Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Weekend Weirdness

We all lead unique lives.  I'll bet we all see our own share of strange things.  That said, I think that working retail sometimes exposes me to... more weirdness.  Here's examples from this weekend.

Saturday, July 4.  Independence Day.  I'm working my usual mid-shift at the registers. I was wearing a simple blue dress... nothing special.  Maybe ten minutes into my shift, up steps a couple.  Mid to late 60's.  He looks like he was weaned on a lemon, just incredibly sour and angry at the world.  She just looks tired- bone weary tired.  He steps up and places two books on the counter: a Bill O'Reilly title and the new racist screed by Ann Coulter.  I don't even blink.  I work for a book store, and being professional demands that anything that makes the register ring (as long as it's legal) is good.  So I was ringing up the sale, and he looks me up and down.

He looks me in the eye and says, with tons of contempt, "Are you a liberal?"

I gazed back at him with a puzzled look.  "I'm an American."

I handed him his receipt without another word exchanged.  I never knew what brought that on... but his wife gave me a look that said "I'm sorry."

Face of a Liberal

The next day, Sunday July 5, I worked the same mid-shift.  As I was punching in (we punch in at the Information station) I saw one of the managers helping a customer.  He was mid to late 40's, olive complexion, pudgy, wearing a teal polo shirt and white ball cap.  He was loudly announcing to her (and everyone else it seems) that he was from New Jersey.  He continued on, but I headed up to the registers where I was scheduled to work.  Maybe five minutes later, he comes to my register.  He had to order his book which was an "Images of America" book of some town in New Jersey.  He announced loudly to me that this book was about his home town and that his father was in one of the pictures.  Maybe.  He wasn't sure.  Ok.  I smiled and nodded and handed him his receipt, thanked him, and wished him a good day.

Fast forward maybe an hour.  I'm no longer working alone.  At the register to my left is a co-worker whom I will call Millie.  Millie is a pleasant woman who has a day job working at a local school.  The guy comes back into line, and she helps him as I was working with another customer. The transaction seems to be going smoothly enough when suddenly it gets surreal.

He announces loudly (I don't think he has any other volume) "You know what really turns my stomach?  What really makes me sick?  ESPN has this award show... the ESPYs... and there's this award called the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.  And know who they're giving it to?  Bruce Jenner.  For what?  That's just sickening!  They should strip him of his medals.  Just completely sickening!

My customer had left, so I looked at him and said "Her name is Caitlyn.  She's a woman now."

"She ain't no woman.  It's just sick.  They should just... I don't know the whole thing turns my stomach!"

I say again, quietly and evenly " She's a woman now.  Her name is Caitlyn"

"I don't care what it calls itself.  He's Bruce Jenner!"

"How is her life any of our business?" I ask with the same tone.

And off he went, muttering to himself.

Now, there was NOTHING at the registers to bring up Caitlyn Jenner... no pictures, no magazine covers, nothing!  Millie and I look at each other with the same look of amazement.  We ask each other what that was all about.  Millie said I conducted myself very well.  I said "The reason Caitlyn Jenner deserves a courage award is because she has to deal with people like THAT the rest of her life."

"Has that ever happened to you?" she asked.

"More than you'd think," I said.

She looked sad.  "I just don't get why people need to be so mean."

But it didn't end there.  No, maybe two hours later, he was back.  I had a line of maybe six or seven people, and he came the wrong way up the registers, looking at all the magazine racks as he did.  I was working with a customer when he stopped at the magazine rack next to my register, looked at me and scowled.  Then he left.  The customer I had in front of me looked at me with a questioning look.  I shrugged.

Just another weekend at the bookstore.


  1. He probably realized that you were correcting him out of first hand experience, and wasn't going to put up with his hatred. People like him make me sad - as they hate the wrong things....

  2. and itdoesn't seem as if he connected bruce to verbaly. there are those people in the world that amuse themselves by pushing other peoples buttons and then sit back tol watch the fireworks. most of those people that i know iof usuallly have a midred of issues themselves and this they think covers up their own insucurities. you handeled the situation well and professsionally . hmmmm was it a full moon that night LOL

  3. What a troll! So sorry you had to deal with someone like that.
    Love your blog, found it while looking for more ways to support a student that TA'd for me last year. Her parents are unsupportive and your wonderful, heartfelt words have helped me to reach out to her. Thank you for sharing your story💜