Sir, Please Don’t Shove Bottles in your Pants

It’s been a long, strange few days. The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend is worn out from his 10-hour days at work and just wants to curl up on the couch and eat pizza tonight. So instead of his usual experimentation in the kitchen, he’s making a frozen pizza and some garlic bread. Of course, he can’t just throw the pizza in the oven. He’s in there right now throwing on extra mushrooms and cheese, and grating cheese and garlic for the pre-made garlic bread. Even when he’s too tired to be creative in the kitchen, he is so damn creative in the kitchen!

I think part of the reason we’re not cooking tonight is because of the damn fruit flies in this house right now. I tried for weeks to get rid of them. I’ve scrubbed the kitchen down, gotten rid of any food sitting out, I even set up little traps for them with wine and dish soap. But they just keep coming from somewhere. Well, AAB may have found where they’re coming from. It seems that the roommate in the basement is doing more than just stealing forks from us. Every two weeks or so, we run out of cutlery and plates, before suddenly everything is clean and put away while we’re both gone. We’ve known that it’s him hoarding it all in his room. Well, it turns out it’s worse than I thought.

AAB went downstairs to do his laundry. There, in the laundry tub in the laundry room, is a massive pile of plates, cutlery, pots, and pans. They’re not washed, and some of them are not even rinsed. If he’s letting this sit out in the open, what the hell kind of shape is his room in?

I’m thinking that our biggest goal for 2018 should be to figure out our housing situation. I’ve been putting off making any decisions because I’ve applied for jobs in other cities. I don’t want to buy a house or sign a lease, only to get a job four hours away. This is getting to be a little ridiculous, though. I think it’s time to either shit or get off the proverbial pot. I mean, living with people who have such an overarching sense of entitlement is really starting to get to me. I mean, can you imagine moving in with other people, taking all of their kitchenware, hoarding them in your room covered in filth, and not even thanking them for letting you use them? Or how about not even asking if you can use them in the first place!

Ironically, that sense of entitlement is something a few of us were talking about at the end of my shift tonight at work. We were sharing stories about truly honest people who forget to mention the case of water on the bottom of their cart, only to return later to pay for it. I know, I didn’t think such people existed, but I work with one of them! People like her seem to be very few and far between, especially where I work. Standing outside the store tonight, we were going over the shoplifters we’ve caught on camera so far this week, and how many we possibly missed.

You see, a lot of the shoplifters we catch seem to follow a few different scripts. There is the “run in, grab and conceal the bottle, run out” kind. They’re kind of like the Smash’N’Grabs I witnessed when I was with friends in a convenience store late one in Detroit. That night, after the store had stopped selling beer and had just turned the lights off in the beer cooler, a group of kids came running in. Two of them grabbed as much beer as they could carry and headed for the door, while the other two smashed pop bottles on the floor as a distraction. This isn’t a new schtick, and it’s something they actually train pretty much any and all retail workers to look out for. Sure, their exit methods vary at times. Some run out claiming they forgot their wallet in the car. Others pretend they didn’t find what they were looking for and just head for the door. Some are in and out so quickly, you don’t even notice them at first.

Another popular type is the “bring a big bag and hide stuff in it” people. I mean, how do they think they’re getting away with this? Sure, they may be able to walk out the door, but that’s only because we’re not allowed to tackle suspected shoplifters anymore. We still have them on camera, and we document the crap out of them. When we have security in the store and they catch these people, they’re going down for every single theft we have them on camera doing. Some of these people are amazing though. I’ve seen people load bags up with hundreds of dollars worth of bottles and just walk out the door with a big grin on their face like they just got away with murder.

My personal favourite is what I like to call “The Pants People”. These people walk into a store and just start shoving stuff down their pants. It’s amazing just how much one person can fit into a pair of pants, really. These are the worst people to catch because if we get the product back it all has to be sanitized if we can still sell it. I’ve actually seen people walk in with elastic bands around the bottoms of their sweatpants just so they can fit more stuff in there without it falling out the bottom. Of course, this makes them easy targets to follow, considering elastic bands around your ankles is not exactly a huge trend this season.

What gets me with each and every one of these people we catch is the sense of entitlement they have. Most of the ones that we do catch with either security or police present just seem to think that it’s their right to walk in and take whatever the hell they want, without paying for it. We’re not talking about people stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving family here. I have seen people who have the money to pay, sometimes with them in their wallets, and just not want to. More than once, I’ve seen someone get caught somewhere and then pull out the money for the items. They seem to think that if they just pay for it then and there after being caught, they’ll just be let go. The thing is, it doesn’t work like that.

Believe me when I say that I understand how expensive life can be. I have had to do without many times before. I’ve had to survive off of what I could get at food banks. I don’t have cable, or a car, or pricey electronics (aside from the computer I saved up for). I’m not out taking trips, or going on shopping sprees like some of my friends can do. I have to budget, and grocery shop at the dollar store at times. I haven’t eaten name brand macaroni and cheese in years because that’s a splurge for me. I know what it’s like to live paycheck to 4-days-before-the-next-paycheck. It sucks. But I keep doing what I’m doing, trying to get ahead even just a little bit. I know I’m not entitled to anything, the world doesn’t owe me a damn thing, and it’s no one’s job but my own to pay for my life choices.

Then I see these little Draco Malfoy brats coming into the store, shoving a bottle or two in their coat pockets, and pulling the “don’t you know who my father is” crap when they get caught. They seem to think that because their daddy is someone important, they can get away with anything.

Or we get the “well I’ve had a hard life, this is life’s way of giving back to me” shit-nobs who seem to think that because life didn’t go the way they planned, life somehow owes them. I have actually heard someone (not at my store, at a nearby drugstore while I was cashing out and security grabbed them) say that because they went to school for a certain career, and then couldn’t find work in that career six months later, the universe owed them for letting them waste all that time in school. Hell, if that were a good enough reason to steal, I’d be knocking over banks left, right, and centre!

It really just boggles my mind how people can rationalize something like stealing, making it seem like they have a right to do it. I get it, some people are in a place in life where stealing really does seem like the best option. Maybe they’re starving and are stealing food or something to sell for food. They could be in the throes of addiction, and can’t find any other way to pay for their habit. For them, stealing seems like the only option. These are the people society failed, the ones who need more social programs, the ones who need help. Still, that doesn’t give them the right to walk into my store and just load up their bag with whatever they damn well please. We need to fight for better social programs to help people like this, in order to stop people like this from resorting to theft.

The ones that bother me the most are the ones who have options. The ones who have the money to pay, but don’t think they should have to. The ones who do it for a thrill, or for a cheap night out. They’re the ones who pull the “don’t you know who my [relative] is” crap or pull out their wallet after they’re caught. These seem to be the majority of the ones I’m able to catch on camera, or in the act while on the floor at work. And these are the ones that piss me off the most.

I don’t know about you Sunshine, but I was raised not to take what isn’t mine. It doesn’t matter if it’s another kid’s toy, a product in a store, or credit for another person’s work. All of that is stealing, and it’s wrong. Why do these people seem to think it’s alright for them to do it?

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Do You Never Sit?

