Friday, September 01, 2006

My epic journey through cigar store hell.

Brace yourselves people, this is the longest blog post ever…and quite possibly my best. Read on, if you dare.

Friday September 1, 2006.... I know that the equinox isn't until Sept. 21, but for all intents and purposes, the summer is over. It's cool outside at night now (not that I mind that), the days are noticeably getting shorter and I go back to school in just over a week. And even though the days are getting shorter, this will be a very long one for me. You see, I've drawn a fantastic 10 AM to 9 PM shift here at the cigar store. Yes, eleven hours of this! Anyone remotely familiar with my job knows just how tedious it can be. There are some upsides for sure, those being that

A: I have an absentee boss (though he is coming in today to bring paychecks and other assorted stuff).

B: There are often huge gaps of time between people coming into the store.

C: I work by myself, so no jackass co-workers to put up with.

D: Um, I sit on my ass all day and get paid for it.

There is a downside however, that being the fact that time goes by oh so slowly. I often have trouble maintaining my sanity over the course of a five or six hour shift...this is going to be hell. So in order to give myself something to do, I've decided to keep a journal or timeline of the day. It would be cooler if I could do live updates, but my computer at work doesn't have internet access. Lame. Still, this should be fun.


10:07 AM- I stumble in the door seven minutes late. Thank God I don't have any customers or a boss here. I would have been on time, but I decided to go grab the paper, a coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Subway. Not as good as the ones I make at home, but it was okay. Hopefully the coffee gives me a boost.

10:24 AM- Sweet Jesus, a customer! I wasn't expecting this. I'm not even done my coffee yet. Some woman buys a few cigars and asks me if cigars are addictive. I say no, not really. Especially when compared to cigarettes. It's true, you're not inhaling them and such. Maybe there is a psychological thing, but as for a physical dependence, I sincerely doubt it. She was buying the cigars for herself you see, she had recently taken up the habit. Honestly I find a woman who smokes cigars to be very sexy. Unfortunately this one was pushing 70.

10:49 AM- Another customer. Some dude buying Cuban cigars for his friend back in the States. We get a lot of that.

11:20 AM- First hot girl sighting. I didn't see her face, but she was a blonde and had a great ass. Lots of cute girls walk by, but sadly none of them ever seem to come in. Not that it would really do me any good.

11:31 AM- Ugh, I have to go to the bathroom. There actually is a toilet and a sink in our small little back room, but the toilet is covered with many boxes and doesn't really work. You have to lift the lid to flush the thing and besides it's very grimy and gross. So I have to put a 'back in five minutes' sign on the door, grab my keys, lock the door, go downstairs, etc. It's such a huge ordeal and I hate public washrooms. On many occasions I've given thought to just peeing in the sink and saving myself the effort. But you'll be happy to know I've never actually done so; I guess that's what separates us from the animals.

11:50 AM- So I finally start to read the paper. I try and put it off as long as I can, so as not to finish all my reading material so early on. On page six there's an article about some silly new reality show called American Stripper (yes, I'm reading the Toronto Sun). Accompanying the article is a large picture of one of the judges on this show, an adult film star by the name of "Sunny Lane". I don't recall ever having seen her before and I think I would have remembered if I did. She is GORGEOUS. Strawberry blonde hair, pale skin, small frame, no gross fake looking boobs. I can't stop looking at this picture. It's actually starting to make me depressed. Where do I find a woman like this? Dear God, why can't I have a girl like this? I'll never have a girl who looks this good, will I? I hate the fact that my whole life I've had to settle (with maybe a couple of exceptions) for women I'm not really into, just because they're all I can get. I am now thoroughly miserable. I close the paper.

12:18 PM- Holy hell, more customers! What is this, Wal*Mart? 3 people in two and a half hours is a veritable rush here.

12:57 PM- I run to the bank to get change. We need loonies and no one else would ever think to get them. My co-workers are even lazier than I am. By run, I literally mean run: the only bank that will give me change is outside of the mall and across the street. Even though I personally bank with TD Canada Trust, they won't give me change for my place of work and if I try and pretend it's for me, they always give me a dirty look or some sort of hassle. None of the other banks in the mall will do it either, so I have to go all the way to the Royal Bank, with which the store actually does bank. At least there wasn't a line-up.

