Random Claude: "Who do you think was the best Flash Gordon writer?"
Me: "I don't read or have any interest in Flash Gordon comics, so I'm not the right person to ask."
RC cracks his knuckles and begins to tell me which 1940s writers of a comic book strip I have just told him that I don't care about, I should be boning up on if I want to be taken seriously as a "comics aficionado".
Spoiler alert: I don't ever Ever ever Ever want to be a "comics aficionado".
Random Clod: "Are you sold out? Should I go to your other store?"
Exasperated CVS Employee: "That's not our other store. That's Staples. We're CVS. They might have the computer you're looking for over there. We don't sell computers. We're a pharmacy."
RC waves her hands: "Can you call? I don't want to go all the way over there and find out they're sold out, too."
ECE: "They are right over there. It is a one minute walk. And they are A DIFFERENT STORE."
RC: "So you're not allowed to call your other stores? That's ridiculous."
ECE walks away.
RC starts walking towards the cashier who is about to ring up my transaction.
RC: "Excuse me, I--"
Me: "Nope. You don't get to be crazy at this person until I leave the store."
RC huffs. But she also waits.
Random Clod: "You guys don't have Monstress?"
Me: "It's right behind you."
RC: "This is volume two."
Me: "Yeup. Volume one should be behind it."
RC: "I need volume three."
Me: "Sorry. It doesn't come out until September."
RC: "But I need it for my anniversary, which is Thursday."
Me: "It's not out yet."
RC: "Can you get it for me?"
Me: "How can I get you something that doesn't exist yet?"
RC: "It's for a special occasion, though. Can you make an exception?"
Me: "How would I even do that? The. book. doesn't. exist. yet."
RC: "So you can't get it from another store."
Me: "Not until we fix our time machine."
RC farts and then starts flipping through She-Hulk trades. He is, thankfully, not making any noises.
Settle an argument no one is having:
You walk into a store where a section is closed off. There is a ladder with boxes blocking one entryway. A stool with boxes blocking the only other point of ingress or egress. All of the counter space is covered with paperwork and piles of books. The person working in the store says "Sorry, that section is closed on Mondays. It will be open again tomorrow."
A. Push the boxes off the stool and start to pick at the piles that you've been asked not to touch.
B. Say "That's ok. I'll only be over there for a minute. I'm looking for something in particular."
C. Laugh. "This is so totally my life. Look, I can't come back tomorrow. Can you just move all this stuff, so I can look. You probably don't have what I'm looking for anyway."
D. Scoot the stool over, and act incredulous when the person loudly repeats "THAT SECTION IS CLOSED TODAY."
E. Paw at the nearest piles and ask "Is it anything good? Is it on sale?"
F. Loudly belch and announce "That's what I think of THAT."
G. Argue that the section is not, in fact, closed on Mondays, but is closed on Tuesdays. Letting the clerk, who's never seen you before, but has worked here for the better part of a decade, know "I've been coming here A LONG TIME."
H. Tell the employee you're good friends with the owner, dropping the name of a former owner who's been dead for enough years that his close friends should probably be aware.
I. Lean on the "DON'T LEAN ON THE TABLE!" table, so that the whole pile of hardcovers and trade paperbacks slide toward you.
J. Loudly grunt and leave.
Coworker: "Sounds like you didn't catch my cold."
Me: "Nope. I woke up this morning, not feeling too great, so I drank about a gallon of juice and went back to sleep, and when I woke back up I felt good enough to ride a bike to work."
Coworker: "You drank a gallon of Abolut and rode a bike?"
Me: "NO. I'd be dead. Before I got to the bike. I drank juice. JUICE."
Coworker: "Vodka and juice?"
Me: "Are you on cough medicine? I drank juice. Lemonade. No alcohol, just juice."
Coworker: "I am on cough medicine, and I can't hear anything. Oh, can you cover my shift on Friday? I have to be at the Cape by noon on Friday."
Me: "You better leave at about 5am."
Coworker: "We're probably going to leave around nine."
Me: "On the Friday before the Fourth Of July?"
Coworker: "Oh no. I didn't even think about that."
Me: "You should just leave now and get a hotel. If you've got an extra few thousand dollars to spend."
The twelfth Harvard summer student of the day interrupts the call.
Harvard Summer Idiot: "I need to pick up my--"
Me: "Flashprint is closed until tomorrow. Their schedule is on their door."
HSI: "I lefft my tennis racket in there."
Me: "Sorry. That sucks."
