Toothless People  

Posted by Jonathan E Johns in , , , , , , ,

Well, for those of you who don't know, I work as a retail clerk in a liquor/cigarette store, that features a drive-up window. This is a kind of step down for me, career-wise, but right now, I'll take any job that comes along.

I am good at clerking, in a previous life, I was probably a general store owner in the old west, and I probably wore sleeve garters.


Just because one is talented at something, doesn't mean he wants to do it for a living, though. But I cannot choose my job right now, so I'll be satisfied with the idea that doing the job brings me money which allows me to live my life in a way that will bring me the satisfaction I don't get in a career.

As I spend my day selling my wares, I am practicing the habit of writing down notes so that later I can have something to blog about. As I've mention previously, this is not always productive...

My Manager/Owner prefers to listen to pop-country music on the overhead music system, and he chooses to play a popular radio station. I, personally, have not listened to the radio since I was about 12 years old, when I discovered that the 14 other tracks on an album (Or cassette tape, or 8-track) were often much more interesting to listen to than the one hit off the album that got played on every radio station ten or twelve times per day.

But I can usually stomach Pop music, it's the country part of the music that is driving me to throw myself under the next train that passes. The thing about country music is not the twang to it, or the fact that one can usually understand every single word uttered. It is the sentiment of the lyric. In the olden days, country music was of the 'cry-in-your-beer' type, where a man sung about a girl whose left him, or a woman sings about how hard life is without the man she just left. Little has changed in the Country Music theme, although I will admit that it has been modernized somewhat, and the girls who sing the songs these days look just as much like bar sluts as pop music girls do. Not that the Bar Slut look is bad. Seriously, it is hot and sexy, and I would guess that a girl on stage, or in a video wearing her laundry-day sweatpants (The ones with 'Juicy' on the butt, but with some of the letters missing) and the stained t-shirt, the only comfortable, but unflattering, bra she owns, and dirty flip-flops, well, that girl would not be a super-star in the music world. All I'm saying is, that the country girls dress up just as well, whereas in the old days they dressed like the Pennsylvania dutch. Much improvement.

The songs on Pop Country stations get as much over-play as those on regular pop stations, and I swear, during an 8 hour shift, I hear the same song about ten times. That, for you non-mathematical types, is more than once per hour. The current popular song in high-rotation is a Carrie Underwood piece telling us all a terribly sad story about a young 18 year old girl whose man has gone off to war, and is not coming home. It's catchy, in the same way that Measles is, and if you want to torture yourself, here is where you can listen,, and here are the lyrics,

In order to provide you, the generous reader, with this information, I had to listen to this song again, right here at home, and it was torture. I hope you appreciate it.

My point in all of this is this; All day long I have to listen to country music, and I try to hum my own tunes, more often than not, the old familiar ones which are hard to get out of your head. Bon Jovi's 'Livin' on a Prayer', Journey's 'Faithfully', Pearl Jam's 'Jeremy'. Songs you know the words to, that have the potential of drowning out the drawl. The thing about country music is that is it all about the emotion, but that can be said about any music, really, just look at the songs I posted. Maybe it is the fact that I associate the songs with people I know, or used to know, and don't want to think about.

Other than listening to country music all day, I do get to deal with a wide assortment of creepy people, which is always fun. People pulling up to the drive-thru window at 9 a.m. To buy a pint of vodka on their way to work, a nice couple with the litter of kidlets in the back seat arguing about which cheap cigarettes they will buy, because if they get the 1.7 liter of generic bourbon, they can only afford one pack. I can't say they are all degenerates, because I don't think they are. I have just never worked in a bar, or even spent much time in bars, and seeing so many drunks in the daylight is just new to me.

When I get to work at night, it is even more fun. Drunks driving up to the window, barely able to focus their attention on me waiting for their order, but buying a thirty pack of cheap beer, and a fifth of crème de menthe, talking on their cell, and texting on it at the same time. Makes me glad I am inside the building, and not out on the roads.

When I worked at Starbucks, my clientèle happened to be a little higher class, simply because we sold a luxury item, where as the stuff I sell now is definitely a necessity, but at my job now, the class is more in the line of the toothless, and poor. Of course mixed in with the hardworking construction guys, the farmers, and the female bank executives buying their Virginia Slims, and $20 lottery scratcher. It is a strange world.

We also sell wine, and in our little town, I think we are one of the best wine store around, both for price and varied selection. Selling the wine is my arena of excellence, and if I can steer enough of the patrons away from the gallon box of White Zinfandel, I feel like I've accomplished something.

There is definitely not as much flirting from the female customers as there was at Starbucks. I don't know if it is the Clients who don't see me there as someone to flirt with, or if it is that they are too in need of feeding their addiction to think of anything else.

Whatever the situation is there, it is not hard work, even if it is not rewarding. It brings me in touch with a lot of strange people, which is interesting. And it pays fairly well, which is a good kind of reward. I'll hold off on judgment of the place until my first robbery, now that the economy is crashing, that likelihood is rising fast.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 8:31 PM and is filed under , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



Actually, a girl WAS in your store Saturday night AND recognized you AND would have spoken to you but she said you wouldn't make eye contact.

October 22, 2008 at 9:22 PM

Well, I was working, and talking to a lot of people. Saturday Night is a lot busier than say, Thursday morning at 8:00 am at Starbucks, where I managed a crew of people to deal with customers while I chit chatted.

I guess the point is that in a Liquor store, women are less aggressive?

I have 'met' many people since I have moved back who say they know me, and I have no clue who they are.

It seems I make an impression on some people, but have no idea who they are.

Three guys this past week have recognized me, and started up a conversation as if they knew me, and I have no idea who they are.

What can I do...

October 22, 2008 at 10:29 PM

It was Susan Bartlett (now Susan Barlett-Alvey). Do you remember her?

She's moved back here with her daughter, Claire.

She was buying margaritas for our soirée at Carrie's. So when she arrived she asked "is Jon working at a liquor store?!" She said she recognized your voice. Maybe you could go back to being a DJ. You liked that.

October 22, 2008 at 11:12 PM

you know, i am only 17, ... and maybe my mom and dad actually taught me something, but i would never drink and drive... that's just scary!!!
plus last year, 5 of my friends died in a car accident due to drinking and driving.
plus we don't have drive up stores... that's wild!


October 23, 2008 at 6:04 AM

crème de menthe is my celebratory drink of choice after successfully escaping death at the hands of rage-infected zombies...

October 23, 2008 at 9:39 AM

awesome post, my man. nothing like a bottle of creamdeeminth and a case of chaser to drive those blues away! (there, i summed it all up--even got the driving ref in.)

dude, i am telling you: indie film. totally.

November 3, 2008 at 11:48 AM

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