Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Employment, Day One

"I'm looking for something I can put all of this shit in," the spandex-wearing woman said, emptying the contents of an Old Navy tote bag on the counter. She quickly arranged the items according to size, separating her car keys and asthma inhaler from the can of Raid and the two knives, one sheathed and the other naked, showing off its serrated body for the cash register.

"Um. You carry a knife--knives--when you run?" my coworker asked, a valid question and one that I--the brand new, box fresh associate--was afraid to ask, secretly hoping she wouldn't stab him before I learned how to get my discount.

"Oh yeah. Got to. Otherwise the wild hogs 'll get me." I made a joke about how we'd all like to stab Tim Allen and her eyebrows quickly fell into each other, covering the tiny patch of neutral ground between them. She looked at me disgustedly, because apparently my Saint Binford blaspheming was as unwanted as, say, regular dental checkups or a G.E.D.

My coworker--we'll call him Pete because he looks vaguely Big Pete-ish--directed her towards a rack of lightweight nylon backpacks. She picked one off the wall and unzipped it far enough to drop the knife sheath inside before trying it on. "This feels all right," she said, spinning in circles in front of the mirror, stopping to slowly aim the Raid at her own reflection.

"You kind of look like Rambo", Pete offered. "You ever watch those movies?"

"Nope. I don't much like violence. I'll take the satchel," she said, wriggling out of the pack, her words struggling under the weight of her accent.

"We do have a smaller canister of insect repellent, if you're interested," Pete suggested, as I made a mental note that you even upsell to the unhinged ones. "It should take care of bees, wasps, and mosquitos".

"What about dogs?" she asked, casually flipping the Raid can from hand to hand.

"Yes, it should keep the bugs off your dog too."

"No, I meant will it get rid of dogs," she said, staring at Pete's face like it was a particularly challenging Wheel of Fortune puzzle. "My neighbor's dog always gets in my business when I'm trying to run and otherwise."

I missed Pete's reply since I was busy wondering if her 'business comma otherwise' involved a bathtub full of hydrogen peroxide and Sudafed. Cut to me immediately dropping the box of insoles I'd been carrying and the sound of ten pounds of Superfeet sending her scurrying in my direction. I hurriedly tried to corral them all before arranging them on the waterfall display, the name for the store fixture I'd previously referred to as "the Liberace" because of its shiny silver balls*.

She stood right behind me, singing along with "Kokomo" as it leaked out of the local radio. Coming from her, that "bodies in the sand" line sounded less tropically appealing and more like a scene that should be blocked off with police tape. "So...Employee", she said sounding out the syllables of my unpersonalized name tag, "You carry any protection with you on your runs?"

"Only my diaphragm," I wanted to say, but instead silently shook my head, trying to keep an armful of arch supports between us, hoping that they were Super enough to protect my vital organs.

"I'll need your autograph on this receipt," Pete yelled and she stomped across the store. She signed her name hard enough to tear the paper, pocketed the pen, and threw her tote bag at the trash can. It missed. "Good luck with the knives".

She stopped with one hand on the door, stared at us and said "Oh, I could just as easily carry a gun, but with them, there's a second of thinkin' before you pull that trigger. Knives don't need no thinkin'".

The door clicked shut as Pete put the pieces of her receipt in the register, turned to me and said, "Normally, you'd introduce the customer to the frequent buyer program. But I'm not sure we'd like her to become a regular."

"Not until she shanks Tim Allen anyway," I replied, slipping another pair of size 10s onto the waterfall. "Or even Martin Lawrence." Pete disappeared into the back and the store was quiet, save for the Beach Boys' ill-prepared Caribbean itinerary. My day had begun. I'll never forget my first.

* I was quickly corrected and I think there was some concern that I'd even consider the metallic composition of Liberace's scrote. Sorry, but I'd be disappointed to learn that he hadn't actually adorned them in some way.

28 comments:

Perfectly Shelly said...

People just amaze me. Wild Hogs? Knives? Dog repelling? No dental hygene?

All the makings of a hilarious blog. I'm truly looking forward to the first outrageously NASTY feet you encounter. Be sure to keep us posted on ALL your fabulous firsts (and tenths) at your new job.

Liberace's scrote. Can't decide if I should laugh or squeal EWWWWWW.....

mindy said...

I am more than a little concerned for her neighbor's dog. Good lord, she sounds like a fucking nutcase.

Kayleigh said...

Oh Dear God. Don't let that crazy woman around Pigpen!!!!

What a crazy first day. And the waterfall piece is my new favorite thing.

You should submit this to the blog carnival for "firsts". Seriously, this is just great.

JB said...

You may want to carry a can of Raid with you on your runs in case you come across her and she's getting into your business when you're trying to run or otherwise.

She may be standing behind you during a rerun of Home Improvement, waiting to strike with her knives if you breathe one word against the Toolman. Watch out.

