Thrift Store Hell: Silent Rage Tantrum Update

 

Carolanne 002AFrom Puppies In Prada

Okay, mini update to yesterday's post. I went in and asked Missy if I could talk to her in her office. I said I didn't want to sound like a tattle tale, but that yesterday, Lemkil's behavior really concerned me.

I told her everything, even the "reckless as a wounded elephant" comment I made. I told her the volunteer who had seen it, and who had seen him flip a table in a fit previously. I even said the thing about how a dude slamming doors was using it as a substitute for violence and she understood immediately before I even finished the sentence.

I admitted that at the time, I was NOT afraid that he would haul off and punch me, but that his behavior WAS leaning in that concerning direction.

She thanked me for telling her. She said that she had had to talk to him about that kind of behavior before, and that this wasn't the first time he had done that "substitute aggression" thing. She had been willing to let it be a one time thing if his behavior had improved after the first talking to. She was glad I had said something, because if she doesn't see it or even know about it, she can't do anything about it. Since I told her about it and now she was aware that it had happened a second time, now it was going on a written record of his behavior.

I have the next couple of days off from work, so I'm just going to breathe and enjoy my time off.

There's a really weird freedom in telling management of something hinky, and they not only take you seriously, but they also do something about it. It's also really fucked up that getting this reaction is so rare in the retail world. :\

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On a lighter note, Missy has a merle coated Koolie mix named Copper who is an absolute doll. He's perfected human manipulation, by uttering these deep miserable whines of "I am so unloved, nobody has petted me in thirty whole seconds!" As soon as you walk over to him, he runs over, grabs a toy and plays tug-of-war with you for a few minutes, making these gawd awful "I am Cujo and I am eating your babies" growls. Nobody fears these growls, because the dog is such a complete furry marshmallow that even when he's hyper excited and making these noises, never ONCE has he ever scored skin with his teeth. (He's also hilarious, because I SWEAR he's perfected the "what's that behind you?!" glance in the middle of tug of war, and he yanks harder on the toy as soon as you look away. "Ha ha! Fooled you!")

When I entered the office to talk to Missy, I failed to play the tug of war tax, and when I sat down, I ended up with him half in my lap and in my face to get my attention. Ladies and gentlemen, I failed my duties, I must pay the tax, and here's a furry nose and doggy breath in my face to remind me of this fact. He gave me a thorough doggie scolding in doggie language, with me profusely apologizing for my sins, then ran to grab a chew. Once both of us could stop laughing, basically the entire meeting, I was penalized to tug-of-warring with him with the chew.

He's a goofy beast, but he DID make it easier to talk to Missy about Lemkil's behavior. Perhaps he's no specially trained therapy dog, but he knows how to calm you/distract you when you're feeling stressed or anxious.

We don't deserve the awesomeness of dogs, my friends, but they're gracing us with their presence anyway.

--Puppies In Prada

 


Thrift Store Hell: The Silent Rage Tantrum

 

Carolanne cover mouthFrom Puppies In Prada

Okay, so, yikes, y'all. I'm afraid this is going to have a lot of backstory and character description. Also, any of you who have been in an abusive relationship: this is your content warning. I think I just saw a lot of red flags today, and you may get the shivers reading this. Just... wow. Fucking WOW.

Character description:

Among my coworkers there are some that I haven't mentioned until now, for various reasons. The one I'm going to tell you about now is a dude I'm calling Lemkil... named after a game character that shares his sparkling personality.

So Lemkil. It's... kind of hard to describe the man. He's got this vibe that says he's an angry man. It's not even that general hatred of humanity that most retail slaves have... we all get that, and it's all mostly grousing and frustration anyway. We find camaraderie amongst ourselves that makes life liveable. It's more like he honestly views the entire world as a shithole, fuck everyone, and the only reason he's dragging through life is because he's just too spiteful for the Grim Reaper's tastes, so he just fakes the "life is worth living" persona. And if you know him for more than twenty minutes, you can still tell he's faking. The one and only time I ever saw him have an actual.... genuine... smile on his face was on a day 15 minutes before he signed out and went on a vacation.

He gets on because he does his job and if you leave him alone, he leaves the rest of the world alone. Minimal contact, tolerate his presence, and everyone can get on with their life.

Well, life doesn't let that stay status quo for long.

