Clerks...Real Life Stories.

This thread is not about the movie, but it does relate. I worked behind the register at a gas station for around 5 years, and I know that many of you other Dopers have had similar jobs. Let’s share our most memorable moments as clerks.

I salute all the gasboys of BP Main and James in Columbus, OH.

We used to throw the old bagels, muffins, and milk on top of the canopy. After awhile, we had quite a bird infestation problem up there.

“Power Coffee”. Hate to admit to this one, but occasionaly two packs of the good stuff was put in the machine instead of one. The customers never complained.

Had a tape called “Jingle Cats” with cats meowing Christmas songs. We used to turn the intercom off and on while this was playing. People were always looking around for a cat outside!

Had a game where we kept track of who could tell the most lies to customers in one shift. This was hilarious. Stuff like “O.k. here’s you lottery ticket…You know my aunt won the lottery just a month or so ago…” “Dang sure is cold out there today…Nothing compared to when I spent a summer in Siberia…” Man I miss that one.

Lastly, I came from a very small rural town that was not exactly the cultural capital of the world. Working in Columbus opened my eyes to a lot of issues, especially racism. I quickly learned what it felt like to be a minority (at least for a few hours a day). Since some customers liked to call me snowflake, cracker and so on, I decided to make a joke of it. We changed our nametags to read "Honkey Gasboy#1, #2, and so on. The customers loved it. I don’t think it changed anyone’s opinions, but they were to busy laughing to insult me anymore.

There you go.

Not nearly as fun or lighthearted as yours, but my mom had a serial flasher (k, that’s funny), and she got robbed at gun-point. She still freaks if someone sneaks up behind her and this was at least 23-30 years ago. I’m understandably not allowed to work as a convenience store clerk, for my mom’s mental health.

I used to be a gold medalists in the time-honored sport of Cart Surfing. My store was thankfully one which had endless, straight aisles. The betting surrounding the Midnight Cart Races was a small economy in of itself.

Never was much of a racer myself, but give me a cart with a wobbly wheel, and surf’s up. My career came to a grinding halt, though, when I had a wipe-out into a stack of paper towels in front of the Big Manager.

As a fellow veteran of the customer service trenches, I must recommend this site to you:

Browse around the site for a while. Not all the good stories are in places where you’d expect them to be.

We would race the powered pallet lifts along the back aisles and get quite adept at banking the turn by the eggs and grazing the little display from New York Bagels and Bialys right next to the endcap.

That and the rootbeer floats we would make by taking a quart sized deli container, peeling a pint of Haagen Dazs Vanilla, plopping it in and topping off with IBC rootbeer are the two things I liked about that job.

Of course it helped that the owners’ son was my constant racing opponent and he turned me on to the floats so I never even got in trouble for it :slight_smile:

I was once at KFC in a long line behind a scruffy and unappealing guy who was attempting to flirt with the clerk. She smiled at him and said, “I have to work right now, but I get off at 4. Why don’t you pick me up then?”

The delighted man took his order, promised he would be back, and left.

I stepped up to the counter, and she said to me, “I get off at 2.”

Congrats on your 999th post FisherQueen.

Here is another one I thought of.

We had this Pepsi Display that consisted of this enormous plastic bottle of pepsi that you could reach into to get a cold 20oz. It had openings on opposite sides that you could reach into. I would occasionaly take the top part off and put it on my head, putting my arms through the openings. I would then walk around the store asking people if they wanted to take a drink, or say “I’m crazy Pepsi head, Give me some candy”.

Man, I’m wierd.

moejuck, I can’t stand Adam Sandler, but that is one of his bits I DID like. “I’m crazy protractor face, gimme some candy!” Thanks for the laugh!

Heh. Most of my stories aren’t all that light-hearted, so I can’t tell them or I’d be pitted. I’ll definitely be subscribing to this thread though. :slight_smile:

Two year DollarTree clerk here.

Um I get written up everytime I do something fun.
Unless I dont get caught,

Best one to date was this nutzo employee. I was fed up with her incessant rantings and decided to play a few pranks. Her locker was kept secure by a standard 1 1/2 inch master lock. I happen to be an amature lockpicker, so I would move her lock to other lockers, or switch it with other matching locks. Drove her absolutely batty.

