Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dirty Old Man: In the style of Behind the Counter

You asked for it … you know you wanted it ... now you got it.

It’s one of the rare Friday nights that I work – because we all know that I can’t get enough of the House of Wal – and I’ve yet to find a man wealthy enough to keep me in the style to which I could become accustomed.

I’m alone at Customer Service – of course – trying not to think about how much my feet hurt. I’m sorting through a cart of returns and cataloguing the stuff that’s been stolen and already hating the fact that Christmas carols are playing on the speakers.

Suddenly Customer Service is mobbed with people. Old people. Young people. WOACAs. Tall people. Short people. Skinny people. Fat people. I think I even saw some Canadians. Not too much in the way of white trash though.

They are obviously all together, because they have the same T-shirt on, but I can’t quite make out the connection. Orange and white T-shirts don’t ring a bell with me for anything other than Tennessee football – and somehow, I don’t think that’s it for this group that is wandering around in the bowels of Florida.

ME: “Can I help ya’ll?”
THEM: “Yeah. We want to return these posts.”
ME: “Fence posts? We don’t sell fence posts.”
THEM: “No. Your stories.” Oh. You mean the ones I wrote? The ones you didn’t write? The ones you didn’t create? The ones you didn’t put out there?
ME: “What’s wrong with them?”
THEM: “We don’t like them.” Cause nobody like nothing they get for free.

ME: “Oh.”
THEM: “Yeah.”
ME: “What specifically was wrong with them?” Other than the fact that no one likes change?
THEM: “Did you really intend to regurgitate this same story all week long, but in a different style each time?” Yep. That’s pretty much what I said I was going to do. Yeah. One story, five times.

ME: Speechless. Realizing at this point that I have never misjudged something so badly in all my life. My first boyfriend. My second girlfriend. Any decision. Ever. In the entire history of time. This ranks right up there with Little Bighorn or the decision to invade Russia in the winter.

THEM: “Well, when we first started reading, you were kinda funny. We liked you then. The first few posts were fine. But the last ones in our RSS reader really sucked. They sucked hard. They sucked like a Lewinsky-bot. We want to return them. We didn’t hardly read them. They have the html tags on them and everything.”
ME: “But see, you did read them. I can’t give you money back on something you already read.” And you read it for free. Didn’t even click on my ads now did you?

THEM: “The posts didn’t look good – especially that Jane Austen mess. And don’t get us started on Gabriel Garcia Marquez and that priestess wench. We want some cash back. Right now.”
ME: “Well, do you got a receipt.”
THEM: “Naw man. We read it online. Books are so like last century.”
ME: “Well, you can’t have cash back without a receipt.”
THEM: “No. That is not acceptable. These posts were NOT ACCEPTABLE. It crashed my browser and I DEMAND MY CASH BACK!”

ME: “Look. Ya'll got them for free. On the Internet. And you don’t have a receipt.” Why are you complaining? If you hated it, wait a week. It changes, like the weather.
THEM: “I demand to speak with an editor immediately.”
ME: “I write it. I edit it. And you’re going to have to deal with it.”
THEM: “I still want a refund. And some free hosting for my trouble.”

ME: “Like I said. It was free. I can’t refund something you got for free.” This isn’t Wal-Mart. I’m not a spineless jellyfish of a manager. You can and will be getting the big N-O as an answer.
THEM: “Do you realize how long I’ve been reading here?”
ME: “And?” I realize you care. You care enough about me to leave hateful troll comments imploring me to stop even though I was clearer than glass about the fact that this was a five-day experiment.

THEM: “If you won’t refund these crappy posts, I’m going to take you off my RSS feed.”
ME: “Thank you for your feedback. Would you like a comment card?” When you’re done, drop them in that round can with the plastic Hefty bag inside. Please. Yes. Do take me off your RSS. If you're reading me on RSS, you’re not giving me ad impressions. And if you really dislike my writing enough to leave me a venomous comment, I’m not so sure I want you around anyway.
THEM: “This is stupid. If you want to keep your readers, stop it.” Don't drink too much of that there haterade now!
ME: “Thank you for your feedback, would you also like a comment card?”

