Sunday, August 26, 2012


When I worked at Hollywood there was this guy named Mr. Castro who was everyone's least favorite customer.  He was rude and sexist and supposedly a super smart computer programmer, so he talked down to everyone that he didn't think was as smart as he was.  He was in his late 40s or early 50s and would always come in really late at night right before we would close and want to stay and keep us after-hours all the time.  He was a walking sexual harassment case who wore a man-purse and Birkenstocks.  If you were a girl that worked there (which was a rarity) he gave you the hardest time and would try to invent ways to get you to bend over so that he could look at your ass or down your shirt.  It was great fun. 

We didn't carry porn because we were a family store, but we did end up carrying some softcore NC-17 titles like Pirates and the Emmanuel series.  Mr. Castro rented them all.  And when I say all, I mean all.  It got to the point where he would come in and I would just round them up for him at the front counter.  Sexual harassment only works if you let the other person feel like they have power over you, so I would just pretty much tell him to fuck off.  Eventually we learned to tolerate each other.  It was creepy.  One guy that worked with me there said that he used to work at an adult store and he saw Mr. Castro there all the time and they had to kick him out because he got caught, uh, testing the merchandise in the store before purchasing anything.   It just eventually became like a hazing ritual at Hollywood that new people would have to work an evening shift until they had to help him.  "Oh God, I had to help this really horrible little man last night?"  "Oh yeah, was it Mr. Castro?"  And we'd all laugh because we had been there.

One night I was working a closing shift with one of the guys and he had to go take a ten minute break outside.  It was super slow that night and we hadn't had very many customers.  Fun fact about me:  I love to sing.  I irritate people around me sometimes because I sing so often, but when I am all by myself I go all out--like full on American Idol status.  So when my co-worker went out to take his break I started putting movies away through the store.  I always hum to myself or whatever even when people are around, but I scanned the store and I saw that I was all alone so I start busting out some pop song that I had stuck in my head.  Now, I'm not the best singer in the world, but I'm pretty decent and when I got into the song I was kinda even dancing a little bit with the stack of movies that I was holding.  I had been out on the floor for so long that I had even made it to the part of the song with the high note that you hold out for a long time and I totally nailed it.  I had just finished my last few movies and, still singing, I made my way for the main aisle of the store to go up to the front and get more to put away.  I turn the corner and Mr. Castro is up at the cash wrap and he starts fucking clapping for me. 

I was so damn embarrassed because I thought I had been there alone, but he just heard me bare my soul to the Classics section.  And the worst part was that the other guy was still on break, so I had to fucking help him and check him out. 

Through the whole transaction he doesn't drop it and says stuff like, "I had no idea you could sing like that" and "Maybe if you dropped a few pounds you'd have a career for yourself, sweetie."  I was beat red the entire time and I wanted to jump over the counter and beat the crap out of him. And as he's leaving he says, "You know, if you ever wanted to sing anything else for me, you have my number."  And he did the little finger point and mouth click thing with a wink and walked out the door as my co-worker was coming back in.  And he tells my co-worker, "You better watch out for that one!  She'll get ya all riled up and leave you hanging!" 


Monday, August 20, 2012

50 Shades of Red

I really don't want to get all super valley girl in this blog and start every story with "So this one time..." but too bad!

So this one time at Hollywood Video I hired this guy Wiley.  And yes, that was really his name.  He was the most irritating person that I had ever met in my life, but unfortunately I didn't realize that until after he had been working there for a few weeks.  He was one of those guys that had joined the military and had just come back to join the workforce, but I wasn't sure if the military had made him weird or if he was just a bit off to begin with.  He was super enthusiastic about his job to a fault and there was no doubt in my mind that he had adult ADD.  I was about 20 at the time and he was about 30.  I got a little bit of lip from him every now and then but for the most part he did his job.

And everyone fucking hated him.


He really wanted to fit in with everyone at work and so he would get people lunch and he would be super nice to everyone but me so that his peers would like him.  People kept telling me that Wiley was telling everyone that I was a bitch and so hard to work for and all this other crap, but they were cool enough to at least tell me what was going on.  It was a fun cycle of people saying he did something and him denying it.  One guy at work even recorded him saying it with his cell phone and he still denied it.  If he wasn't one of my best sales people I would have fired him in a heartbeat. 

One day I was working the night shift with a bunch of guys and I'm putting movies back on the shelf when Wiley comes in the door and is super excited about something.  He had been working there for the better part of a year and by this point, everyone was tired of his shenanigans.  "Oh my God, you guys!  You will never believe what I found in my email today!"  And of course they all made jokes about penis enlargement ads and Viagra and what not.

