Thursday, September 24, 2009

Why Come Yer Buggin'?

You know, sometimes even having 3 days off cannot prepare you for….the Wednesday afternoon shopper, sigh. I used to think Sunday was the, “freaks are out” day but Sunday seems to bring in the old folks and the super needy, which is much easier and can be fun in a way. I kind of like the gherkins, (affectionate name for the oldsters) now. Took me a while but watching a little old couple, (and they almost always come in pairs) shuffling throughout the store one just slightly in front of the other, almost like they are tied together by some invisible thread…a lifetime spent with one another, guarding against pickpockets, fear of falling, whatever but I find something sweet about it. I adore the spunky ones, spunky playful is great but I even admire spunky grumpy. I used to hate the cranky, old, “Get off my lawn you kids!” gherkins but now, well now I feel a kinship…I am so gonna be that mean old cat lady. The needy can be trying depending on the grade of my hangover and lack of sleep, (cuzz you know Sunday comes right after Saturday…why would they put that there?) but mean as I am, I do like helping people so I just try and take it as, “they need me more” and feel gratified when the sale is finally over…like crossing the finish line or the finishing of a tattoo, sure it was painful but now it’s over and I feel great.

Not sure why but Wednesday afternoon seems to bring out the worst in people, despair that the week is only half over, out on a Wednesday afternoon because you are on a “medical leave of absence” dunno what it is but damn. I always work Wednesdays and now with a shoestring staff it’s just me and Merritt, (thank God for her, least we can shoot each other that, “Oh my God what a freak” look) with the Kemners working in the back, so avoiding the parade of bizarre behavior is unavoidable. Yesterday it started with a phone call.

“Yes, someone there left me a message that a wine I was looking for was in” the voice groaned at a painfully slow pace. “Okay” I replied unsure why she was calling…just to let us know she got the message? So I press on, “Which wine was it?” I asked “Oh…..I don’t…..know” she answered in a trickle of words that had me wanting to pound my head against the desk, is it too hard to like have your thoughts together before you call? I was looking at Merritt with that, “just shoot me” face waiting for her to think of the name of the wine, “Hello? Are you still there?” she chimed after what felt like 5 minutes. “Um, yes I’m here” I answered in a slightly confused sounding voice, “I was waiting to hear which wine you were looking for” I told her. “Um I don’t remember but it was a white wine” she said. Now I know patience is a virtue and all, I try, I do but C’mon, what am I going to do with this nugget of information?! “Well now we’re getting somewhere” I lobbed…balls in your court now lady. After an eternity we got close enough, it was a LA Times Wine of the Week and….freaking thing wasn’t even in yet, the call was to let her know that it was coming and how many might she want, grumble.

Now I could have recovered from this, might have even been able to laugh about it if, things didn’t just keep piling on like some freaking test of my intestinal fortitude, oh and whomever is holding the voodoo doll with my likeness, I am so sorry, yes you can have a second taste of the most expensive wine on the table and/or I would love to come to your home and conduct a private tasting…just make your Wednesday torture less.... havoc wreaking.

“My daughter is breast feeding, I think it’s odd that she is still breast feeding when the baby is 4 but her husband is German and I think that’s what the Germans do” sigh. “I want to get her a gift but she can’t really drink that much, plus they like beer…do you have beer, no maybe chocolate, but I think you shouldn’t have chocolate when your breast feeding.” Oh Gawd. “They are into gourmet food, they go to Olive Garden twice a week so I can’t really get anything too cheap but I’ve never liked her husband and I don’t want him to have anything too nice.” Shoot me. “When she was little she didn’t even want kids and I think they are trying for a second, oh maybe a gift basket would be best” I let my eyes wander outside, where I was longing to be…far away from this obviously “touched” older woman and that’s when I saw freak number 3.

Kinda hard to miss, she looked like a porn star, a low budget one but still. Funny when you see chicks like that close up, their faces and stuff up close I mean…not so much good really, funny you never really notice the “spackle” that is holding that mess together when they are like working and junk. She walks up to the front door and this is when problem number one happens…she couldn’t figure out the door, awesome. She goes to the wrong side of the door and finds no handle, now one would think the next option would be to, I don’t know…look at the other side, nope this train wreck stuck her fake nail sporting hands in the hinges of the door and tried to pry her way in…dude. I mean I know doors are like hard and stuff but really?! I swear you could hear my eyelashes slapping together, best part…our door swings both ways, (she might too but who am I to judge) so she could have just pushed the damn thing, unreal.

She tackles that whole door issue and prances in sporting that very uncomfortable fake confidence that women like that tend to, in short….kinda bitchy. Tiny frame, too tiny for the big ol fake boobies she had, bleached hair, (me too, this is so the pot calling the kettle black but I need to paint the picture right) blue contact lenses perched in her clearly augmented eyes and she was so working her, “pout” poor thing went a tad nutty with the lip plumpin, she looked like a duck, a cartoon duck. She walks right up to Randy who was in a meeting, didn’t want to deal with one of us, “I got the same junk you do girlie” girls, got him to assist her and graced me with her presence at the counter, but not before walking right in front of a poor woman wearing one of those burn victim sleeves….I shit you not. I let her cut in line and put her bottle on the counter and then motioned to the woman that had been cut off to meet me at the next register…yeah, I left miss, “look at me” standing there while I rang the other woman up. Felt smug when I left her standing there, even more so as I was wearing a man’s shirt unbuttoned just enough to flash a glimpse of my, very real ample boobage…soft, real, and I get to wear the snarl of the “I came this way”.

