- Loud-Quiet-Loud – In this case, I would ring up the customer, start saying the price in a loud, clear voice, only to mumble the amount of change necessary for the purchase. For this trick to work, you need to prepare by turning the price display of the cash register away from the customer, though some are so dazzled by the well-lit fluorescence of the store, they couldn’t read the numbers anyway.
- Bo-Waterpipe – Most customers coming into the store know what they can (and can’t) say that won’t get them kicked out of the store. Technically, we sell Water-Cooled Tobacco Pipes, not bongs. Inevitably, a customer would forget and ask to see one of the, “Bo..waterpipes,” on the top shelf. When this happened, I would give them a severe look and ask in my most serious tone, “What’s a bo-waterpipe?”
- No – Some of the regular customers were really bad at asserting themselves and seemed to be in a constant state of massive paranoia whenever they came into the store. When these customers would ask to see something, I’d simply tell them, “No.” An awkward silence would follow until they decided I was joking, give me a slight smile and I’d glower back at them. (I only kept this up long enough once for the customer to actually leave the store without buying anything.)
- Good Cop – Despite the fact that it's complete bullshit, there are number of people who believe an undercover cop must tell you that he or she is with the police if you ask. (If this were true, so many classic movies would have been over within the first 10 minutes.) Whenever these misguided souls would ask me this question, I’d always assure them I was a cop and that I liked porn, so this was a great undercover gig for me. (This did cause one of the regular meth-pipe customers to turn and walk straight out of the store, never to be seen again.)
Friday, April 13, 2012
One of the great things about being a porn store clerk is that you always have a little something over your customers. As confident as they are about buying porn or sexual products, there’s at least a tiny bit of them that’s embarrassed about the purchase. Because of this, customers are less-likely to complain than in other retail industries and you can fuck with those who are really uncomfortable about being in the store.
Since this is a porn store, and we expect people to purchase sexual related products, embarrassing customers isn’t quite as easy as if I worked at a novelty store like Spencer’s Gifts (where they sell a small number of sex items and a whole shitload of other useless crap.) While I was in high school, a friend of mine worked at the local Spencer’s inside a mall. He worked there for three years and only had one person come up to the counter with a vibrator. The poor woman was beet red as she tried to discreetly set a vibrator and small bottle of lube onto the counter. Ever the salesman, he smiled and said loudly, “Would you like batteries for your purchase?” This caused the mortified woman to run out of the store and he was forced to put the dusty vibrator box back on the shelf.
More often than not, I was able to mess with stoned customers rather than ones worried about buying pornography. Screwing around with someone stoned out of their gourd would always put me in a good mood and I had several favorite methods I liked to use:
I wasn't much more delicate when dealing with an embarrassed porn customer. If it was a single guy buying a magazine or video, anything was fair game, but I always tried to put couples and female customers at ease.
My general line when a sweaty, insecure male customer brought a movie up to the counter was an incredibly loud, “Oh Shit! This one is fucking awesome!” I’d turn around, find the tape on the wall of thousands of filed VHS tapes and then slide it into our store TV/VCR player so I could show him my favorite parts. I would wait for at least three, “That’s okay,” pleads before I took the tape out and sold it to him.
When the embarrassed customer was dressed like a jock, I’d grab the tape and as I was loading it into the case, just about to ring it into the register, I’d say, “You know this has gay sex in it.” Then I’d watch the guy’s eyes widen until they were about at his eyebrows and say, “Nah, just kidding,” and ring him up really fast.
*Note, I never fucked with customers buying gay porn, even if they were embarrassed about it. I always figured they received enough harassment in their everyday lives without me messing with them.
One thing I couldn’t stand customers buying way Playboy magazine. While it’s not bad reading material (despite the classic joke), it’s completely useless as porn. In each issue, there are only three, heavily airbrushed, pictorials of women who look like they came straight out of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. I know some guys actually like this type of porn, but they should really pick up a Hustler or a Gallery to get the most out of their money.
If a shy customer came up with a Playboy, I’d hold it up in front of my eyes and say, “Nooooooooo, you don’t want this.” Then I’d come around the counter and walk him back to the magazine shelves to give him my, loud and obnoxious, expert opinion. During this consultation, I’d ask all sorts of embarrassing questions about what parts of a woman he most admired. Then I’d tell him all about the magazine’s that I liked to masturbate to (usually picking the most unusual and fetish-based magazine I could find.)
Nine times out of ten, after my giant display of assistance, they’d end up buying the Playboy anyway.
Let’s be honest, working retail kind of sucks. You need to do a little something to make the hours go by. I’d like to say I’m sorry for messing with these customers, but I’m not.