Filed under: 10013, Crappy Customer Cavalcade, Park Slope Brooklyn, SoHo, SoHo Manhattan, Street Art
Taken by Nellies78.
Sometimes I wish someone (listening Mikeypod?) would do a podcast from the junk shop. A number of the conversations had there are rather witty and intelligent. Others are not. Like the conversation(s) which arose from the following.
See the above assortment of currency? This is what provoked my latest verbal assault on a customer. I have procrastinated posting this because frankly I do not like to think about it. In hindsight, it was probably pretty amusing.
It started like this.
I am behind the counter doing what I do: sorting stuff. The music is playing, as always. Since I was located near the speakers I was isolated from the from the din of hagglers haggling and chiselers and chiseling, until…
Larry da Junkman: SEVEN DOLLARS!
Customer holding a stock pot: (indecipherable)
Larry: Seven dollars, if you were to buy this from another store the tax alone would be more than that.
Customer: (indecipherable but clearly still haggling)
Larry walks off.
I have witnessed the above exchange many times. Sometimes it is over a set of sheets, “$2.00 is too much” they said. Another time it is over a $10.00 strand of pearls, “But they’re for my daughter.” they said. The list goes on and on, as do they. The amount of work these people put into knocking a few cents off some knick knack or another is fascinating. When they try to get devious about it, it gets downright hilarious.
True to Greenpoint chiseler form, this woman waits until Larry is out of earshot and approaches me. Stock pot in hand she comes to the counter. She plunks down a couple of bills, concealed beneath them is an assortment of change. I remove the bills. This is clearly not seven dollars.
Customer: Seven dollars, yes?
Me: This is not seven dollars.
Customer: Seven dollars, yes?
Me: THIS IS NOT SEVEN DOLLARS!
Larry: Just take it so she’ll get out of here.
Me: Fine. (I take the money, put it in the till and go back to work, she’s still standing there with a big insipid smile on her face)
Customer: A bag, yes?
Me: No. You didn’t pay the asking price, you are not getting a bag.
I go back to work and she is still standing there.
Me: That’ll cost you extra.
Larry’s colleague Jay, who happens to be seated within earshot of this repetitive exchange, is laughing.
Me: NO. You did not pay the asking price for that pot and yet you ask me for a bag. Leave.
Me: You crack me up. Would you like me to take the thing fucking home for you? Would you like me to do that? God, what is your problem?
Then I summarily threw a bag over the counter and went back to work.
Jay finally spoke up:
I wouldn’t have given her that bag.
Me: I didn’t want to, you know. I only did it so she would fuck off.
She was standing two feet in front of me when I said this. Did it faze her? Absolutely not. Such is the level of abuse these people are willing to withstand in order to get what they want. In this case, 28 cents and a bag. Damned pathetic if you ask me.
Filed under: Crappy Customer Cavalcade
Every 28 days I wake up and wonder why I feel like shit.
Every 28 days I rummage for feminine hygiene products only to find that after the last 28th day I forgot to buy them. Damn.
Every 28 days I am one angry-ass bitch.
Today is day 28!
I head down to the junk shop and discover that my “area” was thoroughly wrecked. This pissed me off to no end. While usually very territorial in nature, I do not harbor the least bit of imperialist ambition to overtake the junk store. It would be too much work. Rather, all I seek is to have my ten square feet of shelf space left alone. Was it left alone? No it wasn’t. It was trashed.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!
That’s how I announced my arrival to work today. And this outburst pretty much sums up my entire day.
4 1/2 hours of men ordering me around like I was their maid:
- Hey lady, I want…
- Hey lady, how much for this?
- HEY WOMAN, I want this and this and this… (pointing to items stowed away on shelves well beyond my reach. Even with a ladder.) I’m goin’ the the ATM. “The manager knows me.” he said. “Yeah, fuck you.” I thought.
4 1/2 hours of me saying “EXCUSE ME?” whenever one of the aforementioned cretins spoke to me in a manner I found disrespectful. I gave them a blank stare until they:
- shut up
- said “please”
- or “thank you”
4 1/2 hours of cursing under my breath while picking up:
- spit balls
- various repulsive items (a wad of chewed gum adhered to a pair of nail clippers was by far my favorite) because I couldn’t take it anymore.
