Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A little about a shoe store

I realized that working at the shoe store twice a week with my students is kind of like special ed whack-a-mole.

You have them all doing their separate little jobs, and they take turns bursting out into weird or disruptive behaviors, prompting you to rush over and restore order.



The developmentally disabled moles rarely telegraph their intentions; they just do it.

I am standing there, sipping coffee, thinking about how much I hate shoes, and the first one goes off.


"WOOF! WOOF!" 

"Martin, no barking!" I say. 

Martin is absolutely petrified of dogs, so of course he is also obsessed with them and cannot help himself from emulating, loudly,  the very thing he so deeply fears.


 A mother with her little boy tries to discreetly move far away from Martin.

I feel bad for her, because she is forced to leave the children's area and feign interest in men's brown loafers sitting on a nearby display.

"FLIPPY!" comes a squeaky expulsion from across the store.

This one comes from Elsie, who is supposed to be washing mirrors but is now pacing around, chattering happily to the many talkative occupants of her head.

Elsie is very smart, very with it.

When I do not know something going on in the realm of pop culture, I turn to Elsie for my entertainment news.

I never fact check her, though, so I still can't make small talk at parties.

Of course, the Hyde to her streetwise Jekyll is her schizophrenia, which means when you are trying to get her to listen, you are competing with random anime characters and the entire cast of Happy Tree Friends.


"Elsie, you can't talk to yourself here."

She stares blankly.


"They'll hear you," she mumbles back to me. 

"Um...yes, exactly."

She often punctuates her speech with little high-pitched voices and cartoon sound effects.


"Kero. Can't do what you want, arigato. FLIPPY!" 


I hover around long enough to ensure she has reassembled herself.


As I move along, she mutters something about someone named Chrono and his decision to use soul power.


"....I'm Marcy", I hear someone say awkwardly.

Kevin the knuckle bumper cannot help himself; he just has to greet every stranger he sees, very, very, closely.


Dear trembling Marcy has been backed into a corner by Kevin's extroversion. 


"Kevin, please get back to work."

He steps back from Marcy and I guess she hadn't found any shoes she just had to have because she leaves the store immediately.


Presiding over it all is the Shoe Lady, the manager of the store.


She is a very nice person.


She is.


But oh my Lord of all that is right and true, she is the most obnoxious salesperson I have ever had the extreme discomfort to have to listen to.


When a customer comes in, she zeroes in on them like a feral dog on adorable little kittens.


She bites down and she shakes them incredibly fast.


Then they are dead, and broken-hearted children are standing nearby, sobbing silently, mouths agape.


Shoe Lady verbally pummels customers:
"WHAT BRINGS YOU IN TODAY?
WHAT ARE YOU HUNTING FOR?
WHAT ARE YOU AFTER?
WE HAVE THOSE IN RED WE HAVE THOSE IN GREEN 
WE CAN ORDER IT
YOU CAN HAVE MINE TAKE THEM TAKE THEM OR I WON'T EAT AND I'LL DIE AND ARE YOU A REWARDS MEMBER? 
YOU SHOULD BE DON'T YOU LIKE MONEY? DON'T YOU LIKE SAVINGS? WHO DOESN'T LIKE SAVINGS? 
WHO DOESN'T LOVE SHOES? SHOES? SHOES? SHOES!!!! WHAAA YAAAY LOODLE LOODLE SHOOPY BUGGEM SHOOP SHOOP. shoes. 


It is absolutely excruciating to listen to, terrifying to watch.


SHOE LADY! Learn to read people's body language, learn the signs.


If someone keeps moving away from where ever you are, if someone does not respond when you speak to them, or says "just looking" in a bit of a sing-song voice, it means LEAVE THEM ALONE.


She is the fourth mole in my little game, and I wish to whack her down the most.

33 comments:

  1. The picture with Martin and Scappy doo had me laughing so much, I think I peed a little.

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  2. I sell shoes, Vibram FiveFingers, I hope you :gasp: don't hate me now. I try to be low key, they are not shoes for everyone, they do look kinda strange. But they are wonderful.

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  3. You probably have the most interesting job ever! That said, it is probably also the most trying job. What you do is honorable. How you write about is so wrong and so right all at the same time.

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  4. Shoe Lady looks like a slightly heavier version of Napoleon Dynamite's grandma.

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  5. You made me do it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCF3ywukQYA

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  6. I agree with Lily (although I didn't pee my pants) - that picture of Martin with Scrappy Doo is hilarious!
    Great post as usual!

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  7. I know some retail places I've worked, they have a script for approaching customers entering the store and the employees are expected/required to follow it. If they don't, they can be written up (though rarely happens unless they don't like the worker.)
    Often the script is basically what you described; harassing the customer and ignoring body language. Because, really, no one wants to sign up for more credit cards.

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  8. Do I follow you already I cant remember? I kind of like those old Clark's X ray machines that made your feet glow in the dark. Well Cool. Then they had all those machines like the Spanish Inquisition that you got strapped into until someone parted with money. My Great Great Great Uncle Fred has almost broken in his favourite Clarks shoes that he got in 1853. He always says "if a man was meant to wear trainers he would have been born with wings" ...... He is mad by he way due to years of wearing heavy duty shoes and eating Dover Soles.