"No!" he says so that everyone in the damn store can hear.  "Our manager thinks I'm sexy!" 

What the hell?

And he walks over to me with this giant fucking grin on his face and struts over with his damn thumbs in his belt loops like he's some kind of cowboy.   He slicks his hair back with his hand, licks his lips and raises his eyebrows in that "how you doin'" kind of manner. 

"You think I'm sexy!" he says with a huge smile on his face. 

"What are you talking about Wiley?"  I ask him like he's insane.

"I was going through one of my email accounts that I haven't checked since I came back from the military and I had a lot of mail to go through.  It was my Yahoo email account."

"Uh-huh... What does that have to do with me?" I asked him cautiously.

"Well, I'm glad you asked!  You see," he said rifling through his backpack (and yes, he was a 30 year old man-boy that brought a backpack to work) "the last time that I was on leave last year I signed up for a dating service--through Yahoo."  And then my heart sank into my stomach and I dropped the pile of movies that I had been holding. 

About a year before this whole thing happened, I was not exactly in a good mindset for dating.  I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I was on the rebound.  So I decided to try Yahoo dating.  And the stuff that had happened as a result of that is worthy of a non-related work post all its own.  But in regards to this, let's just say I tried casting a lot of lines out into the internet sea of love and had come out empty-handed. 

And Wiley apparently had proof of my unfettered desperation. And it was bad.

"Oh yes," he said holding it up in the air.  "Gather 'round boys and listen to this!"  So of course they all did because they were all little shitbirds.

"Oh good God..."  I said turning about a million shades of red.  The paper had my profile from the dating service AND an email that I sent to him.

"Ahem.  Hey there sexy!  I saw your profile online and just had to drop you a line to see if you'd ever be interested in meeting up!  You have absolutely gorgeous eyes and I could definitely see myself running my fingers through that amazing hair of yours... and possibly more ;)  [And he fucking winked right there.]  I see that you're a bit older than I am, so maybe you could teach me a thing or two!  We have lots in common and it looks like you live pretty close to me.  Hit me up if you'd like to, uh, hit me up, hehe...

My jaw dropped to the floor and everyone else's working had their jaw dropped to the floor.  There was even a regular customer in the store and his damn jaw dropped to the floor.  I had no idea what to say.

So of course one of my employees has to say, "Dayum!  You's a freak, girl!"  And everyone starts laughing. 

I was completely and utterly mortified. 

Then to make matters worse, Wiley has to ask me, "So, do you still think I'm sexy?" in this super throaty radio show host voice. 

I mean, at this point there really was no going back.  The thing had my damn picture on it and everything.  I've never been ashamed of my sexuality.  So, after being totally destroyed in front of my crew, I just picked myself up again and went for it.  He started it!

"Well, honestly, Wiley," I said with the whole store hanging on my every word, "You were very attractive in that picture.  And you're cute.  I'll give you that.  Maybe even very cute.  But you are a 30 year old man who lives at home with his mom and trying to call me out on something from before I even worked with you and that's never sexy."

At least that's what I wished that's what I said.  I think I ended up just having a total meltdown.  I can't remember.  All I remember was going into the back office and locking myself inside for about twenty minutes until I stopped being red.

Yay.  Memories!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Operation Dumbo Drop

Here's a fun post about code words and phrases that have been used in the workplace! And, as always, all the examples have happened irl.

Mac 'n' Me - A horrible 'boy meets alien' movie and a phrase at Hollywood Video to signify the presence of a hawt girl while being able to shout it across the store.  "Hey, bro!  Did you, uh, find that copy of Mac 'n' Me over in the, uh, Drama section?"

Hardcore Martinez - A description of a rather trashy individual that we assumed lived in or around the city of Martinez, CA, a small town known for 'tweekers and antiquers'.  "That lady was hella Hardcore Martinez!  She paid for her pictures with a Ziploc baggie of nickels!"

Ghetto Guero - A white person that tries to act like they're from a rough part of town, aka, 'the hood', but is putting on an act for everyone around them.  "Damn!  That chick is one Ghetto Guero!  Her eyebrows are drawn on with a Sharpie and her super white boyfriend in the game section is wearing a FUBU sweatsuit!"

Seven - The number that you pull out of your ass on conference calls when you didn't look up the research and need an accurate sounding statistic.  "Uh... Yeah, so I think we are up about seven percent from last quarter with our conversion rate, you know, give or take a few."

