Random Do-Gooder: "Hi, there's a lady outside with very heavy bags, who didn't want to come down the stairs if you don't have what she's looking for."
RDG: "It's a horse racing magazine."
Me: "Sorry. We only have comic books and graphic novels. No magazines unless they're comic related."
RDG: "Yea. That's the vibe I was getting."
Me: "I would check The Coop. It's the big Barnes & Noble monstrosity on the corner. They and Out Of Town News are your best bets for magazines."
RDG: "She said they might also have them at 103 Mt Auburn Street?"
Me: "Ummm. I don't know which way the numbers go on this street, but we're #99, so #103 is either a bank, a Verizon store, or a store that sells eyeglasses.:
RDG: "So they probably don't have horse racing magazines."
Me: "It seems unlikely."
RDG: "I'm going to have to walk her back to The Coop, aren't I?"
Me: "I think you can probably outrun her, if you have to."
Trying to keep track of whether I am angry at my job, or whether I just have free floating anger while I am in the place that I work is, itself, a full-time job with no benefits.
I had some non-stressful bank stuff to do this morning, so I was four minutes late for work. A seventy-something year old Very White Guy was yanking on the door with very little success.
Me: "Sorry. I was at the bank." I open the door. "Come on in."
VWG: "Your sign said you open at 11:00."
Me: "Yes. I was at the bank getting change, and it took longer than it should have. I'm sorry about the three minute delay."
VWG: "Do you have classic comics?"
Me: "Are there any particular titles you're looking for?"
VWG: "CLASSIC COMICS. From the 1940s and 1950s."
Me: "Classics Illustrated?"
VWG: "NO. CLASSIC COMICS."
Me: "Here's our back issue bins, they're arranged by title, and within the title they're chronological, so our oldest comics are up front. We also have a nostalgia section over--" He is on his phone not listening to me. "--by the hive of angry hornets that we keep to hand out customer satisfaction surveys."
I go back behind the counter to put the change away.
After a few minutes staring at his phone NOT looking at any comics. VWG: "These aren't classic comics."
Me: "Over here we have collections of newspaper comics and EC books from the 1940s and 50s. Are these more what you're looking for?"
VWG: "CLASSIC. COMICS."
Me: "Classics Illustrated? The comic versions of books like Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby?"
VWG: "CLASSIC. COMICS. How long have you worked here that you don't know --"
I walk over to the Classics Illustrated section. Me: "THESE?"
VWG: "Yea. CLASSIC. COMICS."
Me: "CLASSICS. ILLUSTRATED. They renamed the book in 1947. I don't think there are any Classic Comics issues floating around, but if you're in another store ask for Classics Illustrated, and the people working there will be able to lead you to the right place in their store."
VWG: "Back in my day--"
A hooded figure carrying a scythe raises his hood in our direction. I shake my head, trying to convey "Not in here, please." The hood vanishes. Briefly, the air twinkles where the scythe was.
VWG: "These were ten cents and called Classic Comics. How much are they now?"
Me: "The price is on the back."
VWG: "TEN? DOLLARS?"
VWG: "Where can I get these things for ten cents a piece?"
Me: "Before 1950, when the price went up to fifteen cents. But you're not going to find any comics for ten cents in 2019."
VWG: "I'll take my business elsewhere, then."
Me, under my breath, "Tell the clerk in 1948 that society won't improve in their lifetime."
What's America like in 2019? people from the future may ask.
It's a bunch of things. Here is my last night from a non-poetry perspective.
Near the end of the night, I overserved someone. I recognized they'd reached cut-off point, and then someone bought a drink that I assumed they were buying for themselves, but they were buying for the inebriated person. This happened twice.
Bearing the responsibilty for this person, I followed them outside, where they appeared to be doing ok (update: they were totally fine, and are totally fine now). I was about to head back inside when they were approached by someone I thought looked like a sleazebag. Mainly because they were hanging outside of the 7-11 in Central Square around midnight. The city has a lot of homeless. Central Square has a lot of homeless. Homeless people are not sleazebags. But the 7-11 is a magnet for rapists, thieves, and scammers who need you to donate money to a school they are opening up on another continent. Sleazebags,
I made my way toward their conversation, and it was harmless. The guy was trying to bum a smoke, which is totally reasonable behavior.
The person I overserved gave them a cigarette, lit it, and went about their way. But before I could leave the guy asked where I was going, and I said "Back to work."
Sleazebag #1: "Not me, man. No more work for me tonight. I'm going to hit up some bar."
Me: "Cool. Have a good night."
S1: "I'm going to pick up some bitches at that bar over there." He points to The Cantab. "Mabe some rich bitch will take me home."
"There are no bitches there." I said. "You should go to Tavern." (They're better staffed to kick out a drunk, misogynist sleazebag.)
