A Tale From The Junk Shop

I am not going to lie: New York Shitty’s latest outage really pissed me off. This has happened with enough frequency that even my patience (and believe it or not I am endowed with quite a lot of this virtue— albeit probably at the expense of a few others) was exhausted. To cite one such example of the patience I am indeed capable of I present for your entertainment a junk shop story.


As I have stated before, when I am left in charge interesting things happen. Today I was a magnet for anyone coming in under the influence of mind-altering substances. Or if these individuals were not under the influence, they should probably get whatever is afflicting them looked into. But I am not paid to be psychiatrist. I am a junk woman. In this capacity I have one goal and one goal only: make the sale or induce them to leave, preferably as peacefully as possible. I have many tools in my arsenal for just this purpose. The axe (which you see at left)  is not one of them. Yet.

My “professional career” has largely centered around dealing with the general public. The first and hardest lesson I learned is a significant number of homo sapiens are quite insane. I rarely shout or raise my voice. I hate shouting. I employ this tactic sparingly, but for those of you who are wondering (and I know a number of you are) I usually employ my “outdoor voice” for purchasers of pornography.* I do not object to “adult material”. I have grown to accept that as long as there is a market for such things (men) it will exist. Rather, a great many purchasers of these materials are cheap. Very cheap. And loud. VERY LOUD. As I said before, I hate shouting— but I have learned that bellowing out every item the prospective purchaser is raising hell over for everyone’s edification along with the asking price cuts down on time spent haggling significantly. But I digress.

Porn enthusiasts with tight wallets constitute a very small part of the troublesome clientele I encounter. For the rest my “public servant” persona has proven to be by far the most effective. This can best be described as a cross between Nurse Ratched, suicide hotline operator and Hal 9000.

CASE IN POINT: Man walks into store.

Do you work here?

He asks. BIG RED FLAG. This man has bought merchandise and held entire conversations with yours truly on a number of occasions. One was about how he blacked-out under the influence of hallucinogenics, went bat shit in a store one day, came back a week later not remembering what happened and couldn’t understand why the help was scared shitless of him. Yup.

Me (reluctantly): Yes.
I want a price for a table.
(with extreme trepidation): Okay.

I look at said table. There is another table on top of it; it has a price tag of $10.00. The table under it is inexplicably the only item without a price tag. I spy a price tag on the ground nearby. I know for a fact all these items were priced yesterday. One item without a tag + one tag discarded on the ground. Face down. Do the math.

Me: That’s strange. This is the only piece of furniture without a price tag...
Isn’t that (pointing to the table on top) the price?

I want you, dear readers, to take a moment to think about this.

Me: I’m going to ask the manager.
I have talked to him about this already. The price keeps going up and down.

It is a common scam at the junk shop for prospective clients, when unsatisfied with the price one employee has given him (or her), to try to solicit a quote from another employee on the sly. They do so under the presumption we do not communicate with each other. We do. Hence why this ruse rarely works. What I find fascinating here is:

  1. This person is telling me he has already received a quote from someone else.
  2. He is not happy with the asking price…
  3. and makes it pretty clear this is why he is asking me for a quote.
  4. In essence he has foiled his own scheme. If indeed he had one.

I take a moment to mull over the previous points and replied.

If you have spoken to the manager about this table I am not getting involved.

Long story made short: he and the manager agreed upon $20.00 for this table. He took it home.


Later a co-worker of mine walked in with the errant price tag. It read:

A steal for $30.00!

She asked:

I wonder what this was for?


Maybe someone didn’t interpret it as a price tag but as an instruction manual.

The End.

Miss Heather

*As it would happen today another junkman, a regular and overall nice guy, came to the store. He (we’ll call him “M”) and Larry da Junkman were recounting tales of a fellow junkman (who we will call “N”). He had recently died. M told a tale about N which inspired me so much I asked him to repeat it. Here it is. Albeit in highly simplified form.

N once decided to rent a bunch of pornographic VHS tapes. Then he proceeded to:

  1. excise all the pornography out of them and return them to the video store.
  2. Inasmuch as I understand, N then proceeded to take all the “naughty bits”, splice them together and compile his own video.

I found this strangely brilliant. I told M just this. He was perplexed:

He was crazy. I could understand if he was an artist or something.

I have often fantasized about taking some of the more vile pornographic videos home, splicing all the pornographic material out of them, returning them to the junk shop and waiting for (the inevitable) hilarity to ensue…

In comes a man exclaiming that his VHS tape “Butts Behind Bars”, purchased for $2.00 has no butts. Only a g-string of a plot. I will look at him with wide-eyed amazement and ask him, being the customer service-oriented person that I am:

  • what was lacking from said movie
  • in explicit detail, e.g.; how many anal double penetrations were you promised? How many did you actually see?

I will document the previous complaint in the same manner I did as a former civil servant: in copious— or this case coital— detail. And laugh my ass off after he leaves.

What can one expect for $2.00 in New York City anymore?  A “Recession Special” cup of joe on Bedford Avenue will set you back $2.00. Riding the subway costs $2.25 per ride the last I checked. I quit checking. I invest my money in comfortable shoes, not metrocards. $2.00 for an excised porno strikes me as being very reasonable— if MTA-esque— bargain: you tender money with the expectation of gratification and receive nothing in return. Just information.


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