Ruined Christmas - If you read my 'Some Parents Are Asshats' post, you might recall the horrible father who told his daughter "That's it!  You just ruined Christmas!".  So this was a phrase that we'd use in the studio to basically just describe any parent who was being a complete douche to their child.  "Dude, that lady just totally ruined Christmas up in that session!  She told her kid that he was a fag during his senior portraits session!"

Punch a Baby -  A phrase to describe how over-the-top angry you are about something.  "I am so pissed off right now that I could fucking punch a baby!"  Or one that I used the other day, "This day sucks so bad that I wanna use a baby to knock a senior citizen into a paraplegic."

Operation Dumbo Drop - A really bad Disney movie and a phrase used at Hollywood to let everyone know that someone beefed.  "Oh dude, someone totally left a copy of Operation Dumbo Drop over in the kids section.  Stay back!"  (We were classy.)

Crazy Cousin - A stranger doing something that is causing you to be embarrassed for them. You then turn to your co-worker and imply that they are related to said stranger to attempt to cause them shame by comparison.  "Haha!  Tell your grown-ass, crazy cousin that he can't come into the store with cornrows and footie pajamas and sit in the middle of the store watching a movie!"

I've gotta have more of these somewhere in my brain!  Feel free to share your own!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Fun, on-the-job antics relating to everyone's favorite undergarment:

- Just to prefix this a bit, the associate in question was a super nice Korean guy in his late 40s who had only lived in the U.S. for about five years.  And the manager in question was about 26 at the time, married with two kids.  Good times!

   "Um, do you have a minute?" asked one of my managers.
   "Yeah, what's up?"
   "He got me panties," she said, clearly in shock.
   "Who got you panties?  Huh?"
   "My associate.  Got me panties.  For my birthday."
   "What the...?"
   "And they are exactly the right size."
   "What the fucking...?"
   "And they have matching bras with them."
   "And they look very expensive."
   "Holy crap, dude.  Did you need me to call HR?"
   "No, I don't want to get anyone in trouble.  I just had to share."
   " 'The hell?  Are you sure?  What did he say?  Isn't he married?"
   "What is your husband going to say?  He is obviously not going to be cool with this."
   "What are you going to do?"
   "Go home and say 'Look at these awesome panties I just bought!'"
   "Dude... All he got me was a card haha!"

-At Hollywood Video there was a girl that worked for this crazy manager that no one ever wanted to deal with because she was nuts.  We actually had a few of those, but this one got her eighteen year-old, female associate panties for Valentine's Day and asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner.  Apparently there was even a box of chocolates included. 

-One Friday night at Hollywood, we were all recovering from a busy night of non-stop customers.  At least the people up front were.  I was still pretty new at the time, so I got the bitch job of putting movies back on the shelf up towards the front of the store.  I could hear them talking about one of the guys' pants being way too tight--so tight in fact that you could see a man-panty line.  "They are not too tight! Just 'cause I don't want my pants around my ankles like you guys doesn't mean they're too tight," he said complaining to everyone.  So I go to put some movies away on the very bottom shelf and a kid had knocked everything off the bottom row.  I kneel down to straighten things up when BAM!  Right in front of me, panty-line guy unintentionally has his crotch in my face and asks "Do you think these are too tight?"  Causing me to fall backwards and drop all the movies I'm holding while everyone up at the front starts cracking up hysterically.  And yes, they were entirely too tight!