Permanant marker in the bathroom is always fun.
We had a rash of neo-nazi bastards that carved swazticas into the walls so I made fun of them using big words that I knew they wouldnt understand, sure enough, they were confused and asked what it meant.
Currently I have Soylent Green Is People on the wall.

Noisemakers over the intercom is fun, so are dirty jokes that can be heard across the street.
My freind and I squirt shampoo and other liquids at the skateboarders behind the store, or kick the roll up door when they go by, they usually fall off and have to start over.

Once I had a customer (who obviously didn’t speak English) point excitedly down at his crotch. Being a somewhat cute blonde girl, I figured he was coming on to me in some vulgar way and treated him with appropriate brusquness.

Only later did I figure out that my fly was open.

I worked fast food for six months, along with some of my friends. Fun times in the drive-thru area would include: spork wars (try to knock all the tines off your partner’s spork before they knock them off yours, using the spork handle. Fun for both players and watchers!); making up interesting messages on the auto-answer thingie (“Welcome to Taco Hell! Unfortunately, we don’t want to help you right now. Please, don’t have a nice day”) that we would rerecord before a customer came; listening to the manager on duty dude rant about chickens or Douglas Adams; toss sauce packets into the driveway so they’d get popped by cars. throw sauce packets at eachother; try to eat while on drivethru; make interesting meals for ourselves (I was fond of a soft taco supreme with beans and rice instead of meat)… the list goes on.

Had to reply to this one…and I second the site Customerssuck, ANYONE who has ever worked retail will laugh/cry/piss/moan…you will love the site ( I belong, but have been lax in posting of late)
I started a book titled “Retail sucks” years ago…I really should finish it someday…it has a bunch of humorous stories I have written about retail life. (Insert self-horn-toot here)
I worked at a Customer service desk years ago (collected most of my writings there) Some of my favorite memories:

I Had a long line…I was watching a man and his daughter, who were about five customers back. He had a vacumm cleaner he was returning. I watched him read the return sign, look at the vacumm, look puzzled, and look at the sign again (The sign states that Home Electronics items should be returned in that department…ya know: Music, computers, videos, tv’s, ect.)
When he finally got up to the counter, he pointed to the vacumm cleaner and said “Uhhmmm…do I return this to the Electronics Department??”
I smiled and said “Well…when you plug it in, Do ya hear music?”
“Then you can return it right here!!” (Lucky for me, he had a sense of humor…I do tend to cross the line a bit)

Another time, my co-worker and I were at the desk and it was slow. We had a bird flying around in the store all morning, and as it flew back and forth in front of our desk, we saw these two teenage boys walking by. They saw the bird fly by a few times, and they walked up to us at the desk. I could tell by their eyes and shuffle that they were stoned. One of the kids said to us “Wow!! Like…uhhhh…did you guys know that you have a bird flying around in your store???”
My co-worker said “Yeah, we know.”
The kid just went “Wow man!!”, and started walking away with his buddy. I hollered out to him “BAD DAY TO GIVE UP HEROIN, HUH???” Their looks were priceless.

Last one, and I’ll stop…
Once again, the desk…We did it all there: lotto, fishing liscense’s, check cashing, layaway, returns…you name it. We also rented the “Rug Doctor” carpet cleaners. It was busy, as usual, and we had a line, as usual.
Suddenly, this broad barges in front of everybody and pushes her way to my window. I politely told her that the end of the line was back there and we would be with her as soon as possible. She loudly proclaimed that SHE WAS IN A BIG HURRY, and just wanted me to check in her rug doctor that she had rented the day before, “real quick”.
I was pissed, but, seeing as my customer was filling out a return form and would be a minute or two, I grabbed the check in book, and said “Name?”
Miss “I am too important to stand in lines” rudely snarled
I looked in the book for a moment, and LOUDLY SAID “I’m sorry Mrs RUUUGGGG DOCTORRRR, I don’t see your name here”
She turned beet red, and, as the entire line roared with laughter, she very politely gave me her name, handed over the machine, and ran out the door…yeah, good times:D

Thanks everyone for the stories. Keep them coming.

I’ll have another.

We had two registers up front, so the favorite past time when bored was to take out the other guys money tray when he was outside. He comes in and waits on a customer and when he hits “Cash” the drawer slides open with nothing in it. These things were hidden in the microwave, cooler, under the cabinets, in the boss’ office and so on.

