Thrift Store Hell: Missing Missy, And Lemkil Shenanigans On The Tills


Skully coworkersFrom Puppies In Prada

So... where to start... I guess the origin point of today's set of stories is Missy's retirement. Her last day was the 15th, folks. She's... sort of gone? She's going to take two weeks of vacation time to replenish her batteries, then she will come back to train her replacement, before winging her way completely into the ether. No idea where her next job will be. She's going to be doing a few very minor things for the store (like doing the weekly schedules) online. But she is no longer a presence in the store itself. We had two good-bye parties, one for employees and one for volunteers. Lots of speeches, many thank-yous, and many feels in which some eyes were teary. I got a big hug from her right before she left for the day.

One of the leads, Allie, did a lot of sniffling for about two hours after Missy left. Thankfully we keep a box of tissues at the registers, so I was able to hand her the box. I didn't sniffle, but I was pretty bummed for the rest of the day since she was gone.

Sadly, this is the end of any feel-goodness and warm wishes in my story. It's time for a Lemkil update.

And if that gave you a chill down your spine? Yeah, that's the correct reaction.

Allie whispered to me that Lemkil hated Missy with a passion... to the point where he referred to her as a "bitch" and a "whore" behind her back. Delightful.

Coworker hellAnd now Missy is gone.

This were relatively quiet for almost a week. Then I hear that Lemkil blew the fuck up. I was on the donation door and sent up my bin of shoes; I was going upstairs at the end of my door shift (in like 15 minutes) and would take care of it then, I figured. I heard from two employees that Lemkil went on a rant about how people on the door should not send their bins up for others to deal with. The guy who does toys and games went to empty the rolling bin into my in-bin as a thoughtful gesture, and got an earful of Lemkil's enraged (and pointless) tantrum.

I talked to the Toy Employee, thanking him for stepping in, and that I would have taken care of it if necessary. I asked him if he was okay, and asked him if Lemkil had been verbally abusive, or whether he had just ranted ineffectually. Toy Employee reassured me that he wasn't upset over the incident, and that Lemkil had just been making noise.

Thank Thrognar. I would have felt awful if Toy Employee had been dragged into Lemkil's psychotic verbal beating over something I had done. (And wasn't even against any rules, written or implied.)

Then... this weekend. HOO BOY this weekend.

I close. That means I count down one register. There are three of us at every close. Two to count a register, and a lead or supervisor to confirm the count and fill out paperwork.

Saturday night: Whoo hoo! The tills balanced! None over, none under. Me, Steve, and Supervisor Patricia. Signed, confirmed, and sealed.

Sunday morning: Lemkil counts the tills in. Claims Register 2 was short $1, and Register 3 was over by $5. Leave notes to that effect.

CASHIER-HELLSunday night: Tills balanced perfectly again. No sign of missing or extra money. Me, Steve, and Lead Allie. Signed, confirmed, and sealed.

Monday morning: Lemkil again counts the tills in. Claims he found a penny in the dime well, claims the tills are $0.09 off.

Monday night: Yet again, the tills balanced perfectly. Me, Steve, and Lead Allie. Signed, confirmed, and sealed.

We all sign off on the totals. Where the fuck is this money going if the tills are perfect the night before, 'missing' the next morning, and back to perfect that night?

Allie came to me and made me aware of the register shenanigans right away. She, the assistant manager, and Patricia are all clued in to Lemkil's bullshit. Three D's of Retail are now in effect: Documentation, Documentation, Documentation.

I looked at Allie tonight and said, quietly: "I don't know if Lemkil even applied for the position, but if they EVER announce that he is Store Manager, I will fucking quit; effective immediately. There will be NO two week notice. I. Will. Walk. The. Fuck. Out."

Allie was silent for a beat, then said, "You wouldn't be the only one. Most of the staff would follow you."

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: Heavenspawn Encounter


HeavenspawnFrom Puppies In Prada

Had another heavenspawn at the registers the other day at my Thrift Store. She's with her parents and buying a few toys.

Now, it's the end of the day, so we're all tired, and just want people to go home. But when this kid comes up, I pull it together. She has a pouch full of loose change (normally that's a bit of an 'oof' for most cashiers) and she wants to buy the playset she found.