The last few days at work have been just ridiculous. Tuesday night after I left apparently there was the most dramatic shoplifting and arrest ever at our store. I don’t know the details, but it somehow involved random heroes trying to attack a security guard, a woman thinking she’s SpiderMan,  and physical threats of violence. We’ve had people from the surrounding businesses coming in the last two days wanting all the details.

Then last night, it was Asshole Night at the store. It started with one guy demanding we do a cashback on her credit card, no matter how many times I told him I couldn’t do that. I mean, even if I could just bill him for a random amount, my drawer doesn’t open unless there’s cash involved. Later a co-worker went up to a group of five guys and flat-out asked if all of them had their ID with them, since they were all shopping together, all touching everything, and very loudly talking about how they were all splitting the booze. Of course, when they got up to her counter, only two of them had ID, and they tried to argue with her. Everything seemed to go downhill from there for the night. We had the weirdest conversations with customers, the weirdest transactions, and a man who took three trips into the store to try and get cash back from what looked to be the bank card Moses carried in the desert for 40 days, only to get money from a cabbie.

And then today….. well, I was supposed to leave work before 3pm, and didn’t cash out until close to 6pm. Our manager is off sick with a heart issue. Then our assistant manager had a cardiac episode while he was unloading skids off the delivery truck this morning. One of our closers called in sick, we had to borrow a new person from another store, our next-in-charge woman (who has been doing the job of three people for more than a week now) was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and our closing shift leader (who is already a big ball of nerves) was on edge because everyone else was on edge. So I did the only thing my family taught me to do in a time of crisis: I fed people. I ran to the dollar store and got Christmas cookies, and pfeffernusse, and little holiday candies and chocolates, and made a big snack plate. I got a candy bar just for the acting manager. And I got soda and bells for me.

In all of the craziness of this week, there’s something that stands out in my mind. One of my co-workers has a chair at her register. She’s what we call a modified worker. She has issues with her wrists and her feet, and we accommodate that. She still works her ass off, though. In an 8-hour shift, she can unload a truck, fill the warehouse, do stock, and run cash. She regularly does more than the young new girls we have at the store. It’s just that she has to wear a wrist brace while running her cash register, and she can’t stand at the register. She has her own chair that she wheels out the start of every shift, and is willing to lend out to anyone who needs it.

Still, random people will regularly say things like, “Must be nice, getting paid to sit on your ass all day”. She hears variations of that all the time. A few weeks ago, the work BFF had a powerful migraine and had to borrow the chair. If she didn’t sit, she felt like she was going to pass out. But by just sitting, she was able to run cash just fine. In just the two hours we worked together that day, I heard two or three people make similar comments to her. We’ve had other modified workers at our store in the past, who are now at other stores, and they had to deal with a lot of the same thing. Even I experienced it last year around this time. I don’t know what I did, but I messed up my back something fierce. Even when I was sitting down, I was crooked and obviously in pain. Even moving to bag larger bottles was painful for me. And still, I got comments about me being lazy, about me sitting on my ass while everyone else worked. And those same people make comments to my co-workers to this day along the same lines.

I’d just like to know, do these people ever sit at their jobs?

Before I worked here or went back to school, I had an office job. I made a bit more money than I make right now, and I sat on my ass all day behind a desk. I worked on a computer, handled money, and talked to customers all day. Not a single one of them ever said that it must be nice to sit on my lazy ass all day.

My mother works for a doctor. She sits behind a desk all day, greeting patients, making appointments, and taking money. No one ever tells her that it must be nice to sit on her ass all day.

My father sold cars for many years. A big part of that job was sitting at a desk, doing paperwork. No one ever told him that it must be nice to sit on his ass all day.

We already get all kinds of bizarre and intrusive questions and statements from customers. Being a union store and government-owned, a ridiculous amount of people seem to think that we make $30+ an hour and get full medical benefits. In fact, we had a customer say that to us out of the blue not 10 minutes after we opened today! Our assistant manager (before his incident) and a co-worker were goofing off while they walked to the warehouse together to put some things away. A regular customer came in, saw them joking together, and commented that “it must be nice to make $48 an hour with full benefits just to goof around”. People are always up in our business, trying to make us justify our existence to them. In fact, the three of us working cash at the time combined might make that $48 an hour, with absolutely zero benefits and no guaranteed hours.

We have people that assume we make ridiculous amounts of money an hour. We have people that assume we’re all rich, and we’re all lazy, and we’re all too stupid to find “real” jobs. We have people who think that just because we work in a liquor store, they are automatically somehow better than us. And all of these people are quite vocal about it, making sure we know what they think of us at all times.

I can deal with the people who think we make crazy money running a cash register because it’s been made publically known that is not true. During our last union contract negotiations, everything was made public. People still ignored what was published, didn’t read anything about what we were fighting for, and came at us asking if we were happy now making $48 an hour. Those people, I keep telling myself, are a lost cause. They want to hate us, and want to blame us for the price of alcohol. They seem to think that if the government did things their way, things would be so much better and so much cheaper. They ignore everything they’ve been told and just rag on us every chance they get. In my mind, these people are a write-off. There is no getting through to them, so why bother trying.

It’s the people who see someone sit for a few minutes and assume that they’re some lazy piece of crap that really gets to me. Yes, my co-worker sits at her cash register. She has a medical reason and doctors’ notes that allow her to do so. In order to get that chair, she had to go to doctors, and get doctors’ notes, and get medically assessed. She had to go through a crazy amount of red tape just to be able to sit down because it is medically necessary.

I want to know, do these people randomly walk into offices and shame the people working there for having chairs? Would they like to come into our office in the store and shame our manager? He spends most of his day sitting in a chair at his computer, doing work. Is that acceptable to these people? What about secretaries in doctors’ offices? I would like to see one of these random customers go to the awesome forward-sassy-yet-kind secretary my doctor had and try telling her that she’s lazy for sitting in a chair.

I wonder how many of these people have jobs where they have a chair. Even if they don’t spend their entire day in them, do these people sit? My co-worker doesn’t spend her entire 8-hour shift sitting at her cash register. Like I said, she’s in the warehouse slugging cases of spirits around, and throwing cases on carts so we can put them out on the shelves. As long as we don’t stack the boxes two-high on a bunch of carts, she’s out there putting away stock with the rest of us. She’s one of the most knowledgeable people I know in our company when it comes to wines, and my go-to when a customer has a question I can’t answer. She’s on her feet and lifting heavy stuff for the majority of her shift, and only sits down because it is medically necessary. If she didn’t have to sit, if the pain wasn’t that bad for her, then she would probably spend a full shift out there on her feet. So how long does she have to be on her feet in order to be worthy of sitting?

This is just one of those things that really makes me mad. I hate when someone comes into a workplace and just talks down to the workers there. If someone needs to sit, let them sit. If they need to eat, let them eat. If my cashier somewhere has a water bottle, or a pop bottle, or a little baggie of chips, I don’t care! I mean, if she’s snacking on ribs and getting sauce all over my purchase, that would be a problem. But I have seen people freak out on cashiers because they needed a sip of water. I have had customers come up to my register while I’m taking a drink of water and flat out say, “Done your break yet? Gonna get a little work done today maybe?”

What really pisses you off at work? What do customers say to you that just makes you want to throw things at them? Drop me a line anytime at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com or comment on my posts and let me know.

