A couple of lowkey, youngish teenagers come in and begin walking around and checking prices on things.
About a minute later, a woman in a non-matching Canadian Tuxedo (washed light on bottom, dark on top) cawed into the store.
Canadian Tuxedo: "You wanna buy some squishamallows?"
Me: "I'm sorry, you're going to have to put on a mask."
CT: "No, it's fine. I've been vaccinated."
Me: "You still need to put on a mask."
CT: "No, I --"
Young Teenager #1: "Mom. Shut up and put on your mask or leave."
CT: "Touchy Touchy." She puts on her mask. "Squishamallows. I got a stack a squishamallows, I can get them to you for cheap."
YT1: "Those are my squishamallows. They are not for sale."
CT: "Sure they are. They're like Beanie Babies, you got to get in and get out before they're not worth anything. I bet this guy would love to buy the whole stack of squishamallows."
Me: "Sorry. We're not buying squishamallows right now. Or ever, really."
CT: "Oh, you gotta buy squishamallows. They're the Next Big Thing."
CT: "We've got old manga, too. You need to buy any manga?"
Me: "Get me a list of what you have. If it's anything we need, we might buy it. But it won't be for much. Maybe $3 or $4 per book, most likely."
CT: "Oh no, these ones are worth a lot of money. You're gonna die when you see what we've got. They're so valuable. Mint condition."
Me: "Great. Get us a list and maybe some photos, and I'll let you know if we're interested."
CT: "Are you hiring?"
CT: "Not even for the summer? Oh, it's not for me. I mean, no offense, but I've got a much better job. It's for my daughter. She's very experienced she's got five years experience working at IDUGjhDGF,jDfgMNF."
Her daughter is MAYBE 15, probably 14. She shouldn't have five years working anywhere.
Me: "We're not hiring at all."
CT: "Well, I can leave you my card. That will change in a few weeks. It gets busy in the summer, and you'll wish you had someone like my daughter working here."
She sees that I have a box of food to my left. I had just had lunch dropped off when they'd shown up.
CT: "Oh, I didn't know you were eating lunch. I'm sorry. Is it from Bridge Pizza?"
CT: "Do you ever order from Bridge Pizza?"
Me: "I'm not familiar with them."
CT: "Oh, they're the best. Two pizzas for $17. Large pizzas, not the small ones. And the people there are so nice. And it's local. You should be supporting local businesses, not ordering from chains and what not."
Me: "This is from Wrapture, which is about a block and a half that way. Very local."
CT: "Well Bridge is the best pizza in town. And they're gentlemen. Not like these other place, you know?"
CT: "When do you work?"
Me: "Constantly. There's no schedule though. I'm just here when I'm here."
This is a Complete Lie.
CT: "So if I come in in, say, a few weeks, you'll be here eating Bridge pizza and ready to buy our manga."
Me: "You never know."
CT: "Ok. Well, we've got to go. We don't need anything here right now. No offense."
Me: "None taken."
CT: "Last chance. A whole stack of squishamallows for a Very Reasonable price."
Me: "Thanks, but we're not buying squishamallows right now."
CT: "Hmph. Your loss."
The nearest place called Bridge Pizza is about a half an hour drive on the highway.
While I'm away, Comrade is playing the role of me in Harvard Square.
Insomnia Cookie Employee 1, eating a cookie his coworker just made: "This is underbaked, m'dude."
Insomnia Cookie Employee 2: "They're the best that way. Insomnia cookies is the top of the underbaked cookie game."
Comrade: "Insomnia Cookies , where the cookies are less baked than the staff."
"Come on girls, get those butts up, and down, and UP, and DOWN. Whose children are these, ladies? They're not our children, right? They're Destiny's Children. All the single ladies know what I mean, right? OOOT! OOOT! I wanna see you racing around those living rooms like You're Aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive. Yea, I Sia! WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOO!"
So, the art of improv is alive and well at the yoga studio beneath our store.
I posted a while ago about the Optimistic Reviewer I've encountered who gives almost everything five stars, including books that she never actually read because she ordered it online, and it didn't arrive.
This was today's gem:
"Honestly, I picked up this book at the library because no one else had checked it out and I felt bad. I also kinda liked the cover.
