If you were wondering what sort of people were out and about and going into stores today, Yes. Those People.
One Of Those People: "I didn't know you opened a store down here."
Me: "Oh, we're our own store. Did you visit our old location down the street? We moved here a year ago."
OoTP: "I go to your Harrison's store."
Me: "Oh, that's not us. That's another store. Harrison's."
OoTP: "Do you have plastic?"
Me: "Plastic bags? Plastic action figures?"
OoTP: "The medium ones."
Me: "Medium plastic bags?"
OoTP: "I'll know them if I see them."
I lead them over to the different sized bags we have.
Me: "These fit regular comic books. These fit some of the older comics, and these here will fit magazines. Are any of these what you're looking for?"
OoTP: "I need the ones that will fit my nieces and nephews' drawings. I can't tack them to the wall anymore. I'm all out of thumbtacks. And wall."
OoTP: "I just moved into a new place because they wouldn't let me stay in the last one because of the holes in the wall. And now, POOF. POOF! No more walls."
Me: "Oh, of course. About how big are they?"
They move their hands as wide as they go.
Me: "Oh. I don't have any bags THAT big.
OoTP: "That's ok. I just wanted to show them to you. I ordered mine from your other store. You guys have too many" they wave their hands "comics and things. Not enough bags."
Me: "Ah. Ok."
OoTP: "I'm not trying to be mean. I like your store. It looks nice. You should close it down before the looters come."
Me: "Of course. You always want to shut down before the looters show up."
OoTP: "Do you know how long your other store takes to get my bags?"
Me: "Um. How long ago did you order them?"
OoTP: "A week ago."
Me: "I'd give it two more weeks. Unless they call you."
OoTP: "What about the looters?"
Me: "You're right. You should stop in today, just in case they came in."
OoTP: "That's a good idea. Thank you. Have a good day."
Me: "Yeup. You, too."
They left without buying anything.
Regular Magic The Gathering Peruser seems to come in about once a week and try to convince me I need to play MtG. I told him that I learned a bit for the 2011 NPS and it didn't appeal to me, as I already spend enough money on comic book collections (trade paperbacks and hardcovers, not individual issues).
RMtGP: But, like, do you read them, or do you just look at them?
Me: I read them. I have about a small library's worth of books.
RMtGP: But once you read them, then what? You know? Now you've got this thing in your house that you'll never read again.
Me: I do read them again, though.
RMtGP: Why? I mean once you know the story. It's not like the story is going to change, you know?
Me: Well, if a story took ten parts, I probably read each part as they come out, and before the final volume, I go through and read them all again so it's all still fresh in my mind.
RMtGP: People don't have time to READ, though. You know? I play Magic every week. So my cards are my life. You know? I wouldn't have time to read something that's going to be the same as last time I read it. With cards, every experience is different.
RMtGP: Do you collect board games?
I do not explain to him that my dudefriend collects tabletop games, and so there are a variety of tabletop games where I live.
RMtGP: You should, man. I know everybody has their ... you know ... thing or whatever. But card games are just a better investment than reading.
Me: *non-committal noise*
RMtGP: What kind of discount can I get on cards if I play a lot?
Me: Depends on how much you buy, whose cards they are, as we do consignment for some people. There are a variety of factors. Are you looking for any particular card? Did you want to buy a box?
RMtGP: Oh, I don't usually buy them here. I'm just asking.
Me: Ah. Well, if you have like a Holy Grail card you need, or want to fill up a particular themed deck, we have a number of people here on weekends that are more knowledgeable about cards than I am.
RMtGP: If you ever want to get in on a better hobby, let me know. I can tell you where all the best tournies are.
Me: Thanks. I'm sure I'll be in touch.
Then he left ... without buying anything.
Obviously, I much prefer the loiterers of Beverly to the loiterers of Harvard Square (the customers at Harvard were rarely the problem ... not never the problem ... but rarely the problem). But this dude who is "testing" our dice by tossing each die against the table over and over to listen to the sound of them, I'm going to roll his head out into the street and listen to the sound of it bouncing through the traffic.