Sometimes People Suck

Well, this has been a doozy of a weekend at the store, Sunshine! We opened two hours late yesterday, in order to observe a time of silence and honor our troops on Remembrance Day. Then today, somehow the world forgot our store hours even though they’ve been the same since April 1st. We’re open 11am until 6pm every damn Sunday and open until 9pm on Saturday. None of that changed this weekend, and people just couldn’t wrap their heads around that. We were getting so many phone calls the last two days that I was put in charge of answering the phone. An hour into my shift yesterday and already I had answered at least half a dozen “are you guys open” calls.  There were a few real gems in there though.

Caller: Hey there, are you guys open today?

Me: Yes, we’re open until 9-o-clock tonight.

Caller: Great. And what time do you close?

Seriously, a call went like that. My poor work BFF was standing next to me, and only heard my side of the conversation. “Yes, we’re open until 9-o-clock. We close at 9-o-clock tonight. Yes, 9pm. No, 9. Nine tonight. Ok, thank you, bye.” Most of the rest of the calls were basically just, “I drove by and saw the open sign was on/people were in the store/ my husband came home with whiskey, does that mean you’re open?”

A lot of the people I work with don’t like taking calls like that. I get the biggest kick out of it, though. I take my phone duties very seriously and was freakin sprinting through the store to get the phone last night. Today, I could answer a call before the first ring was barely done ringing. Stuff like that just gives me a silly little break to my day. Some people think that nothing can bother me if I find calls like that funny.

THey’re wrong. Dead wrong.

[Cue ominous music]

There are so many things that customers do that bother me. Like, I turned to my co-worker today and told her it must be near closing time because I was getting unreasonably angry about things customers were doing and saying. It wasn’t, the customers were just that annoying. In any job you have to deal with annoying people, I keep telling myself. This is no different, except that they stick around for a much shorter period of time than an annoying co-worker in an office would.

Do any of these things bother you two? Are there things customers do that annoy the ever living crap out of you? Here’s a list of just the very basics, the most common, the things that we have to deal with far too often that annoy the sweet candied horse plops out of me.

  1. Very stinky people. Our store is next door to a gym. For some reason, customers feel the need to have a very intense workout, sweat out days worth of booze, garlic, hot sauce, and cigars (from the smell of it), and then come directly to our store in all their stinky, sweaty glory. Then they get offended if we spray FeBreez after they leave.
  2. My hand is right there in front of you, waiting for you to drop your change and/or bills into. Instead, you throw your money down on the counter. Bonus points if it’s a wet day, you had your bag or umbrella up there first, and you throw the money down in a puddle that makes it impossible for me to pick it up off the metal counter unless I slide everything over to me, and dump your damn puddle water all over my pants.
  3. Most people will at least tell the person they’re talking to, “I need to pay, hold on just a second” and pay me. Most people. Unless it truly is an emergency, why do you need to keep yammering away into your phone? I don’t care if Crystal bought the same couch as you. Why do I need to hear about what a bitch she is for copying your style, which you just copied from an Ikea catalog anyway? Bonus points if you’re on your phone and then get mad at me for not asking for your points card, even though I did ask. You just didn’t hear me over your whole couch conundrum on the phone.
  4. I need to push a different button on my register for debit and for credit card payments. That’s why I ask what kind of card you’re paying with. No, tapping it 37 times on the machine won’t magically make it read it. And no, saying “it’s a tap/ chip/ Scotiabank/ card” doesn’t clear anything up for me. If I ask you “debit or credit”, just pick one.
  5. And that whole payment thing happens AFTER I ring up your items.  You can’t pay for things until I ring them up. Throwing bottles on a counter, saying “credit”, and then tapping your card on the machine before I even get the chance to ring in a single bottle isn’t going to do anything.
  6. Cashback is a service we offer to people who are paying debit. We add an amount on to your total, and then give you that amount in cash after your card is approved. Why do you go through the process of putting your card in the machine, entering your PIN, taking your receipt, and start to walk away before you ask for cash back?
  7. And yes, you have to buy something in order to get cash back. You can’t just insert your card, push buttons, and get money without buying something. You’re thinking of an ATM, which we have a bunch of in the plaza. We’re a retail establishment. We’re in the business of selling stuff. You have to buy something to get cashback.
  8. Again, this is a retail establishment, not a bank. If you pay for a $7 purchase with a $100 bill, there is a good chance that I’ll have to give you some smaller bills for your change. It’s not like I keep a wad of $50 and $20 bills hidden away just in case you come in and want to flash your big bills at me. If you want a bill broken, go to a bank.
  9. Same goes for other businesses wanting to buy $5 bills and change off of us. There are three banks within walking distance of my store, 2 of them in the damn plaza. Go see them! We need our change for breaking the $100 bills for $7 purchases!
  10. Again, we’re not a bank. Yes, our cashback limit is $500 if we have it in our till. That doesn’t mean you can specify how you want your money. No, I can’t give you $500 in fifties and hundreds. There is a damn good chance your cashback will be entirely in $20 bills, possibly with $10 bills in there. There is even the chance I’ll be down to giving you $5 bills if that’s all I have. Don’t try to give me back my bills and demand a $100 bill. If I didn’t give it to you, then I don’t have it!
  11. I had a woman today tell me no less than 9 times that she needed two of her wines in one bag, and three in another bag. She was going somewhere and wanted to drop the three wines off at home, and bring the other two with her. She told me this 9 times to make sure I knew to put the two wines she put at one end of the counter in one bag, and the three wines all the way at the other end of the counter in another bag. She spoke very slowly the last few times she told me this. I know I looked tired and sick (because I am), but I can follow simple instructions.
  12. And yes, just because I’m a cashier doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. I can ring through purchases, make change, do math, hell I can even read the damn labels! You’re the one who can’t figure out the self check out, Brenda, so don’t talk down to me when we’re on opposite sides of the counter.
  13. We have clearance tags that say SAVE $X.xx on them, right next to the the price. You could be saving $10.00 on a bottle of scotch, but it still costs $75.00. Or you could be saving $1.75 on a bottle of wine, but it still costs $9.00. If you misread the tag and think you’re getting the wine for $1.75, why are you getting mad at me for it? It says very clearly what you’re saving and what you’re paying. Just because you read it wrong doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. And just because you said “Wow, $1.75!” out loud when an employee was in your line of vision doesn’t mean that they heard you, or that they knew what product you were talking about. We have some really cheap things in our store too. For all we know, you could be talking about a cheap clearance beer or a wine stopper, if we even hear you in the first place, Brenda. Stop trying to make you not wearing your reading glasses in public our fault.
  14. We all have nametags. Don’t refer to us as “the redheaded bitch” or “the ditzy one” or “that fat guy”. Either read the tag or point us out. No need to insult us to another employee to try and make yourself look good.
  15. We know all the liquor laws when it comes to denying someone a sale. If someone ahead of you in line is getting denied, don’t stick up for them. We could lose our jobs AND get a huge fine and possibly even face jail time if we serve someone we shouldn’t. We’re trying to do our jobs here, and the shit we deal with when it comes to denying service is enough to warrant an entire post of its own.
  16. “It didn’t scan, I guess that means it’s free!” No, it isn’t. If you leave without paying for it, you’re stealing it.
  17. “Gee, I was worried. I just printed that $20 bill before I left the house, didn’t know if you’d take it!” You’re not funny. Do you know how many times I hear that? And how many fake bills we actually have to deny? And how much trouble we can get in if we do take a fake bill? Just don’t, man.
  18. We have to fake a chuckle at some pretty damn awful jokes sometimes. When we can’t even muster a fake giggle, then whatever you said is just plain wrong. That’s right, your racist jokes just make us uncomfortable. Same with the sexist comments, whether they’re about us or anyone else.
  19. We get paid to be friendly. 99.9999% of the time, we’re not flirting with you. I have only seriously ever flirted with one customer, and he is now my Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend. That’s one out of the tens of thousands of people who came through my line that year. One. If I smile, it’s because I have to. If I touch your hand, it’s because I was giving you back your change or your ID, not because I was hoping you’d take my hand brushing up against yours for a tenth of a second as some sort of flirtatious action meant to make you want me. No, I don’t want your number and no, I don’t wanna give you mine, and no I don’t wanna meet you nowhere and no, I don’t want none of your time. Honey, I’m looking like class and you’re looking like trash trying hit on some poor cashier.
  20. Those goes triple if you’re like 50 and trying to flirt with my 20-year-old co-workers. I will call you out on that shit man. I’m very protective of my little kittens, and you’re just making them uncomfortable.
  21. Just because our hands grazed while I was giving you back your change, don’t wait outside the store until my shift ends. That is beyond creepy. Like, we will call the cops on you and I’ll have multiple escorts home to make sure you’re not following me.
  22. Same goes for if you threaten to kick my ass, or track me down, or mess me up because I wouldn’t serve you.
  23. There are cameras and mirrors EVERYWHERE. If I look you dead in the eye and say “do you want to pay for the bottle you shoved in your pants”, that means that a) I saw you shove a bottle in your pants, b) you are on camera shoving a bottle in your pants, and c) I just approached you near the door to make sure I could get you to look directly into a hidden camera so the cops have a good, clean image of your face. And we document EVERYTHING, dude.
  24. I have to ID people who look 25 or younger. If you’re very obviously in your 60s, don’t ask me why I didn’t ID you. Don’t try to guilt me into IDing you. Don’t tell me I’m making you feel old, or tell me 37 times that it’s weird that I didn’t ID you. You obviously look older than 25. Get over it, GreyBeard.

