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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

JJ: Other Customers

I remember a lady we'll call "M" who used to come into the store once in a while, usually accompanied by an obviously henpecked husband a few sizes smaller than she was. "Obviously" because when she barked out his name he would literally jump, twitch, or flinch. When either Kathy or I saw her coming we'd say "Be back in a minute!" and try to scoot out the back or into the office to leave the other person to deal with her. On at least one occasion we spotted her at the same time and we both boogied for the office -- and wedged in the door. She kept both of us alert. The loser had to wait on her while the winner sat back in the office smiling. Then there was Stinky. He was a great guy but had the two bad habits of chain smoking and not bathing. Since he lived in a tiny apartment that concentrated the smoke and odors he usually smelled like a pile of burning jockstraps. Dirty jockstraps. After he'd browsed and left we had to open the doors and spritz some aerosol around to resurrect the good old smells of dogs and books. One day Kathy decided to give him a hint, and when he was crouching down to look at some Montana books on the bottom shelf she climbed up on the desk in my office, leaned over the top of the shelves and treated him to a few squirts of English leather cologne. I don't think he ever noticed, and he certainly never got the hint. His Aura never changed, it still stank. Then there was the Still-a-Hippy-after-all-these-years lady. She was very nice, very friendly, and very easy to deal with, but she apparently soaked in a tub of patchouli every day. I suspect that she could have been having sex with a skunk and it would have been undetectable, because to say that she reeked is an understatement. Seconds after she'd come in I'd have a splitting headache. When people asked why I'd have front and back doors propped open when it was ten below zero, I'd just shrug and say I was hot. I couldn't admit I had an exceptional customer, one who was a pain in the head instead of the butt. TBC (Me)