I am the Dog Shit Queen of Greenpoint. In this capacity I preside over all things shitty, be they located in Greenpoint or elsewhere. I am not a receptacle designed to collect piss and shit from the incontinent asses of babies (of all ages). If I was, that would make me a diaper. And a diaper diva I am decidedly not. I care not to be the Maria Callas of crap collecting.
Today I was the receptacle for a number incontinent assholes. I did not like it the least bit, either. If these men want someone to wipe their asses, they should call their mothers. Or a diaper diva. Not me.
Photo Credit: Miss Heather
The above photo is of the bathroom at the junk shop. Here are a few more pix…
Right View: where the garbage can used to be. But its memory remains.
…something has to change…it’s got this really weird neighborhood-y vibe to it, you should see some of the people who live there…
My buddy over at 11222 overheard some Yuppie smeghead on Nassau Avenue utter this into his cellphone recently. I am at a loss, but I find it telling that this asshole thinks the neighborhood should to change so as to meet his (undoubtedly) assholic standards. This man exemplifies a new strain of customer I am seeing at the junk shop with increased frequency: entitled upper-class twits.
Being the thoughtful employee I am, I make it a point to ensure that these folks are treated like the special people they are. My latest stint organizing the store’s pornography collection has been of great assistance in this endeavor. Yesterday we had some fast-talking jerk come in and try to chisel my co-worker on some vintage clothing. He decided the asking price of $5.00 pop for swinging 70′s duds was too expensive; he wanted them for $2.00.
I decided he needed to see a centerfold of a woman shooting a liter of Jergens lotion out of her womb. That shut him the fuck up. I am the ringmaster of this Donkey Show and if he doesn’t like it, too damned bad. Move.
I frequently fantasize about organizing death matches between this man’s ilk and some of the more colorful citizens in this neighborhood. Greenpoint would be my Thunderdome and I would preside over it like Tina Turner. I know who’d win too: the latter.
The main mistake “gentrifiers” make in this neighborhood is employing reason as a conflict resolution tool. Reason does not work with these people.
These are a few containers of mystery muck my manager found recently while unpacking boxes. They were promptly dispatched to the dumpster along with a number of other unsavory items. A reasonable person would not reach his (or her) hand into such a container; last week I had to admonish six very unreasonable people to refrain from reaching and/or climbing into this devil’s casserole to grab stuff. You could probably toss a dime into a vat of toxic waste (Newton Creek) and these people would go in after it.
They do not limit their aberrant behavior to dumpster diving, either. If not supervised like the children/animals they are, they will wander behind the counter and grab you by the arm. Of all the offending behaviors, violating my personal space is the most venal. I really, truly, DO NOT like people touching me. EVER.
Having had enough, I decided to make a sign using something I found recently while unpacking jewelry.
Sure this probably won’t work, but at least I had fun making it. If and/or when that cellphone yammering asshole comes in, this molar may very well get companion.
P.S.: I’d like to give a quick shout-out to a brand-spanking new blog hailing from Windsor Terrace called Icky in Brooklyn. This chap me sent me the nicest email yesterday to which I have yet to send a reply. Will do, provided Verizon does not knock out my Internet and telephone service (again). In four weeks I have experienced as many outages.
It was originally my intent to focus on the incredibly stupid and fucked-up shit some of the customers at the junk shop say this week, but I have since changed my mind. This is partially due to the fact that I could not understand a damned thing most of them were saying to me yesterday; our core clientÃ¨le du jour Friday the 13th consisted of what my co-worker and I call “bobble-heads”. “Bobble-heads” are people who enthusiastically nod to anything and everything you say. I am certain these individuals are fluent in one language or another, but English it is not among them.
As a matter of fact, I got the idea for today’s post after being praised for my stellar work performance by my boss. He said:
You have yet to make a mistake.
To wit I replied:
Oh I make mistakes alright, but I either cover them up or set up someone else to take the rap for them.
