A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Retail rants: The worst/weirdest customers in the world......

Post 1321

David B - Singing Librarian Owl

Here's a good customer e-mail received by the library:

"I have tried to renew all my current loans. There didn't appear to be any confirmation of such, only the return date altered to Dec 06. Please could you confirm that my renewals have been successful?"

It may just be me, but it seems pretty obvious that if the return date alters, then the renewal *must* have been successful...

I also had someone recently who asked me where the biology section was. I told her which room it was in, and told her that 'Botany starts at number 570 and zoology starts at 580'. Before I had a chance to say anything else, she said 'Botany. That's the study of humans, isn't it?' Oh, dear.

Retail rants: The worst/weirdest customers in the world......

Post 1322


I used to woork for a paging bureau. One set of pagers we issued required the customer to ring in and give us registration information before the pager could be used.

Having receieved a call on an unregistered (and therefore unusable) pager number I first established that it was not his pager and then told him he needed to get back to the owner of the pager and tell him he needed to register it.

Back came the reply, "I don't know who that is".

Retail rants: Introducing Cat Pi$$ Man....

Post 1323


I must, must, must post this link...

Original Link



- - -

It's a distasteful subject, not fit for family reading, but it's time. It's time to relate the origins of everyone's least favorite comic shop fixture, Cat Piss Man.

Back about three-quarters of a decade ago, I was a regular at a local comic shop in Dallas, and was yakking with the staff about the new issue of Fuck Science Fiction (yes, that was a real magazine, and I bawled like a baby went it went under) when I met my first Cat Piss Man. Ever comic shop in every city has at least one, all seemingly grown off this one like cuttings off jade plants. About six foot four he was, weighing in at least 200 kilos if an ounce, and the perfect cliche of the comics aficionado. The lank, greasy hair that wasn't long enough to tie back but also wasn't so short that it took care of itself without combing. The heavily abused "Marvel" T-shirt, with holes that suggested that cotton polyblend was the only fiber he got in his diet, since most of the rest was covered in a thick layer of Cheetos crumbs. Facial pores that suggested that gnomes sneaked into his bedroom in his parents' house and broke off the tips of No. 2 pencils in them. Beady little eyes behind Buddy Holly birth control glasses. If one's dental apparatus was a city, his mouth obviously took a direct hit with an H-bomb, and the mixture of nose hairs and crusted boogers protruding an inch past his nostrils and down his moustache guaranteed that he breathed through his mouth, producing a charitable impersonation of "The Creature From the Black Latrine". The last of the Olmec had taken to living in cliff dwellings in the shelter between his double chin and his gut, reasonably assured that nothing would disturb their mushroom and cave cricket farms.

However, Cat Piss Man's name was pure olfactory onomatopoeia. The first time I encountered him, he was walking up to the store door when one of the staff said "Oh God, it's Cat Piss Man." I was about ready to ask why he said that when Cat Piss Man stepped inside. Now, Texas heat has a tendency to make everyone exposed to it somewhat less than fresh, but this was the end of December, and his odor literally brought tears to my eyes. This wasn't a minor case of body odor: he literally smelled like a mile-wide overloaded litter box, left out in the Australian outback to cook in the sun, with enough power to kill a silk ficus. This stench wasn't just an affront to God, Satan, and Elvis: this was positively Lovecraftian in scope. I suddenly attained insane insights into the magazine distribution business, and I think a lack of available oxygen had something to do with it. Other customers would simply run the moment they saw him waddling toward the door, and he could clear the entire shop within seconds if the store's air conditioner wasn't on at full blast.

If this wasn't nauseating enough, his behavior was even more horrifying. Since this store didn't carry "adult" comics, he didn't disappear into the back area to wank off (to steal from the "Republicans Attack!" trading card set from Kitchen Sink, I doubt if he nor anyone else had seen his genitalia since 1984), so he felt compelled to follow people around. Someone would be reading the back copy on an issue of The Comics Journal when he'd come trucking over, not saying anything, and just kinda stare. Every time the customer would move away because Cat Piss Man was melting their Mylar baggies, he'd just follow along, not saying a word, and reposition himself like a corpulent vulture over a dying prospector. And Arioch help us all if the customer was female: Cat Piss Man would sidle over closer, trying to stun her with his natural perfume, and apparently he once tried to feel up one woman who wasn't able to get away fast enough.

