I read this on PostSecret the other day… “Whenever I’m buying something embarassing… I buy a birthday card too”. This happened a lot at the porn store. What happened more though was the “I’m buying this for a friend” line. Now I have to give some people the benefit of the doubt… a few customers were actually buying vibrators and dildos for their friends. A few. The rest? Of course they just told me that so they wouldn’t be embarassed.
Most of the time, the customers giving me the friend line were women buying their first vibrators. First giveaway– They would be nervous even walking in the door. Second– They wouldn’t let me help or even offer suggestions. Third– They would pay with cash, never check or credit card… (wouldn’t want any record of being at a porn store). Fourth– They would give me the line a little rushed, “I’m-buying-this-for-a-friend.”
The line never bothered me… usually I found it amusing. It was especially amusing when an older man gave me that line once. Actually, he said he was buying the item for his wife, but he didn’t have on a wedding ring. He gave me some attitude, like a porn store was so beneath him. And what was he buying? An anal plug. I told him to be sure his wife used some extra lube with it.
Okay, so when I worked at the porn store, I sold a lot of porn movies to people. Sometimes people wouldn’t like what they ended up with and would ask to trade for another movie. The porn store went through five managers while I was there. Depending on which manager I had at the time, the policy for a movie exchange was:
a) let the customer trade the movie for another one
b) only a defective movie can be exchanged
c) tell the customer tough shit
I followed the changes in movie exchange policies for awhile, until I said fuck it and developed my own exchange system. It was a lot easier that way… and more entertaining. If a movie was defective, I would take it back and let the person pick out some functioning smut. Then I would write “1st exchange” on the person’s receipt. This would deter people who would pay 19.95 for one movie, and then proceed to exchange it 4 or 5 times while using the “defective” excuse.
Movies that weren’t defective were brought back because customers didn’t like the content of the movies. I based my exchange decision for these solely on the reason why a customer didn’t like a particular movie. A reason like, “This movie shows these people on the cover, but they aren’t in the movie”, was fine with me. “The camera work in this movie was so shitty, my blind grandmother could have done a better job”, worked too. “This movie has Ron Jeremy”, not only worked, but most likely warranted a look of sympathy from me.
Then their were the reasons given that didn’t work on me. An exchange for, “This movie called ‘Only Blowjobs’ has only blowjobs in it… no sex”, wasn’t going to happen. Neither was, “The chicks with big 80’s hair on the cover of this movie also have big 80’s bushes”. “This movie called ‘Unnatural Sex’ only has oral and anal sex, no regular sex”, wasn’t floating my boat either.
So to recap, if a movie was defective or the customer could give me a valid reason, I would let them have another movie. If the customer was stupid and didn’t even look at the box cover to begin with, porn store policy ‘c’ went back into effect… tell the customer tough shit.
The porn store had more than it’s share of odd toys. Here are just a few…
Pleasure Periscope — land ho!
Anoscope — dirty land ho!
Expandable butt plug — maybe this should be used before the anoscope…
The Accomodator — for when you just wanna do it all.
Mini Mouse — I’m not sure how this is supposed to be sexy.
Osaki Vibrator — Old man and a beaver.
Gerbil Flex Pleaser Wand– and yes, it even has a little gerbil face.
The Osaki vibrator was the one I disliked the most. Why would you buy a vibrator with an old man on it? Gerontophilia, anyone?
At one point when I worked at the porn store, one of the churches in the area decided to protest our existence in their neighborhood. Some church folks thought school students could walk by and see into the windows.
Now I suppose if anyone stuck their little noses against the glass, they could see in… in between the clothing displays that were put in the windows to block the view. But all they had for their viewing pleasure were greeting cards, lotions, and lingerie. All the “good stuff” was behind another wall… like the big butt magazines, vibrating phallic bunnies, even the clown porn was behind that wall… away from prying eyes.
The church contacted the newspaper and there was an article written about the porn store. Guess what happened? People saw that article and came in to check us out. A few new customers even told me that they didn’t know about us until they read the newspaper article. Score for us.
I guess the church talked about our sinful little store one day in the sermon, or adult Sunday school, or whatever forum it was that Sunday morning. And after church…. more than a few people from the church came in to check us out. I think they were trying to see how sinful we really were, but some of them actually bought stuff.
It just goes to show you that bad publicity can be good publicity… especially with anything vaguely sinful like a porn store.
Do you know what would have made my porn store experience even better? Being able to wear a tool belt or a gun belt full of toys at work. Can’t you just see that giving me air of authority?
