!" These people are the ones that have been trying not to take bags when they do their shopping, only to find that they rely on them at home. The reused bag is the doggie poop bag, their trash liner, their car seat cover. Those plastic bags which were once a nuisance and crowded their cupboards are now precious objects and guilty pleasures. They take a bag because they need one to be a shield between their hand and gross realities.

I will admit that I had that thought. "What will I line the trash can with?" But you know what I did? I just didn't line it. And though the trash can make get a little dirtier without its plastic bag condom, IT IS A TRASH CAN. It is made for garbage. I hose it out once in awhile and call it good.

Try it customers! Set yourself free!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Customer Quote of the Month

Last week, there was a woman shopping for accessories for her new house. She was buying a doormat and when she was checking out said, "I don't know if I want to leave it outside. I don't know yet if I have shitty neighbors. They might take the doormat."

Her male companion tried to dismiss her fears. He reminded her that it was a good neighborhood.

Wherein she dismissed his notion of niceties. "Rich people steal shit too." Then she turned to us behind the counter and said, "I'm sure you guys know that."

It was sort of awesome. Her voice was loud and the store was busy. Others heard her. It is the sort of thing a customer can say, but clerks cannot. In the fantasy world that we perpetuate, the customer is not just right, but saintly. When a regular customer is grifting, stealing, or swindling, they are in a state of denial, most likely practiced and justified to themselves beforehand.

Our Loss Prevention Professional says that 1 in 5 customers is a casual shoplifter. So someone is doing it, cause "shit" disappears.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Clerk is right again.

Nearly every day, there is a customer that claims they saw a product at our store.

First question: what did it look like and what did it do? It's a big store and easy to get turned around. Product could be anywhere! But sometimes the customer's description is not good enough (an expanding butcher's block, like a pile of limes, a vegetable shaver (but not a peeler) and when you show them what you think they want, it is not the right thing. Then you have to ask them the

Second question: where did you see it? They will lead us to some corner and say "It was right here!!" And we will go through past displays in our minds and list themes and product. If you can't figure it out that way, it is time for the

Third questions: when did you see it? This question is less about finding the product and more about gently beginning to tell them that they are confused and mix-up. "It was here 2 days ago!" they might say and I can say "so was I. And the display hasn't changed since then." It may frustrate them, but it is the truth. The truth is better. Instead of playing the "is it this?" game and never getting results, I can move onto the

Fourth question: did you see it here? I will ask them and you will see them thinking and quite often, they DID see it somewhere else. Mystery solved.

But there are those tough cases that claim they saw some weird product just yesterday, as though yesterday means anything. They get so mad at my uselessness. Why can't I reveal the item that is in their mind!?

The fact is that I am at work full time. I spend all of my quality, waking life looking at the shelves and touching product. When I am not helping customers, I am pacing the aisles and looking at every crevice, reading every box and brochure, and even looking at past, discontinued items in the computer. So if that Thing you want is here, I will know.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dust catcher

At work yesterday, I was marking down some stemware. There were these very tall, dramatic wine glasses and they were coated with dust. It was the wineglass that I dropped my first week of work: clumsy new girl, me, backed into a rack of fragiles and one of them fell. I can still see it, in slow motion, falling from the top. But the glasses are tempered in 3 places, and it bounced once it hid the floor. I was saved from humiliation.

I thought about buying one for nostalgic reasons. It is a funny story to tell, especially when you are holding the big delicate glass, but I try to be careful about buying things at work because I am bored or feel I want something to keep a memory. I lifted the glass towards my lips in a mock sip. If the glass felt comfortable, I might consider buying it.

Instead of red wine notes, I got a nose full of dust. I was not even inhaling. Suddenly the whole situation felt clumsy and cheap and I felt that I had been trying to sell the glass to myself. If I had one glass that was simply a story prop, that would be quite a boring story after awhile. And if I spent an hour's wages on a piece of stemware, it would make that glass too precious. My life does not need complicated stemware.

I hate the smell of dust.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A t.v. show that makes me excited to go to work

My friends and I have been watching past episodes of The Apprentice UK. It actually makes want to go to work and sell shit to people.

I am so glad I didn't kill my television.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I went to work yesterday chipper and with a positive attitude, though anxious because I had a lot of errands to run on my lunch break.

Two of the earliest customers were Canadian woman, friends, shopping together. They were dressed up for a day out and one of them was dancing as she shopped and singing along with the oldies music that we were playing. It reminded me of one of the model quotes in the Boden catalog I'd been looking through the night before. Something like, "if I could go back in time: I would dance more." And why not?, I thought as I watched the customer shimmy through the aisles. Dancing is fun, right? Ladies love to dance. Look at how the customer is having so much fun!

I rang up the dancing lady. While I was wrapping her glass jars in paper to cushion them, I felt spiritual and sisterly; why shouldn't we dance when we want to and be a little wacky? We have so little time in life. Why shouldn't I be happy for womankind when they can grab some moments of joy and dance and sing?

Then I realized I was still at work. It had become busy all of a sudden and I was by myself, so I helped people in the order I saw them appear. My co-worker came and helped me ring everyone up. Dancing lady was at the counter again. Her bags were on the counter in front of her.

We are not sisters, dancing lady and I; she is the customer and I am the clerk. So why should I be surprised when she too took on a bit of superior attitude when I asked if she needed anything else? Her response, though seemingly harmless, was terse and seemed to say "do not attempt to KNOW what I NEED, retail store worker."

I do not know if I over-analyse every word that comes out of customers' mouths or if I have become very good at reading people and detecting lies and fake emotions.

Probably both.

I can help the next person in line!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Precious Customer Moments; Clerk Sarcasm

- The older couple with the matching cargo vests. The wife was wandering through the store yelling "EUGENE!" Much less tacky would be to have a lost-mate whistle. Or a cell phone.

- The young girl shopping with her mom and wearing a halter hoodie. Somehow, I've never seen one before. And it made me feel so old to realize that I would look like a fool if I tried to wear one. There are certain pieces that can only be worn by the young or the wacky.

- The woman that was trying to explain to her friend the power of her Kitchenaid mixer. "You could drive with a Kitchenaid." Car as power made me giggle.

- A customer called and asked if we sold bikini aprons. Wha? You know, aprons with a bikini printed on them.

- Another customer called and asked for bamboo bath towels. When I told her we didn't have any, she told me that we should get some because "there is at least one person that wants them." That is a great way to buy for a business. "Gosh I hope at least one person wants this item!" It is amazing that almost everyone with a request thinks that the thing they want is a really hot item and that we are going to stock it because one person asked for it, like they are doing us a favor or starting a trend. By the way, I am not hating on bamboo towels. They are great.

- I always love it when customers preface a request with their need and desire to have things that are natural, organic, and that will not "off-gas" (customers love that term), and then fold immediately because they find some gassy, unnatural, non-organic, and cheaper item. Way to stick to your ideals, consumers.

- The guy who tried to get into the store early and when we wouldn't let him, told us we "just lost a $10,000 sale"? You get the biggest eye roll of the week.

- A customer called and asked if we had anything in blue.


Let's talk about the weather!

Last week was very hot. The air conditioning broke at work and they have no immediate plans or funds to fix it. There were a few days when I thought I might go insane from the heat: hot outside, hotter in the store plus stagnant heavy air. Finally management got smart and put every fan in their possession onto the sales floor. Moving the hot air around made it a little less horrible. Amazingly, we made our numbers nearly every hot day. Yea, Economy???

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sidewalk sale

This past weekend was our Sidewalk Sale, an annual event where downtown retailers wheel clearance items outside and try to sell the losers so they don't have to take up floor space anymore.

Usually our sale is an extra 50% off the 50% off clearance price, but this year, most items were just $0.99! which created quite the frenzy. My ears are still ringing with the question "Is this 99 cents?".

The photo is of some decorative letters that were on sale. I was thrilled that we only had 5 left and that some cheeky customer arranged them so that they read "BUM XO." Maybe some customers do have a sense of humor.