Ashley said...

holy christ. for someone who's not one fo violence, she sure carries around a hefty amount of weaponry.

now that is an interesting first day...mine just involved some paperwork and i think a staff meeting introducing me to everyone. so boring.

Hollywood Sucker said...

ok, see? so your new job is going to be hilaaarious.

CLARE. said...

Pete and Pete references FTW. I had a mad crush on Big Pete. I'm a sucker for redheads.

Nate said...

Nothin' like a retail job to fuel the comedy. Seriously - I did it for just over a year, and those stories never stop being funny.

jen said...

Awesome. Congrats on your first day of work! I can't wait to see who else wanders into the store.

I would aruge that knives do actually need thinkin' but I tend to overanalyze all kinds of stuff.

SA said...

I don't know how, I don't know why, but I am using the "knives don't need no thinkin'" line sometime today.

SA said...

and congrats on the new job.

Mickey said...

I always think it through very carefully before I use a knife. I guess I'm a sitting duck.

I'm a believer in the Superfeet. Actually, I'm about due for another pair. Cough. Size 9.5. Cough.

TNT Jim said...

I'm reminded of the line from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels when Soap says:
Guns for show, knives for a pro.

You made it through day one, when does the discount kick in?

Are You Willing to Change? said...

Wow! I didn't know that people like her existed! She sounds so crazy! Better you then me...

A Lover and a Fighter said...

Lucky.

Jack said...

Well... at least she's not planning to stab the dog? :/ That's a good thing.

Allie said...

You had me on the floor LOL with the "Only my diaphragm,"!!!
You should have said it out loud! I bet Pete would have laughed...her not so much. She seems like the Super Serious Sally type!

And yes, this lady makes me fear for any poor animals life....I hope she lives no where near me!

Dexter Colt said...

Perhaps you should of sold her a map back to reality.

"Knives don't need no thinking."

This lady must be a blast at Thanksgiving. Look at that turkey fly!

Felicia said...

Yay, can't wait to hear more stories about the crazies! I used to work retail and as a waitress and noticed that they always come out on Sundays, usually around the time church gets out...hmmm...

J-Money said...

Wow, you guys were busy while I was out! It's killing me to be away from the computer for six hours at a clip. I never thought that would happen unless I was in a diabetic coma. So...

shelly: Oh yeah, you'll get the scoop on all the footsies. And I say laugh AND squeal.

mindy: Ain't that the damn truth.

kayleigh: Holy crap that's a great idea! Thanks!

jb: That is such a good idea...

ashley: You can be my guest on Take Your Blog Commenters to Work Day.

hollywood: Agreed.

clare: Me too! I love people with paler skin than mine.

nate: I hope you still think that after you've read my stories for two years.

jen: Most weapons need thinkin', in my opinion. Except, like, tongs or something.

sa: Please let me know how you used it...

mickey: Cough come to my store cough or maybe I'll steal you a pair cough are you green or orange cough

tntjim: Already. 50% off, yo.

are you willing: I assume you're not from the south then.

a lover: Just so you know, I read that in a Napoleon Dynamite voice.

jack: It's so awesome that you could find a bright side in her story. :)

allie: Unless directions to your home involve the phrase "turn off the paved road then turn right at the burning tires", you're probably safe

dexter: Perhaps you should of sold her a map back to reality. This is why I'm an associate and not a manager. Brilliant.

felicia: Luckily, we're closed on Sunday. Whew.

aarontodd said...

Hey do you know if Knife lady is single...well... no... not for me...see... I have this friend... no, really... I think I have just the man for her....

I must warn you though... this is the longest story I have ever told... I wouldn't check it out unless you have lots of time and nothing better to do. Oh... and Clare... I'm a redhead...

The Craziest Story of my life... so far

MizFit said...

man, retail makes for the BEST WRITING FODDER.

took a job at a local chain book emporium recently just for that reason.

oh

and the cash


forgot that part.

surviving myself said...

Pigpen is in danger. Grave danger.

Mickey said...

Green. And that's a nasty hack you got there. How many packs a day are you up to?

tmamone said...

Ah, the joy of working with the public! One always get great material from it.

Reluctant Runner said...

I'm picturing a new kind of water-bottle/fuel belt with a couple of knife loops, a spot to stash your aerosol cans, maybe a little pocket to store the tin-foil you'll use to make the hat to protect yourself from alien thought-control... y'know, the essentials. Feel free to drop the idea in the suggestion box at work.

Thanks for this. Your blog has become "must read".

nancypearlwannabe said...

Knives don't need no thinkin'" is my new favorite phrase. Now I just need to think of ways to use it.

brunette said...

I'd totally forgotten about Pete n Pete! Loved that show as a kid. I loved how the Mum had a metal plate in her head. I never did really get why they had the same name though. Did that ever get explained?