Saturday, April 26, 2008


Hello, and welcome to my place of employment. I am very pleased to be of service to you. Truly. Pleased as punch. And what can I do for you today?

Ah. Computer books. Sixty year old women in search of computer books. This should be a kick.

Computers for Dummies? Well, actually, there isn't a book by that title -

Yes, really.

No, I'm not kidding.

No, ma'am, there is no book called Computers for Dummies. There is Buying a Computer for Dummies, there is Laptops for Dummies, and there is Computers for Seniors for Dummies, which, unbelievably long and clunky title notwithstanding, might be right up your alley. I can order it for the low price of $21.99.

But no, there is no Computers for Dummies. It doesn't exist, see. And trust me, PCP for Dummies is not what you need. I'm not saying it wouldn't help, but it isn't necessary. Not for you anyway.

You might be looking for PCs for Dummies, which, I'm sorry, but we don't have that in right - well, yes, I can order it if you'd like. No, it wouldn't be a used copy. You want the copy that was printed in the 90s? Well, the newest edition was just released last year, that's all I can really - oh, you have a new computer? Well, the new edition would probably be best then anyway.

Okay, wait. So you have a new computer, but you want the old book? Do you realize that makes no sense whatsoever?

What was that, ma'am? Um no. No, HTML is not a "style" of computer, and Windows 98 is not a company. Ergo, your computer is not an HTML model from the Windows company, and it was not built in 1998.

Yes, I agree - computers sure are confusing. Especially when you're clueless. I mean, yeah, I know you're old, and I sympathize - I realize all this new-fangled technology is befuddling at best - but, and this is important, you are not senile. Also, I am not an idiot. I can help you, really. I would like to help you. It is my duty.

What was that? You've decided on Microsoft Word for Dummies? That's the book you need?

No, it isn't! Open your mind! Help me help you help you.

...On second thought, forget it. I just can't wrangle up the energy to care.

Thank you ladies, and have a terrific day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Post About Nothing

My birthday was over ten weeks ago, and I just finally finished the cake. Which grosses me out the more I think about it. But refrigerated red velvet cake was all we had at work to eat, and my co-worker and I were hungry, and, well, it seemed like an interesting experiment. I hope I don't die.

Isn't there a Seinfeld episode where Elaine eats a $20,000 piece of antique cake? (That's a rhetorical question, of course. It's in season nine, and she waltzes around her boss's office speaking in a British accent while she does it.) So it's not really so bad. I was just emulating Elaine.

(Actually, that's awful. Never mind.)

Anyway, assuming I don't die, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat red velvet cake again without thinking back to that one fairly-edible-but-repulsive-in-theory slice. Conversations while eating cake should be pleasant and centered on something other than how disgusting the cake is, yes? And if you are going to have a conversation about disgusting cake, it's probably best not to have it when there numerous inquisitive customers in the store. I now fear that I will be immortalized in the minds of said customers as the girl who ate ten-week-old cake and engaged in a running commentary with her co-worker detailing the quality, or lack thereof, of each disgusting bite.

"This icing is crumbling. Like a cracker."
"Hey, did you notice that the color of the cake is -"
"Bleeding into the icing and turning it pink? I know."
"I'm surprised it's not molding, actually."
"Yeah, me too...maybe it is and we just can't see it."
"Can mold camouflage itself?"
"I hope not. Wouldn't that be awful?"
"That's gross."
"That would make me cry."
"Please don't."
[Hacking cough]
"It's a bit dry, isn't it."
"Pieces keep getting lodged in my throat - it's repulsive."
"You want some tap water for your stale cake?"
"Yeah, that'd be - oh, ew."
"Nothing. It's just, um, that piece was disturbingly moist."

I've got to learn to cook.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shut Up.

"I need some books to send to my son in jail. He shouldn't be in jail. They teach them damn kids too much in school - about sex. My son wouldn' let his daughter date - at fourteen - so she went and accused him o'molestin' her. And now he's stuck in that damn jail, and it's all her fault."

I feel ill.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Help Me Justify My Incessant Bitchiness and Win a Place In My Heart

Disclaimer: This post contains even more venom than usual - so much venom, in fact, it's literally toxic. It's the blogging equivalent of nuclear waste. Consider yourself warned.

I have decided to give out an award. I shall call it The Dumbest Customer Ever Award. This award will not be a statue or plaque; it will be a small piece of my brain forever devoted to mocking the one lucky customer who wins it. Every time my conscience taps against my skull and suggests I lighten up, cut people a little slack, whatever, I will take shelter in that piece of brain. And I will call it...

The Center to Promote Justification for Contempt.

There will be seven contestants. Seven, because I'm still trying to think of an eighth. Oh, what the hell - seven is fine.


Now, there are rules to this contest. The first rule is that none of the nominees be mentally retarded. By definition they must be at least somewhat deficient, but I draw the line at retarded. See? I can be nice. The second is that they must be eighteen or older. No minors shall be ridiculed in this contest, not because I'm nice, but because it's too easy. I shan't abide laziness. The third is that English be their first language, as it seems unfair to make fun of people when the problem lies in faulty communication instead of thought (or lack thereof). And the fourth is that rude behavior and weirdness on the part of the nominees not be factors in voting. Voters should base their decisions purely on stupidity.

So, without further ado, here are the nominees:

Contestant #1:

Woman standing at cash register with book in hand: I'd like to check this out.
Me, having misheard her as saying "I'd like to check out": Okay. That'll be $6.36.
Woman: What do you mean?
Me: This book - it costs $6.36.
Woman: But I don't have any late fees.
Me: Late fees? ...This is a bookstore, not a library.
Woman: Really?
Me: Yes...
Woman: It looks like a library.

