“Hey, how long you work here?” said the hurried man.

“Why?” I shot back.

“Because I wanna ask you a fucking question, that’s why.”


“Is there a payphone around here, where’s a payphone?”

What I wanted to say was, piss off, I haven’t seen a payphone since the last time I saw your mom, a decade ago. “I think there’s a payphone on the other side of the store,” I said.

“In the store? Jesus Christ, payphones are outside, they’re not inside the goddamn store.” Then he looked at me like I was the idiot and walked away.

If I could go back in time to that exact moment, I have a feeling it would have gone much differently.

0 0 0

“Hey, how long you work here?” said the flushed, rushed man.


“Because I wanna ask you a fucking question, that’s why.”

“Look, asshole, do I come to your place of work, pull out my dick and piss in your face? No, I don’t.”

“Fuck you. You stack fruit for a living! What’s your name? Where’s customer service?”

“Name’s suck my cock,” I pointed to the outline of my mine through my pants. “Go, complain, they’ll promptly file it under ‘Garbage’.”

“I’m going to find a fucking payphone and call your corporate office. Hopefully, they’ll fire your ass. Hahaha, I have you now you, you little fuckwad, he was probably thinking.

“Okay, wait…no,” I fell to my knees and cried out to the produce, “Noooo!” I screamed to a doomed existence illuminated by blinding LED lights overhead, “Don’t call my corporate lords!”

“What the fuck,” the man asked, squaring off with me, poised like a crazed badger.

“Fool. You really believe anyone of any minuscule importance to the company is going to speak to some asshole asking around for a payphone? Normally, they’d buy you off with a $20 gift card, but you’d need an address for that.”

“You. Fucking…” he huffed. A faint glow enveloped him and his shoes began to simmer and burst which sent blood, steel, and wire deep into the green tinged concrete floor. His torso transformed from sweat and fat into a payphone wearing skin with keypad button eyes and his mouth narrowed into a vertical slot for quarters which squealed out a metallic, “How about I just bury you here, produce guy. Ha ha, hahahaha! Ahh, ha ha ha!”

He swung his arms, now thin cords with enormous phones connected to the ends, into our fruit bins. Galas, Fuji, and Cara Caras collided in a kaleidoscope of grapes and yams flying in all directions. The customers, who’d been mindlessly walking in circles until that very moment, panicked and screamed as they trampled one another for the doors. There was a flash in my peripheral, he caught me off guard in the panic, bringing his right phone down hard. I dodged, but the sharp blast mutilated my left side.

I rolled right, just behind the berry case and stood hard on my feet as the monster raised both phones high. Its intent to kill me was clear. I had just one chance, “Green banana, soft apples’ power, rotting onion’s will entangle—spell of binding number 58.” I looked like a starfish in midair with blue bio-plasma raging from my limbs. Concentrated grocery magic from the secret books of Moses swelled up and burst out of me, snapping my limbs together like a binder clip. A soft hum crept from under the ceiling cameras with a rising beat, and then the crescendo of lightning swirled down the pillars around us. The hellish payphone screamed and collapsed backward as the second floor came down on him, pinning his arms to the ground.

The giant began choking up rubble as I neared it and stood over it and said, “If you would have just asked nicely I would have let you use my phone.” I brought my produce knife above my head and drove it into the keyhole that secured its quarters.

It coughed and gurgled, “God…goddamn you, produce boy. You think you’ve won?” Blood oozed from its mouth and buttons, “This, ‘his is just the start. You beat me, but more are on their way—they, they’re already here…” I twisted my blade and broke the lock, and the demon let out a piercing cry as change and acid charged up from its bowls, melting it into the foundation.




I Didn’t Make the Fucking Rules

“Excuse me. Can I exchange this?” A guy says to me, holding out a rotting avocado he’d cut a wedge out of.

“Sure, sir,” I began, “Just go to customer service, show them your receipt, and they’ll refund you.”

“No, no, I don’t want my money back, I want to exchange it.” He persisted.

