Tag Archives: LensCrafters

Why I Would Hate to Work in Retail

Black Friday came and went again this year, and I managed to extend my personal streak of not doing a goddamn thing on Black Friday to 23 consecutive times.  And to top it all off, I also managed to set a personal best for total amount of time spent Christmas shopping (two stores, 19 minutes, and $230).  But one thing that I noticed that kind of bugged me was when I was walking from my car into one of the stores.  One of the employees was standing outside having a cigarette (This wasn’t even by the entrance, it was by one of the loading docks that I had to walk by to get from the car to the main entrance), and this little old lady had gone up to him to bitch about how she had bought something from the store he worked at and then went back and saw that the stores ad had it marked as $30 less than what she paid for it.

Now, I understand that the lady has a right to be upset, but why the hell would she think it’s a good idea to go complain to the guy who’s outside smoking a cigarette.  I heard him say multiple times that if she went in to the checkout, they would be able to help her out, to which she replied, “But I’m talking to you about this, young man.”  All frighteningly realistic impersonations of my grandma aside, this crazy lady reminded me how lucky I am to not be working in retail.  I mean, I’ve always enjoyed jobs where I stay as far away from the general public as possible, both to the benefit of myself and the people who employ me (I usually make a habit of saying things I probably shouldn’t.  It’s not my fault that jokes and general talk about sex makes people so unreasonably uncomfortable).  But every time I see something like that scene makes me even more happy that I don’t work with customers.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do not feel bad for people who work in retail because of the holidays.  I don’t feel bad that they have to get up early on Black Friday to go to work.  I don’t feel bad for when they have to work holidays.  I don’t feel bad for them when there are long lines.  That’s part of the game.  That’s how it works.  But I do feel bad for them when it comes to dumb people.  We’ve all been there.  We’ve been behind the coupon lady at the checkout counter.  We’ve seen them stop the cashier in the middle of ringing up their purchase and they realize that their coupon only counts toward a different particular type of a product, so they take the incorrect item, run back to the aisle they got it from, and come back with the correct one.  We’ve seen the person debating prices with the cashier. We’ve all been in the situation where we were one item away from being ready to check out, and so you go to the oral health aisle to pick up the floss, but the overly-rotund lady is standing directly in front of ALL of the floss (including the generic and off-brand floss) and she’s talking loudly on her cell phone and she sounds pissed so you don’t want to ask her to roll a little to the left, but then she starts to turn toward you, and not wanting to piss her off more by staring at her, you look directly at the shelf and pick up the first thing you see, which happens to be the cute little Hello Kitty toothbrush, and then you realize what’s in your hand so you turn to the lady to see if she sees what the hell you’re doing (which she has), she just stares at your pink toothbrush, glances up into your eyes, back at the toothbrush, rolls her eyes, turns around, and wobbles over to the toothpaste section.   You just say, “whatever,” to yourself in your head, grab the goddamn floss and get the hell out as fast as you can.  (Not that that last one has anything to do with people working in retail, but I’m still bitter, so fuck it.)

But on top of that, there are two other absurd situations that I was in that really showed me what working in retail would do to you.  The first situation was when I went to Lenscrafters to try to get new glasses.  It turns out my prescription card was out-of-date, and so the guy at the store called my doctors office to see if my more recent visit would count toward renewing my prescription.  While he was on the phone, he got put on hold, he looked agitated, looked over at me and said, “I swear, all of these people are just fucking retarded.”  Now, I normally find it amusing anytime anybody says anything that most people consider completely inappropriate (hence the reason I always have thought talking about sex in public is awesome), so I laughed at it.  But at the same time, I thought, ‘That was completely unnecessary.’  It’s one thing if the lady had done something stupid or wrong, but she was only put him on hold so she could pull up my file.

