Saturday, March 02, 2013

Behind the Counter: chapter six : Frollicking with FiFi

If I saw one person try to bring a dog into Wal-Mart, I must have seen a thousand in the six years I worked there.

I also laid eyes on customers trying to walk in with hamsters, ferrets, a three-foot lizard, a pair of matched macaw, a smattering of felines, three parakeets and a grand total of five actual service dogs. Four were leading vision impaired customers, the fifth was trained to detect some sort of condition in a young girl. .

Nothing really exotic (no livestock) ever came through though, unless you count the customers. That zoo never ended.

One leggy, spray-tan, crystal belly ring type smuggled a dog past the door greeter under her Pinky-pink Juicy Couture velour track suit.

She pops the dog out as soon as she's past a register, so of course someone asks her to please take the animal outside.

She doesn't argue. She just keeps walking. Away.

The visibly perturbed supervisor, a short, squat man named Nick who has always loved ordering the rest of us around, chases her and orders the dog out of the store.

The girl cries fake tears, pleads, whines and then raises her voice a little.


As she leaves, she gets about 10 feet away starts talking to the dog loud enough for us to hear.

Her opening sentence? "I bet if I was Paris Hilton they wouldn't throw me out of here!"

About ten feet from the door and half the store from Nick, she yells out: "F**** you, a######," flips off the door greeter, kicks the trash can and leaves.

What a delightful morning.

Afternoons could be even better. Too hot for the snowbirds to be outside, early bird specials don't start till four. What to do? Shop at the Wal-Mart!

The persnickety type.

The type that shop at Wal-Mart.

The incredibly stupid type.

The type that try to bring in a cute little Yorkie so sweet sweet FiFi there can lay in all the beds and see which one fits her best, yes princess can!

The door greeter stopped Mr. Smith as he walked in, put FiFi in a buggy and tried to enter the store. Mr smith took FiFi to his car, zipped her into a breathable mesh and durable leather puppy traveling case and tried the opposite door. SuperCenters have multiple entrances; ours had five but much larger stores existed.

I'd have put more than even money on him getting the dog through, but he ran into a bit of bad luck when the dog yapped right by the greeter.

He demanded a "manager."

Somehow, I got sent over. The stance on dogs is clear: no. He finally got that.

So, to punish me for ruining such a lovely Thursday afternoon of shopping for Mr smith and FiFi, he decided to get even.

Mr. Smith: "I want a dog bed."
Me: "ok sir. But you cannot take the animal into the store with you."

Mr. Smith: "I can't leave her in the car!"
Me: "can you take her home and come back?"

Mr. Smith: "that's six miles each way in traffic! That's about 20 minutes and we are already right here. Wait. Can you watch her? Or how about that black girl right there? She just stands here by the door anyway. I'll be right back!"
Me: "sir. We cannot be responsible for your animal. "

Mr. Smith: "well I have to buy a bed. "
Me: "I don't know what to tell you sir. Maybe go to a pet store?"

Mr. Smith: "pet stores are expensive. Why do you think I'm here? The service?"
Me: "I don't know sir. "

But this does prove a break to the impasse. I offer to bring him samples of dog beds, although I refuse to allow the dog to sit in them.

Me: "Sir. Would you want FiFi wallowing around after 30 other dogs?"

But the comity enjoined at reaching a bipartisan customer-wage slave agreement quickly broke down.

Emboldened by the advance of his dog bed agenda, mr smith assumed a commanding tone.

Mr. Smith: "Now you take a good look."
Me: "oooooooo-Kay???"

Mr. Smith: "you get a REAL good look"

I'm clueless. Like a ballet student dumped on the ten-yard line at Homecoming with an ox of a lineman bearing down on one side and crushing self doubt on the other.

I have no idea what this man is telling me to "Get a look" at. I say so.

Mr. Smith: "I want you to pick out a bed that is exactly right for FiFi." This comes out at something between a shriek and a yell.
Me: "ok sir. I got it. She's a small dog. I'll bring those out first."

Five trips later, he's looked at every small and medium pet bed we have, even ordering me to bring out the medium and large cat beds "just in case."

He wants to know if we have blankets. I refuse.

He asks for different colors of two beds, which I fetch. And then a slight fault in the stitching means I'm sent back to Pets, which is left past 24 registers, 5 aisles of Pharmacy, the Pharmacy window, 8 aisles of HBA (health & beauty, ie personal care) and then! Pets yet again.

I got exercise that day.

I had a smile pasted on, although I was steady projecting "DIE BASTARD DIE" via the death ray in my mind.

I finally produced something he was willing to buy.

Of course he wanted to write a check.

He returned that dog bed less than two hours later, saying the dog would never lay down in it and it "looked much more uncomfortable in better light."

I said nothing about all the dog hair in the bed, on the bed and on the sides. The telltale dusting of FiFi's white hair stood out like Mormons in a brewery.

Return. Defective. Next.

The dog had no issue with the bed. But after we wouldn't let him in with his precious FiFi, damned if he was going to give us money. Running me like a raw recruit was just a bonus.



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