Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bookstore Chronicles: Countdown to Xmas #1

Nothing better than waking yourself up at 7am by sneezing about 10 times in a row.

Oh wait, I thought of something better!

After sneezing, you try to get back to sleep but you can't because just as you finally get comfortable, a dribble of liquid snot tries to keep sneaking its way out of one of your nostrils. And you can't sniff it back up because said nostril is plugged so badly that you can't sniff. So you need to get up to blow your nose so that the dribble doesn't eventually make its way into your ear while you're asleep. But you can't blow your nose, because it's so stuffed that the dribble that was trying to make it's ninja-like escape suddenly wants to stay in bed and read a book!

One of the great questions in can noses be stuffed and runny at the same time?? You'd think it'd be either so stuffed that liquids just stay where they are, or so runny that your nose just magically gets clear in 20 seconds??

Whilst you're pondering that one, I thought I'd share a couple of small anecdotes from the past week at work. Nothing as 'press-stopping' as the time that guy with the fake British accent shit all over the bathroom, but sort of entertaining nonetheless and they're evidence that the holiday season is winding up.

To begin the week, I was in the break room eating my lunch and talking to Chuck on the phone. The break room is our work haven. We can vent, nap, eat, laugh, and be ourselves. It is generally the noisiest, most raucous place in the store (aside from the train table in the kids department, but I believe Dante gave that place its own special level of hell).

I was mid-chat with Chuckles when a co-worker of mine (let's call him R) burst into the room and sat down dramatically.

The picture speaks for itself.

Actually, the picture doesn't speak for itself, does it?

So I asked, 'Did someone shit all over the bathroom again?'

He just stayed in that position you see above, and shook his head. I had to get off the phone and get the story. R is quite boisterous, and I needed full concentration.

'What the hell happened?'

He just kept shaking his head, and then he started laughing. Apparently someone had alerted him about the fact that someone had brought a copy of the Kama Sutra in the bathroom, and had left it on the floor. R saw it, and went to get a pair of gloves from the janitor's closet just in case the book had been, um, let's say 'defiled'.

By the time he had gone back into the bathroom with the gloves on to retrieve it, someone else was already in the stall and apparently had picked up the book.

'So you're just going to wait with your gloves on?' I asked.

'Hey,' he said. 'I'm being nice. I'm letting him finish.'

If that's some crazy part of the "Bro Code", then I'm glad I'm a not a bro.

Public masturbation is something I don't understand. Public sex, fine. You're doing it for the thrill, hoping some 4-year old kid and his dad walk in on you. 'Cause that's what's gonna happen if you're in my store. Kind of pathetic, but at least you have someone to share in the thrill.

Jerking off by yourself in a bookstore bathroom? Take it, Ace.

The next 'WTF?' moment of the week came that very afternoon. During the Christmas holidays, we have different organizations come in to gift wrap for donations. Every hour or so, my co-worker M has to announce who is doing the gift-wrapping for the day.

I was working in the music department that day, with a co-worker whom I'll call A. A was busy helping some older ladies check out, and M was doing the hourly announcement. I was over helping some other people. I kind of heard a little commotion going on where A was standing, but I couldn't pay attention till I was done helping my customers.

When I was free, A asked me to come over and cancel the transaction. The women she was helping were walking away. A looked a little upset.

Of course I asked what the matter was, and she said that the women didn't want to buy anything at our store because we didn't exude Christian values.

I was confused. 'But they obviously were going to buy something, or I wouldn't have had to cancel the transaction. What made them change their minds?'

The women were listening to the announcement about the gift wrapping, and were highly offended at the end when M cheerily said 'Happy Holidays!' They asked A why we didn't 'support Christmas' and apparently they didn't like A's explanation so they said they didn't want to buy anything from us.

Ok. So the last time I checked, the sign out front didn't include the words 'Christian Booksellers'. We are a first amendment company. We include everyone and everything in what we sell and how we cater to the public.

We sell 'Mein Kampf'. We sell 'The Penis Pokey Book' (which, judging by some of the pictures on the internet, people actually do use according to the directions). We sell Penthouse. We sell various military ops books that most people are very surprised we're allowed to sell. We sell all of these things alongside bibles and christian inspirational books. Freedom of speech and written material. What are we supposed to do, hang a big neon cross above Customer Service? Of course we support Christmas, it keeps us in our jobs. We also support any other holiday that makes us money. Because that's why we exist! To sell you stuff.

And (drumroll please) it's time for the Weiner of the Week!