Friday, July 3, 2009


At work today I was reading some care instructions for the molcajete. It listed a multi-step process that included rice, onions, and garlic and lots of pre-grinding. Maybe I was an ignorant jerk; maybe the molcajete is a delightful heirloom tool that just needs a bit of care to get just right. Maybe I am a dumb modern that doesn't get ancient tools. I do like the idea of items that should not be overly cleaned. Whatever. Molcajete, I will leave you in peace.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Early Summer Bitchfest Roundup

-I was staring out the window and saw a young woman that is a customer of ours. She recently registered and I don't know if she is stupid or devious, but I find her difficult. There she was, walking down the street on a lovely summer day with her mother and grandmother, eating an icecream cone. And me, jaded bitchy clerk, immediately thought "Good to see that little bitch feeding her ass. I bet she's one of those woman that get married and then 'let themselves go'." I feel a little bit horrible.

-There is one couple and their dog that really bug the crap out me. I used to say that I didn't mind the dog, just the owners, but I realized I don't like the dog either. Although technically he is handsome, he is dumb as a sack of hammers and has no personality. They might as well be dragging around a stuffed toy that blows snot everywhere.

-Their is an elderly man that comes in and tells jokes. Although I like the situation in theory, the man has lost some sense of boundaries and makes customers and staff uncomfortable with his dirty sexy jokes, some of which are improvised. Dementia+Improv+Dirty Jokes=AWKward!

-The other day we got a new molcajete. We were touching it, play-grinding spices and avocados. Huge chunks of stone were coming off the inside of the bowl and grinder. I don't know if that was supposed to happen or not, but it seems like serving food speckled with gravel is a bad idea. Our manager said it needed to be "seasoned." While I don't doubt that, I dread the thought of trying to sell customers a cheap crumbling version of an ancient tool and to convince them that the tablespoon of grit is just part of the seasoning process.

Blue Tuesday

I switched days this week with a co-worker, so I get a reprieve from Freak Out Wednesday.

I am back from vacation and so sad. I always hate coming back from trips and my sadness is compounded by the fact that I have to delay my plans to move closer to my boyfriend because I do not have enough money. There I was, back at work, pacing, dismayed by my delay without an end date and nearly imploding from the boredom and tedium. When I acknowledged that I must go to work and excel in order to make the money, I almost lost all semblance of sanity.

Since going out of my gourd and fleeing the store is not a viable option, I gave into an activity which may not be healthy, but sustains me in times of work panic: play shopping! I fondle merchandise which has never previously seemed attractive. A bamboo cutting board, elongated for the serving and slicing of fish? With a groove on the edge to catch the juices? I sort of need it! Especially with all the parties I host. I really don't have enough serving pieces. Ok, maybe I don't host parties, but I want to start, and maybe this lovely cutting board will be just the thing to inspire me!

When I actually type out the thoughts that went through my mind, I want to throw up. That is not the sort of person I am, right? Delusional, materialistic, irrational? The desire to host parties is okay, but thinking that a cutting board with prompt me to do it is insane. That is the thought process a hoarder goes through, right before they are crushed by a mountain of stuff.

I tossed the cutting board back onto the shelf. I don't need to acquire items to get what I want, I need to sell them. Let the merciless commerce begin.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More thoughts on Teacher Gifts

It's that time of year again! Mothers are going crazy for teacher gifts, trying to find the perfect trinket in 5 minutes and spending as little money as possible. We have a whole display for them: "Teacher Gifts for $30 or less."

I made a comment to my co-worker about how cash would be a better gift. It could be put towards student loans or retirement (which I have said on this blog. just trying out comments in different places. repeating myself. nattering.). My co-worker replied that once teachers are established, they actually do quite well for themselves and don't need retirement money.

But you know what? I still think cash would be better. I guess I just hate the thoughtless, duty-driven gifts. I never see people shopping with thoughts of what the teacher might like; if they have 4 kids, they buy 4 identical insulated lunch bags.

Gift cards are also good. But for some reason alot of customer hate the gift card suggestion. They don't actually have any idea about what to get, but they want the recipient to think that they do and therefore find gift cards to be a shameful gift. Most people love a gift card. I think my mother is the only person that dislikes them.

As I have never been given teacher gifts, I suppose I'm not in a position to degrade them. But when I see all the bags of useless leaving the store, I cringe for whoever is on the receiving end.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Break from Staycations

Being a poor retail clerk with 4-5 vacation days a year, I often choose to stay home and enjoy the simple pleasure of not being at work. Times when I do travel are usually not for me, but rather for someone else, be it wedding, graduation, funeral, or birthday. And while I do love to see family, I also think it would be fun to go somewhere else, like on a Vacation, and see new people, places, and things.

I am very lucky this year! I went on a little trip to Washington D.C. in January and in 2 days I am going to Alaska. These trips have taken planning, frugality, and some mooching here and there, but it is so exciting to experience something new once in awhile.

Cheers to those of us that do not have the luxury of spontaneity! Though we may not fly by the seat of our pants, we may still live!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Think of desert wrecks

When I sell an outdoor umbrella to a customer, they often ask if it will fade. And they phrase it like this: "This fabric won't fade, will it?" Ah! The set-up. Of course it will fade eventually. Is there anything that does not succumb to the sun? Images of bleached bones, desert wrecks, and graying wood flash through my mind. Hail the power of the sun!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Today this young woman bought an ottoman. She asked for "help" carrying it out to her car, which ended up being me carrying the ottoman. It was actually very light.

The crappy thing was that she wouldn't let her boyfriend/husband help me when he asked if I needed help. And then he was okay with me carrying it. The three of us walked to their Lexus; me, the shortest and smallest, hauling the ottoman, the husband commenting on how it was weird to have someone else carry things, and the wife fumbling for her keys.

I don't mind helping people when they have injuries, but being the pack mule for 2 more than able bodied Americans is weird. Sac up you fucking jerks. You let a small girl clerk haul your ottoman. You are useless. We are all laughing and rolling eyes at you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Crazies come back!

Work has been strangely boring lately. The slow, creeping afternoons, combined with stuffy indoor heat and thoughts of projects I could be doing at home, create a tedious delirium. Almost every afternoon, I attempt to distract myself with chocolate or kombucha, a little treat for putting up with life.

The strange thing is that customers have not been as crazy. After all my bitching horror stories of customers past, one would think it would be good to get what I thought I wanted. The realization that maybe the crazy, crappy customers might be the only element that keeps work from being a snorefest is actually terrifying. There is nothing I can "throw myself into" at work. There is just pacing and inane conversations about napkins.

There is one week until my vacation. I cannot wait.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When you serve coffee at work . . .

double cups
cups on shelves
sugar dumps
kids playing in the coffee
hobos in the coffee
coffee regulars
coffee pot overflow
end of day cleanup
impossible to open sugar shaker
gross warm milk
running out of milk
gut rot coffee made without love
talking about the coffee
it's not hot enough
it's not decaf
wasted coffee
help yourself to some coffee
BWAC! BWAC! "You're out of coffee!"

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Sunday was sort of an awesome day. I was in a good mood with the promise of a short 5 hour day, I had a sweet outfit on, and was buzzing on just the right amount of sleep and caffeine. Customers were friendly, which was a delightful change from Saturday. I got into a conversation with a nice couple about an idea of mine. It really made my day and I am determined to ride with this positive and creative thought as long as possible and maybe even turn it into Something!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stupidity spiral

Yesterday a great number of customers spoke to me as though they assumed I was a very stupid person. It could be that they speak to everyone this way or that I am just extra sensitive after my time in retail. Whatever the cause, it is unpleasant and leads to me playing games like purposely acting stupid and over explaining everything after people talk to me like I'm stupid and then do something stupid themselves.

Here are the most memorable moments along with the sarcasm I couldn't show at work.

-Woman with baby who came in to buy off of her friend's registry? I took her over to the registry counter and announced to the clerk that she "needed a registry". But my phrasing was too vague and she felt the need to tell us that she didn't need a registry for herself because she is happily married. Because we all thought that she was an unwed mother with a bastard son, it's 1950, what a slut.

-There was a woman buying black cushions and quizzing us on what would go with them. I asked her what sort of items she wanted and her only response was "something that looks good." Seriously. Nothing looks good with black.

-A woman bought some soap and made a fuss about the price going up. She yelled at me about how it was $3 less the last time she bought it. I looked in her sales history and saw that she hasn't bought it at the lower price since 2006. And she has bought it at higher prices 7 times since then. But maybe bitching about the price will magically lower it?

-A girl bought a single taper candle and I asked if she wanted me to wrap it in a bit of paper. Then she told me that she didn't need a bag, but couldn't I wrap it in some paper? Right. Like. I. Just. Asked. Yes. Or. No.

