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."
Last night, a woman who, last year, bought a ton of books I recommended for her children, came back with her sister, hoping I could recommend a new swath of books.
They picked up Brave, the Olympians books, some Marvel Star Wars, and Wrinkle In Time. I suggested, if they could find it, to pick up Princeless Volume one, and went back to some computer work.
Nice Customer: "Anything else we're missing?"
NC: "They're a little old for Archie."
Me: "A few years ago, I would have agreed with you, but the new stuff isn't all malt shops and sock hops. And instead of the trope of a doofus guy who women are fighting over, Archie and Betty have been dating since they were really in their single digits, and they break up at the beginning of the book, just as Veronica moves in."
NC: "So it has a backstory. That's interesting, I guess."
Me: "It's also cool because, unlike the old series, the new one has consequences."
NC, somewhat sarcastically: "What kind of consequences? Their parents take their phones away?"
Me, somewhat too intensely: "No. Betty is in a WHEELCHAIR now."
NC: "That sounds a bit much. What's this BIg Nate book about?"
Me: "Wedgies and basketball."
NC: "That sounds better."
Random Loiterer: "Where do you keep your Independent books?"
I guide him to the appropriate section.
RL: "Which of these are used?"
Me: "None of them. We have some used back issue comics, but no used graphic novel section."
RL: "Who in the area does?"
Me: "The Harvard Book Store, but most of their used graphic novels are DC and Marvel."
RL: "I've been there. They have nothing."
Me: "That's the only place. Sorry."
RL: "I just hate paying full price for things."
Me: "Life must be very challenging for you."
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."
An evergreen truth of comic book retail seems to be that the first customer on a Monday morning will be very lonely and want to talk to you about every possible subject that pops into their head.
So, this morning, just after I put up the My Friend Dahmer poster, the guy says "You know. I know he was nuts, and everything. But people forget that he grew up gay in a very religious household in the sixties. That will mess anybody up."
I Spock-eyed him. (Rock-eyed him?) "I know a lot of people who grew up gay in the sixties. They do have a lot of issues/ But none of them spent the nineties raping and murdering teenagers."
"I mean, you'd like to think that. But do you know? Y'know?"
"YES. I KNOW." ended the conversation, until he started yammering about Strong Female Protagonist, which, surprisingly, he didn't say anything remotely problematic about.
Last week, I was showing Coworker a copy of the XXX variant of the new Sex Criminals comic by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. Zdarsky recently ended his run on the Howard The Duck comic, and for this cover of Sex Criminals, he had the male protagonist roleplaying as Howard the Duck, complete with mask. But the mask isn't JUST Howard The Duck. It's Howard The Duck's face with his upper bill replaced with a dildo.
So I started talking in a persona I called Dildo Bill. Dildo Bill speaks in third person, and is thoroughly awful. I don't remember any of the specific lines, but throughout the last week, I have, on several occasions lapsed into Dildo Bill when talking to Coworker.
On her break, Coworker encountered a new busker in the Square. He is also tone deaf. He also plays Beatles songs. But whereas the official Tone Deaf Beatles Guy is just nasally atonal, she described this guy as just yelling YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE. YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE, over and over while smacking the strings on his guitar.
Which inspired me to start channeling Animal from The Muppets yelling YE-LLOW SUBMARINE. YE-LLOW SUBMARINE. whenever things were getting stressful in the store.
At some point, Dildo Bill and YELLOW SUBMARINE guy merged in my head. And Dildo Bill would say things like DILDO BILL WANT COPIES. WHY IS STORE CLOSED? DILDO BILL MAD. -or - DILDO BILL THINK IF SCANNER NOT WORK, COMIC FREE RIGHT? HA HA HA HA HA DILDO BILL FU-NNY TODAY.
Then I'd go home and forget about Dildo Bill.
Today, on my way to pick up my lunch, I heard the new guy yelling YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE, YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE, and I just started laughing. Easily a dozen people in my vicinity started eyeing me like I might be as crazy as YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE. But I couldn't/didn't want to explain to this group of strangers about Dildo Bill.
This evening, someone came in on what must have been a bad Tinder date. She was awful. He was awful. She felt the need to tell everyone she encountered, including me, that they reminded her of someone on Supernatural, and told Awful Him "I'm a big Supernatural fan. You should know that about me. It is, literally, my life. I watch it, literally 24/7. Do you watch it?"
Awful Him said "No. It's not really my thing."