It was good! I enjoyed it emensly. Could use some more editing." Five stars.
I can't wait for the day when I run across a review where she Doesn't give the book five stars.
"This book abour mudering my parents wasn't really for me. Especially the part where the author came to my house and murdered my parents in front of me while I was reading the book. But I did love their use of punctuation!" Four stars.
Working in collectible retail means you field a lot phone calls from people looking to sell collections of various things tangentially related to what your store actually sells, or Not At All related to what your store sells.
For the most part, people try and unload baseball cards, Beanie Babies, DVDs, video games, or National Geographic magazines.
Today, someone Actually called the store, trying to sell a collection of pogs.
Wannabe Pog Seller: "Do you know of anywhere that might be interested in taking them?"
Me: "No. I took a collection of pogs to the dump once, and the employees tracked me down at my house and made me take them back."
Last week, someone left a benign but positive comment on one of my Goodreads review (on a post several years old). They started following my reviews, so I decided to check out their profile.
Y'all. I've said something like this before about a couple of different writers. If you are in your thirties, it's time to let go of the Creative Writing Award you won in elementary school. Maybe you don't need to mention that your summer camp newsletter published one of your stories. But if you are going to list a series of twenty year old accomplishments that rank up their with "Mom used a magnet to stick this to the fridge", please Please please pay attention to your Point Of View. I cringe everytime I read "Ploppalina Dunt's first poem 'The Bright Light Makes The Sky Cry' was posted on her third grade classroom bulletin board for three days in 1992. Her short story about my time learning how to swim at summer camp made it into the camp newsletter. That same story was voted third runner up in her elementary school lit journal, which I edited."
She is Relentlessly positive. I mentioned to Comrade that on a scale of zero to five, the average score she gave to books was Five.
He later texted me, "I just went down the Ploppalina rabbit hole and found The Most Positive Review I've ever seen. She gave a guide to birds Five stars, with the following review: 'I never actually received my copy of Guide To Birds, but I bet if I had, it would have been wonderful.' I didn't know how to process that, and had to turn my computer off and go for a walk."
I am being sincere when I say that I can't wait to read more of her reviews.
The very minute our store closes, the former Yoga Studio downstairs turns into one woman loudly running some sort of Aerobics program over Zoom.
So I turn off The Simpsons or Teen Titans or whatever and it's "COME ON GIRLS, LIFT THOSE LEGS!!! HANG ON, WE'RE NOT DONE YET. GO!!!! GO!!!! GO!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!" with blaring country pop and light hiphop with 80s samples.
Tonight, she keeps somehow knocking over whatever device she's using to play music, and has to start the song and the same shouting routine over.
So, it's time for me to lift my legs dafuck outta here.
Today's been a pretty great day for customers. We've been making progress on some projects in the back, selling some action figures that have been in the store longer than there's been a store. Pretty great.
Me: "This is Adam, how may I help you?"
Random Caller: "Hi, are you the owner?"
Me: "Nope. I'm the manager."
RC: "Could you do something about your car?"
Me: "Um. I don't have a car."
RC: "The Trek Truck."
Me: "I don't know what that is."
RC: "Every day it's either parked in front of your store or in front of the health food store across
the street. I think it's part of your electronics department."
Me: "Nope. We don't have any trucks or an electronics department."
RC: "Are you sure? I see it there all the time."
Me: "It's not us. I don't know whose truck it is."
RC: "What are they doing there?"
Me: "I don't know."
RC: "There's two men in it sometimes. Adult men. Grown men. Do they work for you?"
RC: "Why are they there, then?"
Me: "I don't know. They're not associated with our store in any way."
RC: "This is so weird. I need to know who they are."
Me: "Ok. Good luck."
RC: "Where did they go?"
I hang up the phone.
Random Loiterer walks into store, over to counter, and with no preamble says "I don't mean to brag" uggggh "but my hand was Batman's first girlfriend."
"Huh." I replied.
Then he walked out the door.
This Lyft driver is strongly hinting that I should use his services to rob a bank or commit a murderer. Like, guy, I barely have it together enough to order dinner tonight, there is zero chance I have the wherewithal to organize a crime with you.