THEM: “But we’re important. We are your readers. We demand to be heard.”
ME: “That’s right. I’m listening. I’ll never do anything like this again.” I SWEAR BY THE MANY ARMS OF SHIVA THAT I WILL NEVER DO ANOTHER TRIBUTE POST AS LONG AS I AM ALIVE. McDonald’s could take a lesson from me. Stick to what you know.

THEM: “I'll be back next week when things have hopefully gotten back to normal.”
ME: “You do that.”
THEM: “So we’re cool then? Can we get back to normal now?”
ME: “I guess so.”
THEM: “Good. But let that be a warning. Don’t stray from the path again.”
ME: “I can't deny the fact that you hate me, right now, you hate me.”

Regular posting resumes Sunday or Monday. And we have another guest post this week. Thank you for all your comments, emails and diatribes. Even if you hated it. ☺


Anonymous said...

Welcome back.. it's all good.

Sarah said...

This was cute.

emerae said...

Well, I liked them. And I don't care what anyone says. They were free and they made me smile and they pleasurably killed a few moments between earthly torments and I liked them.

Too much entitlement in this world.

Thank you for not doing an Anne Rice one, though.

Anonymous said...

I think you have a lot of talent as a writer from viewing those posts. Do whatever you want.

It's not your fault that most people read at a third grade level and can't appreciate writing.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

LOLOL! This one is excellent! I agree with Anonymous number 1, you DO have talent, Girl!!

Anonymous said...

Ghahahaha! That's awesome!
Don't pay any attention to those haters. You are a gifted writer and obviously very creative. And you gave fair warning.
I loved the posts! Especially the Amazone one and the Steven King one.
Nice job and please do keep surprising us! ;-)

Anonymous said...

You wanted feedback, did you not? Otherwise you would have closed comments for those posts. Why bitch about what you got or act perplexed? If no one had left any comments and said it wasn't a good idea, would that have made you happy? Perhaps if they stopped reading altogether?

DC Smith said...

Huh. I thought the Jane Austen version was the best of the bunch.

Anonymous said...

This is the first post I've left here, but I've been reading (and really enjoying) this blog for about a month. I disliked the other styles because your style of writing is so great! I showed your blog to my husband and he agreed. You put your reader right there with you and all the crazy people you deal with. This is your blog, and as you well know you're free to do with it as you please, but you have a great talent for writing, and I'd hate to see that be pushed aside.

Anonymous said...

Wow, readers can be so rude! ;-)

I said it before, I'll say it's your blog. Write it the way you want to.

Anonymous said...

I loved them all. Write what you want. You write well enough to do that. What is so hard to understand that the experiment would last one week, then the blog would go back to normal. I love your blog and read it daily, but good Ganesh, it was one week. Some people may need more of a life.

SalGal said...

I know my comment doesn't mean much and probably won't get read seeing as how there are about a bizillion of them, but I wanted to say this:

Even though I wasn't hot on the idea, I think it's great that you tried something different. I was particularly fond of the Biblical version. I think another version that would've been pants-wetting hysterical would've been to tell the story in the style of the Valley Girl.


Josh said...

And appropriate mea culpa.

BeadKnitter said...

I enjoyed your experiment. In fact, I am amazed at how you can write in so many different styles like that.

If folks are that sensitive about how you write your blog, you don't need them as readers anyway.

Blog on!

Anonymous said...

ok, i've said it before, and i'll say it again...

the reason i don't care for those other voices is because...


i'm here, reading your shit, and eventually will be buying your novel, because i freaking like the way you write. not the way *they* write, the way YOU write.

please get that through your thick non-gender-specific skull.

air kisses like i mean it, sunny

GrecoRoman said...

The posts didn't so much for me, so I didn't read them,. But it's YOUR blog. Write what you want. If I want to read it, I will, if I don't I won't. But I just don't see the need for people to post some of the more personally insulting comments that where here on the 1 or 2 posts I did read. People, just move along if it doesn't interest you...