The next situation was earlier in my life when I went to college.  I was shopping around for futons, and I was walking out of the store when the guy who worked there started to talk to me about the potential purchase.  He, apparently, considered the quality of futon that I have in my dorm room as something that would have a drastic affect on the outcome of my life.  So, I was doing the whole slowly moving closer and closer to the door, checking my phone, praying that someone would call me, until finally I got outside.  I told the guy, “Well, I’ve got to check out some other stores, but I’ll keep you guys in mind.”  He looked at me and said, “Yeah man.  Go, shop around, and I’ll see you later, bro.”  Bro.  Bro. Bro.  Did this middle-aged motherfucker seriously just call me bro?  Now, I’m six feet tall, pale, 210 pounds with blonde hair and a brown, manly beard.  I wear flannel shirts and blue jeans that have the wholes worn in, not designed in.  I don’t drink Coors fucking Light.  I’m not a bro.

But there this middle aged guy is, desperate for a sale.  He sees that I’m a college aged kid, and he has to assume that all college guys refer to other college guys as bro.  It’s nothing different than the eyeglasses guy calling my eye doctor’s receptionist a retard.  He saw that I was a young male, and assumed I would think it’s funny (it kind of was, but it was more funny because he was such an egregious jackass about it).  Retail turns you into nothing more than a stereotyping bastard.  Do you think the eyeglasses guy would have said that to a customer if the customer was a woman?  Or middle aged?  Would the futon guy talked that way if my mom was with me?  Or if the customer was a female, would he have called her a, “betch?”  Hell no.  Because these retail working assholes do nothing but stereotype everyone that walks through the door.  They don’t want to, but if they want that sale, if they want their commission, they pretty much have to.

So that’s why I don’t want to work in retail.  Not that working in the service industry is all that fun (at this point I’m about one bad day away from quitting, finding a new job, and moving at least an hour away from Milwaukee.  Or maybe just one more time listening to my boss telling me smoking is bad for my health), but at least I can act like myself and not give a shit about what anyone really thinks about me.

Take it easy,

-Panda

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Let’s All Go To The Mall

I should really consider myself lucky.  I mean, I was driving around in a car that had a tire with a fairly big puncture hole.  For a while instead of just replacing it, I just kept the air compressor in my back seat and filled the thing up every couple of weeks.  It worked out fairly well, but I knew that I would need to get the tire replaced before winter rolled around.  So this last weekend I went to the Sears Autocare Center (Hey, if I want to to pretend to be a man I have to do manly shit like go to Sears).  They told me it would be a little over an hour to complete the work on my car, and that they would give me a call when the work was completed.  So, instead of sitting around in the waiting room of the service shop, I decided to walk across the parking lot and go to the mall that was right there.

Walking into the mall was, for lack of a better phrase, a fucking trip.  I haven’t really been in a mall for anything other than new glasses or over-priced Apple shit in probably close to five years.  I have forgotten how strange these places can be.  And strange is really the only thing you can call a mall, because the mall is the only place in the world that people will set aside a couple of hours for, and then within twenty minutes of starting the day the only thing they want to do is just get the fuck out of there.

The first thing that I wanted to do was to find a restroom.  Like any mall, I figured that they would be in the food court (they were).  But the restrooms are the least of the interesting aspects of this endeavor.   The food court was a pathetic excuse for a source of nourishment.  I mean, there wasn’t a single dollar menu in the entire place.  Not that I’m a big fan of the kind of food that comes from the kind of place that has a dollar menu, but it seems to me that dollar menus are perfectly suited for malls.  The food is usually something that you can usually eat on the go, small enough for you to finish by the time you get into the next store, and makes you shit about 45 minutes later, bringing you back to the food court where it all began.  But as if that’s not enough for me to hate the food courts at the mall, I looked around at the other options for food.  It’s astonishing how every mall has literally the same exact shitty food that the next one does.  Of course everyone knows about Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and CinnaBonn.  But when you dig deeper, you will find the Rocky Rococo, the Arby’s, the place that serves steak (who the fuck says, “You know, I could really go for a steak.  Let’s go to the mall.  No, it’s cool, it’s 6:00 PM, they usually clean up the food court around 5:30ish.  So basically, as long as you don’t eat near the Sbarro the floors won’t be sticky and it doesn’t stink as much because there aren’t any babies because the mom’s all had to drop them off the babysitter because Valium usually can’t last all day normally, let alone a full day at the mall.”), and of course that less-than-trustworthy stir-fry place (You want me to eat Chinese food?  Fine, as long as it isn’t prepared by 17-year-old girls from the suburbs who can’t even pronounce General Tso’s Chicken correctly).  Literally every mall has those same exact places.  And literally the same exact people go to those same places in every mall:  5% mall employees who are on their break in the middle of a double shift, 20% kids on dates who don’t know what a real date is, 20% single mothers, and 55% disgusting slobs.