Bitter spew!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ladies Night

Tonight, at Ladies' Night, a customer was buying some sparkly pink bouncy balls for herself and a friend. No one jumped in to help me wrap up the sale, so I knew I had just one chance. I went for it.

"Do you need a sac for your balls?" I asked.

The ladies, primed with liquor and shopping, giggled and told their friends what I had said. And I am happy to have taken advantage of a perfect funny moment when it was laid before me in all of its pink glory.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cut the cord

Yesterday I was helping this elderly woman find a rice cooker. Everyone always thinks they need a huge rice cooker and it drives me crazy. The rice cooker we carry is for 4 cups of pre-cooked rice. When I was working at a lunch restaurant in Hawaii, I would not have called that a lot of rice, but now, here, looking at appliances for single, elderly women, I can say that is a lot of rice.

Eventually I shut up about the size because her statements about the best capacity for a rice cooker were moot. We moved onto features! "So how does this work?" she asked. "Well," I said, beautifully camouflaging my disdain for having to explain the simple steps of adding rice, water, and pushing a button, "You add the rice, the water, place the lid on top, and push the button. If the appliance is plugged in, a light will come on and another light will indicate when the rice is finished." "What about chicken?" she asked. "Does it tell how to steam chicken in the recipe book?"

Ah, yes. The recipe book! Most of the appliances come with a "recipe book" which is merely an addendum to the instructions, but the perceived value to the customer is huge! I don't know how many times the "recipe book" has been the factor in closing a sale. No matter that it is 1 millimeter thick and is probably going to be lost as soon as the customer opens the box; the recipe book has all the recipes and secrets for simplifying your life! With the appliance, some basic ingredients, and the recipe book, you will finally be able to serve simple home-cooked meals that will wow your family and friends! Thanks to the recipe book you can finally make Curry Rice & Chicken, Asparagus & Sesame Rice, and Balsamic Vinaigrette! Kitchen mysteries will be revealed in the recipe book!

All in all, it is a happy tale. We made a sale and the customer will go home and hopefully have success with her steamed chicken and huge quantities of rice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yet another way I don't want to die at work

I don't want to be slashed with an 8 inch Japanese cook's knife by a deranged man that comes in for free coffee.

New levels of sneakiness: Follow-up to "Not All Small Business Owners . . . "

I came back from work on Thursday and saw a broken pot rack behind the counter with a stock loss slip stuck to it. I asked my co-worker if Demon, the neighboring small business owner, had returned it. She had.

How crafty is that? She bought the pot rack on the a couple weeks ago just to get a recent receipt. Then she returned the old pot rack with the new receipt, and used the same story of it "crashing down in the night" that she had a couple of weeks ago. We closely inspected the returned pot rack. The supportive hardware, which should have shown wear from being screwed into the ceiling and from bearing the weight of a rack of pans, was pristine. The hooks, which, according to her story she used for just 12 days, were coated with greasy yellow-y kitchen residue.

This is a level of sneakiness and plotting that I haven't seen for a long time. And what shocks me is that it is this woman who should know better. It is beyond stinginess; it is getting what you want by whatever means and it is creepy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pre Freak-Out Wednesday

As I sit here and internet it up before work, I think about some of the things I hope not to hear today.

I do not want to get requests for daybeds, 11 foot cantilevered umbrellas, lidded candy dishes, or ceramic knives.

I do not want to be pestered by brides-to-be. Asking for updates everyday is tacky. Asking who bought what, before you receive the gifts, is tacky. Getting snippy with the staff because you planned poorly is tacky.

I do not want to hear "hip," young, heavily-tattooed people rant, in the store in front of everyone, about the price of nice cookware. How much did your "sleeves" cost? Probably more than the cookware. And though both the tattoos and the cookware might last for a lifetime, the cookware is so much more practical.

So shut up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mid May

-After attending the bachelorette party of my co-worker friend, held at a pole-dancing fitness studio, I fear that I do not even have stripping as a back-up career option. My pole work was pathetic and my lap dance was lacking.

-I hate teacher gifts. It's always busy parents trying to find just the right gift, something that says "thank you for making my child a functioning human" but they need it right now! and they don't want to spend any money. I have an idea for a teacher gift: instead of burdening them with worthless knick-knacks, get over the ridiculous supposed secrecy of the value of a gift and just give your precious teacher money. They can use it on their student loans or their retirement.

-You would be surprised at the number of customers that bring back broken ceramic bakeware. One customer in particular has had her pan replaced 3 times, even after blatant misuse. Sometimes I remind customers that ceramic products can break. "The downside is that ceramic pans can break." I actually have to tell people that.

-There is a vagrant man that sometimes parks his carts outside the benchs near our store. I was watching him one day and thinking about what a pain it must be to wheel all that shit around. Then I looked at our customers buying shit they don't need. If they can be consumers, why can't the crazy homeless man be a hoarder as well?

Monday, May 11, 2009

All small business owners are not created equal

The other day my co-worker and I were standing behind the counter when a customer (let's call her Demon) walked up with her item. I recognized Demon from my current and past work places. She is a small business owner with a store right across the street. I cannot stand her.

At my last job, she came into the store after a meeting with the owner, who was in awe of her. "She is such a great business woman! A real inspiration!" the owner gushed. Demon claimed she wanted a line of moisturizer developed, especially for her store. We would make and bottle the lotion and sell it wholesale to her. The plan sounded great, until I actually got to talking with Demon about what sort of product she wanted and estimated costs; it became apparent that this idea of Demon's was more whim than plan. She was making ridiculous requests and, based on the amount of explaining I had to do, didn't appear to be the amazing business woman that the owner made her out to be. And of course she didn't want to actually PAY for anything, which makes it hard to get anything done.

In dealing with her more at my current work place, I now know that playing dumb and being bitchy are tactics Demon uses to get what she wants. Sometimes she will mention her store and try to make herself important and other times she will keep quiet and try to just be a customer. When she came in the other day, she was buying a pot rack to replace a pot rack that had broke. She made sure to mention that the original pot rack had come from our store and that "wood shouldn't break" and couldn't she get this new pot rack for free? I had to walk away and leave my co-worker to deal with her. Every part of her argument was stupid and horribly sneaky and I couldn't even look at her damn face.

By playing stupid and bitchy all the time, Demon just looks stupid and bitchy. And when I see how she is willing to take advantage of her fellow small business owners, I do not see her as a brilliant businesswoman. I see her as a bad neighbor and a store to avoid.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Give-A-Shitter's Broke

-Lately, whenever I hear someone say "mortar and pestle" my brain twists it into "mortal and pester" and I laugh to myself because that's what customers are/do.

-It's wedding season, so we are busy with registering couples. All the usual caricatures are there: the fighting couple, the bossy mother, the "bridezilla." It turns me off of the idea of marriage; living in sin seems so much more rational. But then you don't get presents . . .

-My favorite way to deliver bad news is to leave it in a phone message. I give all the bad news and my name and I ask them to call me. This has worked for me quite well so far. It works because there is a brief span of time between when they hear the news and when they talk to me, and during that time they lose a little of the irrational nonsense anger and have time to get their thoughts in order. And when I get their call, I know that they know and I can almost pretend that someone else was the bearer of bad news. Try it sometime!

-I overheard a customer talking about how she didn't like her Le Creuset dutch oven, so she is using it for a dog water bowl. She can ditch her $300 pan without trying to resell it? She is willing and able to eat $300 for a pan? What recession?

-Requests for tortilla presses? Must be Cinco de Mayo time! The abundence of gadgets makes me appreciate my hands even more.

-I overheard some woman complaining about the thickness of some bakeware. "You'd think that with all the Technology, they could make something thinner." Statements like this kill me because people don't seem to realize that the product they want and are describing is probably already out there, but it costs more. Bitching is not the same as inventing.

-I thought I was sick. I've had a cough and sniffles, and although I do not lack energy, I do not seem to get well. Then my friend said that I probably have allergies. Of course! Why didn't I think of that! I have taken a Benadryl at work the last couple days and it is awesome. I get a little dreamy and rummy and totally chill. I am relaxed and in control. I am the cool calm center of the storm. Welcome.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Suzy Smiles

There is a customer that comes in occasionally with a big backpack. She buys kitchen gadgets and leaves the packaging and talks in a really sweet, high pitched voice. I think she is a little crazy or did way too many mushrooms. No matter what she is talking about, she is all giggles and smiles. Sometimes it can really get on my nerves.

