Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Disgusting Memories of My Life in Retail, Part I

During high school, I worked 30 hours a week at a local K-Mart. My co-workers, for the most part, were pretty cool kids from other local high schools. There were also the older women who, for the most part, were bitter hags without much edumacation.

I started as a cashier when I was 16. This particular store was located at the juncture of lower and middle class towns. It just happened to be inside the city limits of what was referred to as “Taylor-tucky” (I didn’t create the name, so no offense meant to any Kentuckians, OK?)

I have always been open-minded and pretty tolerant of anything but “stupid.” I have always had a reeeeeeealy hard time with “stupid.” Unfortunately, Taylor-tuckians were a whole lotta “stupid” with special sauce.

In the late 70’s, there seemed to be a HUGE population of young, white unwed mothers with green-snot nosed kids in tow; many times more than 3 of them per shopping cart and the obligatory one on the hip. The kids were usually without shoes or socks, dressed in dirty t-shirts that didn’t quite cover their little bellies and wearing saggy disposable diapers. Their huge eyes and matted hair haunted me. They’d be smeared with various substances, most notably boogers, dirt and tears. I’d bet that they were all less than 1 year apart, based upon their size and the haggard look of despair worn on their mothers’ faces.

It was a pitiful thing to watch these girls trying to handle all of their kids. “Parenting” wasn’t exactly something that was taught in Junior High before they dropped out to start popping out these babies. On any given day, you’d typically hear a woman yelling at her kids several times, then a loud “SLAP” quickly followed by wailing of one or more child. This was followed by more yelling and the cycle was repeated on down the line until everyone in the shopping cart was crying, as she furiously jerked the cart around the aisles on 2 wheels. Child abuse? Never heard of it in 1976.

Sometimes the mothers would actually NOT hit their kids. Unfortunately for K-Mart, this usually meant financial losses were incurred leading to their subsequent bankruptcy some 30 years later. Mommy would merely reach for something in the candy or cookie section of the store & start feeding her spawn, never intending to pay for any of it. The store would then discover the torn packaging in the Ladies underwear department and write the items off as a loss. Don’t EVEN get me started on the used Pampers that would be found in the Infant’s department or stuffed into boots in Footwear.

I was a great employee. As a cashier, I was fast, efficient and careful with handling whatever people were buying. I mean, how many times has any employee at K-Mart actually FOLDED underwear rather than stuff it in the bag? But I digress.

It was common practice for mommy to hand her screaming spawn packs of gum on which to chew as she unloaded her cart in the checkout aisle. She never actually opened them so that when you caught her piranha slobbering and gumming through the packaging, she’d quickly yank it out of Chewie’s mouth and stick the soggy, mashed gum back in the bin. “Oh, we don’t want that!”

Now, I can sympathize when a little one grabs something and mommy didn’t see it happen or wasn’t quick enough to stop it. But when the same stupid bitch pulls the same stupid shit with the same fucking cashier who SEES her do it week after week…that takes a whole lotta “special” stupid. Hence, my extreme sarcasm and loss of patience.

When I’d see these fucktards hand their kids the gum or food items, I’d just silently ring up the damage, without going through the Cashier Waltz of “Do you want those items?” I didn’t give a flying fuck if they went through the motion of taking it out of Chewie’s mouth, or out of Booger’s slimy hands. If the item had ANY bodily fluids on it, she just bought it. Even if she placed the items on the shelf near the counter.

See, lady? Since I went beyond 8th grade and wasn’t distracted by a drunk asshole at home, tons of dick and 4 little kids under the age of 3, I was able to memorize prices of items even if you never waved the price tag anywhere near my face. Those 25 cent packs of gum and 88 cent packs of cookies were now YOURS. Enjoy.


Blogger GA girl said...

And, they probably never even realized it was added to their tab. I worked a super K when I was in HS. I had a woman bring 50, yep that's right FIFTY, cans of cat food through the EXPRESS lane calling it one item. Evil bitch.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I get to see that special kind of stupid every day in my line of work.. dealing with the public is a real eye-opener, eh?

9:24 AM  
Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

"... used Pampers that would be found in the Infant’s department or stuffed into boots in Footwear..."

Makes me glad my folks shopped at dumps like Jamesway, Two Guys and Caldors.


11:54 AM  
Anonymous JaeFox said...

Ewwww, I remember that K-Mart and its clientele. Those boogar-streaked kids have grown up and now shop at the new WalMart a few miles down the road with THEIR boogar-streaked kids.

Here's my disgusting teen work story (Ok, I know I should start my own blog, but yours is so much fun) I used to work at McDonald's during my tender years, and on the the weekends mornings, people would come in and study the menu, deciding what they wanted while waiting in line. (I have always understood this - customers are not as familiar with the morning menu as they are with the 'burger' menu) Anyway, after several undecided moments, they would blow an exasperated HUGE sigh my way.

"Sigh!!" they would blow, leaning one arm on the counter. "I'll have..." That breath would be full-on morning breath, as awful as could be. Many times it would physically knock me back, away from the offender with the putrid mouth.

I avoid breakfast at McDonald's like the plague now. I like McD's, always have, but just can't stand to see the slobs in line. To this day.

OK, here's your blog back.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Floyd's Lists said...

Children should be eaten, not heard.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Lost said...

Ahhh the glories of retail. You'll find those booger streaked kids in every Walmart, Kmart whateverMart everywhere. I actually think they come with the store.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Cheetarah1980 said...

I will never buy candy from the candy aisle at the grocery store ever again.

12:30 PM  

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