I know it's been a while, but here I am, your faithful Book Wench, here with a few brief anecdotes from Wastings.
Our Black Friday was an absolute hell, of course, but since I was stationed in Books and not on Front Counter I really didn't mind too much. Mostly I just wandered through my department and picked up after people and their spawn. There are trash cans at both the mall entrance and the street entrance of our store, as well as at all the registers, but I guess it's just too much to ask people to carry their empty Starbucks cups an extra fifteen feet. SIGH. Honestly, though, compared to what the people at the front were going through, I got off easy.
Just a few quick mini-rants:
--The Dirty Old Men. There are five or six of them, they're all retired, and they all come in every single day to get their Hustler or Playboy or what have you. What distinguishes them from the other people who occasionally buy such things is their insistent and incredibly obnoxious behavior. Yes, I will show you where those magazines are for the fifth time today. No, I do not want to give you "recommendations," no, I cannot personally handle your transaction, and for the love of any and all gods, please stop trying to touch me. It's never outright groping (and if it ever crosses that line, I WILL break their wrist, job security be damned) but it's always uncomfortable, especially since it's often combined with such wonderful comments as "My granddaughter is about your age..." *pats my shoulder with a creepy stare* If you went to the adult store down the road and did that, you'd be banned. Don't fucking try to do it here.
--Vanity Press Lady. My tiny little town has a great big artsy reputation, and every nut-slurping snowbird and their overly made-up wife fancies themselves a great writer or philosopher or what have you. VPL, however, takes it to the next level, insisting that we simply MUST carry her self-published book of shitty poetry, complaining when we tell her that we don't, trying to sell us copies that she then insists that we send to our corporate headquarters "because there must be someone who actually knows about great literature there," and generally acting like a diva. "BUT DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?" You're a shriveled, bitter crone with her head so far up her own ass she no longer knows the difference between a fart and a burp. Mystery solved!
--The Amnesiacs. "I don't know what it's called, or who it's by, but can you find it for me?" Sure, right after Indiana Jones and I track down the Lance of Longinus and use it to stop Xenu from taking over the lost city of Atlantis. DEEP-FRIED CHRIST ON A POGO STICK WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? You don't know if it's a book or a DVD or a CD? You can't even remember what it's about? Here, take this dog-eared copy of Twilight and get the hell out of my sight, if you don't know what you want, you're going to take whatever crap I want to give you.
--The Exorcist. I am not religious, but I don't give a damn if you are, Mrs. Crusty, and I will happily show you to our massive section of Christian literature. That is where my customer service to you ends. It certainly does not cover you pointing at my completely harmless ankh necklace and shouting "Madre de Dios! You are possessed!" and then trying to get me to join you in prayer. In the middle of the fucking book section. While I'm still on the clock. My obvious discomfort and attempts to disengage politely were met with more pious shrieking, and apparently she complained to the associate on register that she can't come in here anymore since Wastings employs "damned souls."
And.... the Bigot. I got called out of Books and onto the register a few days ago, since the front counter associate couldn't be arsed to come in that evening. It's a weeknight, fairly quiet, until..... her. She walks up to my register and slams a couple of DVDs down on the counter. "I want a refund for these!"
I pull up her account, see she kept the movies for the whole week, and check the discs. They aren't scratched or dirty or otherwise unplayable. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but you kept these for the whole week, and they're in good condition. I don't think I can do anything for you, but let me call my manager over." I page Curmudgeon, and the minute I'm off the phone this crusty bitch starts ripping into me.
Apparently, this show is filthy and immoral and wrong and she tried to be open-minded, she really did, but she doesn't understand how anyone could watch this, and how she thought this show was about love and relationships but instead it's just filth--
I actually look at the discs for the first time. She had checked out the first two seasons of "The L Word."
There are very few things that will cause me to get genuinely angry with a customer. Pray for me? Fine, I really don't care what you and your sky fairy think of the state of my soul. Insult me? Water off a fucking duck at this point. Creep on me? You're getting politely shut down. Touch me? Again, a polite warning to cease. But do not ever, ever throw something at me, and do not ever, ever use me as a captive audience while you slander an entire demographic of people for no better reason other than that you're stupid and you think you can.
"Ma'am, this show is about love and relationships," I tell her, in a tone of voice so utterly cold I'm surprised she didn't get fucking frostbite.
"Well, women dating women, that's just unnatural, and it's wrong--" My attempt at reason is a tiny drop in her ocean of hate, quickly dissolved. I'm giving you the gist of what she was actually saying; I refuse even to type some of the utter crap that was coming out of her mouth.
At this point, Curmudgeon shows up, and tells her the same thing: she'd had the DVDs all week, they were in good condition, we couldn't refund her. Bigot leaves, still complaining, and the moment the doors swing shut behind her Curmudgeon turns to me and says possibly the greatest thing I have ever heard from a manager:
"That bitch doesn't deserve lesbians."
Stay strong, fellow slaves! There's more to tell of Wastings hell, but for the time being, I'm going to snuggle up with my bottle of Jack and drink until I wake up in a better world.