So many clues revealing the function of this few powers of observation. Did she not notice the price tags? The sign out front advertising "Book Trader: New & Used Books"? What about the signs explaining our credit policy, or the cheery, brightly-colored ones alerting the world that, yes, "WE HAVE GIFT CERTIFICATES!"? I can forgive her for not seeing the cash register, since we ring up transactions on the computer and the cash drawer is hidden below the keyboard, but good Lord, lady, unless you've never shopped before, that's no excuse.

Contestant #2:

Woman holding up two different books: What is the difference between these two books?
Me: Well, um, they're different books...
Woman, condescendingly: Yes, I know that. But what is the difference?
Me: I'm sorry, but I'm not really sure what you're asking me.
Woman: I mean, are the stories different? Are they by different authors?
Me: Well, yeah. They're different books.
Woman: That's not what I asked.

This one baffles me because, while it apparently did occur to this woman that these two books were not the same, she was at a loss as to how this was so. One would think that to move past point A (these books are the same), one would have a reason (because they look nothing alike), which would take her immediately to point B (there is no need to ask such an asinine question). Not this lady. I would love to get inside her head to see in exactly which directions her neurons fire. Something tells me it's a mess in there, like a Christmas tree with too many lights - or my apartment.

Contestant #3:

Woman with preteen daughter: What is fiction?
Me: What is it...?
Woman: Is it true? Or not true?
Me: Oh! It's not true.
Woman: Really?
Me: Yep.
Woman: I thought it was true.
Me: No, that's non-fiction.
Woman: Oh. Huh.

This one isn't as outrageously idiotic as some of the others, but it's idiotic enough, and there is the added horror of the fact that this woman has a child. Who needed a work of fiction. For a book report. You want to know why our nation's children are so stupid? Too many morons never practiced putting the condom on the banana in sex ed. Most people can figure out how to get it on themselves, but let's face it: some people need assistance. Solution? Bring in the bananas. And the condoms. And do away with this abstinence-only crap once and for all.

Contestant #4:

Woman holding up book with sticker reading "signed by the author": Signed by the author? What does that mean?
Me: means it was autographed by the woman who wrote it.
Woman, blankly: Whatever that means.

How can you not know what an autograph is? That's what I want to know. Or an author? Or a signature? Or...ugh. I don't even know what to say about this one. My wit has failed me. Damn you, wit. Damn you for deserting me when I need you most.

Contestant #5:

(I feel silly posting this again, since all you really need to do to read it is scroll down to the previous entry, but for the sake of completion I will include it a second time.)

Middle-aged woman with husband, reading title of book: Old Money. That's money that's not new. All rich people now are new money. And that's why we had the Titanic, so we could kill off all the old rich people and start over with new rich people.

Quickly followed by...

I told you Condoleeza would run. She'd make such a better president than Hillary - I really hope she wins.

Let me get one thing out of the way right now: conspiracy theorists annoy me. I'm not exactly a history buff, but it seems to me that history is interesting on its own without making up crap about aliens, or poisoned produce, or, I don't know, crashing ships into icebergs so rich people die. As for the second quote, let me first note, in fairness, that she was looking at a copy of this book. That said, when was the last time she watched the news, opened a paper, or crawled out from beneath the rock she apparently lives under? That's right - never.

Contestant #6:

Woman, to friend: It says here this book is $15.95. Is that closer to fifteen dollars, or sixteen?
Friend: I'm not sure. I think it's fifteen.

I almost didn't include this one because it's so stupid. It's the kind of stupid that makes me wonder if including it violates my rule about exempting the mentally challenged. It illustrates the same problem suffered by Contestant #2, but it's so much worse. At least with Contestant #2, getting to point B involved looking at two books and noting the differences. With this, all you have to do is recognize the number nine. So if it turns out that these women are mentally challenged, I apologize. Aside from this exchange, I saw no others signs of it.

Contestant #7:

Obnoxious guy at cash register: Senior discount.
Me: Sorry, we don't have a senior discount.
Guy: Well, maybe you should get one. Say, right now.
Me: I'm sorry. I would, but that's not my decision.
Guy: So I have to pay full price for this?
Me: Well, yes...
Guy: Why can't I have a senior discount?
Me: That's not my decision to make. It's up to my bosses if we have a senior discount or not, and as of now we don't. I'm sorry - I'd give you one if I could.
Guy: [Mumble] must be a republican.
Me: Um, no, they're not republicans.
Guy: No, I said you must be a republican.
Me: No, I'm not.
Guy: Then why can't you give me a senior discount?
Me: Because I'm not authorized to do so. I'm just doing my job.
Guy: Well, I don't like the way you do your job.
Me: That'll be $5.30.
Guy: What would it be with a senior discount?
Me: I don't know.
Guy: I bet it'd be less.
Me: Yes, I'm sure it would.
Guy: This is a ridiculous price for this book.
Me: It's 80% off the cover price, which is more than you'd get at most used bookstores.
Guy: Oh.

At first glance this is more rude than stupid, but then again, a lot of rude people are stupid, and this guy definitely qualifies as such.

There is, for example, his belief that calling me a republican will shame me into handing out a discount, when in fact it just annoys the crap out of me, because I am not a republican, thank you very much, and what does that have to do with senior discounts anyway? Then there is his insistence that $5.00 for a hardback is outrageously expensive, which clearly even he doesn't believe, since he paid it. Most importantly, there is this mindset that since being an asshole is often instrumental to attaining success in the corporate world, it works for everything else. Well, it doesn't. It pisses me off and makes me mock you for the arrogant jerk you are. I was inches away from doubling the price out of spite, and you know what? In retrospect, I kind of wish I had.

So there they are: the seven horsemen of my diminishing capacity to be pleasant and open-minded. Place your votes...every comment helps fund The Center to Promote Justification for Contempt.