1:23 PM- So far the day isn't going by too badly, but I'm sure that will all change. From what my co-worker told me yesterday, my evil boss should be coming in some time around now. Then again, he's almost always late. I just pray he gets here soon, drops off my cheque and leaves. That way I'll get it over with.

1:25 PM- What timing, he happens to call. He let's me know that he probably won't make it until around 2:30-3:00 ish. I'll chose to believe him and take this opportunity to sit on my ass for a bit.

1:41 PM- This young lady comes in to buy cigarettes. After a while I start to memorize the brands that people smoke and I reach for what I know she'll ask for without her having to say it. We flirt a little bit (at least I think I'm flirting). She has a pretty enough face, but is a little on the chubby side, has tattoos all over her arms and seems a little flaky. She's not really my type, but maybe if I get desperate enough...sigh, who am I kidding? I'm too much of a chicken.

1:45 PM- Okay, now I actually do have a rush. Some dudes in the humidor, a lady waiting to buy cigarettes, some woman who wants to look at Swiss Army knives and some jackass family looking at pens. I don't mind the folks buying the cigars and cigarettes. First off, they actually buy something and secondly I don't really have to do much with them. The woman looking at the Swiss Army stuff makes me pull a bunch of stuff out of the cabinet, but thankfully doesn't stay too long. The family of people takes a whole bunch of time looking at various fountain pens, but none of them are to their liking. I seriously have nothing but the utmost contempt for all these people.

2:00 PM- Another hot girl walks by. This one seems to be shopping with her mother, which probably means she's like 17 and I'm probably sick. Luckily, you can't go to jail for what you're thinking!

2:06 PM- Another hot girl. This time, I actually jump off of my stool to gawk at her as she walks by. Again I don't see her face, but she looked great from behind.

2:26 PM- My black pen just ran out and I can't find another one anywhere. Now I have to use a blue one. If that runs out, I'll be forced to use a hi-liter for everything. Otherwise, I suppose I could run to the store and buy some out of petty cash or donate one from my bag.

2:45 PM- The very cute little blonde receptionist from the hair salon next door comes in to say 'hi'. I'm sure I've written about her here before. She truly is such a cutie and I have the biggest crush on her. If I knew my boss wasn't coming in, I'd be next door clumsily flirting with her, leaving my store completely unattended. By this point, I make no secret of the fact that I totally have the hots for her. She however, has a boyfriend. Same dude she's been going out with since she was like 16 or something. I still continue to overtly hit on her, touch her on the hand and hug her whenever I can, even ask her out and half-jokingly tell her to break up with her boyfriend (!!), all to no avail. She's still very friendly towards me and seems to take it all in stride. But do I have any chance with her? Nope, none at all.

3:04 PM- My co-worker Carlos drops by to see if his paycheck is in. Or course it isn't; my boss is always late. He would normally have covered the morning shift, but he's leaving for New York City today, so he has a bunch of things to take care of, which is totally understandable. The problem is, we have all of three employees and the other isn't available Fridays at all. Hence why I'm stuck here all day. We haven't hired anyone new since Ursula left and that was over a month ago. I miss Ursula. Plus, when school starts up for Carlos and myself, I don't know what the boss is going to do. Oh well, it's not my problem.

3:22 PM- Sweet Jesus, where the hell is this guy? My boss is never, ever on time. I wish he would just come in and get this over with, that way I can stop pretending to do work and go back to scratching myself.

3:30 PM- My boss FINALLY comes in. I'm writing this quickly as he goes to his car to get more stuff. This will be my last update until he leaves.

4:07 PM- My boss leaves! He was only around for a half hour. Sweet!

4:12 PM- Hot Russian Girl comes in to visit!! I was going to write about her a few weeks ago. You see, she was interested in possibly getting a part time job here. She was laid off from her office job and is actually going back to school, so she just wanted some place easy to work on the side while she does so. I tried my best to get her a job, but my boss wouldn't hire her, because she asked if she could be paid under the table. He said no and that was the end of that. This was over the phone; had she actually come in for an interview, there is no way in hell he would have been able to reject her, just based on how hot she is. Man is she ever foxy...she's wearing a very slight top, yum. Her breasts are very small, only A cups but that's certainly not the be all and end all, because she sure has it going on everywhere else. For instance, she has an amazing stomach. Wow. And of course, she has a boyfriend, one with whom she lives. Fantastic.

