Retail Life 32

         It would seem that I’m more aggravated with my retail job than usual. It’s possibly from putting in so much work for my wish to work from home and write and edit all the time. I feel like I’m on the brink of something great and it makes me impatient to be out of the retail side of life. It could also be that the toddler has decided he doesn’t want to sleep all night again and I’m just tired and cranky. Who knows? Either way, I’ve got two little stories for you today that really got on my nerves.

         If you’ve ever worked at a store, you know the busy times of the month. The first week, people get paid; anyone who only gets paid once a month from their job, and people who get social security. So, naturally, more senior citizens are in my store during that first week. Which is usually fine, they’re all regulars and they joke around with us and it’s all good.

         So, this week, a woman came in and did her shopping. I rang her up, and she stared fixedly at the debit screen as it displayed each price for what she bought. This is normal for people who only get paid once a month, I understand they have to meet a budget. But then she added a google play card for $25 and her total jumped up to around $75. I tell her the total and she stared at me and asks me to repeat it. And then she says, “Well, I was adding up the prices on your shelves, they better be right.” I remind her she also bought the $25 card, and she snaps, “I know that.”

         Anyway, she slides her card and stares some more. The first question on the debit machine asks if you want cash back. She thinks it’s asking her how much she wants to put on the google play card… I have to stop her before she hits $25 and tell her it’s for cash back. She YELLS she doesn’t want cash back. So, I tell her to push the zeros option. (Yes, I know our cash back screen is a little weird, and I have no problem informing people to hit the zeros for no cash back.) Well, she pushes the zero on the keypad instead of the screen. I say, “no, on the screen.” And she pushes the keypad again. “No, on the screen.” Keypad. “On the screen.”


         Her receipt prints out, and she examines each price right there in front of me. She wants to know why the toothpaste rang up as $3.40 and $6. I take the receipt and show her it says 3.4oz and $6. It’s the ounces. Of the toothpaste. There’s no way the toothpaste would ring up as two prices at the same time. I explain it three different ways and she still doesn’t seem like she believes me. Then she scans the rest of the list and points at the $1 air freshener cones and says, “The shelf is really hard to read back there. It says $3.50 above them, but they’re one dollar.” I resist the urge to roll my eyes and I tell her that the prices on the shelf above the cones are for the product on the shelf above the cones. The cones price would be below them. She doesn’t get it, but we move on.

         Before she leaves, she’s got one more. She asks, “Has the manager of this place changed again?” I tell her that no, I’ve been the manager for about five years now. She says, “Well, I’ve never seen you before.” And then she walks away before I can scream, “You’ve seen me at least once a week for the last five years!!!” But she’s gone, so it’s fine and we move on with our days.

         The next one was a phone call. I wish we could just not have a store phone. People call and ask the weirdest questions or want to tell us their life stories. Or both. So, this woman calls and asks for the manager, it’s me. And then she says…

         “So, LAST SUMMER I was in there and bought a package of those kiss fingernails. Well, I threw them in a drawer and forgot about them. The other day I found them and figured I’d put them on at last. Well, I opened the package and two or three of the nails look like they’ve already been glued onto someone’s nail. There’s the flaky glue on the bottom of them. And I just think it’s such a terrible time for this to happen since we’re in the middle of a pandemic and someone who was sick could have touched those nails.”

         I get to edge in an, “I’m sorry,” before she continues on.

         “But the package was sealed, so I don’t know how that could have happened. But I just really thought someone needed to know. Since we’re in a pandemic. If this happened in the factory, they need to know too and so I thought I would call and tell you what happened so maybe you could make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

         So, on so many levels, I’m confused. First, last summer? Really? And the pandemic thing has nothing to do with it if it’s been sitting in your drawer for over a year. Any germs from whoever touched it before you are dead. But I’m finally able to speak, so I tell her that if the package was sealed it must be a quality control issue from the factory and there’s nothing I can do about it and she quickly snaps, “I don’t want you to do anything about it.” So, still confused, I ask her if she wants to come in and exchange the package. Even though it’s way past the 30-day refund policy, I’d do it to get her to stop, and it’s just a pack of fingernails. But she says no, that’s not what she wanted either. She just “wanted someone to know.” And then she hung up.

         I was so confused. But whatever.

         Anyway, that’s my misery for you to laugh at. I’m so ready to not work in retail anymore. I don’t know how much longer I can keep up the professional façade when people ask me the dumbest questions. I need a nap.