I went back to work.
Work was fine. I was ready to leave when I got a text that someone had left their backpack behind, and it had their keys in it. So I went to kill time at the 7-11 while I waited for them to get back.
While I was deciding which overly sugared American drink to get, a Very Drunk Individual waved a can of Chef Boyardee at me and made indistinguishable noises.
"I don't know man." was all I could think of to say.
He moaned at me in a threatening manner and went outside.
There is a particular late night employee at that 7-11 that I always view as a Sloth (no, not a Goonies reference, just a very slow moving dude who probably eats lots of plants). Sloth practically ran outside, and I realized that moaning guy had shoplifted the Chef Boyardee.
I put my not important sort of groceries on the counter, bar code up, waiting for him to get back. I had time to kill. It was fine.
Sloth came back in, still moving faster than I'd ever seen him. He picked up the phone behind the counter and called the cops. "I am at the 7-11 in Central Square, and we have a shoplifter who--"
And then Moany Sleazebag came back in. "YOU MIND YOUR BUSINESS!!!" He slurred. "NOSEY. SO NOSEY. WHY ARE YOU BEING NOSEY MAN? I JUST WANT MY. I JUST WANT MY WHATEVER THIS IS. BUT YOU GOTTA BE NOSEY."
"He's in the store yelling at me." the 7-11 employee said.
"NOSEY DAMNED FOREIGNER. TRYING TO. TRYING TO GET ME IN TROUBLE WITH HIS DAMNED NOSE. I'M GONNA CALL ICE ON YOU."
And this sack of shoplifting MAGA hat took out his phone and called 911 and asked for Immigration.
The cops arrived pretty quickly while this guy was yelling about ICE to a 911 operator. Prompting more cops to show up.
While I paid for my not important purchase, MAGA sleaze was yelling "DAMN NOSEY FOREGNERS COME TO OUR COUNTY. DON'T WANT TO SELL ME MY. MY DINNER OR WHATEVER. TOLD ME I COULDN'T HAVE IT. NOT EVEN FROM THIS COUNTRY. TELLING ME HOW TO EAT."
(None of that ever happened.)
"SHOW HIM. GET THEM. GET THEM ICE GUYS. SEND HIM BACK TO AFRICA. WHEREVER HE'S FROM."
(I would be remiss to point out that this paradigm of social decay was not a White Dude, and may have spent some time deflecting "back to Africa" comments from other MAGA turds.)
"YOU SHOULD. YOU SHOULD TAKE HIM AWAY TO AFRICA RIGHT NOW. LET ME EAT MY DAMN DINNER IN PEACE."
I had to get out. In this particular instance, at least, the police were very aware that this was a drunk shoplifter with possible mental issues (apart from being stupid enough to buy into racist bullshit). They also knew the 7-11 guy, and were just letting him do his work.
Outside, a woman approached me. "Young Man!"
No good will come of this.
"Young Man, do you--"
Another police SUV pulled up to the curb. Making four, total.
"Nevermind. You have a good night Young Man. I'm getting the fuck outta this noise."
"That bitch wanted more than your phone number." said Sleazebag 1 from earlier. He was standing in The Bar doorway. "I'm bouncing, too. Too many pigs"
And Then He Fucken Skipped Past The Police Officers who, of course, stopped him. Because one can not non-chalantly skip. Anyone trying to avoid police by skipping is too stupid to be on the streets alone.
So now there are four cops in the 7-11, two detaining Skippy The Wonder Sleaze, and two lightly nudging a homeless guy who had been passed out in front of the 7-11 for hours.
The Bar's "bouncer" came out.
CB: "Where did that guy go."
I pointed at Skippy and the police.
CB: "Ok. Good. Why are there so many ---" he gestured at the police SUVs.
"There was a shoplifter at the 7-11, and --"
He gestured at the 7-11. "Always something going on here. That's why they call this Mentalist Square."
I wondered about the populace of psychics and hypnotizers in the immediate area, and then realized what he was trying to say.
I just accidentally frightened everyone in the store when the phone rang.
Scammer: "I need to speak to whoever handles your electric account."
Me: "Fuck. You."
Entire store turns towards me.
Me: "It was one of those phoney electric company scam calls."
Relieved Customer #1: "Oh my god, I get those calls, like, three times a day. I hate them."
Relieved Customer #2: "Yea, I know not to answer a call from a number I don't know, but I'm just afraid I'll miss an important call."
Me: "Well, our phone is from ... 1991 ? So it *had* a caller ID screen but it doesn't work anymore."
RC 1: "So you have to answer the phone every time?"
Random Customer #3: "Do you get hazard pay for that?"
RC 2: "It sounded like he had the situation well in hand."
Random Customer, upon purchasing a couple of back issues: "The demise of Mad Magazine has to be the saddest news of the year."
