The Purge…of Customers: The Joys of Working in Retail

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This post is dedicated to my friend, Lady R.–you know who you are  <3

A few weeks ago, I decided to disrupt the peaceful tranquility of my home life by getting a job outside of the house. I love arts and crafts and have a big closet full of materials to prove it, so I decided the best place for me would be a craft store. Logical, right? So now I’m a part-time employee of a major arts and crafts store. I am grateful for my job, my pay, my discount, and friendly coworkers. What I’m not grateful for? Rude customers. Why are there so many of you??? What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color?

I work solely as cashier, which means that every shift, I stand at the register for four to five and a half hours, ringing up customer after customer. By my third day in a row, I want to tap out. Throw in the towel. Cry Uncle. Completely surrender. If you’re of the Asian Persuasion, you know that if you get within a few feet of an older Asian lady, you are opening yourself up to mental and emotional abuse. I sometimes wonder if my customers are Asian women Skinwalkers, disguised as other ethnicities.

My absolute favorite part of the day is closing: The music is off, the store is mostly quiet and empty of customers, it’s 2 minutes to closing–LITERALLY!!!– and someone decides that 8:58pm is prime-time to shop for colored pencils. REALLY??? We’re sweeping, taking out the trash, counting out the drawers and THAT’S when you realize we’re closing??

Listen up, Rude People. We vent about you. We are laughing at you while we vent, because if we don’t, we cry. And nobody–and I mean NOBODY– has a pretty Cry Face, so we’re not going there. What we’d like to do is simulate The Purge. But no–we don’t want to kill you– we just want to unleash the foul-mouth Beast within and give you our 10 cents (’cause it’s worth WAY more than 2) and give you a generous piece of our minds. Lady R and I decided that we should have this Purge once a year. After two hours, my feet are killing me. But I will GLADLY work a 12-hour shift to Purge.

Look, Asian Lady Skinwalker– I don’t get paid enough to take your abuse over the 2 minutes it takes for me to run your credit card. Believe it or not, it really is best to say NOTHING AT ALL if you can’t say anything nice. Like you, I want our transaction to be over as quickly as humanly possible. You many not understand that concept as a Skinwalker, so I’ll explain it: I just want to ring your stuff up, tell you how much it costs, have you pay the exact amount, and then shoo you on your way. If it looks like I’m fake-smiling at you while all of this is taking place, I probably am.

However, not ALL of my customers are discourteous. Since Verbal Purge will probably never be allowed by Corporate, I am thankful that there are kind, sweet, friendly customers to balance out the ill-mannered ones. Whatever you do, kind, sweet, friendly People, please do NOT stop shopping at our store. And if you can, place yourselves intermittently amongst the Others … you know who they are…

Writer Bio

CJ Heath knows that YOU, Reader, are of the kind, sweet, friendly sort. However, make sure if you’re walking into a store late at night and you see someone sweeping or counting out the drawers, that you ask before you begin shopping, what time we close. Peace!


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