A woman approached me this morning with a DVD in her hand. The film was THE WOLF OF WALL STREET and she placed it in front of me before expressing her concern. She said "We hired this last night and we were very shocked. We wanted to make sure that you have classified it as R-rated on your shelf because it really should be". I smiled and tapped my finger onto the abundantly obvious R rating on the case she had hired. I said to her "Yep, it sure is" to which she replied with a sigh of relief "Phew. That's good because I was going to ask you to change it to R".
Hmm. I would have thought that someone who was so easily offended would check a classification of a film before hiring it to begin with (I sure as hell am well aware of the ratings of ALL movies I watch, even if I couldn't care less) and furthermore at the point of being offended at home I would have picked up the case to clarify and ease my mind before asking the guy at the point of return. Not to mention to generic R18+ warning that is displayed on the screen before the film begins. In this case it states R18+ Restricted. High impact sex scenes and drug use.
Oh and of course I can just change the rating of a film with a simple switch of stickers. Yeah why not? It's not like we have a national classification board who determine such things.
When running a store alone during the day there is no such thing as "lunch". At least not in the sense of sitting down, eating food, and getting back to work. The foot traffic through the door is unpredictable... sometimes we will go an hour without a single customer and at other times we will have a dozen at once. Whenever I bring my lunch to work with me I have to pick my moments carefully before I can eat it. A 20 minute break between customers is the logical time to start eating but the moment I take a bite, someone is guaranteed to walk in and demand my attention. It's a law of retail and I'm used to it. Today, however... Arrgggghhhh! I didn't bring any food with me and by the time noon had arrived I was starving. With the cold weather set-in we are busier than usual and trade is great. Finding a moment to get food proved to be tricky. Finally the last customer in the store left and I quickly seized the opportunity to lock up and pop down to the bakery. A meat pie was the order of the day and as I walked back to my store my face dropped. Waiting at the outside like loons at a boxing day sale were 5 people all anxious to get in. The chances of me eating straight away were slim to none. I greeted them all with a smile, unlocked the door and let them inside. One woman said to me "I bet you hate it when you try to eat lunch and people interrupt you". I smiled and thought to myself "yes I fucking do". I rested my lunch on the bench and waited for these people to do their thing... all of them had chosen films and left within about 10 minutes, HOWEVER, the lady who made comment upon entry took her sweet time. Yes... 45 minutes of sweet time to be exact. I am not the type of person to eat in front of customers (especially a meat pie) because it's a terrible look and so I went about some jobs and tried with all of my might to will her out the door. No such luck. And so after forty five minutes she selected a movie (just one) and finally came to the counter. I feigned an upbeat smile, completed the transaction and wished her a good weekend. Finally, the store was empty and my lunch awaited. With my stomach in knots I bit into the chunky meat pie, which was stone cold and now disgusting... and didn't get a single customer for another hour.
The Universe is such that most problematic customers visit the store on Friday afternoons. It's only ever when you've almost finished the working week without incident that a stickler will come in and send you into the weekend with a thumping headache. Let me tell you about the last time this happened to me... ie the Friday just passed. My day was busier than usual with the long-weekend upon us. Just after lunchtime a familiar face walked through the door... not the type of familiar face you are pleased to see, but rather the type that has you saying "o-oh, here we go" under your breath. I have had all kinds of run-ins with this woman over the years (there's probably other stories about here on this site) and even when I'm driving with my partner and see this woman at the bus stop I will say "that woman there... a psycho!". And so in she walks and I extend her the same courtesy that I afford everyone. I asked how she was and told her to let me know if she needed any help. An important thing to know about this woman is that she's still living the VHS life and DVD is very new and scary to her. At this point you would be forgiven for thinking that she is a frail old lady but she's not. She is in her mid-50s and bares a permanent expression of someone who'd just been shat upon. From the other end of the store she yells out "You got this!? You got that?" (you can insert whatever titles you want into those quotations because I couldn't understand a world she was saying from where I was). I was also serving another customer at this time and wasn't able to physically assist her. She went about her browsing and I went about my business. I have always found the best way to deal with her is to let her be and not engage in much dialogue. After a while she bought a selection of 8 titles to the counter. I gave her a smile, asked how she was again and began to scan the them onto her account. The transaction was almost complete when she said "your store has nothing I want". She makes this point whenever she visits and yet always manages to take 8 films that she's never seen before. I gave her a small smile and apologised for that. She then told me that my store is "the worst". Again, I apologised and reminded her that there is another video store right near her home. She explained to me that she was banned at that store by the "awful Asians" who own it. I was suddenly filled with a sense of envy that those owners had already taken the initiative and kicked her miserable ass out. She then told me that I am a terrible store owner for not stocking "Frankenstein's Baby", which is a very rare British TV movie from the late 80s which has never had a DVD release anywhere in the world. I know this because, oddly, it's a title I have also spent years trying to obtain. I explained to her that it's a hard title to come by and she switched into passive-aggressive smartass mode and said "I'll get my son to download it. I'll get my son to download everything". I smiled and said "fair enough". She obviously wanted a reaction and emphasised the fact that she (a woman who constantly asks for VHS) owned a USB STICK! "I have a USB stick and I can download movies onto it" she continued. I couldn't help but smile. "Be careful doing that" I replied to which she unleashed a new tirade and stepped her game up to psychotic. With a store full of customers she started yelling out that I was a bigot. "You are an arrogant, self-centered bigot!" she declared. "You think that you're better than everyone else." This was the moment that I pulled out my scissors and snipped her membership card in half, right before her eyes. I told her that I won't tolerate that sort of behavior and that she can take her business elsewhere. With her finger in my face she called me a bigot one last time, to which I asked "am I as bad as those awful Asians?". At this point she turned her attention to the large abundance of blu-ray movies in my new release section. She said "I hope you're happy. You are single-handedly killing your own industry by having blu-ray movies and not catering for people like me who still want videos". Common sense would tell you that a business with an emphasis has said emphasis for good reason but you can't argue logic with lunatics. She continued "you haven't done your market research because you have so much blu ray when no one hires it. I hope your business dies". Following a big LOL I asked her to leave. She then made her way to the door while chanting some kind of gibberish that kept repeating the word bigot and then she finally left the store (but not before declaring a hex on my head). A massive sense of relief washed over me. You can call me an awful Asian if you want, but I had finally dealt with an ongoing problem and won't be seeing her again. w00t. Usually aggressive customers add weight to the rest of the day and/or weekend but in this instance I had a ripper of a time.