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26 November 2008

It's that time of year again. (This is a venting post) [More:] When one's thoughts turn to turkey and swell times with the family and pumpkin pie and all that shit. Of course, if you work in retail, it's a whole other story. This is the time when the bats come out of the damn woodwork. Down at the Famous Used Bookstore the regulars are enough of a handful, but now we have to deal with all the yutzes who've never been in a non-chain bookstore (or even a bookstore) before and who don't understand rules and procedures and get all pissy about having to wait in line or stunned that their frayed copy of The Pelican Brief only worth a buck (I'm not exaggerating). We have a door at the side of the store with a sign saying "NOT AN ENTRANCE - UNLESS YOU ARE SELLING BOOKS." Late this afternoon a one-armed man (you heard me)walked through it. My co-worker Micah told the guy that entrance was for sellers only and to use the front door next time. 15 minutes later the guy came through the side door again, and then ten minutes later and he gaveMicah a dirty look when I did. "I think he wants to fight me," Micah said. "I think you'd have the advantage, dude," I told him. It's not everday you get to seriously consider beating up amputees.

We also had a visit from a once-every-three-months dude we call the King Of Brooklyn. He wears what has to be a hot toupee, as in he stole it of someone else's head and decided that it looked good enough and he should wear it. In reality it looks just like the hair on Lego people only less natural. He also a voice as loud as a bullhorn and some kind of mental glitch where every other sentence (literally) is "I'm from Brooklyn!" followed by either "Ebbets Field!" or the name of a Dodgers star of yore. "I have some books to sell. I'M FROM BROOKLYN! DUKE SNIDER!" They were mostly batter paperbacks. "We only take mass market paperbacks in new condition sir." "Really? I'M FROM BROOKLYN! JACKIE ROBINSON!" and on and on and on (at peak volume), until the store's owner, a normally reserved if crabby 80-year old man bellowed, "I'm from the Bronx and I don't care where you're from so pipe down!" "The Bronx? I'M FROM BROOKLYN! You probably rooted against the Dodgers...."

Oy gevalt. And of course there was the usual parade of smelly stewbums, attic-cleaning hausfraus, neurotic managers, discontented co-workers etc. only more so. And this is just a preview, Friday's when all hell breaks loose*. That day I'm coming to work with a football helmet and brass knuckles.

So for those of you in the Nametag Nation, here's some appropriate music.

*Thankfully we're not doing any of that 'open at 4am' early bird special jazz. If that's your idea of fun, seek help.
The one-armed man just makes me think of either Monty Python "It's only a flesh wound" - or the One-Armed-Man in Twin Peaks.

I'm also suprised that the Pelican Brief paperback was worth $1. A whole dollar?
posted by jonathanstrange 26 November | 20:37
"I have some books to sell. I'M FROM BROOKLYN! DUKE SNIDER!"

I have nothing to say besides the fact that this is making me laugh and laugh and laugh.
posted by scody 26 November | 21:15
The first time it's funny. The second or third time you deal with this guy you start wanting to take him to the damn bridge and throw him off.
posted by jonmc 26 November | 21:20
I feel for you, man. I think this is the first time in about six years I haven't had to work the morning after Thanksgiving. Retail really puts a damper on the ol' "holiday cheer."
posted by wimpdork 26 November | 21:35
How is it that you deal with more crazy people than a mental ward?
posted by puke & cry 26 November | 21:47
p&c: I work in New York. As Chris Offutt once said, half of New York's inhabitatnts are crazy and the other half are therapists.
posted by jonmc 26 November | 21:50
you start wanting to take him to the damn bridge and throw him off

posted by scody 26 November | 22:02
...half of New York's inhabitants are crazy and the other half are [crazy] therapists.

NYC is the most amazing place. My nerves don't handle the city well but oh how I would love to encounter the kind of characters you do jonmc.

Where I am now, in Northern New England, the wackiest people I see are usually not from 'round here. One woman, FROM BROOKLYN! visited a close friend of mine for a week of camping. She wouldn't bath in the lake for fear of getting the water in her mouth because, while it was okay for us backwater hicks, she hadn't built up an immunity to it. Well EXCUSE US for not installing a bath-house, just for her!

Oh, how I love people from Park Slope!
posted by MonkeyButter 26 November | 22:23
Daughter the First used to work for VZ wireless as in-store customer service. There was an older 'gentleman' who was clearly off his rocker that would wander into the store from time to time. He ask some bizarre question, then leave without trouble.

One day the customers were stacked like cord wood when he came in. He stood quietly at the end of one line for a while but it didn't take too long for his patience to run out. He shouted, "I need a phone to contact the Klingon spaceship in orbit so I can take over the world!"

Dead silence.

Daughter the First finally speaks up, "I'm sorry sir but we are all out of those phones." He thought for a moment, thanked her then left the store.
posted by trinity8-director 27 November | 00:04
Too bad he wasn't from Queens. He could have shouted "Citi/Taxpayer Field!" and "Mookie Wilson!"
posted by lukemeister 27 November | 00:48
LOL trinity8.

It must be so blissful, to be nuts in the city. You don't worry about anything you just ARE.
posted by chewatadistance 27 November | 09:15
My heart goes out to you, jon, and to all the retail bunnies. Back in Canuckia, Boxing Day is the craziest retail day of the year. I usually quit before xmas, except for the few years I worked in the warehouse at a big record store. We'd have finished our work on the 24th (if it's not on the floor, we haven't done our job), but would be fired if we didn't work on crazy day, so we'd all sit around in the warehouse, drinking.
posted by elizard 27 November | 09:50
Aww, you poor americans should become more european. Have many days off, pay a lot of taxes. It's great.
posted by jouke 27 November | 17:19
Some students left me a present today. || Love to eat the turkey like a good boy should