The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Veterans of Politically Correct Warfare:Retail Division

As I have occasionally mentioned, I’m currently in the middle of writing “Surviving Retail”, my collection of anecdotes, observations and lessons learned in my extensive retail career. I wanted to save all of my retail stuff for the book and give the blog my more general witticisms, but a conversation with a friend changed my mind and kick a little retail flavor your way.

The Toy Store, my last job, was full of kind people who were a joy to help, and I mean that sincerely. But the air of political correctness let to people raising their hackles over the weirdest things. It seemed like half of everybody tried really hard not to offend anyone, while the other half is waiting for you to offend them, sometimes people do that at the same time. It didn’t help that we had a reputation of being a politically correct store, which I didn’t think we did much to encourage other than not carrying the junior Paris Hilton dolls, also known as Bratz.

Including but not limited to:

SSX Tricky-this snowboarding video game was my favorite when it came out so I made sure it was always in stock. I was ringing a lady up and she saw it over my shoulder.
“I can’t believe you sell that!”, she blurted as she grabbed her bag to leave. I looked behind me, even then I wasn’t even sure what she was pointing at. The only game that wasn’t totally kid-like, was Tricky. The game itself had no questionable content, other than the occasional knocking over of the other player. The thing that probably got her goat was the ample chested (and fully clothed)snowboarder on the front of the box with 2 male snowboarders. that and changing the second S to an E. I could see that, If I was trying to hard to be offended. But I had to be sure.
I asked,”The...snow...boarding game, rated E for everyone?”
Her face changed suggesting the realization that she may, in fact, be wrong, but her words didn’t suggest it at all.
“um, Yeah!” with that, she quickly left.

Fun Capsules- the little shaped sponges that they stuff in little gelatin capsules, the ones that Bart bought with the money he got from selling his soul to Milhouse. Put um in warm water and the dinosaur pops out of it, awesome if you’re six years old.

Anyway, these innocuous little things caused a older woman to take my boss aside.
“I wanted to tell you I don’t approve of you selling those. I’m not going to say they’ll stop me from shopping here, but it’ll certainly influence my decision.”
My boss was confused, “I’ve been selling these of fifteen years, with no problem.”
“They’re saying capsules are fun, like selling candy cigarettes!”

Trout Fishing in America- A great jokey kids group that write songs from a kids point of view, in stark counterpoint of most over earnest kids music. I played them in the store all the time. One grandmother recognized it playing. “Is this that Trout Fishing band?”
“Yes, it is.”
“You should not sell that kinda stuff, they talk about how vegetables are yucky and how they don’t want to share.”
“They write from a kid’s point of view a lot,” I said.
“They should be trying to teach good messages.”
“Isn’t that why they have parents?”

Black joke soap- Me and a lady looking for a small gift for a 10 year old.
Me: ”They love pranks at that age, you can get a whoopee cushion, the soap that turns your hands black, the classic spring snakes in a nut can....””
Lady:”Hold on, black soap, isn’t that a little politically incorrect.”
Me:”It’s black soap, not african-american soap. Black is a color”

Guillotine card game- We caught much shit for this game, which is highly recommended by the way. The players are rival guillotine operators during the French Revolution. You try to collect the noblest heads, but there is no blood or actually head chopping in the game at all. You may as well be cutting their hair.
But people still got prickly. I tried to explain once that the game is for kids 12 and older, by that time they’ve read “Tale of Two Cities” , then the woman stopped me,“And by then, I guess, they’re immune to violence!”
“I was going to say they’re familiar with what the guillotine is used for from that.”

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