Saturday, January 29, 2011

Get the fuck out!

Recently I had an encounter with a customer that ended with me asking him to leave. After he angrily stormed out, grumbling about what an unfair bitch I was, I began reflecting on all the times I have asked people to leave the store.

About two years ago we put up a "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" sign due to employees requests for a more comfortable service policy. For some of the employees it is difficult to ask a person to leave, especially if they seem unstable or possibly dangerous. Just because we work in a sex shop doesn't mean that we are aggressive and comfortable around everyone. For the first year I worked here employees were expected to handle customers in all situations. Since we were a small business we didn't ask people leave because hell, we needed people to know we were here. After establishing ourselves as a business we began to have more confidence,and therefore began to deal with the creepers and the potential bad customers more firmly.

The first time I ever asked someone to leave was at our stores Sexy Halloween party in 2009. A gentleman began walking around asking intimate and personal questions about all of our female customers. At first it was just annoying and we kept our eyes on him, but when he started becoming more aggressive I took action. Dressed as a french maid, I walked over to him, placed my hand on his shoulder and said "Sir, it's time for you to leave." And he did. Very quickly.

Street people are probably the people that we ask to leave the most. Since the store is located next to the public library, we get a lot of traffic coming through from people who sleep outside of the building. Sometimes they will come in to get away from the cold, which for me is fine, as long as they don't bug any customers. My boss doesn't like it, she asks them to leave right away to preserve our "high class" environment. When someone comes in with a satchel and a load of their belongings we are instructed to ask them to leave their things at the counter, or leave. On a few occasions I have had to call the police on a street person, mainly for them yelling at pedestrians outside the shop. There is a guy who has come in a few times (we told him if he comes in again we will call the police) and yells at us for being sinners and whores and terrible people. Honestly it scares the crap out of me. But luckily I have the police alarm below the counter if needed.

There comes a time when an individual (usually male) will come in and sit in our book corner for much longer than needed. Whether they are perving or just reading, after about twenty minutes I need to go up to them and tell them to either buy something or leave, we are not a library.

My recent encounter was actually a first for me. As I was talking to a female customer, a sketchy looking male came in and loudly asked to use our stores phone. My boss was out, which means I can't really make those kind of decisions without her permission. So I told him no, which angered him. He then asked if he could use my personal cellphone. Again, I said no. He then started asking customers in the store for their phone, and as I was about to ask him to leave the lady I was helping let him borrow hers and went outside with him. She came back in after a little bit, telling me that she regretted letting him use her phone. And of course, he came back in to bug her to get her contacts so that they could "hang out later". This is when I stepped in and asked him to leave, as she looked really uncomfortable. He didn't like this, but left, upset that I cock-blocked him. She stayed in the store for a little bit to make sure he was gone.

Working in a sex shop, you come across the strangest people, and some need to be dealt with harsher than others.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Customers of 1/23/11

Right when I opened the doors, people came in.

My first customer of the day was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted. She went straight towards the vibrators, then the lingerie, and then the lubricant. Before I even asked she whipped out her customer rewards card. Someone had a game plan.

Lesbian couple spent a good half hour trying and retrying on harnesses. Eventually I stopped putting the displays back on the mannequins because they kept wanting to try them on again and again .

Middle aged man comes in for help for shopping for his girlfriend. He tells me they've been together for only a month, and he wants to get her something, but not scare her away. Apparently she came here for one of our lap dancing classes and really enjoyed it, and he wants to buy her an outfit. I suggest to buy her a gift certificate so they can go shopping together. It's pretty hot watching your partner try on different sexy outfits. He ends up getting her a gift certificate and a massage candle.

Woman is yelling at someone outside the store. "Fuck you! I'm going inside." She enters with a smile and then looks around. She leaves shortly afterwards.

Guy comes in and stares at the masturbation sleeves for a while.

Young girl with ice cream cone asks if she can tape up a flyer

Young guy shuffles through our tights collection. He ends up buying over $200 worth of product, including vibrators, tights, cock rings, and lube. He says that they are gifts for his girlfriend for Halloween and Christmas. Wonder if he knows Valentines Day is around the corner?

Couple comes in looking for female Viagra. They buy erotic stimulation pills.

Couple comes in to look at rechargeable toys. The man notices that one of them is called "Ina". He tells me that was the name of his daughter that just passed away. Needless to say, it was a little awkward.

Two older guys come in and quickly walk around the store. They leave just as soon as they came

Guy with no shirt on comes in, peers over his sunglasses at me, and leaves.

Older couple ask me about cock rings and lube. They buy a we-vibe. The husband starts mentioning the time so that his wife will stop buying things.

Guy buys two spots for our Feminine Dominance class this Thursday, taught by pro-dom Rain DeGrey.

A group of giggly blondes ask me questions about products and then talk loudly about how they can get them cheaper on the Internet. Assholes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just saying hello

Sometimes during one of my shifts someone I know will drop by to say hi.

Since the sex shop that I work at is located downtown it is never a surprise to see a familiar face now and again. A friend will pop their head in to say hello, or come into the store to have a quick conversation. I like it, even if it may distract me from my work and annoy my boss. There are two situations that drive me crazy though when it comes to my friends visiting me at my work.

The first is when someone I know comes in and doesn't say hello. Usually this happens when they are on a shopping spree with their significant other. They will walk in and maybe nod hello, but other than that barely acknowledge my existence. Sometimes this happens even if they are my themselves. I understand the need for privacy, sex shopping is a personal experience, but it's rude to pretend that I am not standing a few feet away. Keep in mind that when someone I know does come in, I treat them with a common courtesy. If the are in fact shopping, I let them do it in private. But it drives me nuts when someone I know personally comes in and barely says a peep.

