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.
An absolute Woogums and his female compatriot come into the store, and he starts giving her a Very Incorrect Tour of the place.
"They organize the back issues alphabetically because that's one of the things corporate makes all the stores do."
"But this is where they keep all their indie and underground books" Woogums says, pointing to the nostalgia section.
"Are these trading collections or graphic novels?" asks his even less-informed but also less-infuriating friend.
"Graphic novels." He says.
They are hardcover collections of old newspaper strips and EC comics.
"Everyone in this place knows me." he says, waving to me.
I have never seen him before in my life. And, Diamond willing, will never see him again. I do not wave back.
"This place used to be all porn and indie comics but the corporate office made them turn it into more of a superhero store." he says.
"What are you talking about?" I ask. "There is no corporate, and most of our our collections and graphic novels are what would be considered independent, as they're not put out by Marvel or DC. This entire section here. That section over there. Most of our all-ages books are Scholastic or other smaller presses. We have a European comic section. This entire shelf here. We're not really a superhero store, although we do, of course, carry the most popular DC and Marvel comics."
"You didn't used to, though. You didn't carry any at all."
"Weird." I say. "The owner, who shopped and worked here since the early 80s told me that when he started, about 90% of their sales were the Chris Claremont X-Men comics, with the rest being spread between Superman, Batman, and Cerebus. If anything, there are less superhero comics in the store now than there have ever been. Maybe you're thinking of another store."
"Must be." he says, and goes back to talking to his poor companion. "I think you'd really like The Watchmen."
I grab Mjolnir from its drawer and debate hucking it his head.
He continues to misinform her before he leaves without buying anything.
I start to ponder that I am too judgemental and grouchy when one of the guys from the print shop comes in.
"Do you believe that guy?" he says. "He just came into our store and demanded we print a color copy of a hundred dollar bill. That's ILLEGAL. Color copiers are designed to detect currency, and when they Xerox guys come in to repair or upgrade copiers, it reports how many times a person attempted to copy currency, and they have to report it to the government. And when I told him, he said that The Other Guy always let's him do it. But we're all here today, so I asked him to tell me which Other Guy and he huffed at me and walked into your store. Do you believe that?"
Entitled Harvard Student: Are you waiting to get into the print store?
Employee of Print Store: I work here. Unfortunately, the person with the keys has a family emergency. If you come back in about fifteen minutes, we'll be open, and ready to help you.
EHS: But I need something now.
EPS: Sorry. There's nothing I can do.
EHS: Isn't the whole point of a print store being open on time, and Helping People?
EPS puts her headphones on and starts looking at her phone. Like a boss.
EHS: What. Do. I. Do?
EPS: You do what I'm doing. You wait. Quietly.
Other Employee walks down stairs.
EHS: Oh my god. Do you have the keys?
He jingles them.
EHS: Thank god. I've been waiting here for an hour.
OE: It's 10:05. We open at 10.
EHS: I am in a hurry. This is, literally, life or death.
OE: Choose death.
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.
The phone rings: "Hi. I stopped in a couple of weeks ago, and left a list of books for someone to look at."
Me: "Ok. The owner is the person who would have that list. He'll be in after three, and he can answer any of your questions."
Person On Phone: "I was hoping the list was somewhere in your store. I need some information from it."
Me: "Sure thing. If you call back after three, the owner can tell you more about the list."
PoP: "It's on a lined piece of paper could you--"
Me: "No. Definitely not. It's not here. Call back after three, and you can talk to the person you gave the list to."
PoP: "You're not even going to look for it?"
Me: "Nope. It's not here. Call back after three."
Caller mumbles and hangs up.
I am absolutely NOT going to look for a lined piece of paper that someone left in the store a couple of weeks ago. It's gone. It's like it never existed. You'd have better luck trying to find a gram of cocaine in an Alaskan snowbank.
Phone rings. Ominously.
Random Caller: Hey, do you have the Fantastic Four comic?
Me: Sure, we have a bunch.
RC: The one with the first appearance of Black Panther.
Me: Ooooh. I don't know. Let me check.
RC: Is it cover price?
I laugh. Because that's fucken funny.
Me: Noooo. If we have it, it's way more than cover price.
Me: Because it's worth a lot more than cover price.
RC: Well, I was hoping to get it for cheap because I hear it's going to be valuable.
Me: You're about thirty years late to get it for cheap. Even a torn up copy is worth fifty bucks. If it's in good shape, it's over a grand.
RC: Well, I was looking to pay about--
Me: We don't have it. And nobody is going to have it for under a couple hundred dollars.
RC: That's a rip-off, you guys sh--
Me: Well, that's the price that it sells for. Sorry if it's not what you're looking for. You can get the same story in a couple of different collections that run about $20-$40 but they're not ever going to go up in value, they're just for reading. So if you want to just read the story, you can do that. But if you want it as a collectible for cheap, you're going to have to find someone who has absolutely no idea how valuable it is. It's possible but very, very, VERY unlikely.
RC: Where could I get it for about five bucks?
I hang up the phone.
I am thoroughly unsurprised when someone that I've always found unpleasant (in this case, Mr. Goodie Box) decides to open a conversation with bizarre misogyny disguised as small talk.
I've got my iPod on shuffle, and Bonnie Raitt's "Real Man" is playing, and he opens conversation with "At least she's honest. You know before she takes all the guy's money."
Mr Goodie Box: "That's what they do. Women. They love you, they leave you, and they take all your stuff."
Me: "That happen to you a lot, does it?"
MGB: "Not me. But I hear things."
Me: "I bet."
Random Loiterer: "I love the X-Men, do you have any X-men books here?"
Me: "Of course. We have some issues over here, and some collections over--"
RL: "Oh, you have vintage comics! Man, I grew up reading these. I had every issue."
RL: "I think the only one I have left is #84. The first appearance of Silver Surfer. How much is that worth?"
Me: "Um. Well, #84 was a reprint. All the issues between 67 (I think) and 94ish were reprints."
RL: "No. 84 was the first appearance of Silver Surfer."
Google google google.
Me: "So, Silver Surfer's first appearance was Fantastic Four #48. Is that what you were thinking of?"
RL: "No. Look up X-Men #84."
Type type type.
RL: "Can I see the cover? Yea. There. The Silver Surfer."
Me: "That's Iceman actually."
RL: "Why is Iceman in an X-Men comic?"
Me: "Um. Well. He's one of the original X-Men. He was in almost every issue."
RL: "I don't remember him. I'm pretty sure that's The Silver Surfer."
Me: "It's not. They do look similar, but Silver Surfer rode a surfboard. Iceman created an ice slide. See?"
RL: "You're telling me that's not Silver Surfer?"
Me: "I am telling you that's Iceman."
RL: "When did Silver Surfer join the X-Men?"
Me: "As far as I can remember, he never did. I might be wrong. A bunch of characters have been in the X-Men or The Avengers for a couple of issues, but he was never one of the main characters in an X-Men book that I read."
RL: "Are space books valuable right now?"
Me: "There are some books that take in space that are popular right now, sure. Saga. Guardians of The Galaxy. Uhhh--"
RL: "What's bigger space or time travel?"
Me: "Well, space is infinite. We don't know if the same is true of time."
RL: "I mean in comics."
Me: "Space, I think. There are more dimension hopping stories than time travel right now."
RL: "Like" names a movie I've never heard of?
Me: "Maybe? I haven't seen it."
RL: "How do you work in a comic book store and you haven't seen" movie I've never heard of"?"
How did you grow up reading X-Men comics and not know Iceman was in the X-Men?
Me: "Just lucky, I guess."
RL shakes head and leaves.