Her total is $2.50, and she proudly spreads approximately $0.15 on the counter.

Kid: "Here you go, $15."

I can feel some amusement roll through me, but I refrain from laughing. She's young, still learning, and hasn't sorted out the difference between cents and dollars yet. Best not to make her feel self conscious about her mistake.

It's all good though, her parents are right there and start to help her in that respect.

Soon a fist full of change is on my counter, as they start to help her figure it out, reminding her that $0.15 is the same as 15 pennies, and the total is $2.50, so she needs a bit more than she has out.

Carolanne and thenI step in and count the change, out loud, in front of her. She may or may not have a big enough grasp of money to keep up with fast counting, so I do it slowly. We make it through some quarters, but also nickels, dimes and pennies. I balance it, because I have to count this out in less than five minutes, so I don't want ALL pennies, or all dimes, etc.

I take the right amount, and let her put the excess change back in her pouch.

I got thanked by both of her parents for being so good about it and for being patient with her. Apparently she'd been saving up her change and this was her first "big" purchase.

I thank them back for bringing up such a good customer, and they head out into the night with the playset.

I was tired and done with customer service for the day... buuut that ended the night on a good note, so I felt better about humanity, just a little.


I saw that folks are wondering where I'll move once RHU shutters its inbox. The answer is... Well, I'll probably post my stories in RHU Facebook. If you're not already a member, you may want to apply. There are a few small requirements to get in though.

This also means that I'll be dropping my moniker, and you'll know who I am. I'm okay with this, and when the time comes, I hope to see you all there!

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: Old Lady Tries To Give Commands


OLD-PEOPLE-HELLFrom Puppies In Prada

Donation door time! The door wasn't really that bad on this day. I had five people, and they all wanted to donate the maximum amount we could take from a car in a day. Annoying, but tolerable. I called for assistance in processing it and got it. Awesome.

Scotty comes down at five minutes to the end of the hour, when we had a moment of quiet. He's next hour's door shift.

A car pulls in, and an old lady hops out of her car really fast. She sprints to the back of her car, grabs something and puts it by our door. We open the door and find  one of those covered cat litter boxes.

Scotty: "Hey ma'am, I'm sorry, but we can't take litter boxes."

He bends down to pick it up and the top comes RIGHT OFF. There are three inches of used cat sand in the bottom. Holy mother of Thrognar I can SMELL the cat piss.

Old woman: "Well I can't take it with me."

Me: "Well you're going to have to, because we cannot accept this. We don't take in anything that has been exposed to feces or urine."


My god she's telling us we have to take something we can't take like she's a scolding mother to a stubborn child. HELL NO lady!

Carolanne 003Me: "No. No we're not."

I pick up the cat litter box and put it right back into the back of her car.

Me: "YOU brought it here, so YOU are going to find another place for it. We will not accept this."

Old woman is old woman angry now.

Old woman: "What if I dumped the cat sand out of it first!? Will you take it then?"

Me: "No ma'am, it will have still been exposed to cat feces."

And also, she's the kind of person who will just walk to the edge of our parking lot and just upend it there... I can see it in her eyes. Nope. Nope. Nope. Just... Nope.

She looks furious, but both Scotty and I are standing in the doorway watching her. There's no way for her to just dump it and run without us interfering.

After she drives off...

Me: "...We're 'just going to HAVE to take it'? Okay, I know she's a woman but... the BALLS on that lady, man..."

Scotty: "I'm REALLY going to have to step up on getting work done on my doomsday device...."

What's that you say? Did I wash my hands a thousand times after picking that thing up?

Why, yes!

Yes I did!

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: Return Of Cancer Lady, Plus Family


Carolanne cigar 1From Puppies In Prada

Oh. My. God. Y'all. Cancer Lady is still up to her shenanigans.

So mini background, I usually bring a load of items to the registers, even when I'm not assigned to the registers, to price stuff and get it on the floor from a convenient spot. Usually this means that in exchange for taking up back counter space, I follow the unspoken rule of helping out by answering the phone and/or assisting additional customers.

