complaining, Massholes, work

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fightin’

So, this guy walks into the store on Saturday night. He’s a semi-regular customer, a white, twenty-something, heavy-set, wannabe gangsta who moved to Maine from South Boston, Massachusetts about eight years ago. His accent is atrocious. It’s so thick I can barely understand him half the time, and it’s made even worse by the fact that he is what Jerry Seinfeld would call “a low talker.” Oh…and he fucking hates Maine. I know this because he always makes it a point to subtly sneak this fact into any conversation he has with anybody he meets.

For example:

“Nice weather we’re havin’ today, eh [Boston Guy]?”
“Maybe, but I got bit by a mosquito today. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Is that a new car you got there?”
“Yeah, but the salt and potholes will kill it before winter’s done. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Hey, [Boston Guy], what do you think of Maine?”
“I fucking hate it.”

So, he walks into the store on Saturday night, crankier than usual. I made a point not to mention the weather, his car, or my favorite state. I just nodded to him, rang up his milk, Kahlua and Absolut vodka, and–after properly ID-ing him–took his credit card from his pudgy, outstretched hand. That was my cue to speak:

“Debit or credit?”
When he answered, all I understood was, “[mumble]-it.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“[mumble]-it.”
“I’m sorry…which ‘it’?”
“Fucking [mumble]-it!!!!”

Not wanting to irritate him further, and really wanting to get him out of the way so I could wait on the other eight customers in line, I made a wild guess. I had a fifty-fifty shot, after all. I chose cred-it. It meant not having to ask him to enter his PIN, which was a huge plus–the less interaction I had with this guy the better. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget their PINs, and since the guy’s card was signed (and I knew who he was) I wasn’t worried about the thing being stolen. It seemed the safest and most logical “___it” choice to make.

Unfortunately it was the wrong one.

I handed him his slip and a pen. He grabbed the slip, then looked at the pen as though he’d never seen one before.

“What the fuck is this for?”
“Um…you have to sign your slip.”
“Didn’t you hear me, you fucking idiot? I said [mumble]-it, not [mumble]-it! You fucking Mainers are all the same! A bunch of fucking retards, every last one of you. If I put you all together in a room you wouldn’t have half a brain between you. You’re all–“
“Then why don’t you just move your fat ass back home, you stupid Masshole.”

Yep. I said it. I said it out loud. In front of witnesses.

And he said nothing in return. He just signed his slip, grabbed his bag o’ booze, and stormed out. None of the other customers said anything, but they were all smiling as I rang them up. I smiled back. And when the place was cleared out I noticed that Masshole had left his card on the counter.

I will admit that visions of revenge danced in my head. Not the max-out-the-card-by-filling-my-gas-tank kind; that would have been illegal, as well as immoral. Nope, I’m talking about the cut-the-card-into-seven-hundred-pieces-and-throw-it-away-then-toss-the-bag-into-the-dumpster kind. Although slightly immoral, I don’t think that would have been illegal. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) However, sanity prevailed, and I put the thing where we put all of the left-behind cards. (No, I’m not telling you where that is.) Then I finished my shift, drove home, and penciled in “Search For New Job” under my list of Things To Do Next Week. Because, surely, calling a customer a stupid, fat-ass Masshole is a firing offense. Even if the guy really is one.

Imagine my shock, therefore, when Masshole walked into the store on Sunday afternoon and mosied on up to the counter, as chipper as he could be…which is to say that he wasn’t scowling, snorting, or baring his teeth. I took a deep breath and managed:

“What can I do for you today, sir?”
“I need a pack of smokes.” For once, his words were clear and direct.

I grabbed his usual–Newport Lights–and rang them into the register. He handed over his ID without me having to ask. He almost smiled while he did it. That made me nervous. Still, I was brave enough to say, “You, uh, left your card here last night.” Then I fished it out from [still not gonna tell you where] and handed it over. He looked at it as though he’d never seen it before. Then he said:

“I was in here last night?”
“Well…yeah.” [very long pause] “You don’t remember?”
“Nope. I was so plowed last night that I don’t remember a thing.”

