Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

(Or: Stupid Customer Tricks, Part I)

Some of the people reading this site are aware that as of January 6, yours truly joined the ranks of the unemployed. Can I honestly say I am surprised by this turn of events? No. The junk shop has been running pretty “tight” lately and the owner did what he had to do: he let someone go. It is the purpose of this post to embark upon on my brave new life, get a little closure and illustrate what “skills” the junk shop has taught me. Are you listening potential employers? Here we go!

A few weeks ago someone I had not seen in a long time entered the store: Martin. He waited patiently as I was dealing with a particularly vexatious individual. Once this woman exited the store he asked me how I was doing. I replied:

Much better now. I wanted to punch that woman in the face.

To wit, my coworker commented:

That’s not very nice.

I replied:

If I didn’t say it, I’d probably do it.

While definitely hyperbole (I am not a violent person) my fit of Freud stands: it is better to blow off steam with one’s mouth instead of letting it find its way to your fists. Martin understood this and suggested I create a list of ruses that junk shop customers use. I have borne witness to a number of tactics people have employed in an attempt to get merchandise for a lower price (or free). Some of them are downright hilarious. Now that I am unencumbered with employment I will attempt to share the “top ten” with commentary and some hope of catharsis.

1. The merchandise is in some way damaged/broken/defective.

This is without argument the most common. When confronted with this ruse I point out “condition”  has been taken into account when I stated the price. Occasionally the exchange would end at that. Usually it didn’t. More often than not the client in question will persist. In these cases I would point out the obvious:

If it is broken, why do you want to buy it?

I have never gotten a satisfactory answer to this question. But occasionally they’d say:

I can get this at the 99 Cent  Store.

And I encouraged them to do just that. Sometimes they followed my advice but more often than not they paid up and shut up.

2. (related to point #1)  The article of clothing in question does not fit properly.

Only women employ this argument. And I have learned the best rebuttal is as follows:

If it doesn’t fit, why do you want to buy it?

This is quite effective, which is a shame because I always wanted to try the following out:

Yes, you do look like you need to lose some weight.

Yeah, I’m an asshole. But I do not blame some anonymous saleswoman for the the fact my waist is 25-26 inches versus 22-23.

3.  Stating that the item in question is a gift for a friend.

I realize this one sounds totally crazy— but it is a lot more common than you think. Staring at the person incredulously usually works. In more persistent cases openly questioning how good the friend in question is if he/she is haggling over a gift at a second hand store works like a charm. No disrespect to the junk shop— it has some really neat stuff— but that is not really the point. Lesson learned: shaming works.

4.  I do not have any money.

I am not pulling your leg. I have heard this corker more times than I care to admit. Usually from the 20-something “hipster” demographic.  Here’s a real life example:

(man brings a solitary photograph up to the counter)

Me: Twenty five cents.
Man: I only have fifteen cents, will you take that?
Me: (puts face in hands, laughing)
Man: You do not like this?
Me: No, I don’t. Twenty five cents.
Result: Man’s friend ponies up a dime and he buys his photo. I heave a sigh of relief and ponder what I am going to purchase from the local liquor store after I get off work.

Another retort from yours truly:

But of course, this is the Free Store! We get stuff in and give it away to people.

Seriously folks, if you do not have money why are you shopping in the first place? I do not think this is an unreasonable question.

5. Steamroller

I cannot think of a better way of categorizing these people. They can best be illustrated by example:

A fifty-something man in a leather jacket with Carl Perkins haircut enters the store, plops down an old hardback book and a solitary dollar bill on the counter. I turn to my coworker and ask:

How much is this book, (excised)?

Two dollars.

My coworker replies.

“Carl” then proceeds to raise a holy stink, pointing out that, among other things the spine of the book is loose.

My reply: Two dollars.

Carl continues to throw a tantrum. I am unfazed. He starts to storm out the door in a fuss.

Me:

You can put that book back where you found it like a big boy.

Carl: You can put it back!