Wellp, Cancer Lady appears while the other two register jockeys are busy. She wants to look at jewelry.

Sigh. Okay.

I'm showing her tray after tray of earrings while she stares at them, fiddles with them, and puts them back.

Cancer Lady, holding up a pair of earrings: "Oh yes I'll take these. They're just amazing and funky and just slutty enough for me."

Cue tire screeching sound effect. I think my brain just slammed into a wall. Ow.

Me: "Errr, okay. You said it... not me..."

Cancer Lady: "What?"

Me: "You just said they were slutty...."

Cancer Lady: "No I didn't! I said they're amazing, and funky and sleek enough for me."

Jason and thenNo. No you didn't. I did NOT mis-hear you. Eurgh.

Then one of the current Register Jockeys, whom I shall call Maria, gets freed up and comes over to take over.

Maria: "Want me to step in? I know you're trying to get stuff priced, and I can show her jewelry and let you get back to that."

Why yes, that would be great! I have a minor mountain that I'm trying to get on the floor to fill empty spots. I've also had enough of Cancer Lady being creepy, thanks.

I don't even get to open my mouth before...

Cancer Lady, loudly: "Oh don't make me have to put up with her! I don't like her!"

Maria: "..." *eye roll*

Me: "... Well then you're not going to like me either, sunshine."

Cancer Lady looks shocked and appalled. Shocked I say! And appalled! So appalled!

Cancer Lady: "You don't like me?!"

Me: "... Well you were just now incredibly rude to my coworker, you argue with us all the time, and you constantly try to get discounts, even though you know we don't do that."

You also spun a tale about maybe having cancer just so you could try to wrangle a discount out of us. And you called me a liar and heartless for not forking over said discount. And you and your mother are BOTH guilty of trying to switch tags to get something cheaper, though we can't PROVE it.... huh. Maybe I should compile an alphabetized list or something. I bet it would reach a spectacular length.

Cancer Lady: "Oh wow, so you all took my joking as serious."

Me, coldly: "Ma'am, we work in retail. Constantly asking for discounts when you know you can't have them, and arguing with us, is not a joke."

Freddy Choke JasonCancer Lady huffs and puffs and mutters, "Wow,' in a not-so-subtle way.

Maria stepped in and sent me back to my work, a tiny smile on her face.

Then another woman asks if she can look at the perfumes. I grab the key and go over.

Aaand it turns out she's Cancer Lady's sister. But I don't judge people by the people they're related to.

She checks out the bottles, smells them, tries a few, and eventually selects three.

Cancer Lady doesn't want to see any more jewelry. Instead, she is very loudly complaining to her brother-in-law, "AND SHE SAID SHE DIDN'T LIKE ME! TO MY FACE! IT'S LIKE, 'WOW FUCK YOU TOO!' YOU KNOW?!"

Brother in law is about as emotionless as he can get. He's doing that Pretending To Listen thing where he's turned out the white noise and is just nodding along. Even at the end of the counter I can actually see that that's what he's doing.

Her sister is doing that Pointedly Ignoring thing where she doesn't acknowledge that Cancer Lady even exists. I look over at Cancer Lady, cluck my tongue, look at her sister and go, "Huh. She's about as subtle as a brick to the face."

Sister: "You have NO idea..."

I feel a great swell of pity for these poor folks.

I bring the perfume over to the registers and start to ring up their purchases.

Regan Fuck youCancer Lady storms over with her purchases to Patricia, my lead, and loudly complains to her about how horrified and offended she is that I would be so callous as to say I don't like her.

I'm literally the next register over, not even three feet away. Both I and the Sister are doing the Pointedly Ignoring thing now, and I ring up the Sister.

Cancer Lady actually walks up to her Sister and loudly repeats what an awful person I am to not like her, which the Sister largely doesn't respond to other than to shruggingly say, "I know."

The Sister is very polite and nice to me. The model customer, in the face of her sister's ranting insanity.

The sister and her hubby evacuate like greased lightning, leaving Cancer Lady behind.

Cancer lady snatches up her purchases from Patricia and leaves.

After all was said and done, Patricia and another lead hesitantly ask me if I had really said I didn't like her. I relayed what actually happened and they both just nod and sigh.