Backstory:

We're shorthanded today. A couple of coworkers are gone. One is doing cooking (12 hour shifts) for the firefighters, who are trying to wrangle the whole "the west coast is on fucking fire" dealie that we're dealing with. The other just happened to make a requested day off. We're down just enough that Missy needed myself and Scotty to split an hour on the Donation Door. So I took an hour and a half, he took an hour and a half. No big deal.

*sigh* Well hold on, because it does take a bit of a turn off the paved Path of Convenience. We ALSO had a customer request (and pay for) a delivery of a wine refrigerator. Fucker was 7 feet tall, so it required two people for safety's sake. So Steve needed help delivering it. Which meant Scotty would be with Steve for the time he would have been on the door.

Jason chainsawSo short handed, minus two MORE people. Which means Lemkil needed to cover Scotty's door shift until Scotty came back. Which meant that Lemkil would have two shifts on the door; he had an hour later in the day, plus the shift where he covered for Scotty.

It took Scotty an hour of his hour-and-a-half door shift to safely deliver the refrigerator. Apparently this shifted Lemkil's overall hatred for life into a full blown silent-rage-tantrum.

Now in case anyone needs a refresher on where I work, this job is a once in a lifetime job. I may not be full time with benefits, but I have TWO rare-as-a-unicorn bosses who support their STAFF over the asshole customers. We get away with shit that would easily have us fired in an ass kissing corporate company (mostly smart mouthing off to jerks, and refusing to kiss said asses). We make money for a no-kill animal shelter, so regardless of our department, its meaningful work that we know is for a damn good cause and a damn good company. In short, it's the kind of place that would make most jaded retail slaves willing to deal with a minor inconvenience once in a while. Two door shifts, or two register shifts? Eh, it's not happy-fun-times, but we're willing to do it since it's rarely asked of us anyway, and it IS appreciated.

Not Lemkil though. Holy shit does this dude need a reality check on just how good he has it.

Lemkil sent me upstairs to tackle my in-bin, apparently mistakenly believing that covering the door would be a few minutes to half an hour. It took a full hour, and I look up to see the lift come up with a cart of donated books.

Then the Silent Rage Cloud comes storming up the stairs. Lemkil does the angry stomp over to the elevator and yanks the door open. He wrenches the book cart off the elevator and storms over to his book area. He's yanking on the book cart and dragging it viciously behind him with no real control over where it waggles. Naturally, it skews wildly, and a cardboard box full of donated books hits the ground and explodes.

Freddy face patMe: "Easy Lemkil, you're rampaging like a wounded elephant."

I go over to help pick up the box of books.

His response is to yank the poor cart in front of him and just shoves in roughly in the direction of his area before storming over to where I'm reaching for the spilled books. The cart rolls due to momentum and bangs loudly to a stop against a stack of boxes filled with books.

Lemkil: "Just leave it! I'll take care of it."

He says this in a tone of voice I would normally associate with someone who had to deal with Jar Jar Binks for a week.

I raise my eyebrows and back away, leaving him to pick up his own mess.

He grabs the books, spins on the balls of his feet, rage stomps back to his area, puts the broken cardboard box (and everything still on the cart) onto his Incoming shelves before storming away again.

I watch the whole thing in utter silence. One of our helper volunteers just comes over to me as he disappears down the stairwell.

Volunteer: "You know, I thought temper tantrums would be over by this time in his life."

Me: "I don't even know how he made it this far. If I still had tantrums like that, my mom would have spanked my ass. Hell, my MOM would deserve a spanking for not making sure I stopped tantruming by now."

Carolanne frustratedVolunteer: "You know, that's not the first rage tantrum he's done. A week or so ago he had a fit and took one of the tables, you know, the ones where we stack sorted clothes? Well one was empty and he just... flipped it to the floor. Then he just grabbed it, slammed it back upright and stormed back out again."

Yes. You read that right. He fucking FLIPPED A TABLE! Granted, it was one of those lightweight folding tables they use in fairground shows, but a table nonetheless.

Me: "Oh my god..."

You know, I once heard that if someone gets mad and storms through the entire house, slamming all the doors in the entire building, that the slammed doors are a substitute for performing violence upon you. And I got a really creepy feeling that I was seeing something similar to that with that book cart.