Food court aside, there is another very disturbing aspect of malls in general.  This particular phenomenon is visible everywhere, but at the mall, it shines.  I’m talking, of course, about weird people.  Not the some-guy-writing-a-blog-pretending-to-be-a-panda-so-he-can-feel-like-he’s-being-a-productive-member-of-society-but-knows-he-isn’t weird, but the start-a-conversation-with-a-complete-stranger-but-not-actually-be-looking-them-in-the-eye weird.  I mean, you’ve got the people who go to the mall to do nothing but walk in fucking circles, you’ve got the people who act like they know you and try to start a conversation with you when you’re standing in line (please, people who do this, stop frontin’), you’ve got the people who walk around and try to stop you when you’re going about your day and minding your own business to get you to take a survey, and then you got the people who sit.  They don’t really do anything.  They just sit.  I’m pretty sure they’re there 24/7, because I’ve never seen any of them get up or actually partake in the process of sitting down.   Maybe it’s just a ruse by the people who own the mall to say, “We have seating in case you need to sit down for a moment, rest, wait to meet up with your family, or to wait and figure out if the food court meal you ate a half-hour ago is coming out early or if it’s just a fart,” and then they just have some old folks come in and sit.  They probably don’t even pay them (well, maybe they give them the leftover food from the food court, which would explain why the bathrooms at the mall always smell like shit, even in the morning before anyone even uses them).  And of course you can’t ask them to move, they’re old.  They’ve got the walkers and those fucking big-ass-cover-half-your-face sunglasses to prove it.

But all of that pales in comparison to my biggest issue with the mall and human society: how and why the hell do humans find the mall to be fun?  I mean, everyone from teenagers to old folks go to the mall to waste their Saturdays and their “sick” days, and spend hours and hours there.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I used to think the mall was awesome.  I would try to transform almost any social outing with friends into a day at the mall.  But that wasn’t because I thought it was fun, it’s because, as a panda, I had never seen anything like this place in my life.  I mean, you humans just have a giant building with all these different stores that have absolutely nothing in common with each other and a bunch of kiosks that are filled with second-rate, made-in-China shit, and in the winter, every fucking year, you people pay some fatass to sit in a red suit in the middle of the mall and have your children sit in his lap as he whispers sweet nothings into their ears (“Oh, I bet you’ve been a bad girl”).  I mean, just look at what a trip to the mall looks like normally.  For the most part, you park your car a quarter-mile away from the closest set of doors, walk into the mall, try to not make eye contact with the poor people at the shoe shine booth, walk half the length of the mall to find an up escalator, walk to where the store is supposed to be, remember it’s on the first floor, go to the first floor, get stuck behind a group of slow walking dumbass teenage boys who think that they’re hot shit as they walk out of Spencer’s Gifts in their TapOut shirts and exposed plaid boxers (even though everyone in the mall knows their not because no matter how many times they say, “she looks like this one chick I nailed,” you know they’ve probably never even touched a breast and the most sexually advanced situation they’ve ever been in was just last week when they first tried masturbating in the shower), then you get to the store you wanted to go to, but it’s crowded, so you grab the one thing you need and sit in line for 20 minutes and then book it to your car.  And you humans find this shit fun.

Fun?  Screw that.  If we could live in a place without a single Hot Topic, I feel the world might be a better place.  And to be honest, how has Yankee Candle not been busted yet?  A chain store that stays afloat selling nothing but candles?  Please, that shit has to be a front for some kind of shenanigans.  “LOOK AT THIS KIOSK.  A GREEN BAY PACKERS CELL PHONE CASE FOR $20? FUCK YEAH!”  Fuck no.  I’m not saying you all shouldn’t go to the mall, but I’m just saying you should all stop pretending that you want to, because we all know it sucks.

Take it easy,

-Panda