The other situation is when they over stay their visit. Sometimes I have friends who come in to visit me for lunch, or to chat for a little while. And then there are the friends who stay for hours. One time I had a friend stay my entire shift, just standing next to the counter. Needless to say, after hour three it started getting awkward.

Did I just do a post about people visiting me too much? Wow.

Is there anything you've ever wanted to know about working in a sex shop? Please ask!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wave to the camera

Due to frequent theft lately, my work is installing cameras. There will be three different video cameras placed above certain sections of the store. Two will be facing the vibrator section, where the most theft occurs, and one will be facing towards the book section, since employees sitting at the register cannot see that corner. They are being installed tomorrow. I'll be honest, I'm a little hesitant about this. I am all for protecting the store and making sure that these recent thefts stop, but I'm not sure installing cameras in the store is the right move.

First of all, this is a sex shop. People come in here trusting us not to expose them or publicize their purchases. When people I recognize come in, I do my best to make them comfortable, and not repeat to our shared acquaintances about their shopping habits. When I recognize customers when walking downtown, I do not approach them. Instead, I give a nod or a smile, but let them live their lives without exposure. I recognize that to some people sex is private, and the comfort of knowing that the person that just sold you your butt plug isn't going to broadcast it is pretty nice. So if we put cameras in, won't people feel exposed? Not everyone likes to be on camera, especially not when buying things for their sex lives.

On the other hand, we do need to protect ourselves. The number of theft is pretty great, and more than one employee, including myself, has chased down a shoplifter. Theft aside, cameras would also ensure our safety. Working the Saturday night shift at a sex shop is nerve racking. It is not unusual for drunk guys to come in and make trouble, or for a homeless person to start angrily yelling at employees. I once had a customer who started telling me that the problem with the economy is the Jews and they need to be searched out and dealt with. As a Jewish woman, this was terrifying. So perhaps having cameras in will make the crazy/drunk people back down.

But what about our shops reputation? Having cameras in a sex shop is potentially creepy. After all, it's a little like big brother watching you buy your dildos. I'm also fairly certain that we may loose customers once they find out we have cameras. Because seriously, who wants to have themselves video tapped non-consensually in a sex shop? We will have warning signs making people aware that they are there, but I feel people may feel violated still. Maybe violated is too strong of a word, but I'm pretty sure we will get some negative reaction.

Perhaps I am just overreacting. Myself, I don't care that I will be on camera. Sure, I probably can't goof of as much, but it's not like we have a person sitting watching the cameras all day. In reality the footage will only be seen if there is a theft. Then we will determine the day and searching for the time of the theft, and then report the person to the police department. So I guess unless you were planning on stealing from us, the cameras won't mean anything.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stealing from a sex shop

So lately theft has been at an all time high at the shop. Maybe its the economy, maybe it's the after holiday blues. Maybe people are just assholes.

So this week I come into work and my boss is freaking out. Someone stole two $125 high quality vibrators right off the shelf. She didn't even see it happen, they just disappeared. Also, this week four bottles of lubricant have disappeared as well. Now I know people steal, it is not uncommon for a cock ring or some small vibrator to go missing. On our first day open three years ago I caught a guy trying to shop lift and asked him to leave. A year later he came in and tried to steal a vibrator again, and one of the employees chased him down. But ever since then the shoplifting has been pretty minute.

I got a big lecture about how we need to watch people in the store. No more dicking around on the computer while customers browse. We need to go out on the floor and watch customers shop.

So my Sunday shift I did just that. Watched people more, made sure I knew where people were looking. Honestly, I felt a little creepy. Apparently I didn't do such a good job, because suddenly a $85 vibrator was missing. Seriously? What the hell people? I was furious, I still am. Stealing from one of the few sex positive, queer friendly, family owned, local sex shops is just messed up. We don't have the money to replace everything that gets stolen, we are barely staying open.

I swear if I catch someone stealing from our shop, I will beat them with a dildo and put furry handcuffs and a ball gag on them and walk them over to the police shop myself.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Customers of 1/9/11

-Two sorority girls giggle and shriek at our products. One picks up "The Cookie Sutra", a novelty kama sutra book featuring gingerbread people. She starts talking about how much she loves it because she "hates pictures of naked people and it's super cute, cause the other books are like ew."

I was in a college class six months ago with one of them. Even though she asks me questions straight to my face, she does not recognize me. Or if she does, she doesn't acknowledge it.

-Middle age couple comes in and is looking for a good flavored lube. Many of the ones they like have sugar in them, which is a big no no when you are using lube vaginally. Sugar in the vagina will cause yeast infections. She places tester lubes on her hand and has him lick it off. She tells me she is from New York, and he is from California, so most of the year she is away from her favorite sex toy.

-Older man with a strong accent comes in to ask for directions. He wanders around the store awkwardly.

-Two men in a row come in and by bottles of lube.

-Woman buys a $200 vibrator and gets store credit. She gets a free vibrator.

-Young couple buys lots of lube and vibrators.

-Old man keeps asking me the price of porn even though I keep telling him that the prices are on the back. He leaves saying he'll bring more money next time since thy were higher than he thought.

Okay, today is not as exiting as one would think. Pretty much I have been cleaning all day. As it gets closer to Valentines Day the customers will start to get more interesting.