Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Retail Therapy: We Need Some

It was a strange week in the land of retail.  Perhaps it was the cold (yes, it can be cold here in the Southwest) or are we coming up on a full moon?

As a retailer, it is expected that customers be not only forgiven but also remain largely oblivious to their gaffes.  Sometimes though, my cup runeth over and you get to hear the story.

I have three short stories from last week in three acts: confusion, surprise and horror.

A gaggle of somewhat sober, recent graduates take over the store.  Each has to use our "no customers" bathroom in turn.  I smile and run around answering questions for each as they split into groups of two or three to investigate.  At checkout one tells me that one of her best friends is the first in her group to be getting married.

"I'm so excited to find this store!  I'm going to do her party.  She's really conservative.  I'm going to do penises everywhere!  Penis straws, penis water bottles, penis napkins... She's going to HATE it!"

Commentary: Wtf?  What kind of friend does something they specifically know the other person will hate?  On an important occasion?  This hurts my brain.

::ring:: ::ring::
"Hello Business Name, this is Kathryn."

"Yes, do you sell thongs for men?"

"You know, we don't.  We're a small store and it's difficult for us to carry clothing.  But there are some places I can sugges--"

"Oh that's too bad.  It's for a party tonight so I'm kinda' in a hurry."

"Well, sometimes Kohl's and JC Penney have sexy men's underwear and"

"It's a naked party.  So, I mean the underwear would just be for the time before all that comes off."

"Oh, that's good.  You might also try a store called Free Radicals."

"It should be fun, but you know, I want something to show off everything before the nakedness really happens."

"Of course.  I'm not sure how much luck you'll have in finding a thong, but sometimes jock straps are made very sexy and that's essentially the same thing."

"That's true.  This is going to be a great party.  We started off with just 4 people but now we have, like, 20."

"Yes, it's difficult to make that kind of party happen, especially here."

"Yeah, hey you wanna' come?"

"Oh, thank you but I can't."

"No, really, you sound cool.  I'd like to invite you."

"Well, I don't accept invitations from people I don't know."

"I could come down to the store and you could decide then."

"Actually I can't accept anything personally while I'm in a professional role here at work."

"Oh, but, so, if we met outside of your work..."

"I'm flattered, but your party is tonight and I work late tonight."

"Oh, okay.  Well, maybe next time."

"Maybe next time."

Commentary: No, maybe not next time.  I'd be very happy to attend a sex party, but I'm concerned if someone's criteria on the people they invite is that they 'sound cool'.

I'm having a conversation with a customer about lubricant.  We're discussing the merits and drawbacks of water vs. silicone lube.  The customer needs something to take on a trip with her.
"What's this one?"

"That's a silicone lube that comes specifically in a travel case.  Silicone leaks a bit and gets on everything so that company was thinking ahead."

::Customer grabbing her right armpit:: "Leaks?"

::Me putting two and two together:: "Oh, I just meant the lubricant.  Implants are well contained and tested so they don't leak."*

"Oh, okay.  I sure hope it don't leak.  I've had this for 13 years.  It don't feel like the other."

"Yes, I've heard that you must massage them frequently if you want them to stay soft."

"Well, that makes sense because it does seem to soften up if I'm touching it.  Here, feel."

"No, thank you."

"No really, it's okay, just touch them each, you'll see they're different."

"Thank you, I'd rather not.  Actually I had a girl friend once who had a silicone implant."

Commentary: I love this.  I think I might actually be this woman if I lost some of the social conditioning I've developed.  I went through a process between the first time she asked and the second.  It took about a milisecond but in it I considered how I am curious about how implants feel (that gf had no tissue on one side of her chest so the implant was a bit different than it might have been for someone else).  I also considered how and why someone would ask a store clerk to touch their breasts and how I really did not want to touch this woman at all.  Also, it seemed she was going to argue more before I said I'd already felt a silicone implant.

*I just watched the Mythbusters' episode on silicone implants at altitude.  I feels smart.

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