Anonymous said...

I liked all of the stories! It's a good thing your didn't do one in the style of Laurel K. Hamilton - vampire erotica w/ a bit of storyline to keep things kosher.

invisible dragon under the bed said...

It was a week of snickers for me; especially the Stephen King version. It's your blog, your choice what to put here. If others don't like it, they're free to read something else.

Dare I say I hope you do it again?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back... however I still loved the Jane Austen attempt.

Matt said...

So..... does this mean no more Stephen King attempts? Shit.

Don't let the haters bring you down. It's always easy for the less creative to knock those with talent. Much harder to actually try to expand your creative universe.

Anonymous said...

i'll give you that the concept was interesting, but it probably would have been far more successful if you chose a different (and actually interesting) story each day.

however -- i have to concur with the commenter that brought up that you ASKED for feedback. not only did you ask for feedback, but you created a poll asking for our opinions. then you turn around and get all pissy that we gave it to you? yeah... not feeling bad for hating this past week of posts whatsoever.

Matt said...

Log in with some actual names, if you have such insightful posts to make.

Anonymous said...

i am not going to say that i particularly liked those other writing styles (they weren't so much my cup of tea), but i was impressed with the creativity and insight displayed in them. that took a lot of effort and it was pulled together very well. there is nothing wrong with experimentation, in fact i highly encourage it.

p.s. i'm an anonymous asshole because i have NO desire to add yet another acct to my vast list. you can call me mariposa if you so desire

Wry Exchange said...

I read your blog daily, and I enjoyed reading this week's posts. I sat and laughed, and thought about how much fun you must've had while writing in different styles, and admired your discipline and creativity.
Thank you.

staticwarp said...

i still havent googled jane austen. i'm open to any of your experiments, and i love this blog more than all the others, and i love your non-gender specific-ness, as one commenter put it.

i think an epic post in the style of terry goodkind or r.a. salvatore would have been cool. but thats just me...

High-Maintenance & Hostile Heidi said...

I'm sick with the flu for a week and look at what I've missed!

I agree with the majority: write what you want on YOUR blog.

I haven't had a chance to read your other stories, but this one cracked me up. "Haterade" made me laugh as I have been living on Gatorade the past week! YOU ROCK!

brspiritus said...

1) I have my own blog and I KNOW what fun it is to have haters around.

2) I click an ad every time I'm here because I know how hard it is to get someone to click an ad. Seriously people just click the damn ad, you don't have to buy anything, google won't put spyware on your computer, and you can kill the popup window when it's done loading... gee now was that hard?

3) I loved the Steven King post, that was excellent.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

when is Blue Vested Canary writing again? Bring them back!

FARfetched said...

I am sooooooo glad I hadn't gotten up for a glass of water… I would have splorfed it all over my laptop! Haters, whiners:




It'll be good to get back to normal though. I have to admit I set foot in a Wal-Mart today, though. Sorry. It wasn’t too terribly crowded, and I won’t be going there on Black Friday youbetcha.

Anonymous said...

Well... they truly did suck.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I'm posting anonymously just to piss off Matt, aka Mr. F-bomb.

Anyway, I find it a little amusing how many people all of a sudden LIKE the different writing styles now that she has expressed dismay over her negative comments.

Some thoughts:

-I feel bad that it didn't go over as well as she'd hoped.
-Whether or not anyone liked it has little to do with reading ability.
-There is no law that says you MUST cater to every whim of your readers, but it's always a good idea to take their opinions, thoughts, and feelings into account when writing.

That being said, I'm glad things are back to normal. I look forward to reading the clever ranting again.

Andrea said...

That was seriously funny. I love all your blogs, but it did get a bit redundant :) Love your blog though.

Anonymous said...

Matt! Seriously! You have control and anger issues as well as a potty mouth. Stop concerning yourself with other people and their business and just worry 'bout yourself, you'll be less stressed.

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time commenter...

