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Saturday, November 19, 2005 

Munch Worked in Retail

I know why he Screams

In my previous life back in Canada, I was a production manager for an ad agency. I very rarely dealt with clients since that was the job of the account executives so I never really honed my "people" skills. My job was to make sure things got done on time, on budget and without mistakes. Because I have been described as a demanding, critical, austere and meticulous person, I did very well at my job but meant that my superiors had to keep clients away from me and that suited me just fine.

Now, that I have to deal with dozens of customers a day, I feel out of my element. I literally have to bite my tongue so many times in a day, it's a wonder I still have one. The stupid things that come out of people's mouths just invite my wrath. The stupid things they do, send me off the deep end. Thank God we own the stores otherwise I would have been fired by now if I was working for anyone else.

I've blogged some examples last year and in January of the odd things that I deal with but if those aren't enough to convince you that I'm daily driven to the brink of insanity, keep reading. There's more. Now, I want to blog the things people have DONE in our stores as well as what they say.

The Porno Section
This section of both stores is in a separate room and I monitor it like a hawk. Why? Because men just can't seem to keep their hands out of their pockets. We have posted signs outside the room to let them know it's monitored by CCTV but that doesn't seem to deter them from doing the unthinkable. When I confront these deviants to kick them out, Mount Vesuvius has nothing on me when I explode. One guy even had the nerve to ask me why I was so angry. He was lucky I was wearing boots that day otherwise he would have had my shoe print on the back of his neck.

Then there are the customers who complain that their porno DVD has no subtitles. ????!! I just tell them that grunts and groans are pretty much a universal language and don't need subtitling. If they're missing the "plot" in a porn movie then maybe they need to be talking to a sex therapist instead of renting porn to begin with and bugging me about such stupidities.

Underage kids who try to rent porn irritate me. When I refuse to let them into the porn room without ID, their standard response is "My mother doesn't mind." My response to that is "I'm not your mother. Let her come in and rent them. " And I send them home to do their homework.

Kids & Parents
One girl brought a bicycle in the store to ride it while her mother was choosing a movie. I waited the obligatory 10 seconds for the mother to say something to her child. She didn't. So I told the girl to remove the bicycle from the store and I'll take mine to her house so we could ride them together in her mother's living room. The mother wasn't too happy but at least I didn't have to explain to our insurance company how a 7 year old broke her leg riding a bicycle in our store.

Another woman's 4 year old urinated on the upstairs' floor. When the mother came to the counter I thought for sure she'd ask for a mop since I had seen the whole thing on CCTV. Instead, she asked me to clean up the mess without one hint of embarrassment on her face. I took the mop and bucket upstairs and told the child that I didn't like what he did especially since he did it out of spite because his mother wouldn't buy him the Finding Nemo DVD and that it better not happen again or he would not even be able to rent Nemo let alone buy it.

Why parents expect me to do their job of disciplining and monitoring their children is inexplicable. This happens far too many times. Parents don't have the backbone to tell their spoiled kids to behave when in our stores. They will tell the children that the "lady" is going to get mad at you if you don't behave. Of course, I will get angry but why should it be MY job? I'm not the parent. No store clerk has ever admonished my son in public, I was always quite capable of disciplining him myself. I've been asked to lie to their children as well and tell them that we don't have a particular movie when we do or that the MP3 player they want is not for sale. And then the same people wonder why I have to be so rude about it.

When we first opened the stores, 10 & 11 year olds would rent movies like Hellraiser, Nightmare on Elm Street and Scarface or other movies I would think was inappropriate for children of such a young age to watch. I used to phone the parents to inform them what their children were watching and then I stopped phoning because not one parent ever told me not to rent the movie. Sometimes, I still refuse to rent certain movies to kids anyway just because I don't think anyone under the age of 18 should see a movie (marketed as a thriller) about the notorious paedophile serial murderer John Wayne Gacy .

I could go on and on but this blog has to end some time and I need some material for my next Snitch 'n Bitch instalment.

I swear, some of those paragraphs could have been written by a teacher in Ontario. :) I should know...

