Because of Labor Day, my schedule is a little off, so I decide to make up the New Release Board today, but because it is somewhat busy, and I am by myself, instead of doing it over by the back issues, I clear off the counter and do it by the register.
A Random Loiterer comes up just as I've written down the month, and leans on the board, smudging the date that I just finished writing.
Me: "Please don't lean or put anything on the counter. I'm writing on this, and I don't want to have to start over later."
RL: "Of course."
He wanders around the store a bit, grabs a Humanoid book (which are the few books that don't have prices on them), plops it on the words I have just finished writing and asks "How much is this?"
Me: "29.99. Could you please not touch this board I'm writing on? This is the second time I've had to redo something because you put your book or your arm on something I just finished writing."
RL: "Of course."
He puts the book down, wanders around the store for five minutes, picks up another book, and walks toward the counter, putting the boo--
Me: "DON'T PUT YOUR BOOK ON THE BOARD."
--k in the middle of the board, smudging the entire thing.
RL: "Sorry. How much is this?"
Me: "A Thousand Dollars."
Me: "Really. Forty dollars for the book, nine hundred and sixty dollars because this is the third time I've had to start this over. Don't. Touch. The. Counter. Don't. Put. Your. Books. On. The. Board."
RL: "Sorry. I didn't know."
Actual Customer: "Dude, he told you at least three times."
RL: "I guess I wasn't listening."
Me: "Well, as long as you don't put anything on my board again, I'll discount the book back to $39.99"
RL: "Oh, I don't have any money with me. I'm just making my Christmas list."
He leaves, leaving the book on the board.
I wait until I see him walk by the window before saying "You get nothing you Naughty List Dwelling Motherfucker."
AC collapses with laughter into shelf, knocking over a Batwoman Action Figure.
AC: "Oh shit. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
Me: "It's cool. That was clearly an accident, and partially my fault. You're still on the Nice List."
AC: "That's not what my girlfriend's going to say if I come home with this book."
Dude Who Came In Earlier Trying To Convince Me And My Coworker That Our Owner Needed To Go Into Business With Him So He Could Make Millions Selling Toys Online Which Would Be Cool I Guess If We Had More Than A Handful Of Toys To Sell: "Did I leave my keys here?"
Me: "No. Sorry."
Dude: "Can you give me the building manager's number?"
Me: "I don't know it."
Dude: "What about the guy who locks the building at night."
Me: "That's me."
Dude: "Ok. What's the manager of the phone store's number?"
Me: "I have no idea. They're closed?"
Dude: "Yeeeeeeea. The lights are off. I think I left my keys on the counter up there."
Me: "That sucks. But I'm sorry, I don't have any contact numbers for them."
Dude: "Who do you call when you don't have keys and have to get into the building?"
Me: "A coworker here. Or I wait for another business to open. I never have to open before one of the ther businesses open, so I've never needed any of their numbers. Sorry."
Dude: "Can you call them, then?"
Me: "I don't have their numbers. I don't even know any of their names."
Dude: "I am so fucked."
Me: "Are those your keys hanging off your belt?"
As he walks up the stairs, he mutters "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I need a nap."
My Very Patient Coworker came in to pick up some paperwork. While he was in the store Baron Von Poopypants came in. I was in the midst of unpacking boxes, which has never deterred him from talking at me.
BvP: Flash comics are really selling, huh?
BvP: Do you think it's because of the TV show?
BvP: I think so, too. I called yesterday, and your coworker said you didn't have the Gee-off Johns run but she pronounced it funny.
Me: It's pronounced "Jeff".
BvP: But it's spelled Gee-off.
BvP: I think Zoom is the best villain because he's not really a rogue, you know? He sort of does his own thing. Not like the rogues, you know?
BvP: I've been reading the Gee-off Jones run because he did Rebirth and Rebirth is one of the best selling Flash stories, right?
BvP: You could say that the Flash has really *flown* off the shelves. Get it? Because he's so fast.
Me: But he doesn't fly. he runs.
My coworker chuckles on the other side of the shelf.