“Vut are your tastings about?” she asked when I came to ring her up, “Not sure I know what you’re asking” I responded. “You’re tastings tell me about zem” she demanded in her eastern European accent. This is how that went

Me- Well we do three tastings a week they are..
Her- How much are they?
Me- Well as I was saying, we do multiple tastings a week and they are all different pric
Her- Do you have a schedule?
Me- Yes those flyers on the counter have a list of all of our
Her- I want one list.
Me- Well there are different flyers for each of our events because
Her- I want one list with all of zem, is this too hard?
Me- Let me show you why I can’t give you what you are asking for.

I gathered all the flyers and explained, rapidly to avoid being cut off once again, that we have eight dollar, twenty dollar and thirty to seventy-five dollar events which is why there is NOT one flyer, we have a Thursday tasting flyer, a Friday tasting flyer and a Saturday tasting flyer. This time it was her lashes I could hear, that and the wind chimes clinking in her manipulated melon. She shot me the look of the mildly annoyed and sighed at me, I let her know she could find everything online….wind chimes. She futzed with the papers and her bottle, like she couldn’t figure out how to manage both…I wanted to flick her in her head and was so happy when she made her grand, swishy, click-clacky, high healed exit…we were not in love she and I.

“You guys have a lot of salt, what is that about?’ the burly jumpsuit clad gentleman asked, seriously…just who did I piss off?! “I’m sorry, not sure I know what you mean” I replied with the face of the truly punished. “Why salt in a wine store? I mean you sell wine what’s up with all this salt stuff? Explain yourself” the explain yourself went right to my spine, which went stiff and to my nostrils which flared…explain myself?! I spoke through my clinched teeth when I responded, “Well food and wine kind of go hand-in-hand so people that cook like these high end salts…Sir” I managed to choke out, could not bear a smile though. I shot Merritt “the look” and she nodded.

“The look” is what I like to call the Martini Face, it is a wistful look, the look of the truly longing, the desperate in need of guaranteed relief….I so needed a Martini. Just when I swore I could not take one more freak waving their flag of freakdom I got a text, “Going to Interlude for a drink, wanna meet us?” Amy and Sexy Bitch. Any images that the name Interlude might conjure…yeah, that’s the place. Nasty ass bathrooms, old dudes that have been drunk since like noon, mean ass bartenders, popcorn the whole nine….this place, this place is an oasis of, “Let’s kill the pain” and just what this Wednesday warrior needed.

I sat at the bar, my people around me, free from imposed freakdom, eating a bag of Doritos and sipping on my third Gin & Tonic, thinking least I have Sunday to look forward to.


Jerome said...

wow, not sure I could handle retail. "explain yourself", now that sounds pretty rude...

Thomas Pellechia said...

You lucky lady. I used to get those people fifteen minutes before closing time--without fail!

I remember one distinctly: she couldn't decide whether to get a red, white, or green wine for the crummy dinner she was going to produce for her in-laws. I forget what it was, but the dinner was crummy, really.

This was around the time that vibrator cell phone service began to take off. So, after ten minutes of me wanting to strangle this bitch and maybe cut her into pieces large enough to fit in the back of the refrigerator for later perusal and maybe lunch, she cuts me off in mid-sentence to answer her phone.

After she finishes the inane conversation on her cell I say, innocently, "gee, how did you know it rang. I didn't hear anything."

She whips it out of her pocket and shows me: "it's on vibrator, she says."

"Oh," I said, looking at her pocket, which was close enough to her groin, "you must walk around feeling real good all day..."

John M. Kelly said...

I've got my "let's look into the furure" collar on just now, and what I see a business card:

...Samantha Dugan,

...Regional Manager,

...Beaune Imports

Yep, that's what I see.

vickibarkley said...

I had a student tell me to "explain myself" one time, when he was obviously angry because he didn't understand the assignment. It was all I could do to remain calm. That hits my buttons every time.

Wednesday is Freak Day, huh? I'll have to keep that in mind.

Samantha Dugan said...

It was rude as hell, the best part was he was total trash, of the "trailer" variety...perfect.

Did she even flinch?! I love, love, love the phone people, the way they want you to stand there and wait until they finish their call, cuzz you know...we have nothing better to do right? I walk away now, they can come get me when they're ready. The register ones are magic too, talking away and then looking at you like, "Why have you not given me my total?" uggggg. Now I make as much noise I can, opening and closing the drawer, making a commotion with the bags...and I interrupt them to give them their total, some of those, "can you NOT see I'm on the phone" looks kill me!

Love Michael more than almost any other man on the planet, his guideance helped create this monster and I think his book is amazing thinks he would be aching to kill me after a couple months, not that he would ever consider it to begin with! Nope, The Wine Country is stuck with me for now, poor bastards.

Girlie I only gave a couple examples, Wednesdays are remarkable, just gotta laugh....

Nancy Deprez said...

Awesome awesome story, Sam, awesome, I enjoyed reading about Freaky Wednesday! And Freak #2, the one on the phone, I swear I know that customer, she once talked the wax out of my ears. My ears literally hurt from the phone thing listening to her tell me her crappy life story and that of her daughters'. Sigh.

Merzie said...

Wednesday is when all the freaks come and Sunday is when the short bus rolls up and lets all the tards off to shop at our store.

customer "I didn't know they made fruit wine"
Me "you mean fruit other than grapes?"

customer "What's this?"
Me "It's a bar code"

Me "Do you need help finding anything?"
Customer "No thanks. Just looking around."
Me "Ok. Well, if you have any questions just let me know"
Customer "Well, I do have a question."


That lollipop eating fat kid really made my day though. He was super!