I did not complain about the experiment this week.

I did not like it either.

I totally LOVED this response to all the haters.

It doesn't matter what you write about, but your own style is definitely the most entertaining.

In Recovery said...

Dude, you rock!

j-yo said...

Hey, guys, don't be hating on someone just because he took a chance and did something different! I enjoyed the tribute entries, but even if I didn't, I'd be so blown away by the effort and talent shown this week.

However, I AM thrilled to have your "voice" back. Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

OK, there are a lot of good points in the comments, but I have something else to say.

Did anybody else notice a (kind of) compliment in there? I'm talking about this sentence... "Not too much in the way of white trash though."

On another note; what about the orange & white t-shirts? What does that signify?

Anonymous because it's easier,

Joe said...

An interesting experiment. You're very much correct when you stated that readers are very .... vocal in their demands, even when it's free and even when they can likely find another source of entertainment elsewhere. It may/will piss you off whenever a reader writes in with a "u sux lolo" comment, but do take consolation in the fact that they did actually take the time to write (and judging by some of the comments, that's a pretty huge effort on behalf of a couple of the people who wrote in).

It's the readers who don't bother to write that you need to worry about. The others have an attachment already and are somewhat loyal.

While I'm not a fan of Steven King, I think I enjoyed that one the most, but I am glad to see you are back to your own style.

Anonymous said...

I like in the style of "Behind the Counter." I would stick with that one!

John said...

I waited until the end of the week to leave a comment... I didn't recognize some of the authors, and I've never been a fan of the Jane Austen "flowers and perfume and violins and fluttering hearts" to begin with, but I have to say that the Stephen King version was absolutely f**king brilliant. The bit about the lines in the parking lot being like teeth still sticks in my mind- it reminded me of a scene in "The Fog" where the main characters were stuck in a supermarket somewhere in southern Maine.

I started reading your blog about six months ago, and it's become one of the few that I read regularly. Thank you for writing it- I'm sure it's a stress relief for you, but it's also a stress reliever for me to read it and know that I'm not the only person out there who's constantly aggravated by the rampant stupidity in this country.

I live in Orlando and used to live in New Smyrna Beach, so most of the personalities you describe in your stories- the redneck mommies, the WOACAs, the rich assholes with entitlement issues, the tourists returning buckets of sand along with their "never used but somehow smelling of the ocean" merchandise... I've seen the same people up here, which only makes your blog that much more entertaining.

It's also made me consider WM employees in a different light... if anything I find myself going out of my way to be friendly with them, even the ones who attack me with apathy as soon as I walk in the door.

So thank you for the blog- I look forward to your future posts.

Scarlett said...

I like your blog a lot and I like this entry, but felt the need to comment. There are a lot of people on the internet who believe the anonymity of the computer is their own private license to spew vitriol and attach people personally. But if you put yourself and your writing out there in a public space for all to read, you have to expect comments and criticism. It just goes with the territory.

Anyway, I'm sure it's been a good learning experience and it's clearly not discouraged you. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger! Keep up the writing!

Anonymous said...

An objective comment: I thought your experiment was interesting, it showed your flexibility as a writer, but from an editorial veiwpoint I found them to be a bit longer than necessary and since you were reusing the same experience each day it became repetative. Trying a different style but with a different story would have been better.

And seriously, you should try to put together a book proposal based on this blog, the 'wally diaries' or something like that. I tell my sister, who works at a drive-through, that she should do the drive-through diaries because of all the crazy s*** she sees (naked sex fiends who get off on having sex while ordering extra large 'hotdogs' and stupid teens who can't put out their smoking j's when the cops are sittling inside have their lunch) but she's not much of a writer.


Anonymous said...

The orange and white = Blogger icon.

I also liked the stories, esp. the Steven King one (and left an anonymous comment saying so).

Anonymous said...

that post is what ive been waiting for. (i dont mean the "no more tribute" thing, i mean the "stop whining about what i choose to write and you get for nothing"). executed perfectly as well.

Anonymous said...

What is a WOACA?