“You are a true product of corporate America.” he replied. He is right: I am. It has been my experience that there is no better place to find a spiteful, incompetent and/or worthless human being than your local cubicle farm. The people who populate these god-forsaken labyrinths make a three-toed sloth seem like howler monkey on crack by comparison. These languid creatures have elevated abject laziness and intransigence to an art form. Over the years I have endeavored to learn their black art.
A fruit of the above course study is my implementation of the “goodie bag”. Better known by some as “grab bags”, these are sacks filled with jewelry or craft supplies which I price at a deep discount. The reason I have elected to add the goodie bag to my arsenal of time/sanity-saving bag of tricks is threefold:
1. There are three types of jewelry I handle: cheap ugly crap, cute vintage jewelry and “nice stuff”.
- The crap goes in the dollar bin where older Polish women detangle and pick through it for fifteen or twenty minutes on end. My logic: keeping these women engaged in the pursuit of some plastic piece of bling keeps them out of my hair. That one dollar string of beads saved me one or two hours of mind-numbing work.
- The “nice stuff” goes in the showcase. My logic: to do otherwise is to facilitate theft. Thieves constitute a sizable portion of the junk shop’s patronage.
- The cute vintage jewelry goes into goodie bags. My logic: after several months I got tired of repeatedly pulling these items out of the showcase, only to have people haggle and waste my valuable time. The goodie bag solves this problem; the jewelry is grouped, bagged and clearly priced, thus eliminating the need to dialogue with these soul-sucking shrews.
2. Sorting all the above jewelry is a very time-consuming task which requires a lot of concentration. Maintaining the required attention to detail becomes impossible when you are being hassled every five minutes by some miscreant raising a fuss over a lot of jewelry that costs a whopping five bucks.
3. The time I save preventing all the previous scenarios can be spent doing other things, like checking my email or working.
The evolution of the goodie bag was not without its setbacks, as you will see. But after a couple months of experimentation I have the process down to an exact science. Here it is.
The first step to goodie bag production is to gather all your tools and place them on the counter.
Next, you select the items to be bagged. Today’s sack stuffers will be vintage clip-on earrings and some craft supplies.
When selecting earrings to place in a bag, group them in lots of 5-7 by color and style. Speaking as a woman myself, I am very grateful when items are grouped in such a manner. That way one does not have to slog through designs and colors one does not like in order to get to “the good stuff”. Follows is an example of a poorly prepared and properly prepared goodie bag.
The bag on the right is consistent in color and overall “feel”, the bag on the left is not. Such a random assortment of earrings is an invitation for someone to to rip it open and/or haggle with you because she “only likes a couple of pieces in the bag”. I shit you not, there are a number of people who see fit to use the previous bargaining tactic on me. I suppose it would work if I actually cared. I don’t.
As you fill the baggies, place them in a bowl behind the counter. Make sure this bowl is out of eye shot or people will try to grab them.
When the bowl is full (like in the above photo) you are ready for the next step: pricing.
Since the items in question have been sitting on the shelf awhile, I am going to price them crazy cheap: $1.00-$5.00 a bag. Upon being labeled, the bags go into a bin. Once again, keep them out of sight or you will be beating back overly enthusiastic bargain hunters with a stick.
Once the bags are priced you are ready for the next step: tamper/theft prevention.
TAMPER/THEFT PREVENTION, PART I
Each bag is folded and stapled no less than three times. This is done to discourage someone’s sticky little fingers from getting into them.
TAMPER/THEFT PREVENTION, PART II
After each bag is stapled, out comes the packing tape. Tear off a three foot long piece and wrap it around each bag.
As I was preparing the above bag my boss commented:
You are the most focused worker I have ever had. You take on a task and do not not stop until it is completed.
I admonished my boss not to mistake malice for due diligence and reminded him about the time I discovered someone had opened once of these bags and placed a razor blade in it. Then I said:
I’d like to see that bitch try to get into this bag.
Once you have wrapped each bag, place them in the proper container for sale. Make sure there is a prominently placed sign advising customers that these bags are “priced as marked” and are not to be tampered with.
Congratulations! You have completed today’s goodie bag tutorial!
Total time elapsed: three hours.
Hours of aggravation prevented: incalculable.
He comes for me.
