Friday, March 23, 2012

Whip-it: Good?

Whip-it lady was back today.  Oh, you don't know about Whip-it lady?  That's because I haven't seen her in about 5 years.  For some reason, she took a little break from our store.

Right after I started working at my present job, I become familiar with this customer.  She was older, like somebody's grandma, very sweet, and she bought ALOT of nitrous oxide cartridges.  She came frequently and always bought at least one box of nitrous cartridges, if not 4 or 6 boxes.

Now, I have some minor experience with whip-its.  There was a brief period in my life when a couple friends and I would secure a box of nitrous and inhale the gas.  One of my friends was so dedicated that he even had the cracker to puncture the cartridges.  Though the high was fun, it was expensive, brief, and left me feeling quite dumb.  And not from guilt, but like I'd killed more than my day's quota of brain cells.

Based on my experience and the customer's behavior and noticeable decline in mental capability, I thought she was definitely abusing the nitrous.  Several of my co-workers felt the same way and, as a group, we decided not sell her nitrous anymore.  When she came in, we told her we were sold out.  Eventually she quit coming in.

When I saw her today, it took me a moment to recognize her.  Then I asked my co-worker if she bought anything and she did:  4 boxes of nitrous cartridges.  I told my co-worker the story and suggested that maybe we shouldn't sell them to her.

As I write this, I wonder if what we did was right.  Who am I to control someone's life?  Am I like the pharmacist that won't sell birth control because I don't believe in it?  For whatever reason, this lady needs to get high.  If she doesn't get the nitrous from us, she will get it from another store.  If can't get nitrous, she will probably get prescription pills (though it would appear from her behavior that she already does).  Why shouldn't we be her source?  She pays for it.

I guess I was hoping to keep her from harming herself.  It was sad to see her go from a sweet little lady to a kook, but that is her path.  She was so batshit crazy today; it was obvious that her hiatus from our store didn't stop her destruction.

Lady, go suck some gas!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are you there God? It's me, Clerk.

It was hard for me to go to work yesterday because there has been such a flood of unrealistic expectations for perfection.  People that want cotton that performs like polyester, linen that performs like cotton, stainless steel pans that perform like non-stick, wood that is dense and solid yet lightweight.  They wanted U.S. made chairs, but at half the price of a Chinese import.  And everything must be absolutely perfect without the slightest little mark, slub, skip, or dimple.  They wanted me to defy nature, aline the stars in a manner that best suits them, and promise nothing will ever change.

All I could think about was lunch.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Is it Monday yet?

Yesterday I was ringing up a young mother.  My co-worker was bagging her purchases.  While we were finishing, an older woman came up to my co-worker and asked the location of the restrooms.  I have mentioned before in this blog how it is a bit of a journey to get to the bathrooms and sometimes people don't have the patience for it.  As was the case with the older woman; she quit listening to my co-worker, made a confused face, and walked away.

She walked away slowly.  The woman was also overweight and did not move quickly.  She was not too far from the counter when the young thin mother commented on how the bathroom location does seem weird and difficult at first.  "Especially for her."  Oh my god.

I handed her the bag, said thank you, turned, and bolted from the counter.  I don't know if the older woman heard her or not, but I DO NOT want to get caught in what could appear to be a conversation about a stranger's weight.  When that stranger is in earshot!

Perhaps I am being overly sensitive, but weight issues are complicated.  If you have ever known someone that has struggled with weight, you know that "eating less and exercising!" is sometimes harder than it sounds.  I feel extremely uncomfortable discussing someone's weight, especially if the person who's weight is being discussed didn't bring it up.

Now, have I ever called someone a fat old bitch when they were crappy to me?  Of course I have, and probably on this blog.   But never to someone's face when they didn't deserve it.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book: Unlikely Friendships

Have you seen this book?

I see it everywhere.  We tell tons of copies.

A big ol' "Why didn't I think of that?"

People were buying 20 at a time.  "The perfect gift for anyone for anything," customers say.

It's only a matter of time before someone gifts me a copy.  And then the cycle will be complete.

Sustainable Nicety

Yesterday, while walking to work, I was grumpy.  I was making myself even grumpier thinking about how I would have to be nice to people all day.  "When do I get to be the bitch?" I wondered. "It works for other people.  Maybe today I will be bitchy."

I remembered that to be bitchy at work would be ruinous.  Customers might not enjoy their time, leave pissed off, tell all their friends about the horrible shopping experience, and then avoid us for years.  This happens!  Staying grumpy and purposely sharing it with others would be about as smart as cashing my paycheck and setting the bills afire.

It is not an option to be bitchy out in the world, when I am the customer.  Since I am pleasant with people during interactions, they are nice to me and I usually receive excellent customer service.  I am usually in a good mood, especially when I am not working.  So in order to be bitchy outside of work, I would have to maintain the mood all day.  That seems ultra stressful.

That leaves me one choice:  the internet.  Oh yea, Clerk, that is why you started this blog in the first place.  Relief washed over me when I remembered that I already had an outlet for those snarky times.

It's going to be a beautiful day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hump day

- Today I had the teeniest little hangover.  Saturdays are not good for hangovers because there are so many happy, screaming children.  I was lucky in that my symptoms weren't too severe.

- One of my co-workers broke her arm and missed a few days of work.  We were short-staffed and I had a couple waiting to be rung up at my station while I was talking to a different customer about a product.  The waiting couple were being sort of patient.  The whole time they were standing there I was thinking "why don't they go to a different counter??".  I figured they must not care about waiting.  After about 4 minutes, I could help them.  I apologized for the wait and explained that we were a bit short on staff because my co-worker broke her arm.  As soon as it came out of my mouth, I regretted saying anything.  They were shitty about it in the nicest way.  It frustrates me because they could see that I was helping someone before they walked up to the counter, yet somehow thought they should be served first.  Anyway, whatever, assholes.

- I had a customer use their Sierra Club card to pay for their purchase and then want their items in separate plastic bags.

- Children with open containers of liquid in the store make me nervous.  It brings on those "my mother would NEVER have let us do that!" thoughts.

- Today a lady asked if there was a kettle that could get "hotter than boiling," which confused me because she didn't seem to an idiot.  YOU NEVER CAN TELL.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Friday!

I can still be surprised at how customers choose to interact with clerks.

There is the scenario where a clerk says "hello" in a friendly manner without sales pressure and the customer grunts back "I'M JUST LOOKING I'M NOT GOING TO BUY ANYTHING."  My co-worker responded to such a comment the other day by saying "I was just saying 'hi'."  Her tone was calm and civil.  The customer said something like "oh, hello."

I was having a conversation with a customer about smoothies.  We were talking about how much we love them because we consume more fruits and vegetables and avoid breakfast traps like donuts and sugared pastries.  We feel awesome and healthy.  The customer mentioned how it was weird at first because she missed chewing.  I responded by telling her that I sort of "chew" my smoothies.  Another customer, passing by with a shitty scowl on her face, said something sort of under her breath but still directed at us.  Something like, "Smoothies aren't food!"  And she kept going.  What a shithole.  Here we are, making better lifestyle choices, feeling a little good about it and Poopypants has to butt in just enough to crap on us.  She sucks.