I recently helped out in the boutique again and had one of those crazy and insane days! If pissing off a bikie (who stormed out and roared off on his Harley) wasn’t enough, I then got into a heated discussion with a male customer who bragged about threatening to kill a women (I was outraged and told him that was not ‘on’ and whilst I barely refrained from telling him to ‘fuck off out of the shop’, I did engage with him to explore why he did that, what that would have been like for the lady etc..), anyway, if all that wasn’t enough for one day, there was more….
I must say, that if you are likely to be offended by the mention of ‘butt plugs’ then tune out now dear reader, for this posting is not for the prudish and is after all, set in a sex shop.
So, ‘The Proposition’… It all started with a twenty-something year old, tall, lanky boy with a gammy leg walking (well, more like hobbling) into the store. He browsed and made his way to the counter with a huge butt-plug and I mean HUGE butt plug that he wanted to purchase. I looked at him and then at the item and then at him, and then back at the item and thought- there is no way that is going to fit, is he insane? But then who I am to know?
The item was a reasonable $25, but the young man said he only had $15. Our discussion went a little like this:
Me: Umm ok, well it’s $25. Do you have an Eftpos or credit card you can use?
Him: No, I only have $15. (He looks at me nervously)
Me: ok, well, there are some other options in your price range, lets go over and have a look.
Him: No, I looked already there isn’t anything else. I just have $15.
Me: OK, well, I can do 10% discount, but that’s all I can do, but even with that discount you still don’t have enough. I can put the item to the side for you if you want to come back when you have the money. To be honest these things don’t exactly fly out the door, if you came back in a few weeks it would probably still be on the shelf… why don’t I leave you to have a think about what you would like to do.
I leave him for a few minutes and then he suggests that he will go to an ATM and get out the extra money needed (Halle-bloody-luiah!).
Seconds after he has left the store he comes back in and asks to use the toilet. I inform him that we don’t have public toilets, only a staff toilet and then I ask him if it’s an emergency. He says it isn’t and leaves. At this point I am thinking WTF???
Later in the day he returns and walks right past me at the counter (where I have put his ginormous butt plug aside), and he has headed straight to the butt plug section again (yes we have a section! Apparently they are popular with certain groups of people, who would have thought?). The young man soon returns to the counter with a metal butt plug. Yes, METAL. He now no longer wants the $25 ginormous butt plug (ok, no problem). I pick up the metal butt plug and jesus! it is heavy! I point this out to him, as I am want to do…
Me: this is really heavy, are you sure you want this? (take note of the great sales skills!)
Me: Really? Have you felt how heavy it is? (yes, as soon as I say this I realise that it was dumb, because he obviously carried it to the counter from our wall of butt plugs… and now that I think of it, where is my trophy for salesperson of the year??).
I stand there looking at him thinking ‘mate this thing feels like it weighs a kilo. This will weigh your poor ass to the ground where it will drag along the floor as you attempt to walk!’ I am pretty sure that these thoughts were written in large black permanent marker right across my face. He just stood there waiting.
Me: umm ok, well that will be $40 thanks.
Here is where it gets friggin’ crazier! He then says he doesn’t have enough for the metal plug (which is $40) he only has $30 now.
Me- Mate it’s $40, if I do 10% discount for you, that’s still $36.
Him: I only have $30
Me: ok, so you don’t have enough for this one, but you can buy the $25 (ginormous butt plug) now.
Him: I don’t want that one, I want this metal one.
Me: do you understand that you don’t have enough money for it? It’s $40, you only have $30.
Him: Can we come to some arrangement?
Me: (puzzled and thinking ‘is he an idiot’?) Arrangement? What do you mean? (says incredulous and innocent I).
With this he pushed his tongue against the inside of his cheek and made the international sign for… ‘you know what’.
Me (now feeling awkward and a little embarrassed): I can only do 10% discount, that’s all I can do for you!!! (says I, becoming slightly hysterical). Mate I could go $35 for you, but that’s it! (becoming even more hysterical). Mate, we want you to come in and buy stuff and come back and buy more, but you have to have the right money, you can’t pull a ‘this is all I have’, do you understand!!?? (at this point I think I am almost shouting and my arms are flailing about).’
Dejected he says, ‘Ok, I think have $5 in the car’. He retrieves the money and pays for the metal butt plug and leaves the store. Minutes later, yes... minutes later, he returns with the metal butt plug and says ‘can I swap it, it is really heavy’.
Crazy thing is, he swapped it for Heterosexual porn… I looked at it like ‘who are you trying to fool’… but could not be bothered getting into a conversation that might have led to more awkward ‘arrangement’ offers.
I have to say that I was annoyed at this young man for putting himself at risk like he did. He doesn’t know me, I could be filled with STD/STI’s etc. I could have been some homophobic serial killer for all he knew!!! I think I am mostly annoyed with myself for not saying anything to him at the time. Yeah ok, I acknowledge that I don’t look like a violent serial killer (they are taller and have more hair) and I admit that the radio was playing show tunes (say no more !) but still….
As for the ‘proposition’ (a.k.a. ‘coming to some kind of arrangement’), a mate suggested that this might be a fringe benefit of the job. The thing is, and call me boring, but I prefer my fringe benefits in the form of tax exemptions, like when I worked at a not –for –profit organisation and a large chunk of my salary was ‘tax free’. I do know that if this young man hobbles in again and I am here, I will sit him down and set him on the straight and narrow. Yes, it’s the boring and responsible adult in me coming out. I have to say that I am wondering what the music I play at work says about me? But seriously, who doesn’t like a good show tune? ‘Have an egg roll, Mr Goldstein…’