Random Loiterer: “Hi!”
RL: “I’m looking for a comic but I don’t know the name.”
Me: “That’s pretty common. Is it a superhero comic? A memoir?”
RL: “It’s got a giant white background on the cover.”
This is absolutely, in no way helpful.
Me: “Anything else?”
RL: “These two brown chicks with huge knockers and asses bigger than their heads.”
I grit my teeth until pieces of them fall on the keyboard. “Can’t help you there.”
RL: “It’s called, like Ass Jihad or something.”
Me: “I’ve never heard of it.”
RL: “Well, at the beginning of the comic, there’s two chicks, right, and they’re—”
Me: “We don’t have it, and I’ve never heard of it. The adult section is right over there if you’d like to see what sort of material we have.”
RL “There’s this one scene where—”
Me: “I’m not interested.” Smile.
RL: “Ok, WOW! Cannibal Orgy? Have you read this?”
Me: “No. It’s not really my thing.”
RL: “Man, I’d love it if this crossed over with Ass Jihad.”
Me: “I bet.”
RL: “Is that a thing? Does it exist?”
I’m clearly being trolled. “No.”
I hear a slight ripping sound. ”Hey, this comic is damaged. How much can I get off of this?”
I sigh. ”Nothing.” We have no I Just Ripped This So I Can Rip You Off Discounts. Not even on Porn.
RL, waving the book in my face, “But it’s ripped! Ripped.”
Me: “That makes it collectible.”
Me: “Yea, we should probably charge more for it.”
He spends the next about five minutes or so creating a pile of select adult books, and then brings a huge pile to the counter. ”How much are these?”
I ring them through and give him a total.
"Not bad." He says. "I wish I had money."
Me: “Thank you for calling Store Name, how may I help you?”
Person On Phone: “Is this a book store.”
Me: “It’s a comic book store.”
PoP: “You mean a travel store?”
Me: “Nope. a comic book store. Are you looking for The Globe Book Store?”
Me: “Sadly, it went out of business.”
PoP: “And you vultures just swooped right on it and don’t even stock the same thing.”
I should have just hung up on her. Instead, I said “Actually, I believe we were here before they were. I’m not 100% sure of that, but we’ve been here for forty years.”
PoP: “You have not. I’m not even forty years old. I’ve been here longer than the store.”
Me: “Nope. You haven’t. Neither have I. Anyway, The Globe Store used to be up a block and on the other side of the street from us.”
PoP: “Nuh uh. It was right where you are.”
Me: “Nope. I shopped there. They were definitely up the street from us. Sorry.”
PoP: “Well, NOW WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?”
Hang up and sell your voice to an alarm clock company? “Well, they still host events at An Alternate Bookstore A Little Down The Road. Would you like their number?”
PoP: “No. I’m not going all the way down the street. Where’s the travel book store closest to you?”
Me: “There isn’t one any more.”
PoP: “There HAS TO BE.”
Me: “Well, I wish you luck finding it. I haven’t seen one since The Globe closed.”
PoP: “You’re yanking my chain.”
I don’t respond.
I don’t respond.
PoP: “Well, I hope you go out of business.”
I do not respond.
PoP: Growls and hangs up.
About twenty minutes later, I am in the middle of helping a couple of customers when this disheveled woman with a thousand bags on each arm walks in. “EXCUSE ME. Can you tell me where The Globe Bookstore is?”
I just stare at her.
I just stare at her.
"Do you SPEAK ENGLISH?"
I barely restrain laughter while continuing to stare at her.
"People in this town are so FUCKEN rude!" And she walks out of the store.
I don’t know where she’s from but I hope she gets back there safely, and never leaves that town again.
A Random Loiterer walks into the store. She’s in her early twenties, brown hair, and glasses. I’ve seen her before. She usually leafs through a manga book or two, and then leaves without buying anything. Some days she doesn’t make eye contact. Other days, she maniacally tells me all about ice cream or how much she really loves kittens. Today, she was in full-blown manic mode.
RL: OMG, I read the best Deathnote/Justin Bieber slash yesterday.
Me: Wait. There is ENOUGH Deathnote/Justin Bieber slash to qualify some of it being better than the rest of it.
RL: Yea, it’s awesome. (She starts describing something that can’t possibly be considered awesome by someone without visible lobotomy scars.)
Me: Please stop. Do you understand what you’ve done?
RL stares at me.
Me: You’ve made the prospect of Justin Beiber’s death boring. You’ve taken the joy out of something that’s meant to be beautiful.
RL continues to stare.
Me: I realize it’s not entirely your fault. I mean, you haven’t WRITTEN any Deatnote/Bieber slash have you?
RL continues to stare.
Me: Oh, no. Oh no. (And then I laughed in a friendly manner, as though I found the situation funnier than it was awful.)
(RL smiles and walks back over to the manga shelves, occasionally looking at me as though *I* was the one with something wrong with me.)
I don’t think I’ve ever told a customer that what they’re looking for is “directly to your right” and not had them turn a hard left and look high in the air. Over time, I started to wonder if it wasn’t them, if, perhaps, I’ve always confused my right and left. I have made the “L” with my left hand, I have looked it up online. It isn’t me.
Tonight, someone asked me where the Mad Magazines were. He was standing directly in front of them. So I said “They’re right in front of you.” AND HE TURNED AROUND AND LOOKED UP ON THE WALL. And continued to scan the wall. The wall contains only four posters. There are no comics, and no magazines on it. So I said “Now they’re behind you.” And he turned around IN A COMPLETE CIRCLE and started looking to his right and left. As though, perhaps, the reason the magazines were now behind him was not because HE had moved but because THE MAGAZINES THEMSELVES were dancing around him.
I entered a state of shock. So he came in my direction and stood in front of me, perhaps thinking I couldn’t tell the difference between the two of us and when I said “They’re right in front of you.” I meant “They’re right in front of me.”
I ended up just walking him back to where he started from and pointing at them like I was The Ghost Of Christmas Fucken Future.
You know the future, right? It’s directly behind you.