This week's Weiner, er, Winner is the male customer that came in wearing skintight white jeans, a skintight white and fluorescent pink shirt, and a fluorescent pink cap (the bill of the cap turned to the side of course).

The only time this sort of attire is acceptable is on Halloween or during a Gay Pride parade. Halloween's over, and this dude wasn't even gay! He was holding his girlfriend's hand and he was struttin' like he owned the place.

Have you ever seen that website He was like one of those guys. Completely the wrong body type for skintight white jeans. And as all the ladies know, white jeans can be kind of transparent so you have to watch what kind of underwear you wear with them. This guy solved that problem by not wearing any. His junk was all over the place. It was appalling. But highly amusing, because he obviously thought he was stylin'. I wish I had a trophy to give gim.

My final story did not occur at my store, but while I was shopping at the grocery store on the way home from work that day.

I was standing in line at the checkout, buying some stuff for dinner and some beer. The cashier girl (who looked no more than 19) asked me for ID. I get ID'd a lot, so I had it out and ready to go.

"Thank you so much for having your ID ready," she said. "I think everyone under the age of 30 should have it ready when buying alcohol."

"Well, I'm 7 months away from being 30, so I guess I should take it as a compliment," I replied.

She looked at me like I was crazy. "You're that old?? [keep in mind that she just supposedly checked my birthday on my ID] I would have put you at no more than 23!"

I smiled and thanked her even though I thought she was an idiot, and the guy behind me spoke up. He was a young, good-looking African-American dude.

He smiled and said, "I just rounded 30 myself."

The cashier then looks at him incredulously. She said, "Now, don't take this as stereotypical..."

Uh oh. It's never good when someone starts a sentence that way. I held my breath.

"...but you colored people never seem to show age."

Ho.Lee. Shit.

I looked at the dude with my eyebrows raised, and he looked at me and you could see in his face that he thought she was just as much of an idiot as I did.

So anyway, that was just week one of the holiday season. Hell, it was DAY one! Three more weeks to go. And I'm including the week after Christmas, because you just know with people coming in to return things there will be shenanigans.

I'll leave you with a clip of 'Are You Being Served?'. One of my favourite shows of all time. Situations on there aren't as crazy as they might seem ;)


Bub said...

Although I realise I get to miss out on some funny sights, I am SO glad I don't work in retail anymore, especially with the lack of patience I have with fuckwits these days, let alone masturbating ones. I think you have a book in the making with all your anecdotes!

Did the guy respond to the cashier twat in the grocery store? I'd have been (and am) hopping mad at her ignorance.

Kyna said...

The guy in the grocery store did respond with a forced smile (looked more like a grimace) and a curt thank you. When he looked at me after Diarrhea Mouth said that, he sort of had a 'Not even worth it' look in his eye. I'm sure the girl's parents talk like that. Not like it's any excuse.

After I got home I told Chuck all about it, and he said, 'Well that's probably how she grew up and all she knows'. I argued that with tv, and internet, and books and all the media we have today, there's no excuse for not 'knowing' that what she said was fucked up. Not so much what she said, but how she said it. And like I said, any sentence that starts with, 'I'm not trying to be stereotypical or anything...' or 'I'm not racist or anything, but...' is bad news.

Prairie Chicken... said...



Marguerite said...

Now I'm trying to think of who I could buy that 'Penis Pokey Book' for! good times.

Melissa said...

wow! I learned a lot from you this morning. Great post!

And I agree, there was no excuse for the cashier's racist comment. idiot. But there's also no excuse for the "christian" customers to be such assholes, either. Really?!? Happy Holidays pissed them off? Get a real God.

I haven't been fortunate enough to see any crazies yet, but also haven't even started my "holiday" shopping!

That's right! I said it!

The Idiot Gardener said...

I'm not a racist or anything, but I have absolutely no intention of going anywhere near a shop (apart from a beer and food shop) until this whole Christmas thing and the following New Year sales are well and truly over.

As for wanking in a bookstore, that's outrageous. Why don't people stay at home and wank, and buy their books from Amazon?

Mrs IG has missed the start of the December madness, as she's currently stranded in Manchester. The weather up there is fine, but here we've been twatted with snow, and there's no point in her driving back as she won't be able to do the last 50 miles!

Kyna said...

Marguerite: I probably would have thought it was more hilarious if the book wasn't located right next to where I stand most of the day. I have to hear exclamations of, 'OH. MY. GOD. Come here and take a look at this, I can't believe they sell something like this!!' all freakin day long.

The 'Fart Book' is worse. That one plays different fart noises when you press different buttons on it. I really wish something large and heavy and damaging would crush those books. Mechanical fart noise after mechanical fart noise.

