Thursday, March 24, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

That's right, this story starts with once upon a time. Why? Because once upon a time in retail, especially music and movie retail, owners used to know that to sell what was in stock, your staff have to be passionate about the product. Everybody I know wanted to work in a music store and I was lucky enough to experience the tail-end of the good times.

This brief little story is about people who are passionate about what they listen to and having the ability to use that gift to enlighten people who shop in stores.

As I said, it's rare to come across an employee nowadays that gives a rats ass about work. We, in the music industry, used to be able to choose the music that we listen to in the store and customers would come in and say "Wow, what is this that you're playing?! It's amazing, I'll take TEN!"

Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but that used to happen all the time, but with more like one copy of something. Now we listen to this drivel that is created by some unknown person with terrible taste at our head offices and forced on us for 40 hours a week. Seriously, like 30-40 songs OVER AND OVER again ALL DAY!

People come into the store and essentially just walk right back out saying stuff like "What is this crap?!" Seriously. Some people obviously DO enjoy it, but those are the people who pirate shit and don't bother to come into the stores for the most part.

So this girl comes in and we start talking about music. We share the same beliefs that music industry has done this to themselves and that hardly any good artists get the recognition that they deserve. We talked about Florence & the Machine, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and more. It was a great conversation. The girl as it turned out was looking for a CD for her friends birthday. So after talking to her about a bunch of other artists, we ended up having nothing in stock that she was specifically looking for. I went over all of the things we had talked about in my head and I turned to her and said, "Have you heard Marina and the Diamonds?" and the girl smiles and says, "I'll take two if you have them!"

Moments like this are rare nowadays in retail and they make us employees feel amazing when they do happen. I know what I'm talking about and I love sharing my knowledge with people who will appreciate what I have to say. I wish that the music industry could go back to those days, but in lieu of that, I'll just reminisce.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

House Music CD Models are HOT

This story is a BIT on the skeezy side, but I'm going to share it anyways... Just because it's one of those parts of retail that we have to go through.

At my very first job in retail, I worked at a music store. We had a lot of crazy regulars that came in, but there was this one guy who was relatively harmless, but so pervy it wasn't funny.

He came in to talk to my manager every now and again, and what he wanted was house music. Not because he LIKED house music, but because he liked the way that the models they used for the CD covers looked. Seriously. And the blonde ones? Well he liked them the best because they looked like his sister. *shivers*

Needless to say, it gave us all the willies and the rest of us tried to avoid him as much as possible.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"My Name is Inigo Montoya. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die."

On this particular day at my work, I was pretty well stuck on cash. It was a pretty quiet day and I was cleaning up when one of the guys from the music department came up to me and asked me if I knew of any good movies about the holocaust.

Before I could answer, the guy asked to me to look at the guy that he was helping. He was a little ways away from me browsing and I didn't have my glasses on, so I was squinting at the man in question. Once I see him, my co-worker proceeds to ask me if I think that it's Mandy Patinkin (Princess Bride, Criminal Minds, Dead Like Me). Sure enough, it freaking looks just like him.

I'm going to take a mini time out to explain some quirky side facts about how exciting this was... I believe that this occurrence happened on a Monday because I had spent the better part of the weekend telling my boyfriend to shut up. Why? The Princess Bride is one of his favourite movies and we had just started watching Criminal Minds. So throughout us watching the show, my boyfriend just kept repeating the quote over and over again: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

On top of THAT, we have this thing in our store called 'cash crashers' where a certain movie is on sale for half off if you spend over $20. The DVD that had been on promotion only a DAY before happened to be The Princess Bride.

Anyways, so I have seen a ton of holocaust movies like Black Book, Schindler's List, Good etc. Of course at the time, I couldn't think of anything to tell him though. Overcome with excitement, I waited at cash and sure enough Mandy came to my cash. I was blushing and shaking so badly. He bought his items and when he went to pay, I got even MORE excited when he handed me his credit card and the name on the credit card verified what I already knew - that he was Inigo Montoya... aka Mandy Patinkin.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Whole Picture

It's just an average morning at the store. People are in purchasing fuel, snacks and their morning cigarettes.
Because it was an average Wednesday, I was only seeing people that had that average kind of look.
It was about 10:30 and a roughly 40 year old, balding white male came in to pay for $18 in fuel.
" ..and a DuMaurier king size."
"I only have regular size."
"That will work, but I dont want the picture to be too gross."

At this point, whenever someone says something similar my brain thinks that they're not strong enough to handle the realities of smoking.

I reach into the drawer and take out one. I place it on the counter.

"Oh! I don't want those ones. Can I have another?"
"No. They all have pictures of a heart on them."
"I will just get the gas then."

Transaction completed.

