Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Life feels completely, utterly hopeless.  There is no point.  There is nothing remotely worthwhile or fulfilling or satisfying about it.  There is no way to change that.

The only time it does not feel hopeless is when I'm asleep.

It could be worse, I suppose.  I could have insomnia.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Human interaction sucks

I hereby reaffirm my commitment to being a person of very few words in my interactions with people.

Direct conversation is wildly overrated.  Almost never does anything good ever come of it.  If anybody cares at all what I say, it's most likely to be offended by it, which isn't particularly amusing to me.

Accordingly, I will refrain from volunteering any information about myself, my life, my experiences, and my opinions.  If asked for any of the above, the best reply is generally a shrug, unless I stand to gain something by providing an answer, which frankly is not very likely.

Blogging, and writing in general, are a different matter.  It's nice and anonymous for the most part, and nobody's forcing you to read it.  If you're bored or offended by anything I write here, it's your own damn fault for reading it. Just leave.  It's as simple as clicking another link or closing a window, and I wouldn't follow you even if I could.  And don't come back.  Do you know how easy it is not to click a link?  A hell of a lot easier even than closing the goddamn window.  Nobody to blame but yourself.  If you don't like my thoughts, that's your problem, not mine.  Not my circus, not my monkeys.

So, if my thoughts must leave my head, they go here and nowhere else.  Ask me no questions, and I won't have to make the effort to shrug at you.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thirteen ways to make small retailers hate you

Did you ever wonder what the clerk at the local small business thinks of you after you walk out the door?  Oh, we'll smile and use our cheery voices to your face, and if you were pleasant, polite, and reasonable, we probably meant it, or at least it wasn't completely insincere.  Then there are those with whom we have to bite our tongues and grit our teeth and hope to all the gods of business that we don't accidentally let slip what we really want to say, which is something along the lines of, "You're a fart-gargling spawn of a bearded whore and a complete waste of DNA, and I'd like for you to go eat a whole bag of moldy dicks in hell."  If your ambition is to end up in that latter category, here are some helpful tips to get you there.  The more you do, the more you're guaranteed to make misanthropes of even the most peopley of people-persons.

1. Price shaming.  You know what, I don't care how much cheaper you can get it at Wal-mart.  If you walk into the local mom-and-pop expecting that they're going to beat the big-box discounter on price, you're either an idiot or an asshole.  If price is your number one criterion, how about you just go to fucking Wal-mart, and spare us your pompous attitude?

2. "It won't scan?  Must be free!"  Just about every profession has those jokes that people not in it think are hilarious, but they stop being hilarious after the thirty-seventh time you're subjected to them.  Just don't.

3. Tell us your life story.  Because we care SO much about your Aunt Mildred's colonoscopy or how you totally owned that salesman at the Ford dealership and got the BEST DEAL EVER! on your new minivan.

4. Preach to us about what products we should carry.  Because it's not as if we have limited space or an operating budget that prevents us from carrying every brand under the sun, and it's certainly not as if we've actually given any thought to what we stock and why, or what will sell well in our store and what doesn't.  If one customer in fifteen years walks through our door and asks for Acme Widget Cleaner, then by dog, it must be something we should order by the truckload!

5. Ask us a question while we're helping another customer.  After all, you're clearly the most important person in the universe, far more than that joker in front of you.

6. Monopolize our time with idle chit-chat.  There are people in line after you, and they probably care even less about your new minivan or Aunt Mildred's rectum than we do.

7. When we don't have the product you want, keep on saying over and over, "I really hoped you'd have it."  Hey, if you say it enough, maybe we can conjure one up out of our butts or something.  It's never happened before, but there's a first time for everything.

8. Ask us a question, and then argue with us about the answer.  I know there are differences of opinion, but if you already know the answer you want to hear and won't accept any other, WHY THE HELL DID YOU ASK?

9. Expect us to remember which product you buy.  We don't have lives, so we have nothing better to do with our brains than to memorize the minutiae of your shopping habits.

10. Come in at three minutes to closing and then spend 20 minutes browsing or asking stupid questions.  Our personal lives (which as you know we don't actually have, because we're not people; we're pieces of equipment) can wait while we spend 20 minutes making a $5 sale.

11. Take out your bad experiences with other businesses on us.  Really, we love to be treated with suspicion, contempt, and hostility because the Wal-mart cashier charged you twice for that case of Budweiser and the dude at Best Buy put on the full court press to get you to pay for the extended warranty.