BvP: I guess. Have you ever read any Gee-off Jones books.
BvP: You should. He's really good.
My coworker made his way around the shelves and BvP stood directly in front of him, staring at a shirt hanging from the ceiling.
Coworker: Excuse me.
BvP stands, agog.
Coworker rolls his eyes, and walks around him.
BvP: I'll be going now.
Proceeds to stand in place.
I don't get why anyone likes Fried Green Tomatoes. I didn't understand what it was trying to say, and it took me seven hours to clean it out of the machine.
Guy comes in to the store and, without so much as a hello, says: "I saw The Simpsons in the window."
"Yea." I say, leading him to The Simpsons comic stack.
Guy: "So these are like the TV shows?"
Me: "No. These are different stories, but with the characters you know from the TV show."
Guy: "Because they're real people?"
Guy: "They're about the guy that made them."
Me: "Not really? Matt Groening is a cartoonist. He got famous for his 'Life In Hell' strips."
Guy: "Yea, in the 60s. Before my time."
Me: "No." "No. In the 80s."
Guy: "So you just take these and put them in your VCR?"
Me: "What? No. They're books. You read them."
Guy: "Oh. I don't really read."
Guy: "I was looking for videos. Peace."
Random guy Looking At Back Issues: "Did he really just ask you if you put books in a VCR."
Me: "He did. After opening it, and seeing it was a book."
RG: "I've been having what I thought was a Stupid Day, and getting down on myself, but I feel So Much Better now. Should I go out and thank him?"
Me: "That's your business."
Coworker: How is today going?
Me: A little slow. I feel behind.
Cw: How come?
Me: My hand is bothering me.
Cw: What did you do to it?
Me: Got old.
Cw: Ah. Did you sell any books?
Me: Yea. (goes down the list) And we're sold out of Killing & Dying.
Cw: We should have three more copies.
Me: We don't.
Cw: It's over with the rest of the Hickman books.
Me: No. That's The Dying & The Dead, this was Killing & Dying. We're sold out of it.
Cw: The Rucka book? What volume?
Me: That's Kill Or Be Killed. Killing & Dying is by Adrian Tomine.
Cw: I don't think we have any more copies of that.
Me: WE DON'T. I've been trying to tell you that.
Random Customer: I don't know why anyone reads Marvel comics. They're so expensive.
Me: They're the same price as almost all comics.
RC: No. DC comics are a dollar cheaper.
Me: No. DC relaunched them at a dollar cheaper, but they came out twice a month, so it was more expensive to collect them. And then they bumped the price up, so now they are the same price but ship twice as often, so it's twice as expensive to collect most of their books.
Me: Check the cover. Almost all of the titles that people read are now $3.99 just like Marvel.
RC: Then why does everyone say DC is cheaper?
Me: Because marketing is more powerful than truth.
Me: Back to your original question,a lot of people read Marvel because those are the stories they like. The same reason people should read DC comics or Image comics or Boom comics or anything else. Read what you enjoy, not what's cheapest. When DC comics were $2.99, they were a few pages shorter but with the same amount of ads.
RC: They were not.
RC: You're a Marvel guy, I guess?
Me: I'm a Read Comics I Like guy. Right now it's mainly Image and some Marvel stuff. But back around Blackest Night, I was buying mostly DC.
RC: So you have no loyalty?
Me: Nope. There are so many comics out, why would you waste time and money on a series you're not enjoying? I'd rather spend an extra dollar for something I'm enjoying or just not buy anything at all than spend money on dull story, in the name of saving a buck.
RC walks over to the shelves, gets a couple of All-Star Batman issues, and comes back to the counter.
RC: Are these any good?
Me: I haven't been reading it, but the people who liked Snyder's Batman run have been really enjoying it.
RC: Do you think it sucks?
Me: I haven't been reading it.
RC: Because it sucks?
Me: I have no idea. I haven't read it. It sells well. Nobody has told me that it sucks.
RC: That sounds like it sucks but you want me to buy it.
Me: I want you to buy whatever makes you happy.
