Fistful of Squalor
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.