Eight and a half years ago my parents decided I needed a job.

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They thrust a stack of job applications into my hand and demanded that I fill them out. Unfortunately for me, all the applications they gave me were for retail jobs. What started that unhappy afternoon turned into an unhappy eight and a half year stint in various retail jobs. I was yelled at, mocked, belittled, spat upon (long story) and had creepers talk my ear off in the parking lot.

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I quit retail four months ago and I will never go back. I’ve had many stories I have been waiting to share once I couldn’t get in trouble by my bosses anymore, so I present the first in a possible series: ODE TO THE RETAIL WORKER. Today’s installment?

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It was a dark and stormy night….
I was glumly plodding to the back of the store, looking to price check the Easter candy after a demon customer unleashed her rage on the cashier.
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Another customer was waiting in the aisle, an old woman glaring angrily at the jelly beans as though they had murdered to her children. “WHERE,” she thundered in indignation, “ARE THE PRICE TAGS?!” (They were in plain sight directly underneath each brand, if you were wondering.)
I wearily opened my mouth to respond to the woman when a hurricane slammed into me from behind. A gigantic, beastly, BULGING man tackled me at roughly seventy miles an hour, lifting me off the ground and slamming me into the shelving. I thought I was under attack.
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I was seeing stars, jelly bean packages tumbling off the skewed shelves all around me like a rainbow waterfall. There are few times in my life I have been truly frightened. This was one of them.
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Turns out this guy was A) Higher than a kite, and B) super friendly. Too friendly. Up-in-your-business-in-a-creepy-girlfriend-kind-of-way friendly.
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After he set me down, still dazed, he proceeded to talk my ear off. “Hey man, how’s it going?” He sat there giggling, asking me the same questions over and over. He was the son of the angry old woman, who continued shouting questions at me as her stoned son continued shaking my hand and hugging me, as though her son regularly assaulted complete strangers in the Easter candy aisle.
In the course of five minutes, I learned his wife was evil, his daughter was a saint, he was really hungry, he thought I should be named John because I “look like a John from the front, but a Steve from the side,” and he was REALLY REALLY hungry. The smell coming off him was enough to make ME high.
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I stood there for twenty minutes, swatting him away as he kept trying to hug me, shouting out random prices in the general direction of his mother.
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The old woman finally stopped shouting questions at me and I tried to extricate myself from the Bulging Groper. He attempted to follow me up to the front of the store, but I lost him in the pillow section.
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I staggered to the front of the store, hair askew, jelly beans mashed into my uniform, smelling like a marijuana dispensary.
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The lady waiting for the price check was not amused at how long it took for me to get her price check.
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She came in again the next day.

My co-worker at the service desk didn’t believe me. Then the angry jellybean lady and Bulging Groper came up. His mom was unhappy with my sub-par customer service, and wanted more price checks. I cowered behind the counter as the Groper challenged me to an arm wrestle.
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After they left, I took a long break. In the Doritos section. I was REALLY hungry for some strange reason.

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