It’s the damndest thing. WHY should people running art and craft supply stores be treated any differently than people running any other kind of store. I mean, even the clerks behind liquor store counters aren’t burdened with the life histories of their customers, even when the customers are drunk.

Yet since the day I opened my shop doors, many of the people who’ve come in my door stop at the counter and begin telling me all of their woes. They tell me at great length about their medical problems, their financial losses, their children, their parents, they come and and start unburdening themselves as if I wanted to hear their tales of unhappiness and woe.

Not all of those who choose to confide in their sorrows do this. A few are upbeat and tell me of the fun they have crafting different things. One guy has been in twice with some home-made wood carving tools that are actually very nicely done. I bought them all from him, so he returned with a box full of huge vintage plastic airplane models, still new in the box, which he sold me at a very fair price. All this while, of course, he’s telling me about all the stuff he does. But that’s okay.

It’s the sympathy seekers, the lonely people who’ve been through hard times and want someone to commiserate with them, who seem the most likely to spontaneously verbalize their woes to me at the very sight of me. It’s really become a thing, anymore I half expect it from people. So I listen and nod and express my understanding, and eventually they wind down and leave, usually looking happier than when they came in, though not always. Sometimes they work themselves into a worse state or at least leave feeling unfulfilled. I can tell by their expressions if nothing else.

There is this one family that’s really a hoot. The wife is a really big woman. Not just very much overweight but also over six feet tall. Her husband is a dwarf, and they have a little dwarf daughter, six years old, who’s the size of a 3 year old. When they first came in I had a hard time keeping a straight face while talking to the husband, not just because of his body shape but because his eyes are of different size and shape. They’ve been in the shop 3 times now and I’m used to seeing him now, and by golly, these people have really taken a liking to me. Like I said, they’re a hoot because the little girl plainly thinks I’m Mr. Wonderful, and keeps putting on a show for me running around the store, while the wife dominates the dwarf guy, and he constantly asserts his manliness. There’s an almost pedophilic aroma about the relationship between that great big woman and that little male, but it’s a legal one, so what the hell.

Today the fat little bastard who’s been harassing me was back hovering around my doorway with an idiot teenage follower and I’d had enough, and went out, got right up in their faces and threatened the crap out of them. I guess that’s what it took, letting those two shits know that I’m not the least afraid of them and making it clear that they’d better stop screwing with me, because they took a wide berth of my shop and the whole area for the rest of the day.

I’ve had other shops in years past, a gift shop, a head shop, an antique store, plus two autobody shops, and never had to put up with anything like I have with this one. It’s because this town is special in it’s own unfortunate way. It’s crawling with meth and heroin addicts, along with homeless vagrants and lots of poor retired people. I really did pick a hell of a place to open a store of any kind, but you know what? Right across the street a crew is building a huge Dollar General store that has to be costing many millions of $$. I see no way they’ll ever pull a profit out of that expense but I’m really hoping they know something I don’t. This area could be prosperous if it weren’t for the entrenched human blight.


  1. x says:

    You must have a more sympathetic facade than I’ve got! Why not do drop in counselling at your store and start charging them for it?

    My people problems are a bit different, F* scroungers. Moan is on my blog.

    PS I had to Google head shop. Thought at first you meant you sold severed heads, or services of ladies who gave head. Either would be fun.