That’s when I proceeded to toss said book into the dumpster (and so in doing breaking the spine altogether) in front of “Carl”. Problem solved.

I also realized that despite all my attempts at deprogramming the Bible has, in fact, touched my life. Solomon was really onto something with that whole baby thing. If Carl wanted that book bad enough he would have paid two dollars. Or written it himself.

Shouting: don’t do it.

Not only do I dislike shouting, but I had the misfortune of being issued a phone number at my first apartment in this fair city that was one digit off from the Bronx County Medicaid office. I have also been assigned a cell phone number which clearly belonged to someone incarcerated at Rikers Island. I cannot honestly say the calls I received from either were particularly pleasant (the callers usually accused me of “covering up” for whomever they were attempting to reach) but I have to say the latter most were by and far the most interesting! I have also been a civil servant. Which brings me to…

6. Stonewalling

I do not consider myself to be “political”. I harbor a very strong interest in community affairs to be certain. Whether one is a Democrat, Republican and so forth? Absolutely not. This is probably in large part due to the fact I cannot honestly tell the difference anymore. But there is one thing that living in Greenpoint has taught me: I am most certainly not a Communist.

There is no nice (READ: “P.C.”) way to explain what I am about to tell you so I am going to grab the Bolshevik by the balls. I am not a political scientist. I am an artist, history minor, Greenpointer, malcontent and failure. And in the previous capacities (working at the junk shop)  I know all too well that while the Soviet Union (and the Warsaw Pact, for that matter) might be gone, standing in line will be its enduring legacy.

I cannot tell you how many times I have quoted a price only to have the person in question (usually an elderly Polish woman) simply stand there. It’s rather creepy— but having been a civil servant (and observed how the local Post Office handles such folks) I know what to do: ignore them. The last time I did this a woman fussed with her wallet for a good two minutes. But she finally relented to pay the outrageous capitalist price of six whole U.S. dollars for the merchandise in question. She wanted to pay five. Naturally she paid with a fifty dollar bill.

And for this Vladmir Ilyich Lenin— and Joey Stalin— I take a virtual shit on your grave.

(to be continued?)

Miss Heather

Spotted On Graham Avenue: Hate

August 28, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

From the love of god will someone please make this stop?

Miss Heather

A New York Shitty Public Service Announcement: Hear Ye, G Trainers!

August 3, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Crosstown Local, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

See this seat? It is located at the second bench on the Queens-bound platform of Crosstown Local at Metropolitan Avenue. Whatever you do, dear readers, do NOT sit in it. Why, you ask? Very simple. I was sitting next to this guy a short time ago. The operative word in the previous sentence is WAS. You see, I casually glanced over my shoulder to see this gent pull a full three inch long globber of snot out of his nose. Revolted— yet mesmerized— I could not turn away. It was like silly string. Or that magicians’ handkerchief trick. I had to know how it ended. And sure enough, I found out.

Not wanting to sully his slacks he wiped it smack dab on the seat next to his leg. Amusingly enough, after he divested both nostrils of unwanted “material” this chap whipped out a napkin to wipe off his hands and his iPhone. No need to muck up his game of Tetris due to “sticky fingers”, I suppose.*

Miss Heather

*Yes, after this rather disgusting public display of personal hygiene (?) he played Tetris.

Greenpoint Audio/Visual Presentation Du Jour: The American Playground

Given that we are embarking upon a holiday weekend (celebrating our nation’s birthday, no less) I feel it is only fitting to showcase Greenpoint’s very own American Playground. Rutila wrote regarding the above image (which I posted June 20th):

There was a homeless man sleeping in the jungle gym this morning when jumping rope in one of the handball courts. He was coughing, and I wasn’t sure if he was sick or clearing his throat to let me know I was interrupting his sleep. Should I have apologized?

Oh, and one of the trees/bushes that flank the storage shed/bathroom was pulled — roots and all — from its planter and dragged to the middle of the basketball courts. I don’t see how this would be possible without a vehicle.

I have been keeping a careful watch over this park ever since.

It isn’t pretty.