As I mentioned in this post, I had the pleasure of assisting the porn man with his never-ending quest for spankerific entertainment again last weekend. I suppose Friday’s offerings were yesterday’s news and he need more, uh, grist for the mill. This time he even brought a female companion with him. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.
First he drifted to the housewares; he picks up a box of drinking glasses. After bantering with my boss and handing another gentleman his business card, he goes back to the clothing. A pair of pants and a tunic are selected. All the while he is yammering away with his female friend. Then, after laying the groundwork, he went in for the kill:
Hey, you guys had a box full of DVDs yesterday. There was one that had a broken case— do you still have it? I’d like to buy it.
My co-worker and I look at each other. We pull the box of porn out from behind the counter.
“This one?” my co-worker asked.
“Yes”, he replied.
It was entitled Buff Bitches. I deduced that this was some kind of bodybuilder fetish flick because it had an image of a rather muscular woman on it. A rather muscular woman having very, very dirty things done to her, I should add. Peachy.
Shortly after this coveted prize found its way into his possession, his female friend wandered back to the counter to see what he was doing. She smiled, said “goodbye” and left. After all, how can a girl compete with that?
When this gentleman finally left my co-worker and I burst out laughing. My manager wanted to know what the deal was, so we told him. The solitary sentence that left his mouth was:
Yeah, the porn freaks are always cheap.
The piece de resistance, however, was when I saw this dude’s business card. After repeatedly asking myself:
- What kind of person would buy this stuff and be so damned cheap about it?
- What kind of person would buy this stuff with a female acquaintance with him?
I got my answer.
The same kind of person whose business card has a picture of him modeling au naturel with a musical instrument, that’s who! “Is this man for real?” you ask. Of course he is. REAL NAKED. You can’t make this shit up folks…
Speaking of shit and people with zero social skills, I have a very special “Dung of the Day” for your edification today. This item hails from 960 Manhattan Avenue, which happens to be the location of a rather large healthcare facility. I found it directly outside the front door.
Warning: Mothers who leave their used cigarettes and their baby’s shit-filled diapers on the sidewalk are hazardous to my health.
I always dread the first Friday of the month. “First Fridays”, as my buddy Rachael calls them, are very busy days at the junk shop. She says it’s because this is the day people get their public assistance checks. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t. If it is, I can tell you what the taxpayers’ money was outlaid on in my little corner of Greenpoint today: PORN.
Before I continue:
- It is not the purpose of this post to malign people who receive public assistance. A person may lack money, but that does not mean he (or she) lacks integrity, intelligence or worth. More often than not all the previous qualities render a person poor. I speak from experience.
- It is not the purpose of this post to malign people who spend their public assistance on porn. Everyone deserves a diversion from the misery of their daily life. Especially those in the throes of poverty. Let them eat c*m— or better yet— watch someone else eat it for them. That sticky substance is catharsis for many a down-trodden person. “What’s that strange taste in my mouth?” you ask. It’s freedom. Spit or swallow. The decision is yours to make. The good ol’ U.S. of A. is a democracy after all.
- Rather, it is the purpose of this post to establish proper etiquette for buying porn, as it became very manifest today that such ground rules need to be set. Here they are.
Rule #1: Do not buy your porn from a thrift store.
Rule #2: If you find yourself in the position of having to purchase porn from a thrift store, don’t be an asshole.
The rest of this post will explore Rule #2.
Porno Pointer A
Any attempt to be sly about perusing porn is a waste of effort.
Today I finally commandeered more space to put out craft supplies and bargain bags of earrings. Immediately to my left was a chap foraging through a sizable container of DVDs. Though a recent addition to the store, we all knew what it contained:
- Four or five DVDs of “mainstream” movies
- A lot of porn, most of which involved inserting large objects up a woman’s rectum
As I was organizing this man hunched over this cache of affordable and no-strings-attached female companionship like a miser. He thought I would think that cinematic flicks such as The Fugitive (which was in said container) were the target of his dogged search. He was wrong. His attempt at subterfuge was pathetic.