Completely Correct Teenage Daughter: "Really, Dad? The saddest news of THIS year? I want you to think about that. Because if that's your opinion, I'm never talking to you again."
RC: "The saddest publishing news."
CCTD: "No. The saddest publishing news is that the media is filled with a bunch of Nazi-enabling cowards."
The rest of the transaction took place in Absolute Silence.
Ever since the idea popped up in my memories a week or so ago, I've been carrying my cats' favorite toy, the laser pointer, with me at all times.
Today, I successfully used it to lead a customer to The Umbrella Academy trades when they were having problems with directions.
"Just. Yea. See the red dot? Right there."
Every month, Diamond Comics sends in secret shoppers to try and buy unreleased comics. They're given a sort of script, and instructions on where to take pictures with their phones.
And every month the people who do it are slightly stupider than the previous month.
I usually spot them taking pictures of the window before they come in. As I did today.
Me, as the secret shopper entered: "Hi. How are you today? Can I help you find anything?"
This week's Guy Trying To Make A Buck At The Expense Of Retailers: "Wow. Your store is small."
GTTMABATEOR: "Do you sell new comics?"
Me: "Of course. Are you looking for anything in particular?"
GTTMABATEOR: "Um. Let me. Uh. Yes. But. Hold on."
He goes into the corner and scrolls through his phone.
GTTMABATEOR: "Do you have Detective Comics #1006?"
Me: "Unfortunately, that doesn't come out until tomorrow."
GTTMABATEOR: "It doesn't? Oh. Oh no. Um. What about Action Comics #1012?"
Me: "That also doesn't come out until tomorrow. Is there anything else you're looking for?"
GTTMABATEOR: "Yea. Um. Hold on. Let me."
Walks back into corner to scroll through his phone.
GTTMABATEOR: "Do you have a TV for customers to watch?"
GTTMABATEOR: "So, if I wanted to watch. Like. Ok. Marvel or DC movies. Where are they?"
Me: "Movie theaters. You can probably buy the DVDs at Wal-Mart, or just stream them on Netflix. We don't sell DVDs here, though."
GTTMABATEOR: "Ok, um."
Corner. Phone. Scroll.
GTTMABATEOR: "After DC and Marvel, what would you say is the biggest comic book company?"
That's a new question.
Me: "Image Comics actually sells better here than DC or Marvel."
GTTMABATEOR: "Like Spawn?"
Me: "No. We haven't sold an issue of Spawn in nearly a decade. But Saga by Brian K Vaughan, and Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman are just a couple of our huge sellers from Image Comics."
GTTMABATEOR: "Ok. What's your name?"
GTTMABATEOR: "And how tall would you say you are?"
Me: "I would say I am 5'4"." (I'd be fucken lying, but that's what I'd say if you asked me. I really hope he includes that in his report.)
GTTMABATEOR: "Ok. I'll be back."
Me: "Great! Have a wonderful day."
That secret shopper who came in last week just filed his report:
Were the store hours posted, or did you have to inquire about them? Posted (Truth!)
"GENERAL INFORMATION" COMMENTS ABOUT THE LOCATION:
The exterior of the building was clean. There was no debris anywhere on the floor. The exterior showed the building sign from the window. There was no debris anywhere on the ground at the store front. (Guess who happened to vacuum that day.)
1. Were you greeted when you entered the location? Yes
1a. If YES, please specify what was said. The employee said hello to me. (I said "Welcome." actually.)
1b. Please specify how long it took to be greeted (from the time you entered the location). 0-10 seconds (Damn right.)
2. Was it easy to figure out where the new releases for the week are located? No (it's only the entire back wall of the store.)
3. Please specify the titles of the comic books you were to find. Detective Comics #1006, Action Comics # 1012
5. Were these specific title(s) and issue(s) available on the shelves? No (NOPE!)
5a. If NO, was an employee able to find a copy for you? No (because they weren't yet available for sale)
5B. PLEASE SPECIFY WHAT THE EMPLOYEE SAID.
The employee told me that they were not in but would be in the next day. (Yep.)
6. If applicable, please specify where it was located. N/A: It was unavailable (Yeup.)
7. Was the employee who assisted you friendly? Yes (Poisonously so.)
8. Was the employee who assisted you helpful and focused on you? Yes
...Name: Adam (Yep)
...Sex: Male (Yep.)
...Height range: 5'8" (Hahahahaha, Halfway between the truth and the lie that I told him.)
...Age range: 40's (Yep.)
...Other distinguishing characteristics: N/A
9. Did the employee wear a uniform or a name tag? Neither (Correct.)
12. Were you thanked and/or given a sincere parting comment? Yes. As I left out of the store, I was given a parting remark from the employee. I was not thanked. (Thanked for what? He didn't buy anything. I told him to have A Wonderful Week.)