So that’s just the short list. You know there’s so much more to retail like that can get on your nerves. Luckily I’m not in a store that has stacks of clothing that can be destroyed in seconds, or those big bins of big rubber balls that internet folk kept diving into for ‘the lulz’. Are kids still saying for the lulz these days? Are lulz on fleek? I don’t know anymore. Kids these days, am I right?

So what kinds of customers really grate your goat cheese? Is there something you hear 37 times a day that just makes you want to rip off your ears and shove them in a blender? Or makes you want to shove parts of other people in a blender? Leave a comment, or you can send me your retail horror stories at TheFailedGrownUp@gmail.com . I’m sure I’ll have another one (or 97) of these posts in the future. Let me know what you’re dealing with that I don’t have to at my little piece of retail heaven.

What The Devil……

The always enchanting Bowser Kitten is taking the day off from being a cat today. Instead, he has crawled under the big heavy blanket on our bed and has become a big blue bed slug. I tried everything to make him happy today, too. I laid in bed an hour longer than I wanted to so he could sleep on my leg while I wrote and looked over my to-do list for the day. I put out his favourite classy cardboard box I sniped from work (it’s from the very limited edition Canadian Club 40 Year whiskey. I couldn’t afford $250 for a bottle, but I sure as hell could manage a free cardboard box from it from the discard pile). I put all his favourite toys out on the bed, put a few treats in his box, and even put all the Pillow Pals on the bed, so it looks like a 6-year-old sleeps there instead of two 30-somethings.

Maybe he’s just depressed today. I mean, I did have to spray him 3 or 4 times already with the water bottle for getting into things he’s not supposed to. Why does he keep trying to eat plastic bags and onions? Or maybe he’s still traumatised from Halloween. I love the holiday. He seemed to like it until the Trick-or-Treating started. He wore his cute little cape and played with me in my Jake the Dog costume. But as soon as small children started coming to the door, he freaked out. He hid around the corner and would only peak his head out to see what was going on.

Speaking of Halloween, I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before (like yesterday) that I like to wear odd things with my work uniform. Nothing that technically breaks the dress code; just cute little accessories that customers will notice. On Saturdays, I wear a pair of cat ears to celebrate “Cat Saturday” or “Caturday” with some of my customers. I like to buy headbands and add stuff to them, like festive decorations or tiny top hats. And at Halloween, I love breaking out the devil horns.

At least, I used to love it.

Most people really seem to enjoy my little head adornments. Most of my regulars love trying to guess what I’ll be wearing each day, and a few have even made friendly bets with each other on it. We chitchat at the till about other terms we could use outside of the holidays we could use to keep me in tiny hats all year round. The crowd favourites so far are “fascinator” and “jaunty chapeau” by the way. There is even one customer with a Very Small Child who got a few tiny hats for the kid and brought her into the store so we could compare! These people get the fun and wacky nature of the hats, the very brief distraction from all the stress and hustle and bustle around us to just laugh at whatever I have on my head.

There’s this very specific, not so small group of people that just ruins all of this. Every single one of these people has been male, with almost all of them over the age of 50. They’re classy looking individuals, well dressed and normally well-spoken. They buy moderately priced beverages and just seem like your average older man. They could be your dad, your uncle, your neighbour. And to them, me wearing a headband with festive adornments on it is an open invitation for them to make disgusting sexual comments to me at my counter.

Normally Saturdays would be my favourite day to work because I wear cat ears and all my favourite cat ladies come into the store. They tell me about volunteering at cat shelters and fostering kittens and taking cats for walks in kitten strollers. It’s just a fun experience that I look forward to every week. But that’s ruined as soon as one of these older gentlemen comes into the store.

Oooh, hey there pretty pretty pussy.

Can I pet your pussy?

Has someone been a naught little kitty today? Do I need to punish that pussy?

These are some of the milder ones I’ve heard, too. I’m not sure if these guys actually think I want to hear this crap from them, or if they just don’t care. They seem to genuinely think that I should enjoy being spoken to like that, like I wore cat ears on my head that day just so they would have an excuse to make pussy jokes. What’s worse is, if I don’t play along and talk about along the same disgusting vein as them, they get insulted!

Well what do you expect me to say when you’re all dressed up like that?

Dude, I am literally wearing the exact same thing I wear every single day to work: my uniform. I’m in black jeans, black steel toe boots, and my light blue baggy buttondown shirt with a t-shirt or tank top underneath. The only thing different about today than any other random day throughout the year is the cat ears on top of my head. The CHILDRENS cat ears. Somehow a headband with two little pieces of felt stuck to the top of it suddenly makes my uniform sexual, like I’m walking around in a latex catsuit with a giant sign that says, “Please, sexualize me” hanging around my neck. I’m not doing anything differently than I would normally do. I’m not pawing at customers, reaching for their zippers and fondling them through their pants. I’m standing behind a counter, asking people if they collect Airmiles and giving stickers to small children who are out shopping with their parents.