I could have strutted around and said, “I’m the dildo sheriff in town, and if you mess with me, I’ll whip out a dildo and smack you upside the head.”
But alas, the area manager wouldn’t let me wear one of those belts. What did she know? A belt full of jack rabbit vibrators, jelly dongs, and fake porn star vaginas should have been a requirement for every employee.
Maybe I’ll go ahead and get a tool belt for my adult toy parties. Then I can whip different products out of my belt before I pass them around for inspection. I’m sure I’ll look like an idiot, but at least I will be a dildo-laden idiot : )
I don’t work at the porn store anymore, but sometimes I run into customers from there. Normally if they recognize me, we nod, maybe wave, or at the most, say hi. Others who recognize me get a look of fear or horror in their eyes, usually because their significant others are present. With those people, I have enough tact not to start a conversation with them about their penchant for tranny porn.
Then there are some people who recognize me, but they aren’t quite sure why they know me. I had it happen the other day. I was going into a restaurant when a guy and his daughter or very young girlfriend were leaving the place. He told me he knew me from somewhere but wasn’t sure where. I told him he looked familiar also but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I wasn’t sure if the girl was his daughter and I didn’t want to say, “I remember you too. You rented your way through the porn store’s entire collection of gang bang movies.”
So as you see, I’m quite never sure what to do with these people who only vaguely remember me. I feel a little weird pointing out a person’s porn store patronage. Should I say, “I remember you from the porn store”? Or something innocuous like, “I worked at a movie rental place” and see if they catch on? Or just play dumb and act like I have no clue where we have met? Help me out here… you know I could use any help I can get 🙂
I really need to quit hearing just bits of pieces of conversations. Last night at the blogger meet-up, I overheard about serial pee-ers in libraries and porn stores, opening doors naked while holding a gun, Cheeseburger Jerry, Beth Gottstein, and unicorns doing it. Or maybe unicorns doing it is just burned into my head because Cubicle Gangsta’s shirt depicted that scene : )
Thanks to all who came out last night, and to those who put the meet-up information on their sites. Here’s a list of blogs represented last night. If you remember anyone else, please leave me a comment so I can add the appropriate offenders.
Flogging of America
Happy in Bag
Hip Suburban White Guy
My Town, My Take
Rambliings, Rants & Mommy-hood
Sader Family Blog
Smells Like Bullshit
Thoughts from Kansas
Three O’Clock in the Morning
If I missed you, please go easy on me as I’m compiling this list the day after a few too many drinks. And to those who couldn’t make it, there’s always next time…
At the porn store, there were more than a few times when customers really embarrassed themselves. One time a guy was swinging a double dong around and accidently hit himself in the nuts so hard that he fell down. Another time, a woman was laughing so hard at a novelty toy that she peed on herself.
And my favorite was when a husband and wife were picking out a strap-on. The woman told her husband, “I get to fuck you with this!” and then someone from their church came around the corner in the store.
So I was curious… have you ever had anything embarrassing happen at a store, a bar, or anywhere in public? I’ll throw one of mine out for you… My boob popped out — Janet Jackson style– at my wedding during our first dance. Thankfully, I was able to shove it back in my dress before anyone noticed… or at least I tell myself that : )
Are you up for an unofficial KC blogger meetup?
Tuesday, April 17th
Happy Hour until ????
Harry’s Country Club
(Harry’s in the River Market, NOT Harry’s in Westport)
112 Missouri Ave
Kansas City, MO 64106
If you would like to help get the word out, put the info on your site… kind of viral blogging : )
Stop by if you up for it, down for it, or whatever the case may be : )
Keith suggested I write about how I started working in the porn store. After going to a Christian college where everyone knew my business, I moved to Kansas City where I knew no one. I loved being anonymous in a city. I could now drink at a bar until I fell off the bar stool, and pretty much no one batted an eye.
I looked for a regular job, but until I found one, I really needed money to support my drinking habit. I looked for part time jobs only the way someone completely burned out on Christian college could… by applying to places that would be scandalous. Note that I didn’t apply to any strip clubs, not even as a cocktail waitress, so “scandalous” was apparently pretty tame to my sheltered little mind at the time.
My part time job search ended with two job offers… Hooter’s and the porn store. In theory, I probably could have rocked the pantyhose and orange shorts combo at Hooters back in the day. But, as my husband likes to tell me, I have no business being a waitress. My apathy would show on my face instead of a smile, and that would mean no tips (and no drinking money) for me.
Instead, I decided to take my apathy to the porn store. And the rest, as they say, is history… or at least a good ice breaker at parties : )