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  9. BTW: Your drawing of the Shoe Lady looks a lot like the gym teacher (Mrs. Balbricker) in the 1980's teen comedy - 'Porkys'.

    http://www.virginmedia.com/images/teachers-porkys-590x350.jpg

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  10. oh gweenbrick. You poor dear. I hope they pay you, like, 50 bucks an hour for having to deal with all this. You are a better person than I am. (And by the way, I almost word-for-word say what Shoe Lady says to my high-end kitchen store customers, but I don't look or dress, ahem, exactly like her so mostly I have a lot of new friends that buy everything I recommend and then stop by every Sunday just to visit me. Hmm, maybe they are misintepreting my pushy sales techniques as me being nice and ultra-helpful. Yikes.)

    best,
    MOV
    ps--congrats again on blog of note!!!

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  11. "Kero. Can't do what you want, arigato. FLIPPY!"

    Beautiful! I think we need more posts about Elsie.

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  12. Does she do the puppy dog eyes, quivering chin thing when people leave without buying or go for the full body tackle...
    Always, Queenie

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  13. I feel the same way about Scrappy Doo as does Martin. Unfortunately I'm not nimble enough to perch in quite the same manner.

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  14. It seems out of the strange cast of characters you present in this story, the most oblivious to her faults is the "normal" shoe lady! ;)

    http://authorjess.blogspot.com

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  15. lily-i'm glad you liked it, I cheated by not drawing scrappy doo myself, but short on time

    esboston-oh no, i don't care at all that you sell shoes. I was probably a little hard on her....

    consciouslysedated-its actually a really boring job, and its only honorable if you do it without complaining, which I never do

    supercrazyrobots-I'll have to check that out

    Mandy fish-what is that???Its evil.

    Kevin-i am glad you did not pee your pants because you are too old for that

    Ryan-yeah, I know you are right. Still.....(shiver)

    Rob Z-I don't know if you are a follower but I always read your comments on lily's blog and snoop at your blog, and for some reason I am convinced that you are one of the smartest people on the internet

    kevin routh-i can't follow your link because i am afraid it will be as mentally invasive as Mandy Fish's was

    MOV-i doubt you are anything like this lady, you are too self-reflective to be so clueless. Thanks! I get paid dirt, but since I am just a parapro, that is pretty much the norm

    Alan-the problem with Elsie is that she knows I have a blog, will read it, and see through my thinly veiled depiction of her. And then she will kill me.

    Queenie-oh no, she does a "well, I tried to help and you didn't know how good you had it" kind of thing

    thescousewife-how many stone are ye? I might be able to perch you upon my pate

    Jessica-yeah, she does not seem very self-aware, which I am counting on, because if she ever finds my blog she won't recognize the picture I paint of her

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  16. I had the same reaction as Lily. Lily - POISE PADS ARE KEY. I always have them in place for Gweenbrick. This is one of your best yet!

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  17. Hahaha! Thanks for the tip Marianne.

    gweenbrick, the picture you used for Scrappy Doo made it that much funnier.

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  18. What?!?!? A stolen doggie picture? I was susPICious that it wasn't your orig art.

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  19. Oh overeager store employees. Please stop assaulting me with your questions. Can't you tell I hate people? Love, Me.

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  20. The shoe lady sounds worse than the kids.

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  21. Shoe Lady seems like a truly terrifying person.

    And her use of comic sans when she talks scares me even more!

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  22. Hey GweenBrick I like your blog and enjoy your writing. I like your style which I am trying to ape in my new blog. Please visit my blog and give me a little advice if you please (off course for free ....lol)

    http://bokapublic.blogspot.com/

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  23. Nice One.

    Blogs About Success , Motivational , Inspirational , Poems , Love , Life.

    Check It Out.

    http://godessofpoem.blogspot.com/

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  24. "The developmentally disabled moles"
    I love that line!

    http://sureitsrelevant.blogspot.com/

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  26. Thank you for a good laugh wich was well needed!

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  27. My daughter is incredibly shy around strangers. Last time we shopped for shoes, I stood in the middle of the store and exclaimed loudly, "Dear, employees. This is my daughter and she does not like to talk to people. She needs shoes. Come force some on her." I then quickly leave the store to make her face her fears.

    I am such a great parent.

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  28. This:
    ... like special ed whack-a-mole.
    You have them all doing their separate little jobs, and they take turns bursting out into weird or disruptive behaviors, prompting you to rush over and restore order.
    The developmentally disabled moles rarely telegraph their intentions; they just do it...

    ZOMG. Absolutely hilarious. This is our world. Not seeing the humour in it will put you in a grave even earlier than (in my case being the parent as opposed to the special ed worker) you're already destined for.

    Wait. That came out wrong. Kinda.

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  29. Inserting Scrappy was inspired.

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  30. This one's a funny story! Maybe he wouldn't hate working in a shoe store if he works for clarks shoes.

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