These men honestly seem upset that I’m not giggling at their comments and blushing while batting my eyelashes at them all flirty and thankful for the attention. If I give them anything less than a giant grin and a wink, they feel the need to tell me how I’m insulting them. I’ve had men lecture me on how “the customer is always right” and “this younger generation is so damn sensitive”. The number of times I had to have one of those disgusting comments followed up with the phrase “back in my day” is just mind-numbing.

It’s not just the cat ears, either. Devil horns seem to bring the perverts out of the woodwork too. Again, I’m wearing all of these things with my regular, everyday uniform. Hell, sometimes I even have a big baggy fleece jacket over that, so I basically look like a giant shapeless black blob with a funky headband.

Oooh, someone’s a horny little devil today.

Damn honey, you’re making me horny!

Someone’s feeling naughty today, aren’t they? Someone need a spanking?

Feeling a little evil today? I can think of a few dirty things we can do to help with that.

Seriously, my headband is not some sort of secret code meant just for you to signal that I want your dick. No, wearing a silly piece of a costume with my uniform isn’t some sort of flashing beacon to show that your perverted comments turn me on. It’s a headband. Just. A. Headband.

These guys seem to get all bent out of shape if I shudder, or make a creeped out face (which I can’t help when the comments get real bad), or actually say something to them about it. In all my years of doing this, only one customer has ever apologized for his comment, and that one was an honest slip of the tongue. We were actually talking about the stupid comments I get, and how mad they make me sometimes, when he said something along the lines of “ya, I can only imagine that if I said something like that, you’d get all evil and spank me or something”. After some blushing and sputtering, he was able to say that he meant to say “slap”, but we had talked about the spanking comments so much that word just slipped out. He apologized, and that was that.

Most of these dudes have a serious problem with me being bothered by their gross, disgusting sexual comments. Almost every single one of them has told me not to get upset at them, that it’s my fault their mind is “in the gutter” because I dressed so “provocatively” and “guys can’t help themselves” because “boys will be boys”. Again, I am wearing very loose-fitting clothing and steel toe work boots, with only my face, neck, and arms below the elbows showing. And I dress like that every day at work. These same guys are usually at least semi-regulars at the store, and see me dressed like this year-round. They never comment in the summer, when I wasn’t wearing any headbands or ears or horns. They don’t comment when I run into them during non-working hours when I’m in my usual jeans, tank top, and a flannel shirt (which shows a tonne more skin than my uniform and would be a much better fit for their “provocative” label). It’s just these damn headbands that a handful of these guys seem to think excuses their disgusting behaviour.

Yes, it’s only a handful of guys. Their whole “guys can’t help themselves” and “boys will be boys” argument is pure crap. I have a tonne of male customers who manage to see me in my uniform daily, with my little cat ears or tiny hats and whatnot, are they are able to be just normal regular customers. I have male customers who are able to comment on my cranium accessories without making me cringe internally. They say things like, “I like your ears” or “hey, cool costume”, or “my kid sister would love that hat, where did you get it”. Most customers just say things like “I like your hat”, or “cool ears”, or “you have something different every day, don’t you”. Some say nothing at all and almost seem to not notice them.

So why does this one small group of men seem to think that they are entitled to make comments that clearly make me uncomfortable? What is it that makes them think that it is perfectly alright to make sexual comments to a random cashier in a store, when it obviously makes her uncomfortable? And what are they expecting to come from these comments?

I would like to be able to get through my workday without fighting the urge to throw up in my mouth because some older dude decided that I’m wearing a tiny hat because I want to hear about how not tiny his dick is. In what world is it acceptable to go into a store and tell a random cashier about your genitals? And the worst part is, it’s not like we can really do much about this. Now, my manager is pretty damn amazing. If he finds out someone is treating his staff in a disrespectful way, he takes care of it. He has banned people from our store for us before. But the guys who feel that they’re entitled to tell me that my headband makes their dick hard are the same pricks who would send off an email to corporate with some over-dramatized story of how a cashier was rude to them and made them feel uncomfortable, all while leaving out any details that make them look any less than a perfect angel. I know that my manager would have my back, but I’m still afraid for my job if I speak up. These guys have a way of thinking the world revolves around them, and like remind others that they should act accordingly.

Now, I want to know what these assholes would do if someone came into their workplace and talked to them the way they talk to me. Can you imagine what they’d say if walked into their office and said something like, “damn boy, those khaki pants really show off how tiny your dick is” or “why you gotta wear a tie like that? You’re such a damn tease”. They would have security throwing my ass out of there so fast, it would make your head spin. So then why is it ok for them to talk like that to me? I hate using this argument (because we’re all people and all deserve respect, no matter how we’re related to men), but what would they do if someone was talking to their mother/daughter/sister/wife like that?Do you really think they’d laugh it off and excuse it?

Well sorry mom, but he obviously thought your bifocals were seductive. Maybe you shouldn’t dress like such a whore?

What do you expect, working the counter at a donut shop? Your brown uniform shirt and all that coffee is obviously going to excite men. You just need to learn to smile and take it as a compliment, sis.

Don’t forget my mother is coming this weekend hun. And don’t let Mr. Jenkins comments bother you. He’s an old man. I’m sure he meant “you look like a tart, and I want to shove my dick in your butt” in the nicest way possible.

Of course not! So then why do they think it’s ok for them to say this shit?

Well, what do you think Sunshine? Is a pair of dollar store cat ears an open invitation for sexual harassment? Should old men be able to talk to cashiers about their genitals and the dirty things they want to do to them? Can men talk to random women like this, just as long as they make sure to tell them that “back in my day, women took this stuff as a compliment and never complained, no matter what we said or did. You kids today are too damn sensitive”? Or am I completely justified in being utterly disgusted with these dirty old men and their harassment?

Everyone’s Favourite Customer

The security gates have been pulled halfway out and the ends locked in place. Most of the cashiers have cashed out for the night, with the last two waiting on the few stragglers wandering the store. The end-of-the-night regulars have come and gone, and the cashiers have started their countdown to the end of the night.

“Four GLORIOUS minutes!”

That’s when he walks in.

“Good evening sir, we’re just getting ready to close for the night. Is there anything I can help you find?”

Grunt is too nice a word for the noise that somehow comes out of his throat, like a dying goat choking on dry oats.

“Looks like I made it just in time then. I know exactly what I want, I’ll be quick.”

But quick, he isn’t. He wants to make sure we have enough time to properly take in his majestic presence. His asscrack peaks out every-so-slightly from his two sizes too large jeans, which have managed to drag down the pot leaf print boxers providing the only barrier between denim and bottom. Those proudly displayed boxers match his slightly too small t-shirt and the filthy crooked trucker hat crookedly perched on his head, both emblazoned with pot leafs. He can almost hear the thoughts of every girl he passes in the store, “Wow, he is such a badass. I bet you he smokes pot. I need that sloppy pile of man meat all over me!”.

He slowly slinks through the aisle, with the swagger of a real suburban gangsta. Picking up each and every bottle, he examines them closely, as if to read each and every work on the back of the bottle. After all, it’s important to know the copywrite details of a winery’s label.