Melissa: Well, the women who were upset because we weren't setting an example of what Christmas is all about....that's ridiculous. They were in there buying toys. Buying toys is super-Christian? I'm pretty educated and grew up Catholic, but I don't remember that anywhere in the 'real' story of Christmas. Bet they have a Christmas tree. Nothing says Jesus like a twinkling Douglas Fir.

IG: I can't believe how much snow you guys are getting. I've seen pictures on people's blogs and on Facebook...crazy.

Lucky Mrs.IG! Lucky for both for being able to miss the start of crazy Christmas shopping and for the fact that she gets a little more rest from helping you out of yet another inevitable cock-up. She'll probably come home and find you naked and wet on the kitchen floor with a bump on your head...oh, wait. That was last month.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I swear, and well I do swear a lot, but sometimes I think you have the least dull, most entertaining, exasperating, and enlightening job in the world :P And yes, the world is full of idiots. Sometimes I'm convinced that I'm going to turn into some mountain-dwelling hermit just so I can avoid most of them...although I think they should hide instead of me. Thanks for the Are You Being Served clip, I grew up on that show, and still love it! ;)

Liza said...

I hope you feel better soon!

Liz said...

Hey Kyna,

Not being racist or anything :P... Ooops

Wanking in book shops, what is the world coming to??... oh my lordy.

My boyfriend works in a large chain called 'Marks and Spencer' you may or may not have heard of it. Otherwise known as M&S or Marks and Sparks... He has to deal with old ladies pooing or peeing themselves, even people dying... But never wanking! Jesus.

Have to agree with your comment that these days there's no excuse at all for ignorance like that cashier saying she can't tell age of coloured people. All I can assume is these people are surviving on the one braincell.

Laura said...

Reading your post reminds me of what I'm not missing! Retail at Christmas is crazy! Now that I'm on the outside looking in, I do my best to avoid the malls at Christmas, lest I be sucked back in!

I got into a merry christmas vs happy holiday battle with someone I know on FB the other day. It is amazing how intolerant some people can be. The bigotry that comes out of one's mouth all while 'defending' their faith is dumbfounding! For me it boils down to the fact that they are insulting someone and getting mad because someone had the audacity to wish them well! Who cares if they say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas? They aren't being malicious! How are they supposed to guess everyones faith as they come through their till. People like that are showing the limited depth of their faith, as it's a very unchristian thing to do! /end rant.

As for the lady at the grocery store. H-o-l-y shit! That some crazy packaged inside of crazy there!

Kris said...

ROFLMAO! Lordy! Honestly, Kyna, you should be writing all these down and then write a book "The customer ISN'T always right. But they ARE CRAZYSTUPID". You'd make a bundle. Or you could just pass the book out (like religious tracts) to anyone who needs a wakeup call. All I can say is, get well quick and keep the super big bottles of Germ-X on hand. ick

Turling said...

21 more shopping days. Hang in there. Now, I need to use the facilities, as I've spilled something on my white jeans. Where is that book....

Kyna said...

Clare: Nah, I'm sure I just make it seem that way lol. My view on the store is 'Even when I hate this place, I love this place.' The older I get, the more important being myself is. More than money. I got paid way more at my last job, but I strongly disliked my last job.

Liza: Thank you! :) I'm already feeling a bit better, now it's just a dry cough mostly.

Liz: We used to have a big Marks & Spencer in one of the malls in Edmonton. My mum loved the place, especially the imported food she could get in there. And I can proudly say she has never peed herself in the store :)

Laura: Yeah, I just don't get it either. I think people that live in a country built on escaping persecution and intolerance should be just a wee bit more accepting of the differences of others. But then I'm Canadian. If I say that kind of stuff here, I suddenly hear mutterings of 'Socialist' under people's breaths.

Kris: There's so much hand sanitizer being used at the store, that the alcohol smell haunts my dreams at night. And everyone keeps saying I should write a book lol. I may do that one day... :)

Turling: No merchandise in the bathrooms! Damn kids...

Benjamin Vogt said...

Ok. LMAO. So, here's my theory, or one I've heard. If you masturbate a lot you look younger. So, maybe that colored guy should go to a publich restroom and get cracking. My god!

The Garden Ms. S said...

I can hardly bring myself to even *go* shopping this time of year. Thankfully, hubby, being tall and broad-shouldered [at least I think that's why!] doesn't seem to mind all the weirdos and madness - so, of course, he does do all the shopping for the rellies.

BTW, the photo of your co-worker with the gloves really *does* say it all. :)

Hang in there!