Have you ever had a Moment Of Realization that was actually about 100 realizations at once? Well, that’s what happened to me as those words–again, clear and direct–left his lips. Here are a few of the realizations I had.

1. He’d forgotten the fact that I’d insulted him. My job is secure.
2. With this guy, mean = drunk.
3. Ditto the mumbled speech.
4. Until that moment, I’d never seen the guy sober.
5. He’d always driven himself to and from the store. Drunk.
6. The next time I see him he’ll probably be drunk. And mean. And I’ll have to refuse to sell him more alcohol.
7. I don’t make enough money to deal with this kind of bullshit.

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complaining, Massholes, work

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fightin’

So, this guy walks into the store on Saturday night. He’s a semi-regular customer, a white, twenty-something, heavy-set, wannabe gangsta who moved to Maine from South Boston, Massachusetts about eight years ago. His accent is atrocious. It’s so thick I can barely understand him half the time, and it’s made even worse by the fact that he is what Jerry Seinfeld would call “a low talker.” Oh…and he fucking hates Maine. I know this because he always makes it a point to subtly sneak this fact into any conversation he has with anybody he meets.

For example:

“Nice weather we’re havin’ today, eh [Boston Guy]?”
“Maybe, but I got bit by a mosquito today. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Is that a new car you got there?”
“Yeah, but the salt and potholes will kill it before winter’s done. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Hey, [Boston Guy], what do you think of Maine?”
“I fucking hate it.”

So, he walks into the store on Saturday night, crankier than usual. I made a point not to mention the weather, his car, or my favorite state. I just nodded to him, rang up his milk, Kahlua and Absolut vodka, and–after properly ID-ing him–took his credit card from his pudgy, outstretched hand. That was my cue to speak:

“Debit or credit?”
When he answered, all I understood was, “[mumble]-it.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“[mumble]-it.”
“I’m sorry…which ‘it’?”
“Fucking [mumble]-it!!!!”

Not wanting to irritate him further, and really wanting to get him out of the way so I could wait on the other eight customers in line, I made a wild guess. I had a fifty-fifty shot, after all. I chose cred-it. It meant not having to ask him to enter his PIN, which was a huge plus–the less interaction I had with this guy the better. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget their PINs, and since the guy’s card was signed (and I knew who he was) I wasn’t worried about the thing being stolen. It seemed the safest and most logical “___it” choice to make.

Unfortunately it was the wrong one.

I handed him his slip and a pen. He grabbed the slip, then looked at the pen as though he’d never seen one before.

“What the fuck is this for?”
“Um…you have to sign your slip.”
“Didn’t you hear me, you fucking idiot? I said [mumble]-it, not [mumble]-it! You fucking Mainers are all the same! A bunch of fucking retards, every last one of you. If I put you all together in a room you wouldn’t have half a brain between you. You’re all–“
“Then why don’t you just move your fat ass back home, you stupid Masshole.”

Yep. I said it. I said it out loud. In front of witnesses.

And he said nothing in return. He just signed his slip, grabbed his bag o’ booze, and stormed out. None of the other customers said anything, but they were all smiling as I rang them up. I smiled back. And when the place was cleared out I noticed that Masshole had left his card on the counter.

I will admit that visions of revenge danced in my head. Not the max-out-the-card-by-filling-my-gas-tank kind; that would have been illegal, as well as immoral. Nope, I’m talking about the cut-the-card-into-seven-hundred-pieces-and-throw-it-away-then-toss-the-bag-into-the-dumpster kind. Although slightly immoral, I don’t think that would have been illegal. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) However, sanity prevailed, and I put the thing where we put all of the left-behind cards. (No, I’m not telling you where that is.) Then I finished my shift, drove home, and penciled in “Search For New Job” under my list of Things To Do Next Week. Because, surely, calling a customer a stupid, fat-ass Masshole is a firing offense. Even if the guy really is one.

