Monday, December 19

Why I Love My Job

I work in a parking lot that's converted to a flea market every weekend. Jealous?

Lady in the green = my hero.

I sell replica paintings, framing and posters. I also plot the demise of nearly everyone I come into contact with. Since my job brings out almost unparalleled levels of misanthropy in me, I thought I might make a list of things I love about my job, so that when the prosecution finds it, they'll at least know that I tried.

Every example I'm using here is true. Apologies for the crappy cellphone photos. 

Kindly enjoy the seven whole reasons why I love my job...

1. I get to practice putting a positive spin on things.

See, when I'm setting up, my first reaction to this sight would be “GAH! There's a freakin' TOENAIL over there! Somebody's plastic-ass toenail fell off and GAAAAH!”

WT actual F.
But because this sort of thing happens so often, I'm quite adept at taking a deep, calming, non-murdery breath and looking on the bright side: “Well, at least it's a FAKE toenail.”

2. I get to show off my wealth of cinematic knowledge.

Let me tell you about the fourth guy, the bane of my existence. 

We sell cheesy framed posters of vintage stars: James Dean, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and.... some fourth guy.

Relax, he's just an extra. Get out of the shot, Phil!

Every weekend, some dumbass stands there and names the dead celebrities until he gets to the fourth guy. Then he waves me over, makes me put down my coffee, pull off my headphones, walk all the way across to the other side of the display, and watch him point his biltong-covered finger at the fourth guy.

Dumbass: Who's dis?
Me: That's Humphrey Bogart.
Dumbass: [stares at me blankly]
Me: Humphrey Bogart. From Casablanca.
Dumbass: O-o-oh! [pretends to click and know who that is] [walks away without another word.]

This happens a few times a day. I tried to remedy the situation, but to no avail.

This sign was removed by Management. But for the few moments it was up, I was at peace.
See, the people who ask about the fourth guy aren't interested in buying the poster. They're not even interested in who the fourth guy actually is. They're just killing time, and killing my soul while they're at it.

3. I get to practice Zen patience.

On the off-chance I actually get an opportunity to take a bathroom break, I have to go down a long corridor filled with happy customers. And let me tell you, when you're standing behind a herd of people who treat every step as slowly as a tai-chi move, and who're just obese enough to make slipping between them virtually impossible, it's a fantastic opportunity to ponder the meaning of existence.

On a related note, I get to improve my lung capacity by holding my breath in the public bathroom.

4. I get to perfect the art of saying NO.

Customer: Do you sell paintbrushes?
Me: No.

Customer: Can you make me a box frame out of glass and dreams?
Me: No.

Customer: Do you have this [poster of Cree Indian Prophecy] but with Jesus?
Me: No ma'am, Jesus doesn't plagiarize.

Customer: I don't have any money, but will you put this ridiculously popular and expensive painting under the table for me, because I feel like I might come back and buy it in the next decade or so.
Me: No.

Customer: I know someone's put down a deposit on this, but I'm an asshole and will pay you above marked price with cash right now, because I've got money and I assume that gives me the right to rip off strangers. You can just tell the person who's actually bought it that it was stolen, okay?
Me: No, asshole.

Enthusiastic Creepy Christian: Can I touch you?

5. I also get to perfect the art of saying YES. 

Customer: [pointing at poster] do you have this?
Me: [pointing at poster ] … This? … Yes, yes we do have the object you're pointing at. ...You see it too, right?

6. I get to expand my style horizons.

Right across from my stand is a lovely Chinese couple (I'm not being sarcastic, they really are lovely) who sell women's clothes. Most of their stuff is alright, and I've even bought some that was too cute or cheap to resist. But now and then they stock something like this...

You know what this'd look god with? Army print crocs!

  7. Also, Elvis' sex face.

Or maybe that microphone is just delicious.

But you know why I really love my job? Because I hate it so much, it makes me grateful for every moment I'm not there, which is most of the time. For five or six days a week I get to write, read, watch too much TV, tweet, squee, and not fear molestation by creepy Christians.

And that's pretty awesome.

*I am serious as fuck, this actually happened.


  1. It makes me so sad that no one recognizes Humphrey Bogart! What is the world coming to?! This was a great post! Very funny! I work in retail too. I love it when a customer asks me where something is, and they are standing right in front of it! lol

  2. Oh yes, I'm definitely glad I don't have to go out of my way to meet crazy people :P (I could always just look in a mirror - ha!) and I've used some characters from their in my fiction before. Everything has an upside! :D

  3. This had me laughing out loud! Even though it's crazy, insane, and not your favorite, it has to give you some interesting characters from time to time. I love adding those off the wall, 'yeah I know that guy', characters in my books for color.

  4. Well... every now and then some very enthusiastic Christians set up a gazebo in the middle of the flea market and then start wandering around. They're harmless enough. But one time a couple came up to me and asked if they could pray for me because, apparently, "art" was one of the clues they got in their prayers at the gazebo earlier. I said I was good, thanks, but they sort of roped me into a conversation about my business and then, randomly, one of them asked if she could touch me to feel if I was sick. I was like NO REALLY I'M FINE PERSONAL SPACE IS MY FAVOURITE. It was awkward.

    Anyway, that's the whole story! Thanks for reading and commenting :D

  5. You're hilarious! This was fun to read. I had lots of crazy stories like that when I worked retail too (though my retail job was much more run-of-the-mill than yours). Only one thing confused me: why did someone want to touch you, and how did you know the someone was Christian? o.O

  6. Glad you liked it! It's amazing how blind customers can be ;) at least it gives me something to write about! :D


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