IN a slight twist to the above, we had this guy named Huey who worked with us. He couldn’t turn his neck due to an injury, so when he wanted to look at you he had to turn his entire upper body (very funny, try it). He had a terrible temper. One time one of the guys mixed up all his change, then squeezed a little mayo. into the bottom of each slot. When he opened the drawer and reached into get some quarters, he got a handfull of sticky change. He took the drawer out and hurled it towards the other guy who barely ducked out of the way in time. The customers were dying laughing.

When I was a teenager I worked in a gas station in England. Used to fuck around quite a lot to my own amusement, and to stave off the boredom (as did everyone else, I can see from this thread).

I used to finish a tube of smarties (they’re the UK equivalent of M&Ms, but they come in a cardboard tube with a plastic lid), then in the empty tube, throw an alka seltzer in. When a customer came in, I’d pour a bit of water in the tube, and put the lid on and set it by where they were paying. The thing would usually explode as they were halfway through writing their check.

The “chocolate challenge” - see whether you could eat one of every candy bar in the entire store (better when done as a race). Ever smelled a pure chocolate fart? Also, my coworker deliberately smashed all the creme eggs on the floor and put them back into the box.

I’d go out to fill a car, and say to my coworker “I’ll fill this car while you run round the forecourt pretending to be a chicken”. He would and when I’d finished, he’d go back in and take their money, completely deadpan, as if nothing had happened.

One time we set off a fire extinguisher (“fire drill” was our excuse). It was a powder one, and the powder went over all the freshly valeted cars next door.

The best one of all though: this local überyuppie had two matching Porsche 911s - one for him and one for his wife. Though materially rich, he clearly had no friends, because he used to hang out in our filthy gas station annoying us teenage slackers. One evening I was locking up to go home, and he came in with one of the Porsches. He begged me to turn the pumps back on again to fill it up, so I had to unlock the store and do all the thing for him, which took forever. I filled the car. Not only did he not tip me, he then said he was going to get his wife’s Porsche and could I stay open for another 15 minutes to fill that one? I grudgingly said yes, but I put the chains across the forecourt to stop anyone else driving in while I was trying to leave. Mr Überyuppie returns in 15 minutes at about 80mph, but doesn’t slow down or check the entrance - instead, he executes a massive, show-off, high-speed turn, squealing the tyres of the Porsche across the road, intending to slide across the forecourt, up to the pump. It would have worked, too, had he not been stopped rather abruptly by a big, solidly tethered metal chain about 3 feet off the ground. It fucked his wife’s hood up something rotten. Schadenfreude was mine that evening.

I just remembered another one: for a year I worked in a hardware store, and my fellow slacker coworker and I invented a game we called “Word of the Day”. In the morning, we’d choose a random word (e.g. “lobster”), and you scored a point every time you used it in front of a customer without them noticing. Simple as that. For example:

Old lady: “Do you have any nails?”
Me: “Certainly. We have a huge selection of lobster nails. We sell them by weight. Please come this way lobster.”

The principle is that the word is such a non-sequiteur that their brain analyzes the sentence, and rejects the word due to its total lobster irrelevance.

The store was right next to a bakery. We had another evil game, where, when the boss wasn’t looking, we’d run next door and quickly buy a huge cream bun. You’d then creep up on your coworker and jam the bun in his mouth, just as a customer was approaching. Naturally, there was only one thing he could do - chew and swallow the fucker as quickly as possible, and try not to laugh cream lobster out of his nose (usually totally impossible).

Damn good times back then.

I used to work at Wendy’s, and one day I was working the drive-thru. I love impersonating people for some reason(I’m not very good at it) so at the end of the order I would slip in a “Thank you, thank you very much.” in the best Elvis I could do. Everyone in the store has a headset on and can hear this. First few times they just look at me funny. Then I started to do the whole order in an Elvis voice…They put me on grill after that :frowning:

Another day at Wendy’s. We used to always eat at Denny’s late night and on their menu they had French Toast. Right next to the picture of the French Toast it says “Parlez vous francais toast?”. Roughly translated to “Do you speak french toast?”. So anyways back to Wendy’s. We used to scream “Do you speak french…TOAST!” all the time when fooling around. One day this bus group of French Canadians comes in and as my manager is taking their order one of them asks…“Do you speak French?” The manager looked them right in the eye and screamed “TOAST???” Everyone in the place cracked up laughing and we had to delay their order a few minutes.