She came in yesterday, her usual perky self, and mentioned how much she liked the music. My near-by merchandising co-worker and I shared a fleeting look of skepticism with mirrored eyebrow rises. The customer left after saying thank you five times.

I gave my co-worker the info on Suzy Smiles. My co-worker said "I wish I could be that happy about everything all the time." That would be a change. What would the world be like if I was always smiling about everything? As I am now, pessimistic but hopeful with equal parts of sarcasm, days can be shitty, even if they are hilarious.

Maybe I should have done more drugs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Highlights from a week of boring

- Buying a new "rustic," "distressed" table is the same as buying $172 cut off shorts. But who has time to destroy their own items anymore?

- An older woman came in looking for a 2 piece meat loaf pan. Apparently we used to carry it and "it is the best thing" for meatloaf because the "fat can drain." Eww. The rest of the day I had the worst mental picture of a big greazy meatloaf with a caked on ketchup topping.

- The satellite muzak that we have to play in the store changes the order of their stations every now and then. So just when we found a station that we could play without completely losing our minds or getting reprimanded, the channel numbers switched. What was Big Band and Swing is now New Age. We found another channel that plays Big Band and Swing in the morning and late afternoon, but the middle of the day is full of Adult Contemporary and these horrible, grating, slow, harmonizing renditions of well-known songs. Yesterday most of the employees had a simultaneous freak-out and changed the music to the Rumba and Salsa channel. And for one afternoon, we lived.

- A woman came in and asked to see our popsicle molds. We don't have any yet, but that didn't stop her from quizzing me on what they might be like when we get them. I described the ones we had last year and she became upset because they are not what she wants. "Don't you just have the regular popsicle shape, but in an adult size?!" My question is this: what makes a popsicle adult sized?

- We sell these birdhouses that are shaped like little camper trailers. They are decorated and painted and people love them. I hate them so much. I want to set the whole stack on fire. I will be helping a customer and thinking "hmm. she's sort of cool," but then they buy a birdhouse camper and I lose respect for them.

- It is inevitable that the store will fill up with people 15 minutes before we close.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Summer Furniture

Wrought iron, tube iron, kapur, aluminum and teak. Umbrellas, bases, and lounging chaises.

It's summer furniture time again! Once again, we will bring furniture outside in the morning and back in at night.

Let the shin bruising begin!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yard Sale

Last week I helped a family that was refurnishing their home. They bought a crap load of furniture and totally made our day. And the weird thing is . . . they were really nice. They didn't make crazy demands or yell at me just because they could. They didn't bitch about our selection and ask me why we didn't have what we don't have. The whole family made thoughtful comments and observations; it felt like we were having a conversation about their needs instead of the usual crap of customers wanting me to shake the product around to make it look alive, only to have them reject it, as I knew they would.

At a job where I am likely to hear eye-roll inducing comments such as "If everyone had a chair like this, there would be no war," it is a constant struggle to say positive. Every transaction feels frivolous. So many self-indulgent customers shopping for shit they don't need because they are bored. Sometimes I feel like part of the problem; our "customer service" enables them to keep up the crappy attitudes and use shopping as stress relief. I quell the thoughts that tell me I am a hypocrite and a fraud.

Defeated and struggling, I decided to escape to the cookbooks. I was thumbing through of the the Barefoot Contessa books that my co-workers are always raving about and read several of the introductions. The party book really got to me. Basically, I can sum it up with "eat simply, eat well, love your friends and family." Of course there were gorgeous pics of set tables and all the accessories that make them lovely, but after glancing through half the book, I really did want to have a party and invite all my favorite people.

My job does not directly help people. Everyday I must decide whether I will let the petty grievances consume me or whether I will rise above it and make something special out of every moment. Working with good customers builds community; working with bad ones builds patience. There is an art to entertaining. Can we not appreciate a beautiful table, decorated to delight the senses for an evening? And the ritual of celebration, with colors, shapes, and objects, that for better or worse, become engraved in our memories? I am so lucky to live how and where I do. It just happens that possessions play a large part of it.

And so goes the battle between thoughless consumerism and tangible object appreciation . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

You do not want me to be your decorator

There is a question I dread being asked at work: "What would YOU do?"

The customers that can't or don't make up their minds, are scared of the choices in colors, fabrics, and patterns, want to pick the "right" element that will FINALLY make their home complete will ask me for help. Actually, they will ask anyone that is standing close to them, and sometimes it just happens to be me.

I was not hired as a decorator. I don't even get to merchandise. My job is to take the money and put the product in the bag. People ask me what they should choose and seem to think that having money and good taste were hiring requirements. They don't realize they are talking to a woman who's house contains an orange-striped sofa that has had more sexual partners than the store staff and enough curb-side furniture (not all mine) to fill a basement.

Occasionally I will defer my opinion-giving until they have narrowed down their choices. And then I'll vote for Safe rather than Safer. But I am still just telling them what they want to hear.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Today was a calm Freak Out Wednesday. I was the one freaking out and bringing up the damn returned umbrella story in order to talk about it, get over it, and forget about it.

Lately I have been feeling gross and flabby. I am very lazy and do not "work out," but my roommate and I have been going on long walks uphill in order to elevate our heart rates and work our gluts.

Then I was thinking about all the time I spend at work, pacing, unwatched and alone. There will be whole afternoons passed, nary a customer in sight, with just me and the phone. Even when I am on the main floor, there are 15 minutes spans where I might not help anyone.

I have decided to use this time to do some of the weird, painful Plyometrics exercises that my roommate learned in her jogging class. Reading them off the sheet, they sound so easy, but you quickly find out how much your muscles are neglected and undisciplined.

I can't do all of them; I have narrowed it down to the quieter ones that won't require running:
1. Lunges
2. Butt kickers
3. High knees
4. Calve raises
5. Duck walk (forward and backward)
6. Toe taps
7. Cartoon jumps
8. Quick jumps

So if you spot a weird girl exercising at work, know that she is just trying to move her blood.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

4.11 part 2: Woman Doctor Race

Another thing customers might do is throw their TITLE around. I had this happen today again. A woman came in to pick up some things that she had put on hold 14 days ago and they were not there. I go through the holds weekly and put things away according to dates on the hold tags.

She didn't realize that I was the clerk that she had talked to in the first place, so she told me how she "TOLD the girl" she "WOULD be back" and would be "spending a lot of money." I reminded her gently how I was the one that had helped her.

I felt genuinely bad because she actually DID come back. Usually when people put things on hold, they do not come back. I listened to her complaints and told her how we would fix the situation. But it didn't seem enough for her.

When I was taking her name, she used her title of DOCTOR Blanknblank. Last week she was just Mary Blanknblank. Being a doctor is supposed to get her more respect and service? I'm going to work harder for her if she is an important DOCTOR??

I once had a woman say to me: "I'm a doctor, so I'm very busy." But she still had time to be a menace in the store. We are all humans. And just because you may have a title of doctor does not automatically mean that your time is more precious than mine or that you are better than me. Doctor of 4.11.09, you have been added to my list of shitty, potentially quasi-doctors that treat customer service workers like shit just because we work retail.

When I was unphased by her doctor title, it seemed she tried to make things personal, as though I put the items back because they were hers. Seriously?

All assholes are created equal.

4.11 part 1: Return to returns

Right at the end of the day I had this couple come in wanting to exchange this umbrella that they bought last year on clearance and hadn't opened til this year. They were saying the pole was bent and the fabric was scuffed, but basically we just argued about policy for 15 minutes.

Then I went and finally actually LOOKED at the product. It was not ours. They had bought an umbrella that someone had pulled the dirty underwear trick on: returning used product undetected for credit or new product. And those customers bought the dirty underwear.

I feel like a dip shit because USUALLY I ALWAYS look at the returned product before I even listen to what the customer is saying. The product was way worse than they were describing. If they had been more insistent, I probably would have clued in on looking at it sooner. At the same time, I want to put customers through the process of explaining their returns. We hash it over and most of the time, people that are fakers give up.

I just feel petty and fragile and stupid. I think I am going to send the customers a hand-written note telling them not to judge me. The whole thing ended well enough, but I just can't shake this jack-ass feeling.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's like we threw a party, but nobody came

Another slow Wednesday today, which is just as bad as a real Freakout Wednesday.