12. Carry on a cell phone conversation while you're at the counter.  Don't worry; this isn't important, so you don't need to actually pay attention.  Respect is for your Sweet Babboo on the other end of the line, not that subhuman lump at the register.  Eww.

13. "Do you know who else would have it?"  Sure, let me just hack into the inventories of all the other stores around here, and see who has it.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Everyday lies

Well, I've had this blog set aside for a long time now.  It's high time I wrote something in it, and what's on my mind is this:

I work as a retail clerk.  It's not my dream job, not even remotely close.  I'm an extreme introvert, and socially awkward. 

There's a lot I don't get about people and their social rituals.  In particular:  "Hi, how are you today?"

Why does this bother me so much?  Because in almost every case, it's a lie.  These people are either complete strangers, or very, very casual acquaintances who do not interact with me, or even see me, outside of work.  They don't really care how I am, and I don't expect them to.  I don't hold it against them that they don't.  No, what grates on me is that they feel obliged to ask, and then I'm obliged to answer.  It's a charade, and nothing more.

Perhaps you think I'm just being curmudgeonly, or projecting some misanthropic part of myself on them.  If you want proof that the whole thing is a lie, ask yourself if they'd really want to know if things were going badly for you.  Ask yourself if YOU really want to know if the sales clerk is having a hard day, or maybe even a really rough week.  Do you want to know that he's struggling with anxiety or depression, or that his car broke down and he's preoccupied with how in the hell he's going to pay for that and still eat, or that he's had an argument with his wife and feels terrible?  I'm guessing you don't.  You simply expect the other half of the ritual:  something along the lines of "Good!" or "I'm doing great!" or "Not bad, how about you?"

Wonderful.  So now, not only are you lying to me, you're expecting me to lie to you in return!  Because unless I really am having a great day - and let's face it, I'm probably not, because I don't like my job and I'm not at home writing - that's exactly what my response is: a lie.  Probably the only thing worse is telling the truth, because that would expose your own lie, thereby alienating you and possibly losing a sale today or a customer permanently.

But surely it's a harmless lie, right?  It's only being polite, after all.  I'm not so certain that it is harmless, though.  Does accustoming ourselves to petty dishonesty rob us of an essential part of our humanity?  I think perhaps it does.  We've constructed a societal expectation that we should care deeply about each and every person we encounter.  If you don't, you're callous, insensitive, unconcerned about the plight of a fellow human being, and that's not acceptable, dammit!  It's a ludicrous expectation, nobody can possibly live up to it, so many of us feel compelled to fake it.  By deceiving your fellow man, you disrespect him.  By pretending your relationship to him is something other than what it really is, you're devaluing that relationship, whatever it is.  Still, you pretend you care more than you do, because you imagine that it makes people think you're a better person than you are.  There's a measure of self-deception in it too, and that's never healthy.

Why is it unacceptable to be strangers or distant acquaintances?  Why must we delude ourselves that our relationship is any more significant than that of two people conducting a business transaction?  There's nothing dishonorable in that, after all.  The fact that I don't take a deep interest in the details of your life doesn't make me a bad person, and your not taking that level of interest in my life doesn't make you one either.  We can be generally indifferent toward one another, we can not enjoy each other's company, we can even find each other grating or annoying, and still respect each other.  Hell, I could even find you thoroughly unlikable.  I don't need to volunteer that information to you; I'm not talking about THAT level of honesty.  Sometimes that old saw about not saying anything at all if you can't say something nice rings true.  We don't need to go out of our ways to alienate each other.  We still need each other on a certain level: you need some product that I'm selling, and I need your business for my livelihood.  Let's just not actively deceive one another, however good our intentions.  Wouldn't that make the world a better place? 

I'm not even saying that customers and clerks can't or shouldn't ever chat or develop a bond of any sort.  Compliment me on my amusing t-shirt.  I'll remark on your Walking Dead purse.  If you're buying cat food, maybe we'll talk cats for a few seconds.  You know, notice common interests.  If it's there, it'll happen; if not, no biggie.  Just don't force it with this "How are you?" stuff.  It demeans us both.

At the end of the whole interaction, we don't have to be best buds, or even like each other, to have general goodwill toward each other.  I can sincerely wish you a good day, too, because even if I don't like you, I probably don't hate you either.  I just don't want to hear about it.  And that's OK.