“Sir, the store will be closing in three minutes. Is there anything I can help you find?”

His smell. It’s not something you forget quickly. While the unmistakable smell of weed accompanies his marijuana-themed attire, there is a certain odor about him, a manly musk. It’s a mix of three days gym sweat, Cheeto dust, and a bottle of Axe body spray, and it lingers as he moves down the aisle.

“Yeah, I had this pine nut grigarion the other night at a restaurant and I was looking for it here. Do you have it?”

“I’m sorry sir, is it a pinot grigio you’re looking for?”

“Yeah, that’s it! Pine nut grigarion! All I see here is the white. Do you have a red pine nut grigarion? The one I had was red, but it was definitely a pine nut grigarion.”

He looks at all the pinot grigios in the section, insisting they should be red. He’s shown to the pinot noirs and says they’re not the right wine. He hems and haws over every bottle in the aisle, making sure he finds the exact ‘pine nut girgarion’ he’s looking for, reading every single label. Finally, he finds it: Bodacious Smooth Red. A somewhat sweet, fruity wine, it is nothing close to a pinot anything.

“Attention shoppers. The store will be closing in two minutes. Please bring your purchases up to the front, or ask a customer service representative for assistance. Thank you.”

He wanders around the store, a bottle of red in hand. Strolling into the beer fridge, he seems to have no intention of checking out anytime soon. He carefully picks up and examines random beers, pausing every few steps to pull up his falling trousers. The line-up at the front cash grows longer with last minute shoppers hurrying to leave before the store closes. This man is not among them.

“Sir is there anything I can help you find. We’re getting ready to close up the store now.”

He wanders, seemingly unaware of the employee trying to help him, or of the growing line of people at the checkout, inching his way along the giant wall of coolers. Again, he picks up random cans and bottles, examines them, and puts them back with a sigh.

“Sir? Do you need any help?”

“I’m not really sure what I’m in the mood for. Do you have anything on sale? A sparkling wine? Or maybe a whiskey? I’m not sure what I want. Is there a sale section here?”

Inwardly cringing, you lead him to the very small clearance section in the back of the store. Again, he feels the need to pick up each and every bottle, examining it closely. You stand there, waiting to help him and answer the inevitable questions you know he’ll have for each and every product. He mumbles to himself, staring at each bottle like he’s looking for some sort of hidden message on the label.

“Now this bottle here, with the fancy looking label, what is this? Why is it on sale so much? What does it taste like? Is this anything like the pine nut grigarion here?”

“Sir, that’s whiskey. It tastes like whiskey. It’s on sale because we’re not going to carry that specific brand anymore. It tastes nothing at all like the bottle of wine you have there. Are you looking for something like it? Or is there something else I can get for you? We are trying to close up the store for the night.”

He stares at the bottle again, seemingly having not heard a single word you said. His attention went back and forth between the bottle of whiskey, a bottle of Advocaat, and a can of Four Loko. None of them is anything close to the bottle of white wine masquerading as red he has clutched in his hands.

“This orange stuff here. Is that like, watered down red? Or red mixes with that yellow wine over there?”

He stared at the Advocaat, a liqueur whose thick and creamy base separates from the rest of the liquid when left sitting for more than a minute, wondering what kind of wine it was. The automatic lights above starting turning off, indicating the store was now officially closed. By the light of the emergency light boxes in the corners, he stared at the bottles.

“Sir, it’s a liqueur. It’s not a wine. It’s meant to be mixed with other things, like Sprite. I can bring it up to the front cash if you’d like, but the store is now closed for the night. The cashier is waiting to ring you out, and then we are locking the store for the night.”

“You’re closed? Why didn’t anyone say anything? I thought you guys were open until 9:45 pm! It’s barely 9 pm! You really should’ve told me you were closing, I would’ve just gone to another store. That’s horrible customer service.”

He storms off towards the front of the store, only to be distracted by a shiny object: the foil tops on the sparkling wine bottles. Stopping only a few feet from the cash register, he pushes some bottles back on the shelf, mixing them up into the bottles next to them, and puts his bottles down in their place.  Cautiously, like the top might explode at any moment, he picks up a bottle of sparkling wine and examines it closely.

“Sir, do you want me to bring these up to the cash for you? “

“Now hold on a minute, I’m the customer here! You need me! I’m done shopping when I say I’m done shopping, not when you decide I’m done! I’ll stay here all night if I want to, I’M THE CUSTOMER! I pay your wages! Now, what the hell is is this shiny wine here?”

By now, he’s shaking the bottle violently, inches from your face. His face is a shade of red you’ve never quite seen a human turn. Sweat, emitting that ‘musk’ mixed with Axe, roll down his face and soak through the arm pits of his good marijuana-leaf shirt. Thinking quickly, you try to find a way to calm him down and get him out of the damn store.

“Sir, I don’t mean to seem like I’m rushing you. It’s just that our systems are controlled by our head office. That’s why the lights turned off at exactly 9-o-clock. As a safety precaution, if our registers are not cashed out and turned off by 9:15, our silent alarm is triggered and the police are called. The last time that happened here because a customer was a little indecisive, the police threatened to press charges against him for causing a false alarm to be triggered. I’m just trying to avoid that from happening again. I would hate for you to get yelled at simply for wanted to be sure of your purchases before you buy them.”

It’s a lie. A bold-faced lie that anyone with half a brain could see through. Yes, the lights go out automatically, but the alarm isn’t triggered by not cashing out. You’re sure he’ll see through this, yell at you even more for trying something so obvious just to get him out of the store. He can’t be that stupid that he’d actually believe it.

“Oh, well I didn’t realize that!  You really should have signs posted or something, so customers know! Here’s I’ll run up to the cash right now with my stuff, we don’t need to get the police involved. I have some stuff in my truck they may not like, heh heh.”

He grabs his bottles and scurries off to the register, his ass crack bobbing up and down as he jogs. Finally, you think, we can get him out of here and close! It’s not 8 minutes past close. The tills are normally counted by now, and all that’s left is the safe and paperwork. He puts his bottles up on the counter, finally noticing the young woman behind the counter.

“Well hello there beautiful. Is that smile just for me?”

She grabs the bottles, making idle small talk while trying to scan everything in. Somehow, the Advocaat doesn’t want to ring up.

“Not ringing up? I guess it’s free then! Ha! It’s free then, get it? Because it won’t ring up, you won’t charge me? I figured you needed some good jokes to cheer you up at the end of the night.”

Inwardly cringing at the joke she’s heard at least two dozen times in this shift alone, she smiles and finishes ringing up his purchase. She asks if he has an Aeroplan points card like the register prompts her to do.

“Nope, I’m afraid of flying. They took my plane away. Ha ha! Why? You want me to rack up those miles, take you on a nice vacation?”

She hits ‘no’ on the register, and tells him his total. Purchase bagged and paid for, she tells him to have a good night and asks if he wants his receipt.

“Why, is your phone number on there? It should be. How about I take you out sometime? I could show you a real good time. I’ll even let you pay. That’s what you enlightened bitches like these days, right? That whole pretending you’re equal thing? Come on, I’ll let you buy me a steak, we can split this fancy orange wine here, I’ll show you my sword collection. Sound good little girl?”