“OK, sure! Grab an avocado and take it to customer service, show them your receipt, they’ll set you up.”

He furrowed his brow, “Well I don’t have a receipt.”

“Do you have a club card?”

“NO.” Now raising his voice slightly.

“Look, I’m sorry, I don’t think there’s very much we can do for you.”

“Why the hell can’t I just exchange it?”

“Cause that’s not how it works…everywhere. For all I know you you dug that out of a garbage can off the street.”

“I’m going to talk to a manager.”

“About what? A manager’s not going to be able to help you. We can’t just give people stuff for walking in the store and making demands.”

He looks at my name-badge and asks, “What’s your name?” I tell him and he starts to walk away.

“You’re going to file a complaint because I told you how things are?”

He just walks off in silence.

All you crazy assholes who want to start shit because you think an avocado has an indefinite lifespan–you’re stupid. And all your bullshit “complaints” get filled in a special bin right under the counter labeled “Recycling”.

Three Things that Guarantee Bad Customer Service

Get Angry. The moment you get mad you definitely won’t be helped: Sorry, it’s not in stock (nope, not in the back either), no you can’t return that, I’ll get that complaint filed right away (to the garbage). Nobody in this country is paid enough to be treated by shit by some other wage-slave because a manager (the person you should be bitching at) forgot to order the only brand of wheat bread you’ll touch to your lips.

My name isn’t where’s the bathroom, or what isle’s cheese on. My, like many companies, make us all where name tags so all you creeps can feel buddy-buddy while you buy whatever it is you fill your gullets with, so the least you can do is glance at the piece of plastic on my chest, and use my name. It’s better than assuming I’ll assume you must be talking to me instead of any of the other 300 employees who might be standing around.

Don’t insinuate I’m lying to you. The entire job revolves around sales, I’m not an anti-sales clerk, my job isn’t to convince you to shop somewhere else, yet so many of you seem to think I have shit stashed away in back and am just too lazy to bring it to you, when my only other job besides trying to talk to you is bringing all that shit from the back out, taking it out of its box or crate, and putting it on the shelf, so you can turn it into shit over the next 24 hours.

First Customer

Today as I was hunched over a cooler-well scanning fruit cups when a customer with a scraggly beard and grey, greasy, shoulder length hair; surrounding his spotted, bald, head, approached me and said, “Hey, you buyin’ this shit, er do you work here?”

” I work here.” I said, brushing off my name tag. “What can I help you with?”

“One of your fruit cups made me sick!” he blasted, while rummaging through the fruit cups, for what would probably be his breakfast.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah, it was the fruit cup I bought, I know cause of the processes of elimination, I narrowed it down–that’s the only thing it could have been.”

“Well sir, I don’t know what to say. That’s very strange, as we have the highest standards for procedure and cleanliness.” That’s not bullshit, by the way, I wasn’t just blowing air up the guy’s ass. I went on, “We wear gloves, and we’re very cautiousness.” Yada yada.

“Hey now,” he said, “I’m not trying to get unfriendly, just wanted to tell you. Cause I double tested it. And it made me sick.”

“Look, I’m very sorry.” I said. I’m not qualified to handle this bullshit, and I don’t really care because I know he’s full of shit, but I can’t say that, so I said, “If you want to pursue a claim, or file something, you need to go to customer service and have them take care of this issue for you.”

“Oh no, no it’s not like that. I just wanted to tell you. Cause knowledge is power, you know?”

First customer of the day at 7AM.

Butcher Brown on Customer Service

I was separating chicken breasts with Brown late in the evening, about this same time, years back. A customer walked up to the case. “Want me to help him, or you got it?” I asked.

“What?” His eyebrows were up to his hairline. He snickered. “This late? Fuck em, help me finish this shit. They can wait a couple minutes.”

Eventually, the guy just walked away. “Lost one.” I said.

“He was looking at the  pre-made shit, wasn’t gonna buy a T-bone. Fuck ’em.”