-This story could have gone in a few categories, but I was running out of underwear stories, so I figured that it would work in this post.  I have taken thousands of portrait sessions over the years and I have lots of fun ones that I remember, but one very memorable session was during one holiday season at 'Happy Time Portraits'.   The studio was packed and we were short staffed.  As the manager, I wasn't supposed to be in the camera room, I was supposed to be running things, but I didn't really have a choice.  So I go into the lobby and there is this group of nine guys, grown men in their 30s-50s, all wearing crazy-ugly grandma sweaters.  I always tell my staff that I am a salesperson first and a photographer second, but when I get a really good group of fun people, I kick it into high gear.  I feel like I'm on stage at a comedy club and my act requires a lot of audience participation.  So when I see this motley crew of gentlemen in my studio lobby, I am fucking on it! 
  They tell me that they are all brothers and step-brothers and that they like to take a crazy group picture every few years and that they want to do some fun things in their session.  I get so excited!  I get them in the room and I start to get the first group pose set up, when suddenly there is an emergency in the lobby and they need a manager.  I let them know that I will be right back and they are super cool with it.  As I'm leaving the room I noticed that one of the guys isn't wearing a sweater, he has on a trenchcoat and sunglasses.  Weird, but whatever.  So I head back to the room a few minutes later and I hear them all giggling from outside, and when I get to the door I see the trenchcoat on the floor.  I step in the room and this one fucking guy is wearing sunglasses, a motorcycle helmet and a fucking gold speedo!  And he shouts "I'm ready for my close-up!"
  I was floored and I could see that they were all trying to gauge my reaction.  I didn't even really know what to say at that point, so I just blinked a few times and acted like everything was normal.  We actually aren't supposed to take pictures of people in underwear, but how often do you get to take pics of a hawt guy in a gold speedo?  (And, oh yes, he was gorgeous!  He looked like the guy from Sublime and had tattoos and stuff!)  So we just had the best time ever and I even got each of them to take individual shots doing some crazy pose.  They ended up getting this giant framed collage of each of them and a bunch of other stuff.  It was one of the most fun sessions I'd ever shot.  I think the crowning frame of that session was getting speedo guy on the floor on a faux-fur rug, laying down on his side with his finger to his lips and a come hither look in his eye.  Yum.
  And as an added bonus, when they finished looking at their pictures on the sales table, I forgot to close the window on the computer and this kid came up and started laughing and when his mom came to see what he was laughing at she cupped her hands over his eyes and yelled at me.  Worth it :)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fun in the Bathroom!

I don't know why so many weird things happen to me in the bathroom at work, but they do.  And most of the time it's awesomely bad!

- I'm sitting in a stall and all of a sudden this little boy comes into the bathroom with his mom.  He had to be like five or six years old and he just starts peeping under all of the stall doors.  There are a lot of stalls and he gets to me and I just cover up and laugh at him.  A few seconds later I hear an old lady a few stalls over scream "How dare you!  You vile, vile little child!"  I couldn't see anything, but in my head I pictured her hitting him with a purse.

-I walk into the bathroom and there is a lady in the handicap stall talking in a soothing voice to a small child.  "It's okay sweetie, you can do it!  Come on!  That's it!"  And she goes on saying things like that pretty much the whole time I'm in there. Finally I hear the kid go pee and the lady is fucking ecstatic!  As I'm washing my hands the lady comes out of the stall and there is no kid... She was making her cocker spaniel use the public restroom!  Ack!

-When I first started working at 'Happy Time Portraits' I was not well liked because I got hired to replace someone that was getting demoted.  And I didn't know it until I showed up to work there.  And either did she.  And it was really awkward.  And then she stayed on to make my life a living hell.  And this relates to the theme of this post because one time I was in a stall at the end of my lunch break when the demoted employee and her work friend come in the bathroom to fix their whore makeup.  And they just stand there talking a whole lot of shit about me.  And I want to say that I came out and was like "OH REALLY?  Go eat a dick you skanky bitches!"  But I didn't.  I cried in silence until they left like a little bitch... Fun! :)   (It's okay, the last one is funny, so you can smile again!)

-I had to go adjust my bra at work [Totally not relevant to the story, just thought I'd share!] so I ducked into the restroom and this lady walks in behind me and makes a mad dash to one of the stalls.  Turns out the first stall that she tries is occupied and the lady who was in there didn't lock the door--and was apparently mid-poop.  The poop lady gets up quickly to close the stall door and as she gets up, it, uh, happens and you hear it happen.  The first lady still looking for an empty stall tries to close the door at the same time and shouts "Goddammit!  Lock the door!" and Poop Lady shouts "Lesbian! Get your dirty kicks elsewhere!"   And I am standing there wearing my name tag and this other lady looks at me and says "Aren't you going to do something about that?"  I looked at her, I blinked and shook my head as I walked out the door.  What the fuck are you supposed to do about that???

Bitches Be Crazy... Volume 1!

I am making this post "Volume 1" because quite frankly, I'm pretty sure that bitches won't stop being crazy anytime soon.  Here's just a handful of some of the craziest customers that I've ever encountered in retail:

-At 'Happy Time Portraits' we send extra prints of the portraits that customers order to try and get them to spend a little more money.  We own the copyrights to the portraits and it's totally legal for us to do so.  Some people get kind of unhappy about that because they "didn't ask us to do that" and some people go so far as to demand that we give them the extras for free because it is something that has their child's face on it.  But it doesn't work like that.  One lady in a more ghetto location came in and demanded that we give her the extras and the associate told her that she couldn't give them away... So of course the logical thing to do in this lady's head is to jump the damn counter and try to lunge for the pictures.  The store had to call the police and escort her from the studio.  All over some damn pieces of paper!