Last week, there was a wonderful moment of Terrible Humanity.
While my Coworker was on Dinner Break (of course), a Cis-Male and Cis-female entered the store. CM was walking around, picking up books, and Educating CF on comic history. Incorrectly, of course.
CM: Do you know about X-Men? It started in the 80s, it's this pro-diversity comic that thinks being Canadian is being diverse. If you're into progressive metaphors, it's ok. Have you read Batman Year One?
CF: Yes. I've read all of Miller's DC and Marvel stuff. Even the Superman Year One he just did.
CM: Batman Year One is different.
CF: I. Know. I've read both of them.
CM: You probably read Wonder Woman, right?
CF sighs and walks away while CM continues babbling.
I sharpen my Killin' The Patriarchy Stick.
CF eventually grows bored enough to leave while CM is still talking at her.
Me: Dude. She left. She's gone.
He continues to putter around, but stays mercifully silent. Until. A guy around the same age comes in, walks over to him and nods his head.
New Cis Male: Hey.
CM: Hey. Have you read Frank Miller's Daredevil. Some people think Bendis's run in the best of the series, but without Miller's foundation it's just fluff. You know?
I found myself relieved to realize this person wasn't a Mansplaining Dudebag. He was a condescending jerkface to everyone, regardless of gender identity.
I have reached the point in my retail observation where even that feels like somewhat of a victory.
Today the red line was running late for reasons not listed on any apps, or revealed through their social media. As a result, I waited about twenty minutes at Downtown Crossing for the red line to come, making me about five minutes late for work.
While I was walking down the platform, I saw one of our subscribers and gave him a head nod. He either didn't see me or didn't recognize me, and didn't respond, which is totally fine.
When the T finally arrived, he got on the same car, and sat down across from me.
When we arrived at Harvard, he trotted up the ramps and the escalator, so that I was still getting on the bottom escalator as he was exiting the top.
I watched him turn the corner toward the store, as I passed where Curious George used to be.
Clearly, he was going to the store, so I picked up the pace, and probably arrived about forty-five seconds after he did.
Repeated Customer: "There you are. I've been waiting, like, ten minutes for you to get here."
Me: "No. You just got here. We were on the same train. I was sitting across from you."
RC: "I've been waiting ten minutes. I was about to leave."
So I shrugged, turned around, went to the CVS and bought some energy drinks. He wasn't here when I got back.
I'm not starting my day by enabling liars.
Regular I Haven't Missed: Do you have FandangoNow?
RIHM: Well, the other day, I saw that there was an animated movie on the service that I'd never heard of before. I don't remember the name of it.
RIHM: It looks like it's by an artist that I hate, do you know the artist Blah Blah Blah Nobody Cares?
RIHM: Well, it looks just like his stuff. And his stuff is awful.
RIHM: I went to watch it, and it wasn't very good. But at least it wasn't by Blah Blah Blah Nobody Cares. It still stunk, though.
RIHM: I think you can also find it on Youtube.
Me: So you're saying there's a terrible show, that you hate,and don't even know the name of, on a streaming service I don't have access to, and I should commit my time to tracking it down on
Me: Why would I seek out something you just told me was awful?
RIHM: Maybe you would like it.
I very much don't miss Saturdays here.
Random Vendor: Hi, can I talk with (Former Coworker Name)?
Me: They haven't worked here in years.
RV: I guess I haven't called in a year.
Me: It's been ten years since they left.
RV: Are you sure?
Me: Yeup. They trained me, and left a few months later.
RV: Can you get me their personal number?
Me: Nope. We don't have it.
RV: How would I go about selling my product to you?
Me: What is it?
RV: It's a fanzine.
Me: About comics?
Me: ... uhhh ... why don't you call you back on Friday and talk with the owner?
RV: Does he have their number?
I delete the person's phone number out of our computer, and write it on a note, to add it back in a couple of weeks, when I'm certain the person won't call again.