We teachers are expected to be baby-sitters and to do the job of disciplining the kids. But we can't discipline the child with effective measures i.e. spank them or scold them with angry tones of voice. Why not? Because the parents would then get angry. So we are supposed to be impotent teachers/baby-sitters/benevolent guardians.

Parents often argue that they don't have the time to be effective parents. So my question is: why did they have children in the first place? I just needed to get that question off my chest.

Please forgive me for starting a sentence with 'because'. :):)This is a wonderful blog you have. I feel that you are really letting readers see the true Greece.

Just excuse me a minute - gotta pick myself up of the floor and stop laughing.

Oh franje, I dunno about seeing the true Greece, for a minute I thought I'd been beamed back to the UK (uh, the thought of it - who needs a horror movie?)

And that bit about sub-titles and plots in porno movies - oh, here I go again, and my ribs just can't take any more hysterical laughter

frange, I just had a quick look at your blog, saw 'Maybe London'!?! Oh well, maybe like the true Greece. Just colder and wetter (honestly!) Maybe a big city is... a big city?

Dammit, I had a comment typed out and hit keys and closed the damn window.

At any rate, seriously, people are just...I won't say it. I keep wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt but something blows it every time.

What exactly are the guys looking at in the porn section that gets them all hot and bothered? The covers? Jesus, if it is that bad maybe they shouldn't leave the house. They can buy a 2 euro newspaper and get their porn. Blech.

And what kind of person raises a child that PEES if he/she doesn't get his/her way? Seriously, that woman should have given it a lot more thought before she procreated. I mean, I can't even IMAGINE such a thing.

You should have rubbed the mothers nose in the urine! It works when training dogs so why not humans.

I say the rub the mothers nose and not the childs because the mopther needs training before there's any hope whatsoever for the child.

When I was a kid, all it'd take would be one look from my mother and I'd know I'd pushed it as far as I could go.

Anyway, I'm gonna have a read of your blog from home (this comment is being typed from an internet cafe in Bombay Aiport)...

So as the Indians would say: Kindly expect another responce after some time!

Hello Franje and welcome to my corner of the blogosphere! Compared to your experiences as a teacher, my problems with kids and parents pale in comparison. I don't think spoiled kids are unique to Greece...everywhere I've been, I see it. I see it when tourists come to Greece and their kids are no better behaved than the ones next to them. I agree with you and Mel that parents shouldn't have kids if they aren't committed to raising them properly. The world is full of enough adult reprobates, we don't need to train more kids to replace them.

Mike...if you think the subtitle one was funny...read on. A guy came into the store to return a movie called "Sluts with Nuts" (our biggest porn rental bar none) and it was overdue for a week. He complained that he was appalled with what was in that movie and that he shouldn't have to pay for it. LOL I told him that if he was so "appalled" why did it take a week for him to return it? And what about the cover of the movie didn't he understand since it graphically depicted exactly what the movie would contain. I'd still be laughing on this one if it wasn't so common.

Ellas! So you DO have internet connection in Bombay! Well done. Good to hear from you. :-) I really did feel like rubbing the mother's nose in it but she claimed that the child couldn't find the bathroom in time. Maybe I misread the whole situation but I somehow doubt it since neither the child or the mother bothered asking ME where the bathroom was.

My favorite in retail was "the customer is always right." I hated to hear that from my customers. I would have loved to work retail in Greece. At least they don't have to put up with rude customers here in Greece and they can tell them off!

Very funny post with a very serious subject. I would hope that when my kid goes to the video shop alone, they would refuse to allow him to rent these hideous horror videos or porn. I agree with Mel too. I would be horrified if my kid PEED because he didn't get his own way. It is hard sometimes to have to tell him he can't have ALL the things that his friends have but I still have to tell him. That is my job. Kids are just too spoiled in my opinion and they are growing into greedy obnoxious adults.

Diva...these stories are always funny after the fact...but when I'm dealing with each situation real time, it's everything I can do to keep my temper in check.

When I used to phone the parents about the movies their kids were renting, they seemed irritated with me for making the phone call. I did give up doing it for several reasons:
1. most parents thought I was the one with the problem
2. there just got to be too many phone calls in the run of a day and I don't have the time to do it each and every time.