RC glares at me, walks back to the shelves (leaving the comics on the counter, natch), picks up some more comics, puts them down, and leaves. Because nothing makes him happy.
Two weeks before someone asked me if the autographed copy of Brad Meltzer's "I Am George Washington" was autographed by George Washington. When I explained that it was autographed by the author, not the subject of the book, they shook their head and said "I suppose the Abraham Lincoln book isn't signed by Abraham Lincoln, either."
No. No it is not.
Good to know Mondays haven't changed.
Random Customer: I'm here to clear up a matter.
RC: Someone from this store keep calling me about an X-Men book that I didn't order.
Me: That's odd.I wonder how we got your number if you didn't order anything from us.
RC: I ordered a comic book called Archangel. but I keep getting calls about an X-Men book.
Me: Oh, I remember you. Yea. You ordered the comics, and mentioned wanting to get the early X-Men stuff, and we went through the website, found the book you were looking for, and ordered it. That's what this book is, the one we ordered together.
RC: I don't remember that. I don't even like the X-Men.
Me: We didn't spend a half hour where you went through all the X-Men books you used to own, and how sad you were that your wife made you sell them, and how you were trying to track down all the stories you'd lost? Because you look a lot like the guy I talked to.
RC: I did used to collect the X-Men but I don't remember that.
Me: Huh. Ok. It's weird that we would have wrote down one book that you did order and one book that you didn't want.
RC: I just don't like the newer comics.
Me: This collects the early issues from the 1960s. It's not new material.
RC: Can I look at that?
Me: Of course. You ordered it.
RC: I don't think I did. But this is exactly the stuff I've been looking for. I'll take it.
My eyes roll back so far in my head that I nearly step on them.
Dude (not from today's date): Tru Test Time. What are your cat's names?
Me: Selina Ribcage and Motherfucker Goose.
Dude: Are those shelter names?
Me: Nope. I named them.
Dude: Why? There are so many Good Christian Names.
Me: Have you ever met a cat? They're all atheists.
Dude: Are you an atheist?
Me: Depends how my week is going.
Dude: Ya sound like a pussy nihilist to me.
Me: You sound like you spend a lot of time wondering why guys block you on dating sites.
Dude: I can't tell if you're being ironic.
Me: Sounds like a learning disability. Good luck.
Dude: How do you feel about the Bacchae?
Me: I'm more of an Ananke guy.
Dude: Fuck. Yea, you should just block me. I'm not on here very often, and I I only pick fights with people I think can keep up.
Me: I figured both of those things, but wanted to do my research before I blocked you.
Dude: And good day to you, sir.
Dude: "So what have you read lately?"
Me: "I've spent most of this month editing, so...nothing of consequence."
Dude: "I c."
Me: "Ugh. Really? Are you being charged by letter?"
Dude: "Sorry, Mr. Editor."
Me: "That will be on my tombstone. But 'editor' will be in quotation marks, leaving generations to wonder if it's sarcasm."
Dude: "Tombstone? It's 2017. Get cremated like an adult."
Me: "You can be cremated and have a tombstone. In fact, your whole family can fit in the size of a seventeenth century grave."
Dude: "Not me. I come from a long line of obese people."
Me: "Don't you mean a wide line?"
Dude: "Jesus Christ! That doesn't even make sense."
Me: "Again with the pro-Christianity. Why are you still bothering me?"
Dude: "I think you're pretty."
Me: "You are keeping me from getting actual work done. Unless you have something hilarious in the next three messages, I'm going to have to actually block you."
He sends a dick pic.
Me: "That's more tragic than funny, but I understand how you might confuse the two."
And then I blocked him.
Baron Von Poopypants IV was waiting when I got to the store at 10:30. (we open at 11:00). I came into the store, abruptly closed the door behind me, and turned on the computer.
While I wrestled with the computer (Not reading Drive C Abort, Retry, Fail?), he knocked on the door, then went back outside and smoked, presumably to deaden his sense of smell.
At 11:00, I, begrudgingly, opened the door.