But what I was most puzzled by was the womens bathroom’s “new arrangement”.

I have no idea why the Parks Department, in their infinite wisdom, would do something like this. And here’s why:

1. This bathroom is located at a playground. Children will invariably get dirty and need to wash their hands. Most of the children I have observed at this park are tended to by their mothers. Thus, they will need to use the womens bathroom. And if someone is using it they are shit out of luck.

2. This kind of open space (with added privacy) is an enabler for all manner and variety of criminal activity. Foremost in my mind is drugs, as heroin addicts seem to have taken a shine to this park.

And then of course, there is this.

A detergent bottle (Tide, methinks, this brings a whole new meaning to Tidy Bowl) being retrofitted for some hitherto unknown purpose.

Here’s a close-up of its contents. And on July 1st, dear readers, I finally got the wherewithal to flush said toilet and film it.

It appears to be collecting water from the faulty plumbing. Incoming or outgoing I do not know. What’s more, it’s not important. This is yet another (and exemplary) half-assed solution to the manifold problems our parks “comfort stations” face. On that note I have word via a tipster/leaked email that port-o-lets are one the way. Four to be precise:

  • One for Bushwick Inlet Park
  • One for Barge Park
  • Two for McCarren Park

In regards to the lattermost, here’s what one board member of Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— not the Parks Department— had to say:

They’re portable so, if you or other parks users have strong feelings about their placement, they can probably be moved. Personally, I think it’s a good idea for the condo-dwellers on Bayard to fundraise for the park.

This statement is in regards to a Bayard Street resident calling 311 and complaining about public urination; getting a letter from Adrian Benepe advising him/her to talk to our Parks Administrator, Stephanie Thayer, only to be asked by Ms. Thayer if he/she would be interested in fundraising for more garbage cans and bathrooms in McCarren Park (via Open Space Alliance, which is Ms. Thayer’s other employer). Fundraising for amenities one would presume (hope) would have already been paid for via our tax dollars. But I suppose I am being old fashioned.

To recap: a 311 complaint seems to have been employed as a recruitment tool for a not-for-profit org which, theoretically, has nothing to do whatsoever with a public urination complaint. But I suppose that’s what happens when you have a public/private partnership which is out of touch with the very people it purportedly serves. Here’s my advice for anyone who has issues with our public parks:

  • Call 311. Repeatedly.
  • Document and send your complaints to our local Community Board.
  • Don’t bother with our local Parks people, copy the head honcho: Adrian (dot) Benepe (at) parks (dot) nyc (dot) gov
  • It criminal activity is involved, go the the 94th Precinct Community Council meetings and make D. I. Fulton aware of it.

Miss Heather

P.S.: If our Port-O-Potty point person at OSA is listening (because it’s become all too apparent this organization holds the purse strings, not our Parks Department), you might want to toss one WNYC Transmitter Park/”Playground’s” direction.

It’s very popular.

Albeit not by not children.

When I saw this gent walk away from a secluded part of this “playground” a few days later I decided to investigate.

Yup.

Southside Photos Du Jour: Boycott Pollution

June 16, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

Taken June 16, 2010.

Miss Heather

New York Shitty Day Ender: Lorimer Street

June 12, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

If I were a kid and looking at what’s going on with all the college graduates this year, and how tough it is to get a job, I think I might want to get an education because I don’t want to spend the rest of my life not being able to make a living.

— Bloomberg on why kids should pay full fare

I agree (with tongue firmly in cheek). What’s more, maybe they’ll learn to spell your name correctly when they tell you to fuck off Mike.

Miss Heather

Quote props: a big New York Shitty shout out of gratitude goes to Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York for forwarding this corker of a quote to my attention. For those of you seeking more crapola commentary from our fair mayor look no further. Read this. Which comes courtesy of Pa Heather. Pa Heather opines:

It is pathetic when something like this happens and all the flaming assholes come out of the wood work.

Indeed.

