WARNING: If the mundane details of working in retail bore, upset, antagonize you or otherwise make you feel like casting downvotes, then stop here, dump your vote and move to the next w/u. If not (or if you feel obligated to read this entry before zapping it) then proceed at your own caution.

Give blood, work at JCPenney.

For the last four months, I've been working in the menswear department of my local JCPenney department store. The job isn't terribly challenging: sell the shirts, stock the shirts, fold the shirts, sell the pants, fold the pants, hang the pants etc. You get the idea.

What surprises me about the job is how often I wind up bleeding. Nothing serious; we're not talking about arterial lacerations here folks. Just an assortment of small, painful nuisances that punctuate my day.

But working in retail should be reasonably safe, shouldn't it? So I thought. The hazards are numerous, and they include:

Paper cuts - Describing the pain of a paper cut is wasted effort; we've all had one at some time or another. And while the average Penney's associate doesn't handle too much paperwork, he/she is by no means immune to paper cuts. I've found the worst culprit to be the stiff plastic collar stays that are placed in the collars of dress shirts. Grabbing a shirt the wrong way (especially one that's falling from a shelf) may result in nasty paper cuts to your fingers.

Pin pricks - Again, dress shirts prove to be a den of potential digital anguish, this time by playing host to dozens of unseen pins. Sticking your finger or thumb on a pin is more of a minor bother than anything else: rarely do you bleed and the pain subsides relatively quickly. Fittingly so, the ugliest shirts -- I'm talking about your nasty-ass shirts, Hunt Club designers -- have the most pins and thus inflict the most pain. And for the record, dropping a box of pins onto overworn industrial-grade carpeting usually leads to a miserable afternoon.

Dye tags - JCPenney uses dye tags to discourage shoplifters. Removing a dye tag requires a special device (in reality, just a large magnet) located only at the store's cash registers. If the tag is removed without the device, two vials of colored dye are spilled onto the garment, ruining it. When removed, the tag separates into two pieces: a large (3-4 cm in diameter) conical section (which contains the dye) and a 3 cm long pin (with a large plastic head) that fits into the other half. Part of my job entails tagging new merchandise. Reaching blindly into a cardboard box filled with unsorted halves of dye tags often result in getting pricked, but with a thicker, blunter pin.

Misc. hazards - In addition to the above dangers, I've also walked into displays, had boxes dropped on me, been run over by carts and have had flaming pokers jammed into my nostrils. Well, maybe not the last one.

Besides that, I actually like my job. Almost.