On Monday, someone burned some coffee and food onto one of the burners in the staff room, so the whole basement smells like an ashtray. I was secretly enjoying it because it reminded me of my grandma's house. She was a clean freak and an indoor smoker. My grandma died 10 years ago, but the scent association lives on.

One of our vendors makes this little sectional sofa with a "versatile" ottoman and chaise pad. The problem is that when you are not using the chaise pad, the ottoman is topped with this ugly beige cloth that does not match and can not be hidden. One of our employees suggested they cover it with the matching polyester velvet and today they sent us a picture of the new ottoman. It was the crappiest, lamest picture ever. Taken from above and photocopied, faxed, and emailed within an inch of its life, it looked like a slab of butter. I feigned excitement.

I am readdicted to candy. Eating out of boredom. Dangerous!

Monday, April 6, 2009

There is no crèma in coffee-snob Hell

Yesterday was my 6th day of work in a row, which is not so much really, but I am not used to it there. I was so fragile that started to shake and went pale when I dealt with a scheming bitch that was insisting on a sketchy exchange of a stovetop espresso maker. She ruined my day, and although I hate to let that happen, sometimes it just does. All I can say is that there is a special cauldron in hell waiting for her where she can spend the rest of eternity with her kind drinking bad, bitter coffee and eating nothing but jell-o salads.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Attention shoppers: I am not going to steal your credit card.

Yesterday I was ringing up a woman and as we finished the transaction, she started to panic that I hadn't given her credit card back. "Do you still have my card?!" she asked, her voice accusatory and suspicious. "No. I gave it back to you. I saw you put it in your wallet." And she had.

I have had this conversation countless times customers during my years in retail. The intensity of the accusations vary, depending on the store ambience and façade of classiness. When I worked at a chain thrift store, there were customers that would hold up the line and tell me to my face that I had taken their card. "I'm not going anywhere until I get my card back!" It was there that I learned to make a big production of returning the card. "AND THERE IS YOUR CARD BACK. DON'T FORGET TO PUT IT IN YOUR WALLET. Have a nice day."

There was also a phone call the other day from a woman that had lost her card and at some point had been shopping in our store. I understand calling around and seeing if we had it; that makes good sense. But this woman told me that "there were only 2 places" her card could be: our store or the grocery store. How do you explain to an irrational person that their are ACTUALLY a lot of places their card could be and that is why it is called a lost card? Her card was not in our safe (procedure!), and when I told her that, she was almost hostile, as though I was holding her card and using it to buy shit online while on the phone with her.

The point is that not all clerks and service workers are criminals. There are so many chances for me to rip people off, but I don't because I am not that sort of person, and, to my knowledge, neither are my co-workers. It all comes back to the customer: pay attention when you are buying shit and check your damn statements! And before you accuse someone of taking your card, check your pockets. ALL of them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Freak Out Wednesday: We are April's Fools

Even before it began, I couldn't wait for this day to be over.

3. I had an elderly couple return a teapot because it dribbled from the spout. They brought in pages from a website that showed how to make teapots that don't dribble. I'll get right on that first thing tomorrow and fax those to China.

4. Today I said "hello" to a woman that was in the store. "I'm getting a gift wrapped," was her response. Oh, okay, great, I say hi because it's my job, not because I want to buy you a drink or be best friends or sell you more things. When her gift wrap was brought up, she interrupted me when I asked if she needed a bag to tell me that she needed a bag because "it's going on a plane." Uh, I thought wrapped gifts are planes were a no-no, bad idea, waste of everyone's time. Well, more money for us.

5. Staring out the window into the street, I saw a nerdy white kid with dreads, slap scratching his dead like a dog. Eww.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Tuesdays are usually my days off. I worked today for someone else. I found it more difficult than usual to care. Instead, I was staving off boredom by eating jellybeans and other Easter candy. DANGER!

Last winter I gained 10 pounds and 5 cavities by laying into the jellybeans. After I have swept, dusted, made list upon list, read cooking books and made naughty copies of recipes to try, fluffed the pillows, checked out vendor websites, cleaned out my folder, pushed all the recliners back, straightened the fabric, watched for shoplifters, and made coffee, there is nothing more satisfying than trying orange and grape jellybeans together to see if I like that synergy of flavors better than the grape on their own.

I am sure the customers love it when I have that big old jellybean chaw betwixt my teeth and my craw.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Movies About Retail (sort of)

I just finished watching Last Holiday. I remember seeing previews and thinking how lame it looked. Well, it was awesome. It was funny, touching, and had a positive message that was only a little sappy. The protagonists worked in a retail store and were not dumbass youngsters or dreamless dumps of human beings. And it has an ending that is happy, yet not completely unrealistic. This clerk gives it two thumbs up!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Funday

Sundays are family and couple days at our store. People are out and about, strolling with their kids or their mate and they might wander in and play with gadgets and sit on some sofas. There I am, creepy clerk, bored, possible hungover and over caffeinated, leering from behind the counter or windowpane.

Depending on my mood, customer watching can make me depressed or thankful: depressed that I can't have a leisurely Sunday with my lover or thankful that I am not dating a jerk and we are fighting about furniture at 11:08 on a Sunday morning.

Sundays are a day that people, especially woman, often have on a nice little outfit. Maybe they have gone to church or they just wanted to get a little dolled up for an afternoon of shopping. They are trying out new accessories and shoes and are stressed because they didn't transfer all their necessities from one handbag to the next.

I observed one dressed up woman, doing her best to be polished and chic, walking a little awkwardly in some heels. She was following her boyfriend, who didn't slow his pace so that she could keep up. I watched them as they went from our store to a coffee shop down the street and from the coffee shop back to their car. He never walked with her, but always 2 paces ahead of her. I saw their mouths moving, so they were talking, and they didn't look angry, like "Eff you! I'm walking back here!" They were just together but not. It made me feel sort of sad.

Customers are people too, I guess.


Yesterday while I was on my break, one of my co-workers stopped some guy from shoplifting a $1200 espresso machine. It was a classic case of larger items being stolen because they don't fit in bags and people just walk out.

Apparently he was acting sketchy and didn't know she was watching him. When he got within 8 feet of the door, my co-worker said something like "cool coffee maker, huh?" and she said he got the "oh shit! fight or flight" look. At that point he took the box over to the counter, caused a fuss because filters didn't come with the appliance, and decided not to "buy" it.

This sort of thing really pisses me off. We are a small store and if he had stolen the coffeemaker, we would have been in so much trouble. Management would have seriously bitched us out, brought back our worthless Loss Prevention woman, and reinstated the "greeter," a humiliating position because it makes our customers feel uncomfortable. "Am I at Walmart?"

We have already cut back on so much in order to save money during this tough economic time. Shoplifters are not just stealing from the store where I work, they are stealing from ME and taking money that is for my payroll.

There are different levels of Loss Prevention, different goals and techniques. I am down at the very bottom, on level with shoplifters. It is primitive, animalistic, and personal. I come to work so that I might have food, water, and shelter. So eff you shoplifters, I will not play stupid clerk so that you can steal luxury kitchen items. I can't afford them either, jerks.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wedding registries

Yesterday I had a customer that was looking for a wedding gift. We do wedding registries at our store, so this sort of shopping is a daily occurrence. In this instance though, the customer had a registry from another store.

She was looking for some dumb appliance that was on the registry, like a coffee griddle rotisserie chicken maker, and was perturbed that we didn't have it. First, I had to gingerly deduce whether or not she was knew that she was not at Crate & Barrel (where the registry was from). And I had to explain that we might have similar items, but not all the exact same items. I gave her some ideas and off she went.

While I am proud and thankful that she chose to "shop local" and support our store, I have a feeling that we may get those items back, making all of her effort and mine a big waste of time. She is not getting the couple the exact items they want and since she is buying them elsewhere, they are not being taken off the registry. There is a very good chance that the couple will get multiples of those items and bring ours back because they not the right ones.

We will see.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Retail Highlights 3.27

Here are some highlights from the past few days, including customer quotes and interactions:

1. "All of our money comes from China. They'll probably start printing it there." (Customer reaction to the fact that many items are produced in China).

2. A customer walked up to me and began complaining because we are having a big sale and she had her birthday coupon. She was pissed because we can't combine discounts and wanted to carry over her coupon. I explained that we could do one discount or the other, but she still wasn't happy. So I asked her to tell me what items she was wondering about and I would figure out the bigger discount. "Oh, I don't want anything yet." was her response.