*deep breath* I'm thinking I should have a talk with Missy when I see her tomorrow. I'm not SCARED of him, but I DO think that aggression should be very much addressed.

I am also getting an ugly feeling that there's a reason why Lemkil is divorced...

--Puppies In Prada

 


Found At The Thrift Store: Keep Your Brats Off The Displays

 

So I get to work, go to my section to take inventory of what needs to be restocked after two days off.. aaaand I find this:

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Someone left their unsupervised brat running loose and permitted them to climb my Slippers display. Thank Thrognar it's only four feet tall, so that when it broke under the little shit's weight, it didn't result in any harm to the child. Of course, I can only GUESS that last part, because apparently it happened, and the mother and child immediately fled the area.

No one saw it happen, just discovered the aftermath.

Take another look. That gray floor is concrete. Trust me, if the child had actually been hurt, there would have been a hell of a lot of screaming and bleeding. But since the only damage is the shelving giving way, we can only guess the cowardly mother grabbed her child and hightailed it out of the store.

Sadly, no cameras were trained on the area, and since no one caught the act, we're out the shelving. Missy had Steve retrieve some stored X-Mas shelving for me so I could put the Jrs and Slippers on display again.

People, for fuck's sake, pay attention to what your damn brats are doing!

--Puppies in Prada

 


Thrift Store Hell: Trying To Take Advantage Of The Program

 

Skully coworkersFrom Puppies In Prada

Our thrift store participates in a program for people at a disadvantage. Namely, a person with limited means can get a voucher from this program, and bring this voucher to our store. The voucher very specifically names the individual, what kinds of things they can get, and a value that the voucher covers them for.

Aka:

John Doe - $30 - Jeans, shirts, shoes, jackets (etc)

A bit of background: My Assistant Manager is at the registers. My Supervisor heads down at 4:30 with a small cart of things she plans to work on during dead moments at the register. I am behind her, but get delayed. Aside from the fact that I have a fairly large wagon load of stuff of my own, which doesn't slow me down; I do have to make a minor emergency pit stop at the employee bathroom, which does. So I am delayed by a few minutes.

Back to story:

In comes Entitled Shithead. Entitled Shithead is a young man, somewhere between 18 - 20. He presents the voucher to the Assistant Manager and she tells him (as if it's not written in black and white in front of him) the terms of his voucher.

He immediately starts bargaining like a Yard Sale Veteran. Can he buy that $100 piece of signed artwork with his $30 voucher for clothes? Okay, well how about this huge ass collection of $3 jewelry. Can he buy $30 of that with his voucher? What about...

The assistant manager shuts him down harder than the temple doors after Indiana Jones snatches his hat. He gets really upset and argues vigorously with her, demanding to know why she won't "just write on the voucher that jewelry is okay?!"

Carolanne chanelAnswer: Because that's not what the program is for.

Cue angry tantrum.

The Assistant Manager calls the program representative and tells her about his behavior, and that she can either tell the Entitled Shithead to follow the terms, or the Assistant Manager will run the voucher through the shredder and kick him out of our building. He gets the phone, listens for a while, turns red and storms off into the store, huffing and puffing, to look for... you know... actual clothes.

I'm done with my business and come out, pulling my wagon to the registers. Assistant manager and Supervisor tell me all that has transpired so far.

So I've been alerted.

My Assistant Manager goes upstairs to sort Housewares, and it's just me and Supervisor.

I bet you can guess what happens next.

Yep. Entitled Shithead comes up to the registers just a few minutes later and comes to me. Not to my Supervisor, who was witness to the exchange, but to me. Because there's a chance I wasn't made aware and may cave into his angry customer tantrum, I suppose? Nyeeehh! :P

He has a pair of Nike shoes, a shirt, two hats and some jeans. He also has a bike chain, and a tool of some sort.

Now, a thing to note is that I price Nike shoes at almost always $10. Flate rate, unless they're a little worn, where I take a few dollars off. This is usually due to a combination of Nikes starting somewhere around $60 and going up from there, and our almost completely arbitrary and wonky pricing system.

I guess that last bit is kind of unimportant, but it is good to note that Nike shoes tend to be one of the rare "higher priced" shoes I sell. Just about every other brand of sneakers, are $5 each.
Also, it's the beginning of August, which means that a colored tag has gone 50% off, and that a LOT of our clothes are now discounted. He hasn't chosen the color.