Now On NBCLA.com: My Photography

May 19, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11211, Asshole, Plagiarism, Williamsburg, Williamsburg Brooklyn 

As some of you can imagine, my blog post about the above flier has received a great deal of attention. In fact, the above image has shown up on a number of web sites: Gothamist, Gawker and New York Magazine, to name a few. All the previous were professional enough to acknowledge from whom this item originated: me. Today I learned of another entity that has seen fit to use it: NBCLA.com. Yes folks that is “LA” as in Los Angeles, California.

In fact, they based a whole news item on my find. Did they bother to cite the source for it? No, they didn’t. Without further ado here it is— along with a few annotations by yours truly. Enjoy!

In a day and age when you have such notables as Rupert Murdoch calling bloggers parasites, this act of intellectual property theft begs the question as to whom is feeding off of whom. Just as the above video states the peeps at Channel 4 would like to hear from you. I would like to humbly suggest, dear readers, that you take a moment to remind these professional journalists that using someone’s work without permission (or not even bothering to give credit where it is due) is frowned upon in some circles.

Jerks.

Miss Heather

UPDATE, MAY 21, 2010: I sent a missive to NCBLA making them aware of my “issues”. It read as follows:

Yesterday it was brought to my attention that Channel  4 ran a “feature” about a flier in which a woman berates her former live-in/free-loading boyfriend. Among other things this missive noted that (the— ed. note) chap in question cheated on her with women in her apartment and did not use a condom.

Your anchor person notes that the above-mentioned item was featured “on a lot of blogs”. This, is in fact, true. I know because I am the person who found this item and posted it. I have seen the incoming links from sites which have seen fit to feature it. Gawker, Gothamist and New York Magazine’s Daily Intel number among others have seen fit to give me credit for my work (which is only fair). Your institution, however, did not. This begs a number of questions:

1. Why did you see fit to use— but not credit— my image?

2. Why is a station in Los Angeles featuring a flier which hails from Brooklyn, New York?

3. How, in any manner, can this be construed as “fair use”?

Regarding question #1: I am going to assume your reporters tracked down the source of this flier, winced at the url, deemed it unsuitable to mention on television/online but decided to feature it anyway. If this is in fact the case I find it curious given the subject matter of said flier. If a screed mentioning “nasty sex” (without a condom, no less) is suitable for your audience, I seriously doubt the word “shitty” is going to be an issue. Regardless I have a mirror site with a much less objectionable url (www.thatgreenpointblog.com) for just this purpose. You see, I have heard just this excuse from other media outlets before. A lot.

Let’s presume for a moment that your staff did not do their research as to where this flier originated. That strikes me as being very bad reporting. Which brings me to…

Regarding question #2: As distasteful as I find having my work uncredited (and it happens quite frequently) it would have at least made sense had, say, some media outlet in New York City/the tri-state area “featured” it. Why Los Angeles? I found it of particular interest that no mention of this flier’s origin was made whatsoever on your broadcast. This implicitly suggests it hails from Los Angeles. This is not true. Was this due to a lack of due diligence on your part or was it deliberate? I’d really like to know.

Regarding question #3: Lest the tone of this missive has not made it clear already I am very unhappy. Think about it from my point of view: would you like it if someone used your work without giving you credit and (undoubtedly) garnered a great many “clicks” (which usually translate into revenue) from it? I don’t think so. In fact, I would wager you make a legal issue of it. This is something I— a person who lavishes a great deal her of time on her website for virtually no compensation— am, in fact, considering.

But the fact of the matter is the genie is out of the proverbial bottle. What I want to know is where do we go from here? I have outlined my grievances with your organization. You can do one of two things: either attribute that image to its rightful owner (me) or remove that broadcast from your site. Otherwise I will be forced to seek legal redress. The choice is yours.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you as to how this problem will be resolved.

Heather

P.S.: One last piece of fact-checking for your edification: I was the person who blurred the gentleman’s (?) face on that flier. The creator did not. This was a moral, ethical and legal decision on my part. While— if in fact true— what this chap did was thoroughly reprehensible he need not have his life ruined over it (although this is clearly the mission of the woman who created it).

