Saturday, January 10, 2009

Exploding Candy, Disappearing Russians and Psych Ward Patients

Now is not the time to start at the beginning. Now is the time to start with today.

This morning I had the distinct pleasure of opening the only plaid that seems to ever close, which meant I was there at 5:50am. I am a night person. I am not at all a morning person. In fact, I am so much not a morning person that I seem to need the threat of immediate termination of employment hanging over my head to get myself to work on time at all.

Care to guess how many customers I had before 9:30am? Four. Just four. None of them spent more than $2, except I think one guy bought lotto tickets... but I doubt those profits go to the store at all. Like usual, they spent more money having me there with the lights on doing absolutely nothing for two and a half hours than they made. Su-fucking-prise!

An attractive young lady around my age came into the store, bought some water and left. I sat down on the counter and turned up the volume on the barely functioning cd/tape cassette player and stared at my reflection in the window. Now locked in a staring contest with my own reflection, I proceded to make faces at the window for about ten minutes. This is how I entertain myself once I've run out of magazines to read.

I would have continued making faces at myself and bobbing my head to whatever awful music I had playing at the moment, save I heard something crack, then pop. I dismissed this as the usual sounds the ice maker, uh, makes. Then it got louder.

I turned my head just in time to see the entire display of boxed candy leave it's post at the side of the Coke cooler.

Damn thing smashed another display and splayed about 250 pieces of merchandise across the floor, not counting the lollipops that thankfully managed to stay within their plastic tub-jar-things. It took about 45 minutes to get it all cleaned up, put in boxes and the rack moved across the shop.

Later I would discover that most of the time when something like that happens, Plaid employees will just leave it there for the manager, claiming "I didn't know what to do with it I'm just a clerk man I ring people up, that's it. Hurf-a-durf." I guess this is why they want to promote me to assistant manager after just a month, an idea that frankly makes my skin crawl. An one dollar an hour pay raise is nowhere near enough to convince me to give half a shit about the store, or be on call to fix things like this for idiots who don't want to do it themselves. I guess the two shits I don't give about the store is already more than other people care about it. Either that or most other clerks must have trouble dressing themselves.

Shortly later, a Russian woman came in, cut in line and stated "MARLBORO LIGHT ONE HUNDRED." I paused, blinked and raised an eyebrow at the person who was next in line. They shrugged, so I grabbed them thar smokes off the rack, and asked "These 'uns?"


"Right on. Six dollars please."


"What? S'cuse?"

"YOU HAVE MATCHES." the look in her eyes was... I can't think of anything to compare it to other than concrete. Cold, dull, lifeless, and fucking hard. I handed her those fucking matches right quick, took her payment and before I could look up to hand her her reciept - POOF. She and her friend were gone. They weren't even outside! Just... gone.

Shortly later, a group of ten to twenty veteran psych ward patients wandered into my Plaid with their lovely, yet startled and disturbed looking handler. The poor thing looked like she was probably around my age, and had a look about her that said "my ass cheeks are black and blue from pinches. I won't be sitting for a month after this."

The first man came up to the counter.

"Hhhhhhhh. Hh. hueemmmememmmmmmurrrfl blermermermermmruuuurg." he muttered. He was saying something, and definitely speaking in English... but was mumbling so heavily that there was no way to decipher a single fucking word.


"Murfcgla ber murmurmurmurmur," he muttered as he handed me his payment




"Mrugha! Heh heh heh heh heh!!" he chuckled, taking his whatever-the-fuck-it-is he bought with him outside and lighting a cigarette.

Most of the other psych ward patients were pretty manageable, except one man who kept trying to cut in line and was behaving as though he was on a nice big dose of speed. I mean, holy shit he wanted to cut in line.

He just wanted to buy cigarillos so much. He wanted them real good.

The only other weirdo was this guy who wanted some "snuss," which is apparently chewing tobacco in a pouch. I was given a free tin of it a while ago and tried it. Surprise surprise, it's fucking nasty! It took a few tries for him to get the word right, 'coz he kept calling it Snuff. As a result I had taken him over to the chewing tobacco rack where the snuff is, and asked him what kind he wanted.

"SOLD COLD SOLD COLD" he blurted, repeating the slogan on the snuss ads. Back to the register we go, and I asked him what kind he wanted. "something not too eeeeeeeehhhhhhhh." Thank you sir. Thank you. Very descriptive.

"We have 'frost' and 'mellow.'" I told him. He picked frost, I rang it up and announced the price, to which he replied "no it's free it's trial offer says right there see look"

"Ohh. I'm sorry man, they're only free if you buy a tobacco product."

"Oh..." he frowned pitifully, "can you just give it to me?"

"I'm sorry man, it doesn't work like that." I replied.

"uhhh... I only have sixty-seven cents can I buy it for that much?"

"No, man, it's five ninty-nine." At this point I was very glad he was the last person in line. Even that cute girl supervising them had bought herself a drink before this sorry case. I noticed she was standing with her back to the wall with a circle of psych-ward-ees standing around her smoking. Smart, I'll bet that kept her ass from getting pinched quite as much, the poor thing.

Snuss man gave up at this point mentioning that he'd be back with money.

He returned no less than five minutes later, but not with money.

Instead he approached the counter and extended his arm with an offering. A small, dingy travel pack of kleenex.

"In case you ever get a tear." he said. Aww, that was kind of sweet. I'm glad he didn't say anything about snot or bloody noses. Or wiping ones ass. (Note: Kleenexes make for awful TP)

"Thank you man, but I'm ok. I've got a box of tissues right here. You go ahead and keep that incase you ever get a tear, ok?"

"Oh, ok. I can has snuss now?" he asked.

God damnit, he was trying to barter for the snuss. First of all, barter is not an acceptable form of trade at most convenience stores. Second, the difference in value was just so gre... dude he said "I can has snuss nao" holy shit I didn't even put two and two together whoa.

I had a lulzpsychwardpatient in my store today.

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