"On second thought, can I have a Players light?"
I look into the drawer, " it's got a cute baby on it"
"That's ok."

Other transaction completed.

I hope the smokes were good and you have it in your heart not to think of the children!! * insert screechy Mrs. Reverend Lovejoy's voice*

There is a reason that governments put those pictures on the packages...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Want Some Freshly Licked Candy?

My friend Manu and I used to work together. We have all kinds of crazy stories about this and that from then. Anyways, I was chatting with her the other day and she shared this story with me about these customers that she had.

While she was working at cash, a few kids came up to the counter to pay for some stuff. One thing about the store we worked at is that there are little knick knacks to buy everywhere… impulse buy kind of stuff. These kids were wandering around through that stuff and decided to buy some of the candies that were there. Most of the candies are pretty crappy, and people usually buy them for the collectible tins.

As Manu was cashing these kids through (and I’m going to make it a point to add in that they weren’t REALLY kids… more like between 18-21ish), they opened up the candies. One of the guys proceeded to lick all of the candies that were in the package. Once that was done with, he offered the candies to Manu.

Yum. I wish that someone would offer ME freshly licked candies. Urm. Ok, so that sounds really wrong and disgusting, but ya… let’s not take sarcasm out of context people.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Take THAT Justin Bieber!

Christmas, as you can imagine, is the most hectic time for anyone working in retail. I mentioned this before, but if you're short staffed, you can end up with 3-4 employees for every 30-40 people in the store. They all want help, they're all trying to get in and out of the store. And they all expect you to be their top priority. Madness. Absolute complete madness.

This past Christmas, I was the acting supervisor and we had 5 minutes left until we closed the store. I had left one cashier on cash because it was really quiet and had asked the rest of the cashiers to cash off and get ready to start cleaning the store.

We closed the doors and the time to close came. 2 or 3 people were left in the line up and my cashier was working diligently to get through all of them quickly and as best as he could. This one woman had come into the store last minute and picked up a Justin Bieber calendar. She was in the line for thirty seconds before she started yelling. "WHERE ARE ALL OF YOUR CASHIERS?!"

I calmly tried to explain to her that we were closed and we had to start preparing for clean-up. This was not acceptable to her. Another lady in the line up told her to relax but this just made the woman more angry. So the woman took the Justin Bieber calendar that she had in her hands and threw it at the cash area and literally stomped her feet out of the store. I just shook my head and the last woman in line said to me, "Do you seriously have to put up with people like that all day? What a bitch!"

It always makes you feel a little bit better when someone else acknowledges that the person you were dealing with was clearly nutters.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nomaste, Sweetie

Kids can be freaking adorable, but sometimes, especially if they’re yours… they can be little terrors.

The store I worked out happened to be located in a she-she kind of mall. The place where parents are used to having their kids looked after for them. I’ve seen all sorts of people come into the mall. This woman came in with her husband little girl. The little girl was like your picture perfect child with blonde hair with pretty natural ringlets, and big blue eyes. The father went to browse around the store for a little bit and left his wife to talk to me about a potential exchange.

I was looking up some stuff for the woman, because she didn’t have a receipt, so I must’ve been helping her for 5-10 minutes or so. Like 30 seconds into our conversation, the little girl comes running over to her from her dad “Mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY, MOOOMMMMMMMY.” The mom smiles at her kid and is like, “One second sweetie.”

So the kid sits there waiting for her mom to carry on and then starts again, “MOMMY, mommy, mommy MOOOMMMMMMMMMMY!” the whole time she is tugging at her mom’s shirt and jumping up and down. So her mom turns to her again and says “Mommy is trying to talk to this lady, so can you go see daddy?”

The little girl then skips off to find daddy. I can only assume that the father told the girl to go see mommy because another 30 seconds pass before the little girl is back again. However, on her way back to her mom, she has discovered the Hello Kitty PEZ dispensers that we sell. She picks one up and starts waving it at her mom, “MOOOOMMMMMY! LOOK! Look, look look look MOOMMMY! It’s amazing! Can I have it? Please mommy can I have it? I love it! PUHHHHHLEASE?!” the mom turns to her kid again and says calmly “Go ask daddy.”

At this point in time, I am not entirely sure how this woman is keeping calm. I’m pretty sure I would’ve hauled my child out of there (if I had any children to haul outta anywhere), but anyways. I’m almost done talking to the mother, when sure enough, she is back, “MOOOOOOMMMMY! Mommyy, mommy, mommy!” and finally the mom turns to the little girl and gently holds her shoulders and looks her in the eye and says, “Can we just take a deep breath and say nomaste, sweetie?” she then folds her hands together and bows a little bit at her kid, who takes a deep breath before running back to her father again.

The mom looks at me, smiles and says “Kids!” and laughs a little.