Basically this is a bit of a long winded way of saying that Entitled Shithead has deliberately chosen items that eat up a lot of his value, giving him very little bang for his buck.

Jason bored 1I tell him this. He is uninterested in finding the magical tag color and tells me to ring him up.

I do, while telling him with a smile that

1) that his voucher is good for $30 in CLOTHES and he is currently at $40 and
2) the bike chain and tool are not covered by his voucher, so he needs to produce some cash

He argues with me.

I tell him to cough up cash, or decide what he's not getting today.

He doesn't have cash.

Then he needs to re-evaluate what he's getting.

He demands that I just give him the items he wants for $30.

Nope.

He then scowls angrily and snarls, "Whatever, I'm getting angry now."

(Yaaawwwwnn.... Oh, pardon me. Were you saying something? I do apologize, it's just that I find myself suddenly and irrevocably... Bored! Now fork over some cheese to Sheogorath before he plucks out your eyeballs.)

I Retail Smilingly(TM) take the bike chain and tool off the list, to the delightful jingle of him pissing and moaning that he didn't tell me to take them off, and to the return song of my people that he only has $30 and he was at $40.

He's really fuming now. His total is $27.

Him: "Okay, so just give me the $3 that I'm not spending."

Freddy and HagMe: "That's not happening. This voucher doesn't have cash value."

Him: "So what, am I out the $3 now?!"

Me: "Well, you can get some cheaper clothes and see if you can't match it up."

Nope. He's not interested in that.

Me: "Then it looks like you have a choice. Either buy something more expensive and pay the difference..."

Him: "I told you I don't have cash!"

Me: "Then I guess you're either out the value, or you make smarter choices in your shopping. Those are your options."

Him: "Can't I get a piece of $3 jewelry to round it up?"

Me: "No. Your voucher is for clothes, not jewelry."

Also, you're basically getting this shit for free. There's no fucking way you're getting something you can just turn around for profit.

He's really puffing now, but he finally just decides to take what he's got, and be out the supposed $3 value.

Before he storms off he says: "I'm going to give you some advice. If you want people to come through that door and spend their money in your shop, you need to stop arguing with people."

Skullies cheersMe: "And you need learn how to obey the terms and conditions of your voucher, son. Bye-bye now!" I actually give him a bye-bye finger wave.

He storms off in a delightfully immature manner and leaves the store.

I leave the registers, hunt down the Assistant Manager and tell her everything that transpired, including my responses, which would have gotten me SO VERY FIRED anywhere else.

She's unconcerned about my attitude in the way I handled it (I get the suspicion that she's actually quite pleased with my handing the little bastard his ass), and reassured me that she backs me all the way.

I'm actually sorry that I can't make this place a lifelong career, because it's insanely refreshing to be able to tell people how little of their crap you're willing to take.

--Puppies In Prada

 


Thrift Store Hell: "Because That's Not Suspicious At All!"

 

Carolanne 040aFrom Puppies In Prada

Okay so this isn't my story, but a story No-Nonsense Steve told the rest of us.

Steve was on the door and a woman comes up. She's donating one complete set of camping equipment; tent, sleeping bag, lantern, etc. Practically brand new. Used only once. Cool. All that stuff is Steve's responsibility. He checks that stuff for quality, prices it, and puts it on the floor. The stuff she is giving him is entirely his domain.

Lady, as she hands the stuff over: "Yeah I went camping with my boyfriend and came home single."

Steve: ".... okaaaaayyy."

Steve to us later: "Yeah, that wasn't suspiciously phrased AT ALL..."

He told our store manager, and as many of us as he could pin down to share his concerns and to tell us to keep our hands the hell off of whatever was donated for a while. (Sometimes we like to shop in each other's areas for cool stuff, and we'll price the First Picks for each other.)

A few hours pass and we get a call. The lady "accidentally" donated a shovel and a pickaxe, and she would like them back.

Missy, who has already been told about the concerning phrasing: "...Okay, I'll have my employee look for them for you."

Concern levels rising.

Steve, when the manager tells him: "Okay, you know what? Tell her that I want to be the one to give them back to her, and that no one else is to touch them. It's already got my prints on them, if she wants them back she has to come here at a time when I'm present."