Here’s what I got in return.

So let me get this straight: they (being NBCLA) sees fit to cull material from a blog in Brooklyn, New York and broadcast it without giving me credit. But since I am not a “local” (I’m a Greenpoint resident and damned proud of it) I am not entitled to give feedback about a photograph of mine— from Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York— being used without my permission or being credited by NBCLA. That’s really cute. I’m sure wherever Franz Kafka is he is laughing his ass off.

UPDATE, 7:23 p.m.: We have a response!

New York Shitty Day Starter: The Ties That Bind

As Brooklyn becomes Queens and Queens becomes Brooklyn we meet along the way.

This is ours to share!

Whoops.

Miss Heather

P.S.: This post is dedicated to the bicyclist who grazed/hit Mister Heather yesterday on the Pulaski Bridge. I want to apologize personally for my husband’s intransigence and inability to comprehend that wherever you had to go was more important than yielding to a pedestrian who didn’t have the hindsight— literally— to see you. Rules apply to some people more than others. Clearly you are exempt. Jerk.

Comment Of The Week: What Goes Around Comes Around

I have been receiving a lot of emails the last 24 hours. Most of them, not surprisingly, have to do with Brooklyn’s good friend: Robert Scarano. It all started last night when my buddy Crappy forwarded me a piece of email spam he had received via an outdated email address earlier this week.

The real corker is what follows the above bit of propaganda. It is an invite for a “networking event” in Williamsburg:


This Thursday (That’s today, kids! — Ed. Note.), please join Robert Scarano at beautiful 90 North 5th Street in Williamsburg for  RED Nite, a networking and cocktail event from 5:30 to 7:30 pm

As you can imagine I had certain feelings about this. Foremost among them was:

Why don’t I get anything from Bobby Scarano?

Truth be told this sort of hurt my feelings. I mean, I have to look at the hulking testament to the ethically-challenged that is 158 Freeman Street EVERY DAY. Then I spied the email address from which the previous missive originated. It looked strangely familiar.

So Mr. Scarano has seen fit to reach out and touch yours truly! *Whew* I feel a lot better!

Now jump forward to to this morning. Hard Hat Hannah showed up at my bedside in a highly agitated state. She had something she wanted to show me. I roused myself out of bed and followed her into the living room.

This post is for you, Robert Scarano.

Miss Heather & Hard Hat Hannah

UPDATE: Apparently Mr. Scarano spends a considerable amount of time posting comments on the Interwebs (including expounding upon the provenance of Legos and calling a fellow blogger a “dumbass”— I am not making this shit up). Check out these corkers which were brought to my attention courtesy of Queens Crap and see for yourself. Reading is believing!

Long Island City Photos Du Jour: Off Roadin’

March 2, 2010 ·
Filed under: 11101, Asshole, Long Island City, Long Island City Queens 

Over the years I have developed a pet theory about motorists. It goes as follows: the bigger the vehicle, the more inept and/or assholic the driver. Today on the streets of Long Island City (sort of— as you will see) this theory received some pretty compelling supporting evidence.

I know what you’re thinking:

What is this SUV doing on the sidewalk?

I asked myself this very same question once I collected myself after hustling to get out its way. I can kick myself for not filming this incident— but then again, I was caught off guard. You see, I stubbornly espouse the peculiar notion that sidewalks are for pedestrians. Obviously this is not the case; they’re also for SUVs to indulge in a little urban off roadin’. Silly me.

I have since given this whole affair some thought and cannot stop from asking myself:

How the hell did this guy manage to get on the sidewalk?

As you can see the berth of passage at 46 Road is too narrow to provide passage.

This leaves me to draw no other conclusion than he (or she) must have driven on that sidewalk as well. Delightful. The coup de grace to the previous bit mindfuckery came a mere five minutes later on Purves Street.

I have no idea what this is about.

Miss Heather

P.S.: If my new four by four friend is reading this I would like you to know I have photo of your license plate. ASSHOLE.

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