BvPP4: "I did it. I cleaned out all my comics?"
Me: "You wiped all of your mom's Cheeto fingerprints?"
This isn't a weirdly specific mom diss. He has told me on multiple occasions that his mom reads his comics (not likely) while eating Cheetos (further unlikely).
BvPP4: "No. I took all the books that I bought for nostalgia purposes or that I bought to be greedy and I threw them away. I should have probably sold them or given them away but last time I brought a big briefcase" a plastic shopping bag "to the store in Arlington, and they said they couldn't sell them." because of the Cheetos "because of the Cheetos fingerprints."
Two other people come in and surround the counter, which can't be a good sign.
Person 1: "I want to make a zine."
Me: "Ok. We buy local comics at half of cover price, as opposed to commission. Depending on what our stock is like, and the price point, we tend to just buy 3-5 copies of a title."
P1: "What should we make it about?"
Person 2: "I think it should be about a snake boy with eye lasers who fights, like, dragons, and tigers, and sheep."
The phone rings.
Me: "Excuse me a minute."
Person On Phone: "I'm looking to sell some comics. Do you buy comics?"
Me: "It depends on what the comics are."
PoP: "Well, my grandfather won a purple heart." Jesus. "And he was really proud of his collection and left it to my kids as an inheritance but I want to sell them, in case they aren't worth anything." Fuck. "How much do you think they would go for?"
Me: "Well, I don't know what they are, and what condition they're in, and I'm not the buyer. Your best bet would be to call back Wednesday after 6pm or Friday during the day,"
PoP: "But what if I wanted to get rid of them now?"
P2: "Maybe he would fly and have x-ray vision."
P1: "He can't have x-ray vision AND laser eyes."
Me: "Sorry, I can't help you You're going to have to call back Wednesday or Friday."
PoP: "I've had them appraised. They're worth a lot of money. I just don't want to go with my first offer, you know?"
I thought they might not be worth anything and you wanted to get rid of them right now.
Me: "I can't help you. Try Wednesday or Friday. Good luck."
I hang up the phone.
BvPP: "Do you know what happened to Shrike or Artemis? They were my favorite comics. Remember when Artemis was Wonder Woman? Did you like that run? Or when they thought Boone died but he came back as Shrike. But then they didn't really do anything with them."
Me: "I don't remember those runs." I do, actually.
Me: "So, I'm not the person to talk to about making comics I don't make them. But there's a group that meets once a week here in Cambridge" and they're going to hate me for giving you their info because you're both nuts "called The Comics Roundtable who all create comics, and they might be able to help you figure out what kind of comic you want to make, how you want to distribute it, and all that."
P2:"Do you think the snake boy should have laser eyes or x-ray vision?"
BvPP: "How do you feel about black and white comics?"
BvPP: "They don't turn me on. Do they turn you on?"
P1: "Laser eyes."
BvPP: "I might buy this Wonder Woman book but it has newspaper pages. I don't like newspaper pages do you?"
I type the store number into GChat and call the store.
Me (to Me): "Hi. Yes? I have custo---oh, yea, ok. Sure thing."
Me (to BvPP, P1 & P2): "Sorry, I have to do some inventory. They have questions at the warehouse."
BvPP: "You have a warehouse?"
Me: Not really. "Yes."
P1: "How do we meet the Round People Comics?"
Me: "Comics Round Table." I write it down on a business card. But not in my usual handwriting, in case I have to blame someone else later. "They have a website. Good luck."
I take the phone over to the back issues and start blindly flipping through them.
P1 and P2 leave, talking about going to the library to do research. Presumably on laser-eyed snakes. BvPP shark circles the store a few times before announcing that he might come back to buy things later.
When he and most of his funk have departed, I go back to the counter. The phone rings.
It is the same stupid Giggly Robot that has called every week, trying to get us to buy something: "Tee-hee. Sorry, I dropped the ph--"
Me: "DIE ROBOT SCUM!"
GR: "Tee-hee. I'm not a rob--"
I hang up the phone.
So, my vacation is off to a great start.