DESCRIPTION OF THE STORE LAYOUT:
This store was compact. It was closed and the displays were spaced in but you could still walk around the store. There were no TVs, gaming tables, but had the POS system near the entrance or exit area. I had to really find the new comic area. (IT'S AN ENTIRE WALL OF THE STORE.)
I did not identify as a secret shopper by the employee and I did not feel like he knew what I was up to. I would still recommend to people I know because it was loaded with comic books. The employee was helping when I needed help (Sorry, dude. I smelled your secret shopperness a mile off. You took over two minutes taking pictures of the front of the store.)
There is an unstable old lady who comes in every couple of months to ask me what time the copy shop is open, and to "steal" the free comic previews we keep by the door.
I think she gets a thrill from stealing, and, thusfar, she has only gotten far enough into the store to get her hands on the pile of giveaway comics we have by the door.
If you tell her a thing is free, she shakes her head, and sighs.
For the last couple of weeks, we've had a ton of promotional mugs for The Dead Don't Die. She noticed them immediately, and asked how much they cost. They're free, but I lied, and told her they were $10.
Unstable Old Lady: "Ten dolars that's very reasonable, I have a grandon who's ten. He likes ninjas but not ninja turtles. Is there anything I could buy for him? It has to be something good. He gets so mad when I give him the wrong things."
"I don't have any ninja books right now." I make a big presentation of looking at the all age stuff, as I hear her stuff one of the mugs in her tote bag.
UOL: "I wish Staples made copies."
Me: "They do. They have a copy center. As you walk in, it's on the left.
UOL: "They don't do copies, though."
Me: "They do. There are four or five machines where you can make copies yourself, or you can give them the originals and they'll make copies for you. Unfortunately, they closed at six tonight."
UOL: "They don't do copies, though."
Me: "Oh. Ok. They make copies for me. They must like me."
UOL: "Why aren't they open across the hall?"
Me: "They are closed on weekends in the summer. Their hours are posted on the door, if you want to check."
UOL: "What time do they open?"
Me: "You'll have to check the hours posted on the door. I don't know what time they open."
UOL: "How come?"
Me: "I'm new."
UOL: "Ok. Well, I will go and try and find another place to make copies. But I'll be back to buy more ninja books for my nephew."
UOL: "Hi Brandson. I'm Olivia. Nice to meet you."
Me: "Certainly a pleasure."
She eyes the mugs again, then looks at me. "Goodnight Brandson."
Me: "Goodnight, Olivia."
Uncle Creepy: Tony?
Me: Nope. This is Adam. Call back on Friday to talk to Tony.
UC: Ok. Ok. Hi. Adam. You've helped me before. Do you know Nosferatu?
Me: Not personally.
UC: Nosferatu The Bald Vampire. You know him?
Me: Is there something I can help you order?
UC: Do you know Nosferatu. He's the bald vampire. Like the first one. He's really old.
Me: Is there something I can help you find?
UC: Do you got statues of Nosferatu the bald vampire?
Me: No. And I'm looking it up now. There aren't any available. There will be one in November, but it's $650.
UC: I'm looking for the $100-$200 range. Like a bust of Nos--
Me: --feratu The Bald Vampire, yes. I get it. But there aren't any available.
UC: What about raven? You know raven?
Me: The wrestler? The Teen Titan? The bird? The bookstore?
UC: Yea. Yea. You know. The bookstore. The Raven bookstore.
Me: It's a couple blocks away. Want me to give you their phone number?
UC: No. No. Not the one nearby. The bookstore.
Me: I don't know what you're talking about.
UC: Sometimes you get me stuff from Raven?
Me: Nope. They're a different store. They sell books, but they don't sell statues. I can give you the number to call them, but I'm not going to call them for you.
UC: Maybe it's not Raven. But it's a store. Sometimes you call other stores.
UC: Ok. Maybe not another store. That's ok. That's ok. You know how you guys have comics with Vampirella the---
Me: the almost topless vampire hunter?
UC: Yea. Yea. Vampirella the Vampire Hunter.
Me: Uh huh.
UC: Can you get me statues of her?
Me: You're going to have to call back on Friday and talk to My Boss. He is the one who does the statue ordering.
UC: Ok. Ok. I should call tomorrow?
UC: Friday? Sometimes I call on ---
Me: The next time he'll be here to talk to you about statues is Friday. Until then, he won't be here. And none of the rest of us can help you with statues.
UC: What about Wedn--
Me: Friday. Not Tuesday. Not Wednesday. Not Thursday. Friday. Only Friday. Friday is the only day you can call him this week. Not Saturday. Not Sunday. Only Friday. You need to call him on Friday. I have to go now. Remember, call him on Friday. Thanks.
I hung up the phone.