Attention, Shoppers!
November, 2010


I was speaking recently with someone about the flight attendant who'd had enough; he snapped, and resigned by opening the plane's emergency exit and sliding down the chute...

Everyone has their limit, their breaking point. Many years ago I had a job as a department store sales announcer. I sat in a small booth on the main floor of the store, and every few minutes, I had to click on the microphone button and broadcast to the entire store whatever
the current sales were. "Attention shoppers! Ladies' Wear, on the second floor is having a sale on hot pants! 20% off for the next 15 minutes! That's Ladies' wear, on the second floor!" I also had to urge shoppers to apply for the store's credit card, and promote whatever junk they were trying to move that day at discount prices. It was kind of cool to see people look up at the ceiling, listening to my voice, and then to watch them all shuffle toward whatever part of the store I'd just mentioned. Every day there'd be a new stack of ad copy I had to use, and I had to be on mike every five minutes, blabbing at people.

Just after Easter, they were dumping all the Easter stuff still in inventory at two-thirds off-- and people were supposed to bring their crap to the broadcast booth to get their markdowns. I was supposed to mark all the stuff 2/3 off-- and I had no head for fractions, at all. Math has always eluded me, except for very elementary adding and subtracting; I just ain't wired for it. So, I'm ass deep in anxious women, clutching tattered Easter baskets and ripped bags of candy and plastic ducks with one leg and so on, and they're shouting at me to give them their discounts-- and the Assistant Store Manager is needling me to get the ads read-- even as I'm trying to deal with the discounts! I just made numbers up. Whatever price came into my head was what I wrote on the stickers I put on their merchandise. Everyone seemed happy, and I probably lost the store hundreds and hundreds of dollars

Meanwhile, this Assistant Manager grabs the microphone and starts reading the ads, himself. Now, this guy has a voice that's a cross between a dinosaur coughing up a few large rocks, and a wino retching thru a kazoo. He's from New Jersey, or Philly, or somewhere where talking/honking thru your nose at really high volume is considered refined speech.

to apply for your store credit card by coming to the broadcast booth!") in English.

From then on, this little weasel just kept dropping by the booth and making announcements whenever he felt like it, even after the Easter sale had died down. Finally, I had enough.
When he sauntered over again one afternoon and reached for the mike, I said "I really wish you wouldn't do that, Jim." "Haah?? Howcum? Wassamattuh?" he asked.
"Well, frankly I'm afraid someone might think it's *me* reading that way, and I'd be incredibly embarrassed," I said. "Whaddaya mean?" he asked. "Uh... well... the thing is, you've got a voice like nails on a blackboard, and you sound like a low-rent carnival barker trying to snare rubes into the tent to look at some cooch. How about you stay the hell away from here and let me do my job?"

He came back with the store Manager, and I was fired about 5 minutes later.

I came back the next week to pick up my final paycheck, and on the way out, I saw that the broadcast booth was empty. They hadn't hired a replacement. I strolled bylooked all around, and snapped the mike button to the ON position. I leaned in and said "Attention, shoppers! There's no need for alarm, but a rabid dog has been spotted in Housewares, on the first floor. That's Housewares, on the first floor. A Rabid Dog, ladies and gentlemen. Foaming and snapping; confused and vicious! Please leave the store in a quiet and orderly fashion by the nearest available exit. Thank you! And thanks soooo much for shopping with us, here at ____________!"

Heads turned, people began milling around, I heard some muttering, and from across the store I heard the Assistant Manager shriek "WHATTHEHELL...?!"

The door did not hit me in the ass on my way out. It was sorta like an inflatable slide, but it caused a lot more confusion and panic. Never take crap from anyone. Ever

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