You can actually see the poor cashier’s skin starting to crawl. She can’t leave her till or cash out until that man is out the door, for safety reasons, so she’s stuck standing there until he finally wanders out the door. He leans in closer, trying to sweet talk her into leaving the store with him and running off into the darkness together in his 1992 Ford Tempo his mother lets him borrow. Thinking quickly, you pick up the back phone and hit the page button.

“Sarah, Mike’s on the phone. He wants to know why I haven’t let his fiance leave for the night yet.”

“Oh, you’re engaged? I didn’t see a ring. That’s false advertising! You can’t do that to a man! I’m done with this store! You guys have horrible customer service! I’m calling the manager tomorrow and filing a complaint about all of you! I know him personally, you know. We grew up together. He lived next door! He was the best man at my wedding!”

You try as hard as you can to hold your tongue. You know exactly what you want to say to this stinky, sweaty, overgrown man-child standing in front of you.

“Oh, so you grew up in Slovakia with our manager, KAREN? And somehow ended up in the same Canadian city as her, shopping at her store? I’m surprised SHE didn’t mention that! Be sure when you call tomorrow to talk to HER, you don’t get HER confused with whoever the hell you’re talking about right now! Now, sir, we are closed. We have been closed for almost 15 minutes. We told you we were closing, we helped you pick out your booze, and now we’re helping you out the damn door. You can come back during our normal store hours to shop if you want, just don’t do it when I’m here or I’m going to freakin lose it!”

You know you can’t say that though. You’ll only wind him up more, make him stand there and yell even more. So instead, you walk him to the door to let him out, handing him the manager’s card so he can call her in the morning if he really wants to.  You close and lock the doors behind him, and then turn and lean back with a sigh while telling your last cashier to finally cash out. It’s now almost 20 minutes past closing time. As you’re about to pull out the security gates for the night, a pounding on the door makes you jump and turn.

It’s him again.

“Hey, I forgot to get something while I was in there! Let me in, I’ll be real quick! I promise!”

“Sir, we’re closed. All of our registers are turned off for the night, so we can’t make any more sales for today. You can come back tomorrow at 10 am.”

“You can’t be closed, you’re still in there! C’mon, I’ll be really fast! I’ll even pay cash! Just let me in or I’m calling corporate! I’ll get you fired! I’ll have your job for this!”

‘Sure buddy, you do that’ you think, as you pull the gates closed for the night. You head into the office to get your team cashed out and get all the nightly paperwork done. With everyone’s help, you’re able to get it all done in 15 minutes. You set the alarm, grab your things, and head out as a group to the main door to leave for the night. As you open the door, the smell of old BO and Axe Body Spray invades your nostrils again.

“See, you’re not closed! The door is open, just let me in! I’ll be fast, I promise! I just need to grab some vodka, and a few beers, and maybe a gift card too. It’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow, and I didn’t get her anything yet…….”

You tune him out as your turn, lock the doors, and head out into the parking lot with your co-workers. As you roll down your car window before driving off, you can still hear him complaining to no one.

“This is horrible customer service! You’re barely closed! C’mon, just let me in! I know the president of the company, and I’ll sue you! You’re all getting fired for this!”

You drive off into the night, as his tirade fades into the night behind you. Hopefully, he won’t come back tomorrow night.

 

 

*so this is pretty much just an amalgamation of a bunch of different customers and situations I’ve had to deal with closing up the store. It’s the worst of the worst, all rolled into one Super Aweful Customer. 

How Not To Keep Your Job — Update

OK, so things with The Kid got interesting during his last shift.  Aside from snapping at me that he already knew how to do everything (when I was trying to show him how to do something he hadn’t done before), he made a big bunch of glaring errors.  Then, at the end of the night while everyone was cashing out, a few of us ran to the back to throw our uniform shirts in our lockers and change into regular clothes. I had on my jeans and work boots, and a very high-cut tank top (which I made sure showed zero cleavage, since The Kid seemed so nervous even serving a customer with big boobs, let alone having to work alongside a set of Double D’s), and a co-worker threw on a pair of shorts. When the shift leader asked him what he drawer total was, The Kid started to answer, but mid-number he just mumbled and stared at my chest.

Now, I’m used to people staring at my chest. Hell, even I stare at my chest sometimes. It’s damn, near majestic. But The Kid sat there with his jaw dropped open, eyes wide, and was almost drooling while he stared at my non-existent cleavage. I even asked a coworker if maybe my shirt had been pulled down a bit while I was lifting drawers. But it was pulled almost up to my collar bone.

Still, The Kid sat there gape-jawed and silent while the shift leader asked him THREE TIMES what his total was.

The next day, on my laid-back Kid-less Sunday shift, a senior co-worker asked if I noticed any issues with The Kid that we could address. Now, we had been making lists of things he did wrong, not to shame him or get him in trouble, but to make sure we knew what to go over with him the next time he was in. Well this list was more than a page front and back.

Very long story short, the other night The Kid came in for his shift. The Big Boss Man made all the other people getting ready to count their drawers go out and do stock while he and the assistant manager had a “little talk” with The Kid. A few minutes later, The Kid was escorted out of the building, never to be seen again.

The Big Boss Man came around to each of us on shift that night to let us know that The Kid was “no longer under our employment”.

Shocker, I know!

(Actually, my reaction was,”Really? gee, no one saw THAT coming!” in the most Daria-esque sarcastic tone I could muster).

So it turns out, that last post really WAS a list of things to do to make sure you Do Not Keep Your Job.

Hope you’re having a better weekend than The Kid, Sunshine. We have our strike deadline at 12:01am Monday (so tomorrow night), so there may be some Customer Service posts coming up from that. Also, I’m working on a series on files you need to keep. I mean, filing is probably the least fun and sexy thing you can think of right now, but keeping certain things filed away in an orderly manner can save you a RIDICULOUS amount of times sometimes. Time that could be spent on much more fun and sexy things.

How Not To Keep A Job

Good morning Sunshine! Hope you’re having a nice, relaxing Saturday morning. I’m on day 17 or 30 days straight of work this month (unless we wind up going on strike on the 26th, then I’m not technically working if I’m on the picket line), and I’m going right goofy.

For those of you who are new around here, I make my living by professionally peddling the Devil’s Brew in a government-owned retail establishment in a Canadian province (I think putting it that way works around my “social media” clause in my contract).  It may not be the greatest job, or have anything to do with what I went to school for, but it a great fit for me right now. I work with pretty much the greatest staff ever. Other stores have told me they’re jealous of our store, because we all get along so great and we’re like family. This job also gives me time to figure out my life, which I need to do very much so right now. And even though I hate people, I seem to like working with the public.

We have two busy seasons, where people buy a metric shit-tonne of alcohol – Christmas, and the summer. We get a few seasonal workers to come in at these times, kinda round out the schedule and make sure we have enough people on staff every day to keep the store open.  Usually, for a store our size, we would get 4 or 5 people to come in and help. This year especially, we needed that many people due to the possibility of a strike and the public’s usual “what do you mean you may be closed for a few days??now I need to buy CASES of booze to make sure the world doesn’t run out!” panic/ But this summer, through some combination of new management and some sort of curse, we have one. We have The Kid.