3. A customer lost her keys. She came up to me and frantically gave me her name and number "for when we found them." In my years in retail, I have noticed that usually when people loose their keys, glasses, or credit card, it is on their person, but just not in the usual spot. I didn't suggest this to her because I wasn't sure how receptive she would be. She found them. They were in her car. That counts as me being right.

4. A couple came in looking to replace their box cheese grater. They melted their last one in the dishwasher. I was showing them some different styles and they expressed concern that they would be hard to clean. They didn't think I was funny when I said "I think if your dishwasher is hot enough to melt plastic, it can melt cheese."

5. Little girl shopping with her mom, looking at the candy, said (with fake British accent) "I do SO love fudge." I can't stop saying this now.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I realized I mention "mommies" alot and wanted to say something about them. I don't want it to seem that I hate all mothers. Mommies come up a lot in my posts because alot of our customers are mommies and, honestly, sometimes they do some really weird things.

There is a certain percentage of mothers, the ones I label "mommies", that have an entitled attitude. They talk to non-mommies like incomplete people and seem to be oblivious that some suffer from maladies worse than unconfirmed food allergies. We are supposed to be grateful that they reproduced and forgive them for everything they might say or do.

I repeat: I do not hate mothers. I am just saying that mothers can be assholes too.

Customers say the darndest things: Part 2

My boyfriend lives far away. When I went to visit him, there was a beautiful Pashmina scarf draped over his chair. He bought it when he was in the Middle East before we met. I love to wear those long thin scarves because they are lovely and warm. He let me have the scarf. It is special to me because I can't be close to him everyday.

I decided to tell people, when they complimented me on the scarf, that my boyfriend bought it for me: the truth stretched a little bit, but easier to explain and sweeter to say.

The other day I was helping a pampered mommie as she told me about her multiple homes and her decorating needs for the guest house at their lakeside estate. She told me my scarf was beautiful and that she had one just like it! I said "oh thank you my boyfriend got it for me in Kabul." To which she replied "Caa? What? Well, I got mine in Napa Valley at a winery."

Well, I win.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

when it's breaked, you got to faked

Today when I got to work, my co-worker that is allergic to sugar was eating a doughnut. She offered me one of the others she had bought and in my greed for morning sugar, I didn't think to ask the usual, "and how are you this morning?" I slammed the doughnut and was grateful. I was running a wee bit late and had a major sweet tooth right from the start.

Later she told me that her boyfriend had broke up with her the night before. Breakups are always weird, and it is usually worse to be the one broken up with and not the one doing the deed. Throughout the day, she got teary-eyed and would say goofy things once in awhile. At one point she told me how she was having a hard time being friendly with customers.

Tell me about it. Heartbreak is the reason I got into this business.

I was trying to be supportive and funny and I told her that it would be sort of awesome if she just started crying. Our customers talk to us like we are emotionless robots, so showing them some gross, raw emotion might be hilarious. That made her laugh a little anyway.

But really, what do you do when you see a clerk having a bad day? It always makes me feel a little uncomfortable and I will often think about them later. I always want to be able to say the right thing, but I realize I am just a customer and I am probably making them feel weird and red blotchy faced.

We all take our turns being vulnerable and uncomfortable.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Please don't come back.

Today a mother and young adult daughter were in the shop and wanted a certain candle. We were out of it. After scrounging around to see if we had more, I discovered we only had a couple of tester candles. I didn't sell her the testers because:
1. I was told by my manager and a fellow employee that they were not for sale.
2. We need the testers for different sized candles in the same scent that we still have in stock.
3. They were extremely dusty.

I seriously considered just being naughty and selling her the testers, even though they are labeled "testers not for sale," but I really didn't want a sketchy, inferior product leaving the store with my name attached to the receipt for all eternity.

I politely told her that I would love to take her name and number and call her when our fresh shipment arrives. Then she used her snooty diva mother princess voice to inform me that "this was the fourth time" she had been in and we had been out every time and that she "would not be back." I splurted out some final statement on how unfortunate our shipment pattern with that company is and turned away. I was not going to give her the satisfaction of seeing me grovel for her patronage.

Because she is wrong. Even if she has actually been in four times, her argument is faulty. When was she in the store? If it was four times in the past 2 weeks, we did not have the candles. She did not look at the candles and she did not know which scent she wanted; all she knew is that she wanted a large one. So we COULD have had the scent she was looking for in a smaller candle, which is not the same as being COMPLETELY out.

Of course, I just hate her attitude. And it is almost laughable to think that by verbally spanking a low ranking clerk you are going to get what you want. By threatening that she will never come back to the store, I am supposed to get scared and pull a secret stash of candles out of my ass, or at least report to the boss that a nameless high-maintenance lady that didn't buy anything wants us to get more candles here more quickly.

Bitch, I followed procedure! Learn to use the internet like the rest of the world and get your damn stink candles online! And I think I am not the only clerk that would like to tell you:

Please don't come back!!

$hit costs money

Yesterday was the first day of our big spring sale! Cross your fingers, open the doors, and hope customers feel like spending some money.

I was perky and had on my positive attitude. The store looked full and fun, a range of merchandise from disposable to investment, and new mark-downs in clearance! Imagine my dismay when one of the first customers I dealt with started bitching about how much the item they wanted cost. It was a cheap piece of import furniture.

Here's the thing: shit costs money. Especially NEW shit. Someone buys new materials and maybe even sets up a factory, pays people to make it, finds buyers and ships containers of their shit to locations all over the world. Then people buy and immediately depreciate the shit.

It pains me to see customers stress about buying anything that they cannot afford. They need a sofa and are looking at new items that are out of their price range. Sometimes they go for a piece that is not really what they want, but is less expensive. I think if you aren't getting the sofa you want anyway, why not get a used one and save some money? That way when it falls apart, you won't be angry that your crappy new sofa collapsed.

Many customers at my work don't seem to understand the idea of used items. They will describe something and occasionally I feel comfortable suggesting they look in a thrift or antique store because (1) that is the ONLY place to find the item they want or (2) it is the best place to look for their item and get a sensible price.

As a poor person, I often buy used. But more important to me that getting a good deal is being an informed consumer for any purchase, new or used. Why does something cost what it does? How long will it last? Will I be able to resell it if I wish? Can I get more later? What is product fact and what is carefully crafted marketing?

Quit bitching and ask some questions.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Annoying List 3.19

1. Our store is in a small town and a lot of people know the owners. Small enough that a lot of people know them, yet large enough that many customers do not, so the ones that do know the owners, even just by name, feel that it is okay to name-drop and request special discounts for no real reason. They will make the most awkward and confusing statements, just so they can somehow work in one or both of the owners' names. Their real friends and associates do not ask for discounts. They pay full price in order to support the business and when they are given a discount, they are thankful, humble, and gracious. Don't name-drop for any reason. It's assy.

2. The last customer of the day was still in the store after we were closed. She was taking her time, telling us how she was from Canada and making weird returns and repurchases so that her receipts would look better at the border. Then, after pulling all those weird moves, she paid for a large portion of her purchase with loose change. Paying with loose change is sketchy. It is always annoying, but sometimes it is okay if the clerk is not doing anything else and you are not causing any long waits. Closing the store in a timely manner is just as important for our budget as selling gadgets and whatsits. Treating a closed store like your after hours shopping experience is not okay. Although, I might keep the store open for Oprah.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Judge Judgy McJudger

It is a well known fact that small, enticing items are placed by the cash register in hopes of capturing impulse sales. At my work, we have little pocket books of Sudoku puzzles by the register.

Today was mentally excruciating for me. It was slow and my mind was a hundred other places, thinking about everything I want to do with Life. The few customers we had were weird and boring. Like, they weren't even weird enough to be entertaining; they were just roll-your-eyes boring.

At one point a family of adults came in. On the customer scale (which ranges from trailer-living meth head to multi-homeowning celebrity wife), they seemed to lean more towards hard-working white christian/others with redneck tendencies. The mother bought a few things and even though she was very sweet, I just didn't have the patience to provide narration for her big day out, shoppin' at the fancy store and lookin' at all the purdy things.

She was on her way out when you spotted the seductive little pocket Sudoku book. She thumbed through it a bit, and then asked "how do you play this game?" I was never a Sudoku nut. Or not yet, anyway. I couldn't really tell her, but I knew enough that I thought I could explain it so that she could decide whether or not to buy it.