RV: It's pretty important that I get in touch with them.
Me: If you leave your contact info, I can pass it along to them. We have some mutual friends.
This is another lie. I see them every few months.
RV: I don't feel comfortable giving my number out to someone I don't know.
Me: RIGHT? I hear you.
RV: Will they be in next week?
Me: No, dude, they DON'T WORK HERE anymore. At all. Ever. And haven't in a decade. Your info is way out of date.
RV: That can't be right.
Me: It's right.
RV: Who have I been talking to?
Me: Couldn't tell you. But we haven't carried that book in the decade that I've worked here.
RV: NO. I send them out to you every year.
Me: Nope. Never seen it before.
RV: Is this Name Of Store That's Not Even In The Comic Book Industry?
Me: No. It's Store Name.
RV: OH. Yea, you guys don't carry my books.
Me: We sure don't.
RV: I didn't even know Former Coworker Name worked there.
Me: I'm thinking now that it is an entirely different person with that very common name.
RV: Wow. I just wasted a ton of my time.
RV: Do you happen to have the phone number of Store That's Not Even In The Comic Book Industry?
This is yet another lie. I have Le Google. But I'm not going to le use it.
RV grunts and hangs up.
I re-add the former coworker's contact info into the computer.
Me: I don't understand why our coworker refuses to break down boxes. Maybe he has better hearing than us, and can hear the boxes scream like lobsters when you cut into them with the box cutter?
Cuts the side of a box.
Cuts down center of a box.
Cuts down other side of box.
Coworker: You're creepy. You know that?
I pick up a second box, and cut down the side.
Me: Let them eat cake!
Cuts down center.
Me: Viva la revolution!
Cuts down other side.
Met: It's not gallows humor if you're in the audience. The difference is in the execution!
Random Loiterer: "Excuse me, can we come in and look around?"
Me: "NO. IT'S NOT ALLOWED."
RL: "Hahahaha. Thank you."
First customer of the day is a subscriber who is particularly persnickety. He is in the middle of, once again, explaining to me the various discounts he gets at various stores, when Baron Von Poopypants comes in.
BvPP: "OH THANK GOD."
Persnickety Subscriber: "Are you ok?"
BvPP: "Yea. New England Comics always havs the books that I want but they never have them, you know? I need to buy the new Nick Spencer Spider-Man books so I can be up to date for my role playing, and they don't have them but thank god you do."
BvPP: "My girlfriend" who doesn't exist "isn't going to be happy that I have all these Spidery books, but she likes the role playing, you know?"
I tell him the price of his books.
BvPP: "I don't mean to be rude, but can I have a bag for ten cents?"
Me: "That's not rude at all. Here you go."
BvPP: "Off to role play!"
He stenches out.
PS: "I ... I thought he was talking about ... you know ... dice and ... ewwwwwwww ... Ewwww. Ewww. Ewwww."
Random Loiterer: "Hi!"
Me: "Hey. How are you today?"
RL: "Do you remember me?"
Me: "I don't."
RL: "My name is Steve. I'm Moira's brother."
Me: "Sorry. I don't know who Moira is."
RL: "I came in and sold you hundreds of dollars worth of Mad Magazines about thirty years ago."
Me: "Ah. I was in fifth grade thirty years ago. So you were talking to somebody else."
RL: "I'm pretty sure it was you."
RL: "Do you know who I would have talked to?"
Me: "Again. I was ten. I didn't live anywhere near here. I have no idea."
RL: "It's pretty much the same staff, right?"
Me: "No. There have been a few changes in the last Thirty Years."
RL: "Do you have any Mad Magazines?"
Me: "Sure. They're over here."
RL: "I probably sold them to you."
Me: "Thirty years ago? I think we've rotated through stock a couple of times since then."
RL: "They're all cover price, right? I'm just joshing you."
I've known many a Josh in my day, and all of them are cooler than anyone who has ever used the word "josh" as a verb. I'm really content that "adaming" isn't a buzz word that corpses use when they're being annoying.