HSI: "It's right by the window, next to my books. Can you get it for me?"
Me: "No. I don't work there."
HSI: "But it's right by the window."
Me: "Behind a locked door that I don't have the keys to."
HSI: "Who has the keys?"
Me: "The people who work there. None of whom are here today."
HSI: "Can you call them?"
Me: "FLASHPRINT GUYS!!!!! FLAAAAAAAAAAAASHPRINT!!! Sorry, doesn't seem like they're around."
Coworker On Phone: "I'm going to hang up now."
Yesterday, I went to the post office to return the second, and also last, in a series of jackets ordered online that featured faux-pockets and annoying zippers, and to mail out some international anthology orders that have been sitting on my desk, waiting for me to fill out customs forms.
A very nice student was trying to navigate how to get her four thousand boxes of belongings that she was mailing home, into the post office, while I used seventy-five rolls of tape to sturdy the box that had been kickboxed to my door by the USPS on its way between the jacket's original point of origin and my porch.
While I taped, and the student wheeled, I heard the postal employee behind the counter tell four different people "It's just awful. They don't give us tape anymore because some people abused the tape. So now people have to buy tape. And they all go home and write their Yelp reviews about how awful we are for not giving them tape. It's not our fault. I would give them tape, but now we don't have tape to give. But Yelp says we're not giving them tape. It's not us. It's the people who should be giving us the tape to give to people. It's not right."
During her first version of the soliloquy, I picked up tape from the rack. I am perfectly happy to pay $3 for tape, as I have approximately a million more boxes to ship in the next month.
During soliloquy four, I was in line, with boxes in hand.
Postal Employee: "Sir? Sir, I am ready for you now. I'm sorry about the tape. It's just awful."
Me: "It's no problem, I have some things to tape at home, I don't mind buying tape here."
PE: "They don't give us tape anymore because some people abused the tape. So now people have to buy it. And all they do is complain on Yelp, like it's my fault they abused the tape. People are just awful. All day long people just complain to me. Not so much as a hello or how are you, just complain, complain, complain."
Me: "That must be awful."
PE: "It is! They go on Yelp, and they say things! I used to be a hairdresser, and let me tell you, everybody wants everything for free. They come to me with their hands out, looking for free haircuts. Do you believe that? I have bills to pay. I have needs. But, no, people just complain and demand free things. I had to close my salon because people were so awful. And now I'm here, and it's tape this, Yelp that, complain, complain, complain. People are just awful."
Me: "They sure are."
PE: "Where is this box going?"
PE: "You'll need to fill out a customs form."
Me: "It's right there."
PE: "You have nice handwriting. Not like most people. People come up here with their chicken scratch forms. I didn't go to school for handwriting. I'm not a doctor translator. I don't know what they wrote about half the time, but your handwriting is very nice. Where is this box going?"
PE: "Toronto where?"
Me: "Toronto, Ontario. Canada."
PE: "Ok. The top is coming off a bit. I'd tape it for you, but they don't give us tape anymore. People were abusing their--"
Me: "It's ok. I have tape. I'll tape it shut."
PE: "I can do it."
She takes my tape, seals the package, and then puts my tape on her computer. I mentally file this under Acceptable Losses.
PE: "Ok, it's sealed. Where is it going?"
PE: "That's right. Ok, and this other box is...oh, it's a return. It's free. You used to have to pay for returns. It was awful. You buy something, you pay for shipping, you don't like it, and then you have to pay to ship it back. Might as well keep it. But now places are starting to pay return shipping. You're very lucky."
PE: "You just need another piece of tape."
Jesus. Fucken. Christ.
PE: "We don't have free tape anymore. You have to pay for it now."
Me: "You have my tape over there on your computer."
PE: "Right. I forgot you already bought tape. You're not going to go on Yelp and complain about tape. You know how people abused it. If people would just pay a dollar, it would be fine. But no, everybody comes to the post office with their hands out and complains when everything isn't free. That's weird. This label won't scan."
PE: "It's fine. Nothing to complain about. It has the address and we'll send it. No need for Yelping. Thank goodness they didn't have Yelp when I owned my salon."
PE: "All those free haircut people complaining. Awful. I'll be right back with your receipt."
While she's in the back, I walk over to the line of other exasperated people.
Me: "If anyone needs tape, let me know. They don't give it to you for free anymore."
Random Person In Line: "That's awful. I'm going to Yelp about it."
