The three weirdest new customers this month
previous crazy customers not eligible for award
Third Place: A tweaker walked into the store holding a huge framed ducks unlimited print (presumably stolen). There were no other customers here, only employees. Then he held this large frame over his head and yelled, "Anybody wanna buy this?" Um, sir, we sell things here, not the other way around.
Second Place: We have some tacky 9-11 commemmorative junk that our gift supplier sent us. We couldn't send it back without paying a steep restocking fee, so we reluctantly put it on the shelves. A guy came into the store, saw this merchandise, and launched into a rant about how we wouldn't sell those things if we knew what was really behind 9-11. An exact quote: "I don't want to arrange any paradigms here but if you presupposed what was really going on you'd rethink your merchandise here." After ten minutes of listening to him butcher the english language trying to sound smart we were able to convince him that we did not, in fact, manufacture the merchandise in the back room ourselves just to offend him. Then he took one of our front-end supplier's catalogs so he could write an angry letter to them.
Few things piss me off more than people who will say or do any crazy, mean, propagandizing, or inappropriate things to us because we are a captive audience and we have to be polite or risk losing our jobs. Don't push an inappropriate line of conversation on people who can't leave or tell you to piss off. This goes for the conspiracy nut, and also for this next guy:
A man who looked normal at first glance came into the store pulling a cart loaded with several copies of a crappy self-published book. When you actually watched his nonverbal behavior for five consecutive seconds, you could tell he was probably schizotypal and probably kept in check by medication. He made sure we had enough free copies of this wonderful book for each employee. It was a cold-war paranoia / fundamentalist / nuclear apocalypse book self-published in the early 70's. Hey, genius, if the book was published over 30 years ago and we're not glowing in the dark yet, maybe you should find some new propaganda. Cold war ended. We won.
Glancing through the contents of the book it also became clear that the book had a homophobic, misogynistic, white power theme going on. Few things piss me off more than people who will do mean, propagandizing, or inappropriate things to us because we are a captive audience and we have to be polite or risk losing our jobs. When you hand a book like that to a gay, atheist, not-entirely-white guy who would get fired if he told you what you deserve to hear, you've crossed the damn line.
But here's the best part. Shortly after this I was walking down the street to get my take-out lunch order from the town cafe. The guy was handing out books at a store between the cafe and where I work. When I picked up my order, I waved over the head waitress Missy. Now, Missy is this totally ballsy grrrl who will say whatever the hell she wants, and loudly. So I asked her if the nutbag handing out conspiracy books was in yet (I knew he hadn't been). She wanted to know what I was talking about, so I explained, trying to make it sound like the most interesting, pressing piece of gossip she'd hear all day. This cafe is our town's gossip depot, so the employees are quick to pass on every bit before someone else beats them to it.
As I turn around to leave I see the conspiracy nut pulling his little handcart full of loony literature towards the door of the cafe, sooner than I thought he'd arrive. I open up the door for him, and just as I'm hurrying past him I hear Missy yell loudly enough for all the cooks, waitresses, and customers to hear her: "HEY, YOU GUYS HEAR THERE'S SOME WACKJOB HANDING OUT CONSPIRACY BOOKS TO EVERYONE IN TOWN?"
I had to spend the rest of the day watching the door of the store just in case the wackjob came back with a gun, but it was so totally worth it.