Fail I did. She looked at me with a sweet, perplexed look and I tried to explain it a different way. Me, explaining a number puzzle I don't even play in a newer fresher way than the way I did 70 seconds ago: not pretty. Any understanding she had was completely lost. "That's too much for my little brain," she said and moseyed on out.

I ate a marshmallow, had a slurp of tea, and continued with my plans.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Yesterday at work I had a horrible headache that I did not deserve. Maybe I did not eat enough morning food? I had a snack and still a headache. Maybe I just needed more coffee, to get up to my usual caffeine levels? More coffee just made me achy and jumpy.

The pain was intense. I started desperately asking around for aspirin or advil or anything! Someone offered me a generic vicodin, and even though I am often hesitant about taking euphoria-inducing substances at work, I did it because my temples were throbbing.

That was good while it lasted. I could still feel the pain, but I could separate myself from it. Finally I just gave up and decided I had to take the pain and fully experience it. The Happy Duck and broken Point Of Sale system helped me.

When I got home, my headache was gone. My memories of customers from yesterday have blended into a vision of a hundred-headed monster, waving a spatula and a waffle maker, coffee spewing out of its blowhole and a phone coming out of its butt.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's a full moon part 1

Yesterday was awesome! We were sort of busy and the customers were crazy! My day started with a woman yelling at me because we didn't have her soap refills, facilitating a $300 return of napkins and placemats, and overhearing a conversation about how outrageous the price of birdseed has become.

Whenever there are strange customer incidents, my manager explains it away by saying "well, it's a full moon tonight." Isn't it fun to blame our actions on events beyond our control? Other excuses include: lunchtime, Spring time, menopause, Christmas, weddings, allergies, and Saturdays. And since today is Friday the 13th, I am sure that will be used as an excuse as well.

Yesterday I helped a customer. Let's call her Annie. I wouldn't call her a Problem Customer, but she is a little bit high maintenance. I sort of freaked her out when I called her by name. "How did you know my name?" she asked. "Oh, I just remember names, I guess," was my kind, modest response. One of my favorite former co-workers would remember and call many customers by name. And not in a forced supermarket policy kind of way, but just remembering because they were regulars. It is brilliant because it sort of shakes them up and makes the shopping experience more personal and human. Many times, they will then ask for my name, as though they have just realized for the first time that I am a person too and I know all about the shit they buy for their home.

But Annie didn't ask my name. I think she just thinks I'm a weirdo.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tales from the other side of the counter

Yesterday I went to Riteaid and bought a 60 quart Rubbermaid storage container. I decided to go with the clear one so that I could actually SEE the shoes that would soon be inside. I had to have one NOW because I am trying to organize my room. I have a lot of clothes and little storage and it looks, as LOLcats might say, like my closet "sploded."

So, sassy lady clerk checked me out and when she handed me the receipt, I saw that the tote rang up for $2.70 more than the price advertised on the shelf. I have this happen all the time at my work: something has gone up in price and signage has not been updated. I don't make a big deal about it. I confirm the sticker price and then refund the customer. But Riteaid is a clusterfudge of disgruntled employees, shoplifters, and people buying candy with foodstamps and cigarettes with loose change. When no one met me in the storage solutions aisle as sassy clerk promised they would, I left. I was in a hurry and chose to give up the $2.70.

Today was a different story. I went back to get another container for more of my apparel and accessories. I chose the young male clerk with the delightfully pukey green shirt and loud tie. When the tote rang up at $18.99 and I said they were $16 something on the shelf, he gave me a death look and asked if I really wanted him to go check. And of course I did. His silent condemnation shamed me. I wanted to say something, to tell my story and explain why I need to save every penny I can, but I knew it wouldn't make any difference. I was being THAT customer. The best thing to do was to be silent except for "sorry," "debit," and "thank you."

Everyone gets their chance to be the asshole. We can still try to make it as painless as possible.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cute customer tricks part 2

One of the soap companies we deal with is doing this little promo right now. They have these little cellophane bags that perfectly fit a large bar of soap or a box of lotion or a tiny tube of lotion and a tiny bar of soap. The bag is designed to fit a bar of soap 2.75"x4"x1.5".

So today this customer brought up an armload of toiletries, separated it into 3 groups and told me she wanted each group in a little gift bag. She immediately walked away to look at other things. The problem was that her gift groupings would not FIT in the little bag. She had picked full sized products. The full size lotion barely fit into a bag on its own. The bag pleats were strained and the bottle stuck out of the top. They looked like weird condoms for toiletries.

When she came back, I explained the problem and held up the bagged bar of soap to show her how the bags were designed to fit a bar of soap, but not much more. She looked at me like I was a flipping idiot. Like somehow, I should be able to magically enlarge the bags with my mind so that she is not burdened, like I was an asshole for not fulfilling her requests.

I bet she is one of those people that hogs the overhead compartment on planes with her stupidly placed carry-on and her bulky jacket. No spatial sense what-so-ever. Ugh.

Clerks 2 Jerks

I wish someone would hurry up and translate and publish this book so I can read it. Trying to read the blog in a language I don't know is pitiful. All the humor and poignancy is lost. I was reading a couple of snippets and I had a thought. It amazes me how people EVERYWHERE are jerks to clerks. Almost everyone (except the occasional delusional freak) that has worked a service job will have similar horror stories of abuse, disrespect, and ingratitude. Why is it that we feel this is okay? And why does it still go on? When I am working it seems like maybe those people have never been in my position and that is why they act the way they do. I think I am wrong. While there are people that haven't worked a job like mine, there ALOT that have had similar or worse jobs. Do people forget? Do they feel that because their clerk days are behind them, it is their time to be the needy jerk?

Hmm. Ponder.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Today was the day of cheese slicers.

Today I had a wicked, blazing, red wine hangover. It seemed that if I could just shake my headache, I might live, or if I ate enough cookies, I might be human again. I was extra perky today, to compensate for the death I was feeling on the inside.

It's always a downer when you are being perky, even a fake genuine perky, and customers try to knock it out of you. Here is a quick way: I answer the phone at 11:47 a.m. and say "Good afternoon!" and the customer says "It's still morning." Like I had time to notice. You might be surprised at the number of people that feel the need to correct me when I make an innocent and unimportant flub like that.

Another peeve: I am at work alot, full time, and have been working there for years now. So I know our inventory. I am always amazed at customers that inform me of products they purchased at my store and I know they did not. It is pointless to argue with them because it turns into "yes you did, no we didn't" and that could go on until they get pissed and try to get someone fired. It would be like me walking into their homes and telling them about the 4 foot bong that they have in their closet. "Uh, no we don't." "Yes. You do." Sometimes, depending on the customer, I can gently ask if maybe they purchased or saw the item at a different store. I can carefully help them jog their memory and so far I have always been right.

The day finally came to a merciful end. I went home, ate a spicy meal, and now I will go to bed. Tomorrow is our first day with outdoor furniture. Time to put my muscles on.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Domestic bliss

Everyday customers complain about the number of items that are made in China. They come in, find the item they want, and when they see it is made in China, ask "Do you have one that's not made in CHINA?!?"

Hilarity ensues when I say "we can order it!" and pull out a catalog to show then the U.S. or European made version of the object. Prices are 3-6 times as much as the Chinese made items. Many people cannot wrap their minds around this.

Despite life-time guarantees, superior materials and construction, and prospective pride of ownership, many customers go with the China made model just because it is cheaper.

I do not mean to imply that I am annoyed with people that don't "buy American;" I do get annoyed with people that bitch and preach and then don't spring some cash for America. Oh, sure talk your talk and squish up your face when you say "made in China," but when you then refuse to actually BUY the U.S. products, you are a hypocrite.

So if you're not going to Buy American, shut up. If you want to save some money, I don't care.
Please, just buy something from me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Wednesday again. I wish I had a story about customer shenanigans today, but I do not. Everyone was very nice, respectful, and communicative. And although it's depressingly slow, I keep smiling and being grossly positive. Because I don't have much else.

The worst thing about working slow retail is that you must learn to control your mind. The boredom can be maddening and when you do speak, it is crazed and inappropriate. I have gotten quite good at conquering the minutes. Today was rough even for me. I couldn't stop thinking about everything I wanted to be doing at home, rather than earning my living at some retail pit of despair. I make lists.