-When you work fast-food, everyone hates that customer that comes in and says "And I want fresh fries. They better be fresh or I'm sending them back!"   Dude, everything else has been under a heat lamp or something for a while, why are the fries going to be any different?  (Plus fries that are too fresh suck, 'cause they burn your mouth. I like the ones that have been sitting for a while!)  Under the Golden Arches, in a time before all McNuggets were all white meat, this crazy bitch would come in every few weeks and say "I only want white meat nuggets."  Well, I was new at the time and I didn't realize that they actually gave into her crazy, so I told her no.  So she went off on me and yelled telling me how stupid I was and blah, blah, blah.  My manager came out and said we would do it for her.  So this bitch orders five orders of 20 piece McNuggets!  And the only way to find out if they are white meat or not is to cut into them one at a time!  Gah!  Twenty minutes of nugget hunting later we bring them out to her and she said we took too long and she wanted a refund.  Grrrr at people!

-This lady at 'Happy Time Portraits' got mad because she left a digital camera in our camera room and someone stole it.  Yeah.  Think about that for a second.

-"I'm sorry, ma'am, but it looks like you have some late fees on your account and it shows that we've already removed three late fees for you as a courtesy, so you'd have to pay at least part of them today to rent any movies." 
"Oh, hell no!  I am never late with my movies!  Never!  Where is your manager?  I am going to speak with your manager because he always helps me out of these situations that people like you put me in!  I'm a regular customer!"
"Uh, ma'am I've been the manager here for two years now... And it says you haven't been here in about six months. If you like, you can just pay $3 of it today."
"No!  Fuck that!  I am not putting up with this shit!  I am a police officer, a Christian and a strong black woman and I will not let you treat me like this!  Why would a Christian police officer lie?"
And I couldn't fucking resist...
"Um... To get out of paying late fees?"
And she went off the fucking chain!  I got a movie thrown at my head, but it was super worth it!  People don't set you up like that often enough!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Some Parents Are Asshats

When you work in a business where parents come in to get pictures of their children taken, things can get ugly... All of these things were said in front of me and the kids that I was photographing.

"Why don't you smile?  I can't believe this.  This is why your father left!"

"Do you really want grandma to die seeing this as the last picture that you take for her?  Do you?  Smile pretty, not ugly!"

"Don't sit there smiling like some stinky, chinky Chinaman!  Open your eyes, silly!"  said this crazy white lady who said that as casual as day with a creepy smile on her face. It kinda was like I saw June Cleaver saying something like that.  And I swear to God there was an Asian family right outside the door and the dad looked in at me when the lady said it and all I could do was mouth "I'm sorry!"  Fucking white people.

This couple used to come in every year for Christmas pictures and they would bring in about four different outfits and put the kid and the photographer through hell to get these pictures.  When the kid was about nine years old, they came in and the whole time they were sitting in the back of the studio making snide comments like, "Great, now let's see what happens when you actually try" and "Do you even want Santa to bring you anything?"  The guy taking the pictures was trying to be really positive with the girl and tell her she was doing a good job, but eventually she couldn't take the pressure and she was standing in front of the camera smiling, but there were tears welling up in her eyes.  The mom had actually gone out of her way to put makeup on this poor kid and when she finally broke down she had mascara running down her cheek.  My associate and I felt so bad for this girl and in the midst of all this the dad gets up and storms out of the room yelling, "Well, that's it!  You just fucking ruined Christmas!"  And with that, the mom gets up and doesn't go to comfort her daughter, but runs after the dad saying, "Just get back in here!  She will finish this session!"  Meanwhile, leaving the kid with us.  Awkward turtle.

"You will smile for these damn pictures!"  Then hauls off and bends the three year old over her knee and spanks him as hard as she can.  Yeah, that helped.

This hella ghetto lady busts in like three minutes before closing with a super cute little girl and says "We need to get some pictures now!"  We are accommodating, so we took her in thinking maybe someone was leaving town and needed pictures or the child was going away for a long time or something like that.  We start taking pictures and about five minutes into the session Loss Prevention from a nearby store comes in and says that they need to escort them to mall security.  Turns out that the lady stole all of the kids' clothes right before they came in and wanted to get pictures in them.  And of course she cursed up a storm on the way out in front of her six-year-old.

People are classy as fuck sometimes.