4:18 PM- Carlos returns and picks up his cheque.

4:37 PM- Hot Russian Girl finally leaves, having spent 25 minutes chatting with me. Either she is very bored or she likes me. I'll go for the former, seeing as she has no job, no school (at the present) and has told me herself on more than one occasion how dull her life is. Sounds sort of like me, but at least she's not alone.

4:55 PM- Shit, I just realized I haven't eaten since 10:00 AM. I'm sorta hungry. I'm going to get something to eat.

5:05 PM- I return with my lunch / dinner which consists of salmon pasta in a rose sauce with two garlic loaves and an Orangina, all from Marche / Movenpick / Richtree or whatever it's called. The pasta (which I proceed to drop on my pants in short order) doesn't contain as much salmon as the last time I got it. I'm disappointed, though I guess it's tasty enough.

5:12 PM- Some Jamaican sounding fellows come in the store, which they promptly refer to as 'a blunt store'. They inquire as to whether we sell any 'baggies' to which I politely reply that we do not. This shocks one fellow and he asks why a 'blunt store' doesn't sell baggies. I gently correct him that this is a cigar store, though he seems incredulous at this distinction. He then asks if we sell 'Century Sams' or 'Phillies' in single units, to which I reply that we do not. Dejected, he leaves, though one of his friends does offer me 'props' before departing. Nice!

5:39 PM- I decide to head outside for a cigarette, my first of the day. This whole thing about cigarettes being addictive is hugely overblown. I smoke because I like to, not because I have some uncontrollable urge to do so. I had a "Peter Jackson Smooth", a value brand of cigarette. Hot Russian Girl gave me one in exchange for Marlboro that I gave her. Despite the fact that it contains pretty much the same amount of tar and nicotine as the ones I usually smoke, I felt as though I was smoking air and I don't smoke strong cigarettes. Maybe it's because I'm used to American cigarettes and Gauloises (French). Perhaps Canadian cigarettes are just like that. On the plus, it wasn't that bad at all. If anyone is looking for a discount brand of smokes, they're rather decent and do come in a more full-flavoured variety. Also, you'll be smoking a brand named after the dude who directed The Lord of the Rings movies!

6:08 PM- A very well dressed Eastern European sounding lady comes in to look at tie clips or cufflinks. She seems very nice and then proceeds to buy a $295 Mont Blanc onyx and gold tie-bar after looking around for five minutes at the most. My crappy little tie clip appears to be made out of some sort of metal, possibly plastic and cost me all of twenty bucks, I believe. Oh, people with I long to be one someday.

6:49 PM- It’s been a while since the last update...not much interesting is going on and I'm also getting rather tired. It actually has been decently busy today, with 18 paying customers and sales of close to a $1000, which is pretty good for a small store like this. But several of those sales have been just cigarettes and a lot of the sales have also come in bunches, so there have been many, many long stretches where no one comes in. Trust me, the time DRAGS....*Yawns*

7:21 PM- I'm now making cat noises to stave off a nervous breakdown...or perhaps I've already had, I think I make the cat noises because I like kitties and it calms me or something like that. Cooing like a dove also helps. I like dovies, they're nice. We have this birdfeeder in my backyard and lots of birdseed always spills on the ground and the birds eat from there. Whenever I open the backdoor, all the birdies fly off, except for the dovies. For some reason they're not skittish like the other birds. It happened this morning when I let Bobo out. There were maybe a dozen birds there and when I let him out, they all flew off except for one Mourning Dove who just went on feeding. Cute.

7:39 PM- Went out for another cigarette, but only because Cute Receptionist went out for one. I'll take anything I can get. On my way back, saw another hot woman, but this one had her young son with her! A seriously hot mom. I blatantly stared at her ass for like ten seconds after she passed me.

7:51 PM- Some young person comes in and asks if we have any pipes. I show him our pretty impressive selection (I counted 45 different styles). He asks if we have any others. Of course, I immediately know what he's getting at. I like to mess with people who ask this question and ask him what he's looking for. He throws around the same euphemisms like a 'smaller' pipe or something 'more casual'. Of course he's looking for something from which to smoke his drugs, but like all other people who are looking for such, he never directly says so. Firstly, why do people think that this store would sell drug paraphernalia? Does it look like it would? Not remotely. But I can excuse that, I guess it doesn't hurt to ask. But just come out and say, "I'm looking for something I can smoke my weed from". I'm not going to call the cops on you or anything, jeez. Just come out and ask me. I'll say 'no' and it'll save us both time.