Awful Her said "Well, it's going to BE your thing. After we get dinner, we can go to my place and watch the first episode."
And Awful Him said "Uh-huh." in a way that suggested he not only was unlikely to watch Supernatural tonight, but that he was already planning a Fake Call to avoid dinner.
"Hey." Awful Him said to me. "What's the deal with all this shit on the back issue bins. I can't look at them?"
"Today is the day I split the books." I said. "So I have to cover up the back issues for a few hours. Sorry."
Awful him said "That's lame."
"Be Nice, Bill." Awful Her said.
AND I LOST IT.
All I could think was DILDO BILL WANT BACK ISSUES. DILDO BILL THINK YOU LAME. DILDO BILL HATE LAME. DILDO BILL NO LIKE SUPERNATURAL. MEAN LADY NOT MAKE DILDO BILL WATCH LAME SHOW. YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE. YE-LLOW SUB-MARINE. OOP. THAT DILDO BILL RINGTONE. YES. THIS DILDO BILL. WHAAAAAA? THE JOKER POISON GOTHAM WATER SOUP-PLY? NEED DILDO BILL HELP FIXING? OK, BATMAN. DILDO BILL BE RIGHT THERE. SORRY MEAN LADY, DILDO BILL MUST GO GOTHAM. CAN'T WATCH SILLY TV SHOW WITH YOU.
And then I imagined him making whooshing noises, as he sprinted up the stairs, never to be seen in this store again.
If she never comes back, either, I shall consider it a win.
A dad in his thirties comes in with a six or seven year old on a leash. The retail employee senses trouble.
It's not a leash,exactly. It's not around the kid's neck. It's toddler handcuffs. They're plastic. They probably don't chafe. As much as metal.
A dad in his thirties comes into a store with his sixish year old son handcuffed to him . But, you know, big goofy, colorful plastic handcuffs with a two foot long cord, so it doesn't look as terrible as it is.
A dad in his thirties comes into a store where there is one employee, and one former employee on a ladder...
The former employee loves to stand on ladders. Earlier in the day the current employee got up on a ladder and made a joke about how he wasn't like that former employee who just went around standing on ladders for no reason. He clearly Bettlejuiced the former employee who is now standing on the fucken ladder.
...and the dad is followed by two also bearded, also thirty-something dadbros. No other kids.
The handcuffed kid is crying. "I want Pigget. Give me Pigget."
The dad with the handcuffed son says "We didn't get Piglet. Remember? You weren't good enough for Piglet."
I am not a dad. I do not know what this kid's behavior is like. I do not know their financial situation. It is not yet for me to judge how the dad is handling the Piglet crying. This could be totally legit. You know, without the toddler handcuffs.
The dad turns to me. "This is his mom's fault. Bitch has to mention Piglet. he doesn't even know who fucken Piglet is."
I am now judging him. In my experience, misogynists are rarely good parents. Particularly when they misogyne in front of their seven year old handcuffed kids.
The dad and his short prisoner wander around the store, coming perilously close to knocking my former coworker off her ladder. She doesn't notice this. The air is thin up in ladderland. The ground is another terrible world.
The handcuffed child sees a series of Pops and Dorbz. He wants one. Dad says "You don't even know who they are." which, again, might be reasonable without the context of the misogyny and the handcuffs.
The handcuffed child says "Huck."
The handcuffer dad says "Hulk. That's close, though. Good. Uncle Stan will get that for you." And then, to me. "That was pretty good. He was non-verbal until a few months ago."
I do not reply with "Maybe he just didn't want to talk to his shitty dad." but I think it really loudly.
Uncle Stan says "I'll get him the Hulk. But if he cries about Piglet again, I'm going to throw it into traffic."
I don't like Uncle Stan, either.
The group inoffensively talk about Comic Con both to me, and each other. Again, without context, their conversation is fine. With context, I hate them.
The handcuffed child says "Huck."
The handcuffer dad says "Be patient."
The handcuffed child says "Pigget."
The handcuffer dad leads the kid out of the store. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt (which he doesn't deserve) that he took him out of the store so that Uncle Stan wouldn't hear him talking about Piglet and refuse to buy the Hulk.
With the Escaped Convict Family gone, Uncle Stan starts talking to me about comics he's looking for. Again, without context, his conversation starts fine.
While Uncle Stan rambles about books he can't find anywhere, my former coworker finally descends the ladder. She has been up there since the late Cretaceous Period.
Uncle Stan says "We don't have comic stores like this where I'm from." I do not ask him where that is.