RL: "Hey, this box set here? How much is it?"
Me: "I don't know, let me look it up."
It takes me a while because it's a box set of old EC hardcovers that have probably been in the store since he sold us those Mad Magazines. I can't figure out the actual name of the box set, there is no bar code on it, and it doesn't come up in the Diamond Search Engine. Just as I find it, he starts to haggle. Though I have not given him a price.
RL: "I've seen it online for about two hundred dollars."
It's available from the publisher for $150. It's on Amazon from $85-$150.
RL: "I'll give you $125 for it."
This is perfectly reasonable. But he's annoying.
Me: "Call it $150?" which, again, is the actual price of it, if you order it new from the publisher.
He picks up a couple of Mad Magazines, and some old Peanuts books. It comes to $249.73
Me: "That will be $265.73."
RL: "Can you knock that down to $250 for me?"
Me: "I sure can."
Rude child enters the store, grabs a book from the shelf, and yelps as she plops down in the middle of the floor. Something about this is familiar.
Ah, yes. Dipshit Father comes in next.
DSF starts pipcking up books on the table. "I was supposed to get this in my subscription I haven-"
Me: "It's Monday. New books come in on Monday for Wednesday. We've talked about this many times."
DSF: "Oh yes."
He keeps pawing through the books.
Annoyed Daughter picks up a Raina Tegelmeir book and starts reading.
DSF: "Do you want me to buy that f--"
AD: "I DON'T WANT TO BUY IT! I AM JUST READING IT!"
DSF: "THIS ISN'T A LIBRARY. IT'S A BOOKSTORE! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF--"
AD: "DAD I'M JUST READING IT. YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING I WANT TO DO. I HATE YOU!"
This exact scenario has happened here before.
There's more screaming. Then whispering. Then they walk to separate parts of the store.
Later, the daughter starts pawing at a Vampirella comic on the table.
DSF: "YOU CAN'T TOUCH THAT! It's not for sale yet."
Me: "It's fine. You can look it. I just can't sell it yet."
AD: "See, DAD. I'm not going to BUY IT. I just wanted to look at her costume. IT'S SEXY."
DSF: "NO SEXY COMICS."
I walk away to work on the computer and be out of their bickering range.
When they are done wandering around the store, occasionally yelling at each other, DSF comes up to the counter and puts down a book. Then, in tune to the Talking Heads song that's playing he shouts "I CAN'T SING OR PLAY MUSIC. I SUCK AND EVERYONE HATES ME BUT I KEEP RECORDING MUSIC EVEN THOUGH I CAN'T SING BECAUSE I'M AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWFUL."
Me: "That will be thirteen dollars and eighty cents."
DSF: "What about my subscr--"
Me: "Your subscription discount is for books you pre-order. We've talked about this before. You are NOT getting a discount for anything that isn't from your folder."
DSF: "I should just put this in my folder until next time then."
Me: "That's not how it works."
DSF: "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE MUSIC BUT I WON'T STOP ANNOYING PEOPLE WITH MY HORRIBLE VOICE."
Random Loiterer: "Could you please stop screaming? It's really frustrating."
DSF, sarcastically: "I'm reeeeeeeeeeeally sorry."
Me: "You need to leave. Like, right now."
DSF: "Oh, ok. DAUGHTER'S NAME. WE HAVE TO GO."
AD, quietly: "I hate you so much."
They, along with an older brother who kept so much distance from both of them, that I hadn't even realized he was in the store, go up the stairs.
RL: "Oh my god. Are you ok?"
Me: "Yea. I was going to ask the same of you. I'm really sorry you had to be there for that."
RL: "Those poor kids. That guy is .. I don't even know."
Me: "He's here every month or so. Sometimes with his kids, sometimes alone. He's always unpleasant, but that was extreme, even for him. I sincerely hope he doesn't have custody of those kids, and that they only have to endure him on weekends and holidays."
Then I went back to counting books, and they went back to looking at books until the store filled up with other delightful people.