To be fair, NONE of us like Cancer Lady.

--Puppies In Prada


Tales From The Thrift Store: Making A Dog Lover Happy


Carolanne and JasonFrom Puppies In Prada

I pull into the parking lot at work, and find myself next to a transport bus. Emblazoned on the side is "National Guard Youth."

Oh my. We're putting up Christmas stuff again, and once again, we have a bunch of buff guys on site moving heavy stuff.
Not that the entire female staff appreciates eye candy or anything. *ahem*

One young man is assigned to the Donation Door with me and a regular volunteer. We're sorting through stuff and a car pulls up to our drive through. I open the door and step outside to greet the woman as she climbs out of her car.

Behind me, I hear a familiar sound... It's that happy, inarticulate noise any dog lover will recognize. I glance over, and see that yes, the lady has an Australian Sheep Dog in her car, and a pair of mismatched eyes and a smiling doggie mouth are in the window. And the National Guard Youth has just stifled a 'squee' at the sight of him.

Jason hair

Alrighty then. I know how to make his day. :D

We accept her donations, and I ask her if her dog would like a treat. (I ask, because some dogs have allergies, or are on a strict diet, etc.) She says her dog would love one.

I fish a milk bone out of a cookie jar we keep by the back door, then casually ask the young man if he would like to give the dog the treat.

Why yes, yes he would! He takes the milk bone from me, trying very hard to seem casual. Then there's a man-shaped cloud of dust behind me and suddenly he's at the car, offering it to the dog... who of course accepts the yummy snack happily. I didn't even get the lid back on the cookie jar before he's over there.

After the woman drives off, he's the picture of dignified politeness... an image that is ruined by how happy his voice sounds. "Thank you, ma'am."

I hold back a small chuckle, "No problem."

I get to give treats to dogs all the time, whereas he was only there for part of one day. This was definitely as much a treat for him as it was for the dog.

--Puppies In Prada


Thrift Store Hell: Losing An Awesome Store Manager


Carolanne omg faceFrom Puppies In Prada

We got hit by some devastating news folks... I walked into work on my Monday, only to find out that Missy, our store manager, has turned in her 30 day notice. Some are contemplating dusting off the ol' resume, just in case. Some of us are hoping desperately that the Assistant Manager will take her place, as the AM is the second unicorn in our grove (aka a manager who supports the employees, not the customer).

Emotions are bounding from sorrow over losing Missy, to anxiety over whoever the replacement will be, to a kind of grim resignation and preparation for the worst.

As for me? *sigh* Well, I've basically been working here to pay for college. I'm part time, without benefits. I've known all along that no matter how much I love this job, it was always going to be temporary. That doesn't keep me from feeling the feels though... Missy has always retained her humanity and soul. She's in a position of authority, but she has always been approachable, relatable, and above all, reasonable and accommodating. I've known a freedom working for Missy that has never been anywhere else in any other job.

She lets us get away with a lot of things that no Corporate run store would ever put up with. We've essentially "trained" our customer base to be better customers, simply by drawing a line and not letting them cross it.

She puts us in charge of our department with full and complete governance over it. As long as the products move, and as long as we don't end up being a detriment to other departments, we can do as we please. Where other jobs will tell you to 'take ownership' of an area but give you no control, we can arrange our displays as we wish, and can request various display items from storage. If they'll fit in our area, and we have them available, they're ours to use as we please.

When my area experienced growing pains (my shelves were no longer adequate for the volume of stuff I was moving), Missy talked to me about whether I would like to use some of the stored shelving. My area got a makeover, and I was able to put out a minor metric crapton of stuff more than I had before. My department profits promptly hiked.

Ugh, it probably sounds dull to read all of that, but really, when you can do a good job, actually feel good about it, and know that what you're doing is meaningful, it's surprising how happy you can be shoveling used shoes and purses.

I will be working for the Animal Shelter Thrift store until the end of the year at least, whereas Missy will be gone sometime Mid October. I will have at least a few more months with whoever swaggers through our door.

Fingers crossed RHU, that whoever comes in won't destroy the team of people I work with.

--Puppies In Prada