The Kid must have interviewed really well, because he’s never had a job in his 22 years. He’s never handled money, or touched a cash register, or dealt with the public. The product of helicopter parenting and a God-complex, The Kid believes that he is the be-all and end-all of cashiers. He even once dubbed himself a “cashier ninja” for his ability to hold up a line while he stood there staring into space and adding numbers in his head (we had to remind him that the cash register does all the adding for him, without uncomfortably staring at customers).

Now, I know that everyone has to start somewhere. The Kid doesn’t want to just “start” though. In his own mind, he knows everything and no one can tell him what to do.When I was just starting out as a cashier at my first job, I brought a notebook and pen and actually took notes on everything I had to do. Hell, even when I started THIS job a few years ago, I brought a notebook and pen to my cashier training and took notes on everything I had to do! Not The Kid, though. He knows everything, even though he knows nothing.

It’s only been a few weeks since The Kid first graced us with his cash-ninja presence, but it feels so much longer. Everyone but him seems to realize that he probably won’t last much longer. The only reason he’s lasted this long is because we are severely short-staffed as it is and we need bodies in the store.

Basically, he’s a walking manual for How Not To Keep A Job.  Here’s just a few of the thrilling lessons he’s given us so far:

1- Stand there. Don’t offer anyone any help. See your coworker with the huge line-up? Don’t let anyone in her line know that you’re open too. Just watch her struggle. Customer has his hands full and needs a basket? Just stand there and watch him drop glass bottles on the floor while there’s a pile of baskets next to you.

2- Stare. At everyone. Customer, coworkers, managers. Don’t say anything, just start at them.

3- Don’t think, just talk. If people are offended, it’s their own fault. Some great random phrases to get the conversation started with your customers: “Wow, you were in here yesterday too. You must be a huge alcoholic.”, “I can’t tell if you’re pregnant or really fat. Should you be buying coolers either way?”, “You’re smelly. You should go take a shower, or not look homeless or something.”

4-Don’t listen to your coworkers. They’re not trying to help you. Sure, they’re telling you what you did wrong and then showing you how to do it properly. And yes,  they’re being very patient with you. Ok, and they keep having to remind you of the same things over and over and over again. Easy things like, “Before you try to log on to a cash register, go sign in and grab your till. You can’t just walk up to a register and start using an empty drawer” I mean, all of this SOUNDS like they’re trying to help you. But they’re not. Don’t listen to them.

5- Go that little extra mile to put a personal touch on things, even if it means breaking all the rules. Coworkers told you to hit “assistance” button when you have a big line or need to use the bathroom or it’s time for your break, so that they know you need help and can come out there and help you? Screw that! You don’t play by conventional rules! Just abandon your post, wander into the back, tell them personally that you need help. That face-to-face contact is sure to impress them!

6-Make sure your coworkers know you’re on to them. Be loud, be forceful Don’t worry about their feelings; they have none. Yell right in their face if you have to. Make sure they know you are smart, and you know everything there is to know about their job, so you really don’t need their help. In fact, they should be asking you for help!

7-You know how every workplace says they have their own policy for breaks? Well, they’re lying because those policies don’t apply to you. Have a huge line-up? Just walk away and take a break! Supposed to buzz for someone to come relieve you for your break? Why bother? Just walk away whenever you want your break! Supposed to take 15 minutes? I’m sure you can reason out a way to take more! “Well by the time I sat in the office for a bit, and then went to the bathroom, and then sat for a few minutes, and then heated up my food, it was 4:15. So technically my break didn’t start until then.” See, just outsmart them!

8-The same goes for the end of your shift. Sure, the boss says he’s the one to tell you when to cash out and finish up your shift, but you know better than him. He says it only takes 5 minutes to do that? You take 25 minutes! Coworkers try to tell you that’s not how things are done? Well screw them! You know better than them! Just ask your mom, who has probably already checked in on your at least once during your shift and is waiting in the parking lot for you 45 minutes early just in case someone is mean to you.

9- When in doubt, get your mom. No one wants someone’s mom not to like them. Have your mom tell everyone how stressed you are, how you stay up at night crying about your job after the second day there. Make sure she tells everyone what a good kid you are, how smart you are, and how special you are. Everyone will listen to your mom and automatically love you.

10- Do things your own way. Sure, the register adds up all the prices you scan, but isn’t it just more fun to add up all the numbers in your head, even if it takes a few extra minutes per customer because you have to scan so slowly? Damn skippy it is! When the boss tells you to stop doing that (apparently it distracts you from stupid things like taking payments, and making change, and checking ID’s to make sure you’re not serving a 15 year old when the legal age is 19), stop for the few minutes he’s watching you, and then get back to doing what you love! Remember, your way is ALWAYS the best way!

 

This is just the short list of things he’s done THIS WEEK. And that’s not counting all the stupid comments he’s made to us. The concept of keeping the doors locked until we opened so that customers couldn’t come in was well beyond his comprehension. He also doesn’t seem to quite realize that “seasonal employment” means that he’s employed for the season, no matter how many times we explain it to him. He has flat out demanded we order him full-time staff uniforms and get him his own locker (instead of the one marked “seasonal staff”).

And I know I sound like a bitch for complaining so much about The Kid. It’s gotten to the point that he’s already made the most patient workers there snap from frustration. Last weekend, I kept rubbing my temples every time he said or did something unbelievably dumb or rude. And I don’t mean he hit a wrong key on the register, or accidentally gave someone an extra dollar with their change. I mean, his 15 minute break was almost 30 minutes; he mocked out plain-clothes security guys for not standing next to him all night to make sure he was safe (which apparently makes them lazy); he refused to ID people, and then refused to log the few ID’s he got in the system (it’s just logging that yes they had ID and what kind they had, for legal purposes). This was on top of his rude comments to staff and customers, his refusal to help anyone with anything, and his flat-out mocking of certain staff members and shift leaders. By the end of the night, I had my nervous twitch back in my left eye, and I had rubbed off my eyebrows and most of my outer eye make-up from rubbing my temples so much. And I’m one of the patient ones, too! Already this week, he’s had multiple private meetings with the boss about the things he’s doing wrong, and he’s almost been fired more than once. And I have one of the most patient bosses ever! Sweet little old grannies have come into the store, dealt with The Kid, and have almost resorted to purse-swinging violence!

He’s worked all week, as we’re trying to prepare him for our own brand of personal hell called “Dealing with customers who are trying to prepare in case we go on strike, and are acting like it’s the coming of the apocalypse”.  We’ve kept him on the early morning shifts to avoid him having to deal with the night rushes and the after-work/pre-party crowd. But tonight, a Saturday night when we’re already short staffed and have a tasting in-store, we also have The Kid with us. I already have my spiked rootbeer chilling in the fridge, and a big bottle of Chilean Cab Sauv staring at me from the counter.

This is going to be one hell of a long summer!

What about you, Sunshine? Have you ever had a coworker who you knew just wasn’t going to work out? Someone who drove you bonkers? Or maybe you’ve dealt with someone like this before and found a way to make it work?  Drop me a comment below, let me know how you handled things…… or let me know the worst of the worst stories you have about that coworker (we could all use a bit of a giggle).