8:04 PM- Some old Italian (I think) guy came in and was asking something. I have no idea what he was saying, so I just smiled and nodded. I think it was something do with Zippo lighters. My neck is itching. I hate shaving. I don't want to go back to having the beard though. Perhaps I should consider electrolysis on my face or whatever they call it. A cute looking girl just walked by. I no longer have the strength to get up and gawk. I have less than an hour to go!

8:34 PM- I just came to the cold and bitter conclusion that my life is completely empty and I truly wish I were dead. You people have no idea how empty my lonely existence is. 25, living at home, working a crappy job, driving an ancient car, only halfway through university, no girl, no social life and no prospect of any of this changing anytime soon. On the plus side, one of my favourite songs ("Where the Streets Have No Name") just came on the radio, my mom called me to tell me there's potato salad in the fridge and the cute little Asian colourist from next door came in to buy cigarettes. Lots of pretty girls at that salon. This one always calls me "boyfriend", which is really cute. This one doesn't have a boyfriend, except when I playfully (though I was serious) asked her out, she said I was too young for her: she's 26 and I'm 25. Dang. She's still very friendly and flirty and such. But it also ain't gonna happen.

8:49 PM- Now another colourist, the one who calls me 'muffin' comes in to buy smokes. She's also super pretty. But she too has a boyfriend and is probably in her 30's.

8:52 PM- I love it...I'm getting ready to close up shop and some jackass comes in to take his sweet time browsing at lighters. I no longer have the patience to put up with these clowns. I just want them to leave. NOW.

9:14 PM- I'm finally done everything. Normally I'd be out the door right at nine, but nooo, something has to go wrong. I notice a discrepancy in the cash and I can't figure it out, probably because I'm too weary to do so. I finally realize that when I went to get change at the bank (see 12:57 PM), they gave me one roll of loonies and one of toonies. I must be tired, as it took me way to long to figure this out. I could be dishonest and just pocket the difference, but I choose to be honest and make a note of it to remind myself to go back and correct the mistake with them next week. I must be nuts...anyone else would have just kept the extra $25. It's just a faceless big bank and everyone hates banks. But I'm doing the right thing, right? You all would have done the same, right? Right?

9:17 PM- Ready to leave at last. It's been a long, tiring day and well.... I’ll be going home now, likely to drink myself into a stupor. I could use a drink or two. I would also give anything for a nice back rub right about now and someone nice to relax with, but I guess I'd have to have a girlfriend for that. So tonight, like pretty much every Friday night, it's just Bobo and me. I love my Bobo, don't get me wrong. But just for once, I'd love to snuggle with someone else, someone of the female persuasion, pretty and sweet, who smells nice and can hug me back. Just once. Perhaps instead I'll just download something with Sunny Lane in it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow i remember those days, you literally took me back. but i remember i was utter crap on the till and couldnt figure anything out until 40 min after we closed. anyways man as much as we love that cigar store get another job, hell keep this one but get another on as well! you gotta get out.


September 02, 2006 9:13 PM  
Blogger Daphne said...

I agree with Drock. Get another job - there are plenty of jobs that are easy and relatively stress-free that can get you through school. Ones where you WORK WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Hell, I "worked" at a book store and didn't do a GD thing for a year - worked with some really great people, and got a great discount on books. Honestly, I did crap, but it was ***FUN*** and I actually got to talk to other people during my shifts.

September 04, 2006 10:16 PM  
Blogger King Hippo said...

Your suggestions are noted and agreed with...I do think I've been there too long. Interestingly, my therapist disagrees. He thinks I should stick with, as it's a stable source of income and work is one place where stability and familiarity isn't such a bad thing.

At any rate, it's a moot point. Based on what my school schedule looks like at the moment, I'll really be only be able to work two, MAYBE three days a week.

Oh and glad to see you're still alive Daphne...I thought something awful had happened to you (and your blog!)

September 05, 2006 9:30 PM  

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