Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Eat? Perhaps...But Must They Shop Here?

For Jupiter's sake, Don't! Oh, my blather all says NO, but the image screams the YES.

Via That Girl Who Writes Stuff, I was led to Bookstore Lore's employee-compiled list of the "Most Stupid Questions Ever". I was reminded of a pal of mine who toiled long years in the grocery wars, the stores which must be acknowledged as the drift net, catch-all for the populace. As she often sighed and lamented, "Everybody's gotta eat."

Among challenging ventures requiring extensive knowledge and skill, I've also been employed in many that didn't require so much. These, often "customer-facing" positions, I call my dumb jobs. There are legit reasons why people being served seem distracted or clueless. The day's excessive frustrations may already have worn down their allotment of civility and patience. But rude, narcissistic dunderheadedness, perceived by staff as a modus operandi rather than an aberration, is why most of us who've had dumb jobs think people suck.

Just generally, of course, and not you specifically. Never ever.

As the entries plink away, it's like a mosaic of a typical day, minus the satisfactions, unless you're detached enough to be amused by this stuff while it's flying at your head. Selected excerpts from the bookstore annals:

  • You don’t have any can openers, do you?
  • HEY! Do you have those cardboard covers for décor that look like books?
  • UH! Do you have books or just paperbacks??
  • Who do I make the check out to? You?
  • Where’s a good place to eat? I really like cheap but good Japanese food you know or Chinese like that but not too far away you know and for maybe six bucks each---oh well could you write it down and draw a little map? I’m not from around here myself.
  • I don’t know the author or the title, but it’s green and about so big.
  • [Sales tax protest from ferriner] Tex? tex? tex iss for those who liff here. Tex for me iss shtupit. Do you have stems? Why sell the carts without stems? And enfelopes? Why not have enfelopes? And pens? A little writing paper would help. But no tex on these things. Not for me. I don’t liff here.
  • Do you have John le Carré on the shelf? Well you’d better take him down. Ha ha ha hahaha….
  • Do I look like a zombie to you? (No. Why?) Ohhhhh, I dunno.
  • The back cover of this book is bent. Can I have a dollar off? It's a gift you see.
  • waving at the computer section, he asks, is this as far as it goes in terms of human advancement?

One does wonder. I think their frequent customer referrals to the liquor store on the corner are appropriate. Still, I was surprised there wasn't more about trying to pass expired coupons, insisting items were located where they never were, and trying to return used products from other stores like at my furniture gig, where someone wanted to return an open box of Band-Aids for cash.

Read them all. It's a vicarious ride through someone else's hell. Jean-Paul Sartre's, I think.

1 comment:

tom l said...

oh there's more, but "trying to return an open box of bandaids for cash?" at a furniture store? priceless!