The last time I ever saw Cat Piss Man, he was at a science fiction convention in Austin, Texas a few years back, hogging space in front of a dealer's table, doing the same thing. This time, he was dressed semi-formal, in a homemade Star Trek: The Next Generation uniform with a thick layer of human grease clogging the uniform's fabric in a band starting at his armpits and ending at the tops of his hips. He apparently couldn't afford or find a prop communicator pin, so he had one appliqued with Elmer's Glue-All and glitter, and the grease was making the symbol peel free. For some reason, this made his assaults even more terrifying.

Oh, and did I mention that this guy almost never bought anything during his regular visits? Or if he did, he nitpicked everything in an effort to scam as much free stuff as possible?

Okay, so you think it's cruel to make fun of the socially challenged. We've all been there at one point or another in our lives (I cant' read one of Evan Dorkin's Eltingville strips without getting flashbacks of 1985, and when I remember how much I used to be like Bill from the Eltingville Club, I want to borrow a time machine just so I can kick my former self's ass into the next time zone), but this is different. This isn't making fun of someone different from us. This is explaining why so many people stay away from comic shops.

Let's put it another way. If Cat Piss Man were to act like this on the street toward random passersby, he'd probably get arrested or at least given a stern warning by a local cop. If Cat Piss Man were to do this at a restaurant, he'd be thrown out for bothering the customers. If Cat Piss Man were to do this at a nightclub, about eight big burly guys would take him out back and beat the shit out of him. If Cat Piss Man were even to smell like this in the Army, he'd get a good scrubdown with lye soap and wire brushes. (I had Cat Piss Man's brother in my Basic Training platoon in the Army, and we finally had to give him a blanket party a la Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket to convince him that bathing and changing clothes were good things, because every other method simply didn't work.) In a comic shop, though, this isn't only tolerated, its example just acts as encouragement for others. Every time I mention Cat Piss Man to a comic shop owner, no matter where in the country the comic shop is located, s/he laughs and says "Oh yeah: he's in here all of the time." It's not the same guy (sometimes Cat Piss Man is skinny, and sometimes he actually combs his hair), but this new Cat Piss Man is a glob off the original.

I'm willing to concede that Cat Piss Man buys something every once in a while, and that we can't afford to alienate customers in this depressed market. However, even if his Mommy's allowance gave him the opportunity to buy $200 or more in comics and other goodies a week, Cat Piss Man drives off easily twice that many paying customers, who would come back to a comic shop again and again if they weren't subjected to nasal rape every time they walked inside. This also holds true for the "Tragic: This Gathering" players shrieking at the tops of their lungs in the back (that is, except in the comic shops where the owners realized that they lost less money in sales to card game players by closing the gaming areas than they lost from items that "liberated" themselves when the gamers left for the day), or the guy who pesters customers into buying loose action figures out front because the store owner didn't want a box of dog-chewed Spawn figures. And let's not forget the fanatics who threaten violence upon anyone who dares scoff at the idea of an Action Girl/Witchblade crossover event. Comic store owners just don't seem to realize the lesson that the shantytowns out in front of movie theaters for Star Wars: Episode One taught movie theater managers: the last thing most patrons wanted was to be harangued by some dork in a Jedi costume who had been living in it for the last four months, and the fear of even getting close to the "Episode One" line meant that customers didn't come to see other films, either.

And for those store owners and patrons who don't think that Cat Piss Man and his brothers are a problem, look at it this way. Imagine going into a pet shop in a world where every pet shop had a big, smelly incontinent St. Bernard in the back. The dog doesn't belong to the store: it's just some stray that comes in every day, eats straight out of the bulk dog food bins, drools all over the copies of Reptiles Monthly and Tropical Fish Hobbyist up front, rapes the hamsters and dry-humps the legs of every customer that comes in, and doesn't contribute a thing to the operation of the store. If anything, it gets in the way of normal operation, and pet supply proprietors find that their business is directly affected by customer perceptions of the ordeal of trying to get around the St. Bernard shit piled around the front entrance. This world doesn't exist, although I've seen some pet shops that have come close. One of two things happen to pet shops like this: they go out of business, or the owner does an Old Yeller to the mangy beast and burns its carcass in a big bonfire out front.

The latter is what comic shop owners and managers need to do to their resident Cat Piss Man: throw the bums out. Don't joke about the stench or put on gas masks while Cat Piss Man is in the store, because he's spent years ignoring the comments of every other human about his appearance. Simply say "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave until you take a bath and leave the customers alone," and back it up. In the best scenario, he realizes that cleaning himself from time to time is at least as important as wearing pants, and comes back after realizing that his body isn't made from pure sodium and that soap and water don't necessarily burst into flame on contact. Otherwise, he'll throw a temper tantrum and stomp off to another comic shop; the other comic shop gets his pittance, and his old shop gets a whole passel of customers who apologize "I would have come in sooner, but that guy in here was melting the windows..." Either way, the problem is solved, and his old shop may even get a whole new contingent of customers who say "I used to go to that shop across town, but this guy who smells like he sleeps in a cat box came in and took over."

