Sing a Song, Just Not That One

Posted by Ben on 2011-07-16

I work in retail. It’s exactly as annoying as you think it is, but a necessary evil when it comes to paying the bills and making sure I can actually write the comic. As per the usual when working in a corporate chain, there’s a whole bunch of rules, regulations and quotas to meet. One of the more annoying rules: no music in the store. Not just personal MP3 players and such, that’s obvious (actually, we’re not even allowed cell phones in the store), but we’re not allowed to pump public radio through the store speakers. Which is odd because the store is actually set up to have music, but the Wrath of God will come down on anyone who turns it on. Go figure.

Honestly, the draconic no music rule doesn’t bother me too much. I have, for lack a better description, a very loud thought process. It’s actually “loud” enough that sometimes I can’t tell the difference between me talking out loud and me thinking very intently (Back in school everyone wanted to sit next to me come test time). So give me a bit of pacing room and I can keep myself occupied for hours. What does annoy me are the side effects of the “No Music” rule.

  1. At least once a day someone comes in and says, “Wow, it’s really quiet in here, you should play music or something.” Usually in that exact phrasing. It’s a lot like dealing with an NPC in most video games. Limited lines of dialogue, and it really doesn’t matter what you say to them.

  2. Despite all attempts, the person complaining about lack of music will never sing a song with you. Not even Journey, not even “Don’t Stop Believing.” I’m pretty sure that most of our customers are robots. It’s not possible to have lived in the United States for more than two years and not sing a long to “Don’t Stop Believing.”

  3. The same person, who was just complaining about how quiet it is in the store, will also never opt to have a conversation with me. Instead we’re forced to stand around in awkward silence, not unlike a bad date, or holidays at my parents’ house. Hey hey! Listen! If you don’t like giant, yawning quiets why don’t you talk to the guy who’s standing right next to you? I don’t bite, and I’ll gladly chat about whatever topic interests you for hours.

  4. Regardless on whether or not there’s a customer in the store, my manager doesn’t like me whistling or humming “The Entertainer,” something about ice cream truck flashbacks. Whatever. I’ll have you know that song was a ragtime classic before it was used as ice cream truck muzak.

  5. If I sing under my breath while a customer is in the store, I usually get odd looks and quizzical stares (again, by the very same people who were just complaining about the lack of music). Though, God help me if I get the wrong song stuck in my head. The two worst songs are “Fuck Shit Stack” and (oddly enough) “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows.” Those two songs have actively drive customers out of the store. “Fuck Shit Stack” I can understand, but there’s something about me singing “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows” that scares people, particularly little, old ladies. I dunno, maybe I need to take voice lessons or something.

I could deal with the whole, “no music” thing if people would just leave me the hell alone. But I do work in a store and that means, occasionally, I have to actually deal with customers. Sometimes I even feel like selling something to them. Silly customers, the corporations care nothing of you or me.

Though there is a guy who gets triple plus DBC points for actually singing the chorus of Cee-lo’s “Fuck You” with me. Worst sale of the day, seriously I’d have been fired for making a sale that bad, but the rest of the region was also doing equally shitty. However, best customer I’ve had in months.

Now if I could only get some Pirate diddies going come next International Talk Like a Pirate Day.