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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

idiocracy, fo' real

i've actually been a SAHM for a whole month!  holy cow, how time flies.

i was thinking the other day about all the craziness i saw, working a retail job for the last eight months.  fun stuff like this:
  • i can't tell you how many times i had to answer questions like "how many come in a dozen?" or "are these fresh?" seriously, people?
  • even when i explained that the mini cupcakes came in all the same flavors as the regular size ones, they'd still point at specific cakes in the case and ask what flavor it was.  or, "does [insert random flavor here] come in the mini?"  did you not listen to what i told you 3.75 seconds ago?
  • folks are amazingly indecisive when they walk into a shop that offers more than two choices.  i often had to stand there with a stupid grin on my face for a good long amount of time, waiting for them to decide on something.  it killed me when they would debate for fifteen minutes between flavors and either leave with nothing, or just one itty-bitty mini cupcake.
  • a few of the boxes come with built-in handles, and customers would still ask for a bag to put it in.  so wack.
  • i loved the calls that required me to act as a human GPS.  i would give north/south/east/west directions, and they had no idea what i was talking about.  "i need you to tell me left or right.  i don't understand how to go in those directions."
  • there was a lady who came in once and made me pull out every single tray of cupcakes, searching for treats with only star-shaped fondant toppers.  i wanted to choke her.
  • and another woman who came in for the first time, downed three mini chocolate cupcakes and then ordered another full-sized one.  she proceeded to hoover that one up too, and then said "ew, that one was gross. only the mini ones were good."  huh?  i explained to her that both sizes were the same recipe and came from the same batch of batter, and she argued with me.  "no, that's impossible.  the mini ones were so delicious, but that regular sized one was not good at all.  it was gross."  um, okay.  and then when she came in a month later she was offended when i didn't recognize her.  "you don't remember me?"  well, i'm sorry - i only saw probably 40 customers a day, five days a week.  sheesh.
  • the ones who demand freebies or discounts were fun, too.  "what do you mean, you don't give free samples?" or "you need to do a frequent buyer's card, i'm in here all the time." and then they'd get all belligerent when we politely declined.  ugh.
  • and then there's the outrage i often faced when i asked to see someone's ID when they were using a credit card.  "what, you don't trust me?"  well, as a matter of fact, i don't.  why would i?  i don't know you.  or "if i was using a stolen credit card, i wouldn't be wasting my time here."  psh, whatever.  and the number of chargebacks the owner got on a monthly basis was solid proof that requesting ID really is necessary.
  • i got talked down to a lot, like i was completely insignificant - just barely good enough to box their snacks.  there are some seriously condescending people out there, and all i could do was smile and provide excellent customer service.  heh.  all the while, i would imagine shanking 'em with a broken plastic fork.
  • i also learned the hard way that no matter how much you try, you truly can't make everyone happy.  i was privy to a whole lotta bellyaching on a regular basis.  about cupcakes.
  • oh, and i got so skeeved out by the number of people who would glance at my hand and make a stupid comment about my wedding rings.  it didn't take long before i simply stopped wearing it.  last thing i wanted was for somebody to follow me out back and roll me in the parking lot.  
but every now and then cool stuff would happen.  like, i got to meet marlee matlin and oscar de la hoya and a couple of local news reporters.  and the one time when i waited on a customer and she told me in an undertone "i'm SO glad you helped me.  i always get treated so badly when i come in here, but i love the cupcakes."  haha!  or when someone would say "oh my gosh, how do you work here and stay so skinny?"  hee!  and the folks who would thank me for helping them find their favorite new flavors.  and i always loved when my magical peripheral vision showed me someone digging out some cash and dropping it into the tip jar.  not to mention (although i have before), i so loved my boss and all of my fellow cupcakers. 

nope, i totally don't regret quitting my dull office job and sacrificing a few bucks per hour to work there.  it really was a lot of fun, and at least now i know that if i ever needed to, a retail job isn't as awful as it used to sound.

but i hope that day never comes.  or, at least, not for a long, long time.  and by that time, i'll be so old and crotchety nobody will want to hire me anyway.


  1. I agree that a lot of the stuff is super rude. People suck, on the whole. But I will say that they were rightfully irritated to have to show ID (though the method of expression leaves something to be desired). From what I know, the merchant agreements with credit card companies forbid merchants from requiring ID to process a credit card transaction if the card is signed on the back.

    I know that you are trustworthy, but some people aren't. If they see ID, that gives one more piece of information (i.e., your zip code) that, if someone was clever, could use to just take your CC information and shop online.

    I don't want to tread into tinfoil hat territory here, but it's entirely possible and I have heard stories of such happening.

  2. "folks are amazingly indecisive when they walk into a shop that offers more than two choices."

    That's the chickie. I apologize on her behalf, and for the rest of her life. It's cupcakes/ice cream/coffee/boba, not a house, not even a car. Decide BIZATCH!

  3. Ppl are outright rude to you in retail stores. One of the things I do not miss. The perks like fantastic boss, CW, discount, and some great customers are what makes it memorable.

  4. Ha, I'm totally one of those people who spend FOREVER deciding.

  5. why chose..buy it all..how can we possibly go wrong with cupcakes? hehehe

  6. ha, gotta love retail work. I knew it was time for me to quit my retail job at Bath and Body works when a customer asked me which of the lotions in the store he could use as female lubricant.
    Your stories are better, and much less creepy ;)

  7. as soon as you step behind a counter you cease to be a human being! ive worked in retail for 6 years now (gah) and the crap you have to put up with is shocking. and honestly, if i ask to see your id, all im looking for is that the picture is of you, im not going to memorize your address in a .5 second glance!

  8. "i need you to tell me left or right. i don't understand how to go in those directions."

    I am one of these people. *hangs head in shame* I have no - and I mean NO - sense of direction. I need left/right directions, preferably including landmarks, or I'll wander around side streets until I die in my car.

    And this made me laugh: "when she came in a month later she was offended when i didn't recognize her. "you don't remember me?" well, i'm sorry - i only saw probably 40 customers a day, five days a week. "

    Back in my waitressing days, I worked at an Italian cafe. It was fairly busy so I saw a lot of people, and although I knew my regulars and could even pick out the occasional diners, there was no way I'd recognize someone that rarely stopped by. One lady (who I did vaguely recognize from coming there ONCE nearly a month before) got super offended when she asked me for her "usual order - the one I got last time I was here" and I didn't know what she wanted. Give me a break, lady - my life does not revolve around you!

  9. I would be fired so quickly from this job.

  10. Someone actually asked you how many come in a dozen? Oh em gee ...


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