Teenagers I will let slide on the horror movies most of the time but the little kids...I never rent them those movies no matter how much they whine.

It is hard sometimes to have to tell him he can't have ALL the things that his friends have but I still have to tell him. That is my job. Kids are just too spoiled in my opinion and they are growing into greedy obnoxious adults.

This is exactly right. EVEN IF you could give him all the things that his friends have, it is not the correct thing to do so and definitely not without any sort of reward mechanism in place.

Greek parents are loving parents for the most part, and to a fault. I've seen the effects personally when my parent's generation moved to the US and Canada. My Canadian aunts and uncles were better off financially and in turn spoiled their children with all sorts of material things. They were allowed freedoms growing up that were not seen in our community in the US. They held on to this "liberal and enlightened" view as the better view on how to raise children. We, however, were raised in accordance to Greek 1950s style upbringing compounded with the fact that we did not have the financial luxury to obtain all sorts of goodies. Others in our community who were better off did not spoil their children either and raised them again with a stricter mindset reminiscent to how it was in Greece before they left.

Needless to say, nearly all of my cousins, who are adults now, have turned into varying degrees of failures. Some miserably so. All are selfish and still want, want, want. They're terrible parents because they put themselves ahead of their children and have THEIR parents help in raising their own children via money, nannying, and sometimes having the children live with their grandparents during the school week. All of the people I grew up with in the US went on to higher education and have become successful and some obscenely so. Now, financial success is not the be all and end all to a successful person and family however it does help a tremendous amount. I raised and continue to raise my children with a certain degree of discipline AND expectations. I expect them to be decent members of society and to strive for success. I spoil them to a certain degree because we can afford it, HOWEVER it is based on met expectations and not simple parental largesse. Children need boundaries in order to flourish no matter how much they want to step over those boundaries. They NEED them. This mentality that has infested the west of the complete coddling of children is a decadent, destructive behaviour on the children and society at large. We are seeing the effects before our very eyes.

The children that SeaWitch has problems with are the ones with parents raised in this exact "open, liberal, do whatever you want" environment and the seeds sown by THEIR parents have had detrimental effects for at least two, if not three generations now. For as much as my Canadian cousins were spoiled, my Greek cousins were even worse.

A great post Ethno. I totally agree with you and Diva. Even if you can afford to give kids everything they want, it just reinforces the idea that things in life will be handed to them on a platter without any work or effort. What a rude awakening they will have on the day they will have to work for it and haven't the slightest clue how to go about it.

I've tried to instill the money for work done principle in my son but it's 10 times more difficult to do this in Greece.When my son was 4 he announced to me one day that he was going to get a lollipop at the store and I told him "not without money you won't and since you don't need more sugar, I'm not giving you the money." He said "don't worry Mom, Mr. Giorgos (at the corner store) will give me one anyway." I went to see Mr. Giorgos next door and found out that my son was right. Yes, he was able to get things for free. Mr. Giorgos had been giving him sweets for quite some time and told me that he wasn't going to stop because he and his wife were in love with my son. I thanked them so much for their kindness but I tried to explain that I was trying to teach my son the "nothing comes for free in life" lesson and they were making it difficult. The only thing they did compromise was that they'd stop giving him things with sugar in them. LOL They weren't even an isolated case. My son's 11 now and they're still doing it...but now he has a conscience and leaves the money anyway.

So the examples I've mentioned in my blog aren't the norm...they're the exception...I just meet more 'exceptions' than most people would because I work in retail now. Greeks are wonderful with children...I'd rather a child be spoiled with affection even if it does mean he has too many toys.

been away again...reading this post made me realized am actually back here in Athens. I need to reimmerse...a dive into cold water.

and by they way do your clients ever queue??? here in our area they dont and I always end up telling them off..

I'm pretty sure Greeks don't understand the concept of standing in queue. At least from what I've observed. =)

A video shop with a porn collection? Hm, then you will enjoy the (now defunct) blog Ali Davis used to keep.

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