Imagine my shock, therefore, when Masshole walked into the store on Sunday afternoon and mosied on up to the counter, as chipper as he could be…which is to say that he wasn’t scowling, snorting, or baring his teeth. I took a deep breath and managed:

“What can I do for you today, sir?”
“I need a pack of smokes.” For once, his words were clear and direct.

I grabbed his usual–Newport Lights–and rang them into the register. He handed over his ID without me having to ask. He almost smiled while he did it. That made me nervous. Still, I was brave enough to say, “You, uh, left your card here last night.” Then I fished it out from [still not gonna tell you where] and handed it over. He looked at it as though he’d never seen it before. Then he said:

“I was in here last night?”
“Well…yeah.” [very long pause] “You don’t remember?”
“Nope. I was so plowed last night that I don’t remember a thing.”

Have you ever had a Moment Of Realization that was actually about 100 realizations at once? Well, that’s what happened to me as those words–again, clear and direct–left his lips. Here are a few of the realizations I had.

1. He’d forgotten the fact that I’d insulted him. My job is secure.
2. With this guy, mean = drunk.
3. Ditto the mumbled speech.
4. Until that moment, I’d never seen the guy sober.
5. He’d always driven himself to and from the store. Drunk.
6. The next time I see him he’ll probably be drunk. And mean. And I’ll have to refuse to sell him more alcohol.
7. I don’t make enough money to deal with this kind of bullshit.

complaining, work

Stinky butts

You may (or possibly may not) remember that the store recently underwent some pretty major construction. New pumps, new walkways, new parking lot. This has been great for business, but not so great for me. Seems that my boss wants to keep our new walkways and parking lot looking nice and clean, so he added a new item to my already long list of Things To Clean Every Night:

Sweep up all the cigarette butts from the parking lot and walkways.

I must state, for the record, that cigarette butts gross the hell out of me. They’re stinky, frequently smoldering, saliva-covered remnants of legalized addiction, and I resent having to deal with them. Why smokers can’t take care of the damned things themselves is beyond me. The last time I knew, ashtrays still came standard in every automobile. There are no less than four ashtrays prominently on display in front of the store. And yet, every Monday-Wednesday morning, promptly at 1:20, I must go out into the parking lot and spend a minimum of fifteen minutes sweeping the little fuckers up.

I say ‘a minimum of fifteen minutes’ because on Mondays I usually spend at least twice that amount of time outside with a broom and dustpan. Seems the guy (we’ll call him “J”) who works third shift opposite me–himself a smoker, and frequent butt chucker–can’t be bothered with this little chore. Not that it surprises me. He can’t be bothered to do much else, either. My boss knows this, but won’t do anything about it. J’s sole purpose for being employed at this rural convenience store is to deter troublemakers from making trouble on the weekends. He’s a pretty big guy, and apparently his mere presence keeps the rowdy crowd in line. That’s all fine and well, but it means I get stuck with all the real work.

If only I was 6’8″ and had a penis.

complaining, work

Stinky butts

You may (or possibly may not) remember that the store recently underwent some pretty major construction. New pumps, new walkways, new parking lot. This has been great for business, but not so great for me. Seems that my boss wants to keep our new walkways and parking lot looking nice and clean, so he added a new item to my already long list of Things To Clean Every Night:

Sweep up all the cigarette butts from the parking lot and walkways.

I must state, for the record, that cigarette butts gross the hell out of me. They’re stinky, frequently smoldering, saliva-covered remnants of legalized addiction, and I resent having to deal with them. Why smokers can’t take care of the damned things themselves is beyond me. The last time I knew, ashtrays still came standard in every automobile. There are no less than four ashtrays prominently on display in front of the store. And yet, every Monday-Wednesday morning, promptly at 1:20, I must go out into the parking lot and spend a minimum of fifteen minutes sweeping the little fuckers up.