This man was a picky poonhound. After much consideration Black-eyed Pees did not make the cut. I immediately brought this to my coworker’s attention. We laughed our asses off. Which brings me to the next titulation tip…
Porno Pointer B
Those of you who are thinking:
Gee, I bet these folks see people come in and buy this stuff all the time. If I want to buy Super-sized Black Booty Butt Plungers #87, they won’t think anything of it. This is normal, right?
Speaking as someone who has gone through boxes purchased at storage facility auctions, I have had plenty of moments when I find myself saying, “Ewwwww, GROSS.” You get used to finding the odd butt plug, cock ring or stacks of Juggs magazines. And worse.
You do NOT, however, get used to seeing a woman with a mop handle shoved up her nether-regions. Consider yourself warned because…
Porno Pointer C
We will talk about you behind your back. Your sexual eccentricities are our entertainment. Learn to live with this fact or:
- acquire some social skills and get a girlfriend
- buy porn made by companies who do not treat women like garbage
- get therapy
- all of the above
Porno Pointer D
Perversion has a price. Asking $5.00 for a gently used copy of Let’s Get Our Orgy On or Big Black Women with Little White Chicks is not at all unreasonable. What IS unreasonable is trying to haggle the price down because “other video stores sell these types of movies for $2.00.”
The previous sentence speaks volumes about your life(style). It is not a very flattering portrait.
Porno Pointer DD
Further attempts to justify a lower price will not work. What’s more, approaching the solitary female employee of the store with the hope of exploiting her lack of adult entertainment expertise might backfire. Which brings me to…
Porno Pointer E
Do not insult Miss Heather
What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here
last weektoday, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it.
Miss H: Yes, I am aware these movies are of inferior quality. Jenna Jameson, they are not.
Pornophile: These movies are nothing more than footage culled from other movies.
Miss H: Yes, I know what “loops” are. I recently read Jenna Jameson’s biography, you should read it.
Pornophile: Did you learn anything from it?
Miss H: I was merely stating that it was interesting book. You should read it. You might learn something. (And being a cocksucker isn’t one of them, this dude has clearly mastered that art already . — Ed. Note)
After taking ten seconds to deduce that he had been insulted by a broad, this dude transgressed…
Porno Pointer F
Appealing to another store employee in order to secure a low(er) price for porn is a futile endeavor. In the above case study this sad attempt at duplicity backfired. Big time. The price went up: $16.00.
And this chap tendered it. He even had the temerity to ask for a bag to conceal his salacious purchases. Had I been alone I would have told him we had none. Asshole.
After this episode I ventured out to forage lunch-time vittles. I was hungry. I was pissed. I needed to vent. So, as I was walking along McGuinness Boulevard with my newly acquired foodstuffs, I called my husband.
Miss H: …Remember that Hare Krishna looking dude we saw on the G train last weekend? The guy with the pants you liked?
Miss H: That motherfucker tried to stiff me! He tried to tell me what loops were versus full length features. Like I don’t know the difference.
Husband: That was dumb.
Miss H: Yes it was. Who the fuck does this dude think he is? I’m not fucking stupid, you know. Give me a fucking break!
It was at this moment I noticed there was a woman walking behind me. A pregnant woman. A pregnant and very horrified woman. She looked like she had seen a ghost.
- I was walking down McGuinness Boulevard shouting into a cell phone.
- I was walking down McGuinness Boulevard shouting into a cell phone while clad in a pair of hip-hugging stretch pants (rolled up to the knee), a yellow tank top with a black bra underneath (need to do laundry) and large sunglasses. My hair is currently blond. VERY BLOND. Long story— let’s just say that I recently had an epiphany: if Britney Spears can (still) dress like Britney Spears, so can I.
- I was shouting about someone trying to “stiff me”.
- Now subtract the previous telephonic exchange from my (previous and lengthy) context.
I am not so egotistical to think I am of professional porn caliber. I am not. Never was. Greenpoint has more, uh, LAX standards for such a sinecure. I know this because I have found “home grown” porn strewn on my block. You could probably stuff a sow in a negligee and get takers. Yes, it’s that’s bad.
When I got back to work, lunch in hand, my coworker was busy helping another customer. This man was— get this— BUYING PORN.
NEXT WEEK: Customers say the darnedest things. AKA; Don’t try to understand ‘em, just rope, throw and brand ‘em.