She did show up when Steve was gone, once. Missy relayed the message and apologized with a Retail Smile that Steve wanted to be the one to give them back.

The lady showed up later and DID get her shovel and pickaxe back. She may have been completely innocent, and phrased it poorly. She MAY have also done something... concerning... to her boyfriend.

For the love of Thrognar, people, watch what you say to retail slaves. We're all just waiting for the police to visit with Steve and ask him a few pointed questions...

Update: No one has been identified as missing in local news. Here's hoping it was just phrased poorly.

--Puppies In Prada

 


Thrift Store Hell: Do Not Sass The Donation Door Workers

 

Carolanne book2From Puppies In Prada

Once a month, I do a complete purge of my high heeled shoes. Even reduced to like, $3 a piece, high heels don't really sell well unless they're insanely wacky with spikes, zippers, studs or otherwise good for ladies of the street corners. Don't get me wrong, I get that high heels in a landscape that sees snow at least three months out of a year isn't going to be as popular as boots with proper tread. But we get a decent inflow of heels from SOMEWHERE, so they are getting bought on the retail side, just not on the second-hand side.

It's kind of insulting, because my rule stands at "pristine, or nearly so," otherwise it gets recycled. So you're getting almost-new, quality heels for a few dollars.

*sigh*

Aaanyway, it's purge time. I send down a now-empty Canvas Basket Truck back to the donation door and spend a half hour filling my flat bed wagon with masses of high heels. Everything on the shelves is getting recycled, everything on the cart is going out. Three weeks of almost no motion is long enough, I say.

I go to the elevator and... huh... The empty roll around bin that I sent down is still on the elevator. This is unusual. We use these things to sort our crap and to send massive doses of donations to their respective areas to be processed. The donation door is pretty rabid about grabbing these back when they get returned.

Shrugging to myself, I call the elevator back up, put my wagon full o' heels and send it down. I then take the stairs nearest to the Donation door. I come out to a scene of desperate scrambling. The sorting table is piled higher than I am tall. The floor around it is covered in boxes of crap. And there's a line four cars long of people who are eager to dump a metric crapton of yard sale discards upon us.

Greaaat. Summer Yard Sale Season is in full swing.

Three people are desperately sorting through the piles; Scotty of Electronics (helpful passerby), James of Electronics (previous person on the door), and Jenny of Accessories (her hour on the door currently).

Me: "Huh... I WAS going to ask why y'all hadn't emptied the elevator yet but... question withdrawn."

Jason Hear no evilThree heads rotate, a la Linda Blair, at me and they give me smiles that would curdle Jason Voorhees's blood solid.

Scotty: "Wise decision."

I hold up both hands in full surrender. "Hang on for just a sec. Let me pull my wagon out of the line of traffic and I'll help."

I sprint to the elevator, pull my stuff out of the way, then sprint back to the door and dive in. Common decency to your coworkers demands that you help when you spot trouble like this. Here, it's also nearly instant good karma, since being reluctant to jump in and assist can turn on you real fast.

It takes four of us half an hour to wrangle the massive mess under control. As the hour gets longer in the tooth, the line finally slows down. The tally board we keep shows 30+ people in the first hour, 20 in the second, 15 in the third, and 28 in this hour. This shit is insane.

Jenny sends Scotty and James off once it gets a little better under control. The two only have half of this hour to take their break, and they've already dedicated the first half of it to bringing the insanity under control. Time squeeze is happening. Go take your break while you can!

Fortunately the four of us have gotten it under control. Jenny and I are the remaining two, bashing out the last of the pile. Thankfully we get it into a semblance of order, though between cars, we were keeping a steady stream of bins running upstairs for people to distribute.

Freddy and jason palsI now have 20 minutes to fully purge my heels and get the new ones situated. Why? Because NEXT hour, I'M the one on the door. This is why it is always wise to rescue coworkers in trouble. You will have a door shift soon, regardless of when in the day you work.

I managed to sweep the old shoes into garbage bags, then situated my new ones. Two minutes to Door time, I go back into the back with my wagon.

Me: "Hey Jenny, I'm gonna make use of the restroom before I free you."

Jenny: "No worries!"

In the end, she stayed with me for fifteen minutes as we handled a (much, much smaller) rush.

It will be this insane until August, folks. *whimper*

--Puppies In Prada