I say ‘a minimum of fifteen minutes’ because on Mondays I usually spend at least twice that amount of time outside with a broom and dustpan. Seems the guy (we’ll call him “J”) who works third shift opposite me–himself a smoker, and frequent butt chucker–can’t be bothered with this little chore. Not that it surprises me. He can’t be bothered to do much else, either. My boss knows this, but won’t do anything about it. J’s sole purpose for being employed at this rural convenience store is to deter troublemakers from making trouble on the weekends. He’s a pretty big guy, and apparently his mere presence keeps the rowdy crowd in line. That’s all fine and well, but it means I get stuck with all the real work.

If only I was 6’8″ and had a penis.

books, complaining, Readers And Writers Blog, waiting for spring

Warning: Book Geek Alert

On Tuesday my kids and I went to Borders. I prefer to support independent bookstores, I really do. But I had a car appointment in Bangor and with gas prices being so high it’s always wise to consolidate trips. Besides, I had a 30% coupon and it’s never a good thing to let those puppies go to waste.

I have to admit I was pretty excited. I’ve been on a good roll book-wise recently (Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Gerard Jones’ Ginny Good, Jasper Fford’s Thursday Next series, Virgina Woolf’s The Waves–99 cents at Goodwill) so I had high hopes of finding something worthy of my coupon. Oh, if only that were the case.

I browsed every section in the store. I picked up Jeff Shaara’s new WW2 epic The Steel Wave, but discovered that it was part 2 in a trilogy, and that I hadn’t even heard that Part 1 (The Rising Tide) came out a year and a half ago. Where have I been? I decided to save ’em for winter. Next I flipped through The Way Life Should Be. I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s set in Maine, which is cool (although wealthy, tourist-y Mount Desert Island isn’t the Maine I know)…but I wasn’t really in the mood for the whole “characters cooking Italian food” thing. At least, not while I’m trying to lose weight. I even debated a Star Wars visual dictionary (shut up.)

Nothing appealed to me. A large display of sherbert colored chick lit novels mocked me. Ha ha ha! We’re here taking up space that should be reserved for the kind of books you like… I wanted to kick them, but I didn’t. With my luck I’d damage one–or more–of the inane things and end up having to actually pay good money for them. God forbid.

My kids, on the other hand, took only 39.3 seconds to find the next 3 books in the Warrior Cats series they’ve been devouring for the past several months. I was jealous. They were anxious to leave. I grabbed a Coldplay CD (Excellent, by the way. The three of us listened to it on the way home. Six thumbs up.) and made a beeline for the register. My kids gave me The Eyes. I gave them my precious coupon. They professed undying love and affection for their generous mom. I grunted. We left.

About halfway home I realized what my problem was. I’d known, all along, what book I was in the mood for. And I’d known, all along, that I wouldn’t find it at Borders. So when I got home I turned on my computer and ordered The Book: Luke Davies’ God of Speed. None of the pinhead publishers in America have picked it up, so I had to order it from Australia. Well worth it, but still…I wish I could’ve grabbed it at Borders. You know…the coupon.

Speaking of novels that haven’t been picked up by pinhead American publishers (my segues are getting better all the time), Chapter 14 of Waiting for Spring is up at Readers and Writers Blog. Also posted is Chapter 26: Cole Street of Ginny Good. (Damn, I wish I’d titled my chapters.) Check ’em out. You’ll be glad you did.
complaining, cows, work

Another reason I’m not a vegetarian

Working an overnight shift is hard. Working an overnight shift with a cold is miserable. Working an overnight shift with a cold on a milk delivery night–when I have to spend at least an hour and a half in the cooler–is frigging horrendous. I spent most of the night cursing all lactating bovine. I’m still cursing them and am considering swearing off all dairy products. Except for milk in my cereal. And cream for my coffee. And ice cream.

And cheese.