1. selling my clothes and books
2. freaking out about what i want to keep just in case this is Great Depression Part 2 and these are the last clothes i'll have for a decade or so
3. making food
4. eating candy
5. trying on dresses for my June trip
6. vacuuming my room
7. making things for the Friday art show
8. clipping the cats' nails
9. handwashing my delicate sweaters

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

F***. You make it too easy, Happy Duck.

At my store, we sell this toy, the Happy Duck. I try not to have any strong feelings about it because obviously you are supposed to be annoyed with it. But the demon constantly tempts me to hate.

Someone turned it on today and let it go for a long time. I didn't time it, but I did start to wonder how long one could listen before the brain explodes. I was praying that it would accidentally roll out the open door, into the street and be crushed.

We sell this for $19.95. Please, if you are thinking of buying this, give me the $20 instead. I need to get my swimsuit area waxed.

i iz not a stoopid pursen, i hav dreemz 2

Yesterday there was a family standing in front of the door. When people would come inside, the baby would wave at them. One entering customer looked down at the baby and said "Oh, the new greeter!"

The parents felt they had to share a story with the stranger. Apparently the baby was waving at another store and someone said that she had a future in retail. "And we were like, 'Oh GREAT!'" said the parents.

I was standing right there. I always love it when people degrade my job in front of me. My co-workers and I discussed this and after joking about how they'll change their minds when the baby grows up to be a junkie amputee hooker, we were over it.

But, throughout the afternoon, I kept thinking about it. I didn't intend to have a long-term retail career, and I don't think most people do. I've had plans and ideas throughout the years, but sometimes things just don't work out how we think they should.

So I don't have a career and my wages are low and perks small, but I have always been employed. No matter where I've lived, I had a job and no one else has supported me. Retail work has made me a smarter shopper and a thoughtful consumer. I have learned humility and respect and to take advantage of opportunities when they show themselves.

I will not let one comment from a young new mother bother me. Who would want their child to be a greeter at some place like Walmart or work endlessly at a store until they are so old they can't function? But I will fight the stigma attached to retail work; we are not here because we are stupid or otherwise unemployable. We work to supplement the life activities and jobs that do not pay a living wage.

So, new mother, know that altough I don't have a glamorous job saving lives and helping people or raking in cash, I am happy. Ultimately, isn't that what you want for your child?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Everybody's favorite PIC

Today I was in charge. Sort of. When I am "in charge" on weekdays, there are still about 6 people (out of a total of 10) to tell me what to do. I don't have to make any big decisions. I just make sure everyone goes to lunch and then round up the moneys at the end of the night. "Okay, you're the PIC today (boss turns to other office workers, winks). EVERYONE! Let the PIC know if you have any questions!" It always feels like my first babysitting job.

Another slow snowy day. Somehow, despite the snow, people always find ways to return the damnedest things: buffets, automatic coffee brewing centers, cotton table linens that mysteriously shrank (as though they weren't cotton or something!), soapy candy. When there was not someone breathing down my neck about slow sales, we managed to have a bit of fun and assist the customers.

All in all, it was a stressful day and I really wanted a cocktail after work. Being desperately poor, I had to get creative and fashion a drink from remnants of ingredients at home. Here is the world premiere of my latest poor-person drink concoction!

Turkey with Gravy

Heat 8-12 oz. of liquid. (Try milk or water! I decided to be fancy and used peppermint tea)

Add chocolate substance to water. Hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, ground up candy bars or any such thing will do. If using baker's chocolate, I recommend adding sugar. Whisk until melted.

Pour into large mug. Add 1-4oz. whiskey/bourbon/what have you. I had Wild Turkey, a gift from our loud, partying college boy neighbors. Whisk.

*Important* Before adding alcohol to boiling hot chocolate mixture, throw in a couple of ice cubes to prevent the burn off of too much booze. I don't know if this is scientific, but better safe than sorry.

Drink. Repeat if necessary.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mr. Tumnus' neighborhood: this winter is far from over

Imagine it's Wednesday. The economy is spiraling downwards. Imagine you are so bored that you humor every customer that comes in, grateful that they remember your store. That was my day today.

There is this one older woman, E, and she sort of drives us nuts. She likes to talk big and name drop and she has this European accent and she knows she sounds pretentious. But since she is old, she feels like she deserves to be superior. Some days I can't stand it. She knows I must be nice and she will keep me in a corner and just talk. Today, we had a grand time, bitching about how they "just don't make things like they used to" and how freakish Americans are about owning sets of things. E and I became fast friends, even though she was farting up a storm.

At one point I was giving E tips on sticker removal, but she would not give up on her rant. She was practically yelling about how having to remove stickers is "THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING IN THE WORLD!". When people go into gripes like this, I try to talk them down, gently, because they are wrong. There are PLENTY of other things that are shittier. Let's make a list.

And then to finish off a day that was already dead, it snowed 4 inches.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stand up for your fellow clerks

I go to the post office a lot and I get tired of hearing other people in line complain. They show up, stand there for 30 seconds, and then start bitching. They bitch loudly, as though it were the fault of the postal clerk and not the crappy, unprepared lady with a weird package and form problems. Most days I just play Tetris on my phone and ignore them. But I am feeling spicy today. I am feeling like I may have the courage to throw a snarky comment at those crappy customers. I mail a lot of packages and I have never (knock on wood) had one lost. We have a reliable, relatively quick postal system in this country and I am willing to stand in line for that and to stand up for my fellow clerks.

Oh god! What will I do if I get what I want?

I have a secret plan and I need money for it. The realization is setting in that I might need to get temporary part time work for the money to accumulate at an acceptable rate. There is a branch in this plan that involves maybe being able to take on a co-worker's shift, which would help her out in the short term and be easier than finding a different part time job in a town which is over-run with college students applying for those same temporary jobs.

Then I was thinking about it this morning: Can I handle another day at the store every week? I doubt I will even be allowed to work her shift, but will I be secretly glad if they don't let me? The idea of being scolded for the crappy economy, pacing past items I can't afford, and listening to people sample food seems unbearable. But I have already locked myself into my co-worker's plan.

My only choice really is to let things happen and go from there. It will take great mental strength if I get the other shift, but my end goal is TOTALLY WORTH IT! And if they don't let me work, I will use this temporary part time need to try to get a weird job at some place where I would normally lack the courage to apply.

Here's to having goals, whatever they might be! Cheers!

Monday, February 23, 2009

dressing for work

I love reading people's clothing blogs because I love to see how people wear their clothes and then read about why they put certain things together or what inspired them.

I have to wear an apron at work. I have become so used to it that I feel naked when I don't have it on and often wear aprons at home to put me in a work/project/chore mood. Other than that, I get to wear pretty much whatever I want, as long as it does not put me in danger or show too much skin.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cheerful thoughts

When I am on my way to work, I pass by this cafe. On Sundays, I often see this one particular couple. I know them through work because they are reps for some of the products we sell. They never acknowledge me. I used to give a little smile, nod, or wave, but gave that up when I realized what was going on. I will admit that it annoys me greatly. I don't want to be their flippin friend, but I am a person, and purposely ignoring me is just rude.

It's like I am not important enough to acknowledge. They are chummy with some of the higher-ups, but I am just a clerk in the store, a poor wage-slave that doesn't run in their circles. I suppose it doesn't matter that, in the trickle down, me and all of my colleagues in retail are part of the reason that they can have their cushy, casual Sunday life.

Maybe they just want to have work and personal life separate. That is fine. So do I. But this is not a big town, and it is just weird to ignore someone. We know each others' names! I went to their freaking baby shower for shit's sake (it was through work, but I was still there listened to them ramble on about their kid and oohed and aahed at stupid baby gifts). It would not be difficult to at least just smile at me.

I am going to make a choice to be over this. If they want to be rude, crappy people, I say good luck. I am going to try to be a better person and appreciate all the clerks in my daily life. A kind word can go a long way.

Customers say the darndest things

-Co-worker and I were talking about the Amy Sedaris book "I Like You", specifically the part about looking at your vagina with a mirror. At that precise moment, a customer walked up and asked "Do you have any mirrors?"

-Sexy glam mommie was loudly describing a "boa made of dollar bills." "It was all, you know, paper mâché." I hope she meant origami because I immediately thought of this. Accessories made of shredded money would be beyond stupid.

-Bored children running around the store making up a story about having to find and marry their true prince before they are 16. (HA!) They were using an awesome "fairy tale voice."