I'm not advocating setting up a dress code for comic shops, although I have to say that a dress code for comic shop managers and customers might not be a bad idea. (C'mon, guys: you don't need suits from Barneys, but have you ever wondered what people think when they see you behind the counter in sandals, ratty jeans, and a Lady Death T-shirt?) What I am advocating is considering the benefits of getting the shop Cat Piss Man to bathe or getting him to leave. And since none of the other customers are going to say anything, he's there until the store staff gets rid of him, and he'll cost you. Oh boy howdy, he'll cost you.

Original page link:- http://forum.rpg.net/archive/index.php/t-36461.html

Retail rants: Introducing Cat Pi$$ Man....

Post 1324


(Howling tumbleweed)

Well, THAT killed the thread.... sincerest apologies.

Retail rants: Introducing Cat Pi$$ Man....

Post 1325


funny and informative at the same time though.
Used to be the same with the small electronics/computer hobbyist stores and fairs back in the 90s too (might still be, but don;t go anymore myself).

Then again Nottingham (England) used to have the kind of reverse.
There used to be (might still be, again, not been in ages) a number of small rundown shops selling bad leather jackers and general sort of cheap and nasty rock/metal/biker clothing. The one thing they all had in common was the smell of cats piss. Never did work out if it was the shop, the merchandise, the staff or the customers. Or maybe a bit of all 4.

Retail rants

Post 1326

Malabarista - now with added pony

Not retail, as such, but nearly...

When I was working for one of my professors, one of my tasks was to help organise our annual symposium - and oversee its smooth running.

At the time, we were still doing them in a museum, and it was during the museum's regular opening hours. So there were all kinds of "normal" visitors as well as the architects, though it was fairly easy to tell which were which.

Anyway, the last lecture before the coffee break being nearly over, I was brewing coffee and setting out biscuits for the attendees, when a group of smiley - senior ladies walked by, part of a bus trip to see the museum and the Christmas market (it was late November/early December.)

One of them asked me whether she could get a cup of coffee here, and I told her no, sorry, these were for the conference, but the museum café is right across the foyer and then through the door, right there beside the stairs, can't miss it...

She told me off for being rude and not respecting my elders smiley - huh and meanwhile, her friend saw the biscuits, took one, examined it, said "Ooooh, these are an expensive brand!" and proceeded to shovel them into her handbag, just tipping the entire plateful in there! smiley - doh

Their tour guide called them just then, else I'd have had to have museum security escort them out or something smiley - headhurts

Retail rants

Post 1327

Queeglesproggit - Keeper of the evil Thingite Avon Lady Army and Mary Poppins's bag of darkness..

Customer: I want to book a place on this course

Me: I'm ever so sorry, that course is full

Customer: It says online I can book it up to today

Me: I know but there are limited places on these courses and they happen to have filled up quickly this year.

Customer: What do you mean? That's rubbish! If it says the last day is today I should be able to get a place on it today!

Me: I'm terribly sorry but... if you go to the theatre you're allowed to buy tickets till 8pm but they may be sold out before then.

Customer: Yeah, ok.
smiley - ok

Retail rants

Post 1328


An FB friend and former coffee-shop barrista posted this on her feed. Amazing, but it happened, and it belongs here....


Retail rants

Post 1329

There is only one thing worse than being Gosho, and that is not being Gosho

Good grief smiley - facepalm

I can't watch more than a minute or two of that without smiley - steam What has happened in someone's life that they think a) that kind of behaviour is rational, b) that kind of behaviour is okay and c) you have the right to be that nasty to someone who's doing a low-paid job and is and afraid of losing it, because manager inevitably side with the customer.

The moment that customer started swearing the bloke should have called a manager. And probably got her thrown at. That's what would happen where I sued to work. The moment you call an employee those kinds of name you're out without a refund.

Retail rants

Post 1330

There is only one thing worse than being Gosho, and that is not being Gosho

Sued to work smiley - rofl

Retail rants

Post 1331

Wand'rin star

[wonderful to see this thread's resurrection]
I have recently started volunteering at the cathedral shop in Lincoln.
I have almost no complaints as everyone seems to be on their best behaviour. Small rant though- it took me some time to learn the complicated fancy till, so I get itchy with customers who let me total their bill and then think of something else they want to buy - three times!smiley - starsmiley - star

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