Uncle Stan says "Where I'm from, we have a church basement where once a week, they pull out hundreds of long boxes and some specialty items."
Uncle Stan says "They had this really cool signed Spider-Man plate that I wanted, but it was $1500."
"That's a lot of money." I say. "That's a lot of money to spend on Spider-Man plates."
"That's three antique guns worth of money." Uncle Stan says. "I'd rather have guns than Spider-Man plates."
I really want Uncle Stan to buy his shit and leave.
Uncle Stan asks "Do you collect guns?"
"No." I say. "I don't collect guns."
Uncle Stan says "Where I'm from, a lot of collectors double-dip. Comics and guns, coins and n...paraphernalia."
Is Uncle Stan a Fucken Nazi? Of course Uncle Stan is a fucken Nazi. Of course Handcuffy Dad has a friend he calls Uncle Stan who is a fucken Nazi. Handcuffy Dad? Probably also a Nazi.
Today? Nazis in the store to-fucken-day?
I don't know they're Nazi fucks. Maybe he was embarrassed to say Naruto to me? Neopets? If Uncle Stan and Handcuffy Dad hadn't been otherwise shitty, would I have even assumed the "n" paraphernalia was Nazi?
Uncle Stan returns to talking about humdrum humdrum whatever comics that he couldn't find. Very polite. Talks more about Comic Con. Nothing offensive. Regular conversation.
Is Uncle Stan a Nazi Fuck, though? I mean, I think so. I definitely think so. Don't Nazi Fucks just look like anyone now? No visible racist tattoos. No Klan hoods. No racist shirts when they are just out buying comics like regular people. Like Nazi Fucks are regular people.
Uncle Stan pays for his comics with a Hundred Dollar Bill. It was not the last one in his thick wallet. I don't know what Uncle Stan does for a living, but he appears to be loaded.
The Third Man, who has been Entirely Silent for the entire trip says "Stan, you should tell him about the Hulk vs. Wolverine statue you bought."
Uncle Stan says "It's huge."
"Could barely fit it in the car." Third Guy says. "We almost had to tie Tiernan on the roof."
Uncle Stan says "If he mentions Piglet again, I'm going to tie him on the roof for real."
Third Guy says "I told him he should have Stan Lee sign it. Stan Lee was Right There."
Uncle Stan says "But it was too big."
Third Guy says "The base, then."
Uncle Stan says "But I don't think Stan Lee created Wolverine. It was someone else."
"Len Wein" says my former coworker who is on the floor like a reasonable human being, and not up on a fucken ladder.
Uncle Stan does not acknowledge her. She does not appear to notice. "Chris Claremont or someone." He says.
"Len Wein." I say.
"Really?" Uncle Stan asks. "Huh."
I'm flirting with the idea of responding "Scooby-doo daddio." in complete deadpan, every time someone comes into the store and says something stupid that's designed to be funny at someone else's expense. Or when they tell me how much comics cost when they were a kid.
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.
A woman comes in with two kids. They see that I am splitting books, and start moving comics that I've put down.
Me: Please don't touch those piles. I'm separating comics to put away.
Entitled Cambridge Lady: It's ok. We'll put them back.
Me: Sorry. If you're looking for something particular, I can help you find it, but I can't have you moving those piles around. They need to stay where they are.
ECL: It will just be a few minutes.
Me: No. They can't be moved.
ECL: They can, though. Watch!
Kid: Mom. Stop. We're not supposed to move them.
ECL: It's fine.
Me: It's not. Please leave the piles where they are, and if you're looking for something specific, let me know, I'll help you find them.
She continues to loiter in my space while the kids move away.
Kid: Do you have any Pokemon books?
Me: We do! here, I'll show you where they are.
ECL hovers around my workspace while I show the kids the Pokemon books.
Kid: Cool! Pokemon Emerald! I've never seen these before! Mom, look.
ECL vacates my space, and I undo the damage she did. I think.
ECL: We need some chairs over here.
Me: We're a store. We don't have chairs.
ECL: So we're supposed to just read them on the floor, then?
Me: Adults aren't allowed to sit on the floor. Your kids can, but adults sitting down creates a fire hazard.
ECL: There's a chair behind the counter.
Me: It's bolted to the floor.
This is a lie. And she knows it.
They read the entirety of the three books and left without buying anything. Of course.
I hope these kids have cool babysitters, cousins, or extended family so they don't grow up like their horrible mother.