Me: I'm a long time user of your website, and I'm currently having a problem. Whenever I try to order something from delivery I receive an error message telling me that there are no restaurants in my area that deliver. I have not moved in seven years, so I'm not sure why I am now beyond the delivery area of places that, up until last week, were able to deliver to me.
Customer Service Rep: We're sorry that there aren't any restaurants in your area that can deliver to your address. We appreciate your loyalty, and hope you will continue to use our service when a restaurant opens up in your area.
Me: I don't think you read my e-mail. There are hundreds of restaurants that deliver in my area that use your site. I can see four of them from my house. There is something wrong with your website. I would like to use your service to order food. Your aggregator informs me that there are no restaurants in my area. This is not true. There are. I see a long list of restaurants within five miles of my house, but when I sign into my account, I receive an error message letting me know that there are no restaurants that deliver to my address. This is Not True. These restaurants, which have accounts with you, have been delivering to my house for seven years. I don't know why, suddenly, they would all decide to just stop delivering to my house. As far as I know, I've had no negative interactions with them.
CRS: We are sorry that the restaurant you like to order from is closed. Have you considered ordering from another restaurant.
Me: There appears to be some reading comprehension issue with "Mike" from Customer service. I've reattached the previous issue. Could multiple people please read this, and write back a possible solution to the problem I laid out, which is not that a restaurant near me has closed or that I don't live near any restaurants that use your service, it's that THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOUR WEBSITE. (followed by text from previous e-mail)
CRS: While you may be able to order from these restaurants from your phone, unfortunately, they are outside of the usual service area, and you can not order them through our site.
Me: I CAN, THOUGH. I've been ordering through your site For Years. I have not moved. None of the restaurants have moved. I have signed in and ordered from these restaurants, via your website, since 2011. I ordered from Davis Square Pizza on March 4th, and they delivered. On March 11th, I tried to order through the same method, and started receiving an error message. The Store Has Not Moved. It Has Not Gone Out Of Business. I Have Not Moved. The town of Cambridge has not passed any pizza redistricting acts within the last two weeks that would result in me not being able to order from a restaurant I have been ordering from, via your website, for seven years. Please actually read the text of this e-mail, maybe process it for an hour, do some research, check with your tech people, and please reply with a solution to the problem I presented, as opposed to sending me a generic reply that does not, in any way, reflect the problem that I have reported to you.
CRS: Sorry for the confusion. Here is a $20 voucher, which you can use at any restaurant that delivers to you.
Me: Thanks. Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to use a $20 voucher when your website claims that there aren't any restaurants that deliver to me, which To Be Clear IS NOT TRUE. Something is wrong with the aggregator on your website. If you give me the e-mail to your tech person, I would gladly e-mail them directly about fixing this problem, since your customer service department is having a difficult time parsing the problem.
CRS: We're sorry that there aren't any restaurants in your area that can deliver to your address. We appreciate your loyalty, and hope you will continue to use our service when a restaurant opens up in your area.
Me: Dear Illiterate Fuckheads. I am not going to use your service anymore because Fuck You. You Illiterate Fuckheads. Please delete my account, don't e-mail me anymore, and don't try and solve this problem. You're too late. You Illiterate Fuckheads. Normally, I would never send an e-mail that contains the term "Illiterate Fuckheads" to anyone because it's rude, fairly classist, and customer service is a really tough job. I, too, work in customer service. But since you Illiterate Fuckheads aren't really reading these, and instead generating generic responses to specific problems, I have no problem saying Fuck You. Your customer service is abysmal. If your company chooses to fire you, you have no one to blame but your own incompetent self.
CRS: We are sorry that the restaurant you like to order from is closed. Have you considered ordering from another restaurant.
Me: That's what I thought.
Dude: Didn't you tell me you broke up with someone because they were a police officer or something?
Me: No. I've never dated a police officer.
Dude: I thought you told me you kicked someone out of the house because they were a detective.
Me: What? No, I--- Oh. DeFective. I kicked out my ex because he was deFective. If he had still been under warranty, I would have had a strong case to have all the money I'd spent on him refunded.
Last night, on my way home from work, there was a car with its hazards on that was circling the square (you know what I mean), looking for a parking spot. EVERYONE was honking at this person. They were congesting the streets, they weren't paying attention to crosswalks. They sucked. But when the car went around the corner, you couldn't see what the honking was about.
Random Person: "It's so horny out tonight."
Other Random Person: "What?"
RP: "Listen to all those horns."
ORP: "That's NOT what horny means."
RP: "Yes it is. Horny. Full of horns."