That was the shittiest, least paying job but the most fun job I’ve ever had.

Then there was the grocery store I worked at…too many stories to get into…not enough time in the world o_O

My fond memories of working at Shield’s Market (aka Shield’s Markup) are flooding back to me…where to begin.

First of, it was right across from Joe’s Inn, which has the best baked spaghetti in the world. It also had hot waitresses who liked to take a joint break around 10:30 or so. They always came across the street to buy their ice cream after firing up. “Boy, this sure is some good ice cream.” A standard parting line between them and me.

IIRC, I got paid just a little more than minimum wage (I was in college at the time), but we also got all the food we could eat, soda we could drink, cigarettes we could smoke, and porn we could jerk off to. Plus, if we did over $1,000 worth of sales in a night, we got a free 6 pack of beer. We tended to amend that rule most nights to: If we don’t get robbed, we get a case of beer.

We had a stereo that sat on top of one of the walkin coolers, and since all of us that worked there were fraternity brothers, and were all DeadHeads, we had little signs on the counter that said: “Now Playing: Set II from Merriwether Post Pavillion, June 20, 1983” or some such. We also had a TV. As we rented VCRs and tapes (with nearly 500 porn titles), we also usually had a movie playing.

A few of the customers:

Wu, the Chinese giant. He was 7’6" tall (you’re damn right I asked). Being hopelessly stoned and seeing a Chinese giant (also hopelessly stoned) come ambling in your store is something everyone should experience. “Wow, Wu.”

Blue, the Neopolitan Mastiff. The dog’s head was as big as a bushell basket, and he slobbered to beat the band. Was partial to Moonpies, which I would feed him while his owner chatted up one of the other clerks.

Grace. Dear, dear, sweet, smelly, foul, Grace. She owned a large, ramshackled, home in the neighborhood that the neighbors were forever trying to get declared uninhabitable and condemned. She had that unique aroma of sweat, cat pee, grease, decades old body funk, and Old Spice (which she used instead of showering, as there was no running water in the house). She looked alot like George Washington’s profile on the quarter. I took to calling her George. She didn’t mind as I gave her cans of dog food (which she ate).

Dirt Woman. A Richmond institution if ever there was one. Real name: Danny Corker. A 400 lb. transvestite, who’s favorite get up was a lime green evening gown, white pumps, white opera gloves, and a white patent leather clutch purse. One of my co-workers was very, very good looking and had been a wrestler in high school. When I told Dirt Woman about it, she (he?) instantly fell in love with Chuck and offered to wrestle him “but only if I can let you pin me…hard.” Dirt Woman has her own calendar here in town and I seem to remember a picture of her in a little French maids outfit that is guarenteed to make you swear off sex for a year.

Lots of the inventory hadn’t been moved in years. I remember dust on some of the canned goods that was so deep you could write in it.

Richmonders are not unlike lots of other Southerners in that we flip out completely at the first threat of snow. I was at work one night when a big storm was scheduled to hit (in this case, it actually did). Stuff was flying off the shelves - even stuff that we would have never sold in the years (who needs baking soda that bad?).

All in all, working for Bob and Tom (brothers who owned the store) was a great way to make a living for a college student. Minimal responsibility, plenty of perks, and a regular paycheck.

Smartass. :smiley:

These are some great stories. I wish Cala was this much fun. All we ever did is soap up the floor and slide around on it, and now that partner in crime is gone.

We had a new set of wire shelving come in to replace our old wood & particle board shelves. Before we could put up the new shelving the old shelving had to be disposed of. In order to fit in the dumpster, though it had to be taken apart.

I gave the task to one of my overly exuberant managers. I had planned on staying to help, but he told me not to worry about it, so I left it in his capable hands. The next morning I came in and noticed that his check-out time was a bit earlier than I had expected it would be, considering the task I’d left him with. I didn’t see any notes left by him, so I checked the security tape just to make sure everything went okay and nothing bad had happened.

When I ran through the tape, I saw the most hilarious display of man-on-furniture violence I think I have ever witnessed in my life! He and another employee were practicing karate chops, kung-fu kicks, and numerous other non-disciplined moves on the helpless shelving. It got the job done, and it gave me a nice chuckle to start the day with.