When I switch shifts with someone, it becomes increasingly clear that I've been slowly training people not to call and annoy me during my regular shifts. Everybody who calls today is part of the Lonely Asshole club, and they have fifty-five hundred questions about comic books that they've been misled to believe are important enough to waste my time on the phone.
Person On Phone: "Do you have the rest of the Mage trilogy?"
Me: "The rest of?"
PoP: "I was in the other day, and there are three parts of the story."
PoP: "So do you have it?"
Me: "What do you already have?"
PoP: "It's in a bag."
Me: "Uh huh. What's in a bag? And where is this bag?"
PoP: "I gave it to you yesterday."
Me: "Nope. I wasn't here yesterday. I don't know who you are, or what you're looking for."
PoP: "The rest of the Mage trilogy."
Me: "I can't help you find the rest of something if I don't know what you already have."
PoP: "I see. I had the guy put issues #11 #12 and #13 in a bag."
Me: "Ok. Well, I don't know how that factors into a trilogy. There were fourteen issues of the previous Mage series, and the current run is up to six."
PoP: "Not the reprints."
PoP: "Not the reprints."
Me: "What about the reprints?"
PoP: "I don't want them. I have the paperbacks from thirty years ago. Those have got to be worth a fortune, huh?"
Me: "Probably not."
PoP: "Do you collect comics?"
PoP: "Well, if they're not worth anything, I should just give them away, huh?"
Me: "That would be very charitable of--"
Random Customer In Store: "EXCUSE ME. YOUR DOCTOR WHO. I NEED YOUR DOCTOR WHO."
Me (on phone): "Hold on a second."
I lead the person to the Doctor Who comic section.
RC: "NOT THE COMICS, GEESH! THE MAGAZINE. DOCTOR WHO THE MAGAZINE."
I lead them over to the--
RC: "HOW MUCH IS THIS? IT DOESN'T SAY HOW MUCH IT IS."
Me: "It's $11.99."
RC: "I REMEMBER WHEN THEY WERE ONLY FIVE DOLLARS."
Me: "Ah, the Good Old Days."
PoP: "I remember the good old days. How much are Watchmen issues worth?"
Me: "I have no idea."
RC: "CAN I PAY YOU FOR THESE?"
Me: "Sure thing. $11.99"
PoP: "They're only worth $11.99?"
Me: "No. Sorry, I'm talking to someone in the store. I don't know how much they're worth."
RC: "DIDN'T YOU SAY $11.99?"
RC gives me the money and leaves.
PoP: "Did you find the rest of the trilogy?"
Me: "I don't know what you mean by The Trilogy. There were fourteen issues of the 80s and 90s run. The current run is up to six issues."
PoP: "The trilogy is the original story."
Me: "Ok. Well, there were fourteen issues."
PoP: "The trilogy?"
Me: "I don't know anything about a trilogy. There were fourteen issues of the old run. There have been six issues of the new one."
PoP: "Are the new issues part of the trilogy?"
Me: "I have no idea. I can't find anything online about a trilogy."
PoP: "Do you know why they made him bald in the reprints?"
Me: "Huh? He's bald in the new series because it takes place thirty years later."
PoP: "They're not reprints?"
Me: "The New Ones? No. The New Issues aren't reprints. They're new."
Me: "Look, I have a ton of people in the store and--"
RC: "I ALREADY HAVE THIS BOOK. I ALREADY READ IT. YOU CHARGED ME FOR A BOOK I ALREADY READ."
PoP: "That person is very loud."
Me: "Very. I have to go."
PoP: "Can you look up how much the old Watchmen issues are worth? I bet it's a bunch."
Me: "Sorry, the internet is down. I have no way of looking it up." This is a lie.
RC: "YOU CAN'T GIVE ME MONEY BACK BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET?"
Me to PoP: "Goodbye."
Me to RC: "I was talking to the person on the phone."
RC: "HE WAS ON THE PHONE FOR A VERY LONG TIME."
Me: "Yes, he was. Here's your twelve dollars. You can keep the bonus penny."
RC: "BUT IT'S NOT MINE."
Me: "It's my gift to you. Now, if you'll excuse me--"
The phone rings.
Same Person On Phone: "I meant to ask. Are Cerberus comics worth anything?"
Me: "Nope. You should burn them if your heat ever goes out."
Me: "Yea. I have to go. Bye again."
If I ever meet this caller in-person, he's going to end up wearing this phone in a very uncomfortable way.