Stupidity Holds Us Up

Stupers (short for convincingly stupid persons) have an annoying knack for getting in our way. They trip us up; then, while we lay sprawled on our bellies, they plant a shoddy foot on our weary backs, trying to keep us from getting back up, as Erica demonstrates in her letter to me below:

Dear Keli:

I have a problem at work. It’s the customers. Not all of them. Only the really stupid ones. The shop I work in (it’s an antique store) closes daily at 5:30. Lately, right between 5:25 and 5:30, idiots arrive, act like they’re actually going to purchase something, spend about 30 minutes browsing, don’t buy anything and then leave. I’m fifty-four years old. I get tired after standing on my feet all day. Don’t they know we’re exhausted and want to go home? It’s not like I don’t tell them. I do. But these dumb customers just don’t care! I feel obligated to stay, mainly because I can’t get them out. What do I do? I want to keep my job, but I also want to keep the sanity. I would appreciate any suggestions.

Amanda F.

This is quite coincidental, as Husband (H) mentioned that his hair stylist/cutter had one appointment left at the end of the day (this was last Friday). This appointment was supposed to be right after H. But the client called at the end of H’s cut to say she was just leaving home, and she’d be a bit late. The problem was the client lived thirty-five minutes away. H left amid murmurs of mutiny and threats of sending menacing text messages to the client. I’m not sure if H’s hair handler actually sent the messages or waited, but I can tell you how my mother successfully gets stupers out of the store where she works…most of the time.

Mom has a similar job in a retail shop; she is on her feet daily. Come 7:55, the money in the store is counted, merchandise that needs to be put away is and the employees are ready to go. Sure enough, customers breeze in at about 7:57 and decide to leisurely look around. At 8:00 pm sharp, Mom shuts off the music and the lights, then stands at the door, keys rattling. This is usually successful, except when she is confronted by exceptionally stubborn stupers.

“Then we usually end up waiting,” she told me with a deep sigh.

Here’s what I suggest: Be a stuper yourself. I don’t mean give in and stop all trace of thought, especially while operating a motor vehicle. I mean imitate a stuper. Since idiots do suffer from ROA (Rapid Onset Amnesia), you must also. Forget that the customers are in the store. Lock up the doors…with the customers inside. Make a big show of it (i.e., “I’m going to turn on the alarm now and set the guard dogs loose because I’m outta here!” for starters), and leave. Go to the nearest coffee shop and enjoy a latte or a cup of green tea and a giant snickerdoodle (you don’t have to eat it all at once).

Then return to the shop. Unlock the door. Act really surprised to find customers lurking about in there. Ignore the one who claims she is having a panic attack or, if that’s not your style, throw her the paper bag your cookie came in. Threaten to call the cops, but do be kind and allow the idiot customers to beg their way out of it. They should be really ready to leave by this time.



7 Responses to “Stupidity Holds Us Up”

  1. Rebecca says:

    This hasn’t happened to me, but my daughter complains about it. She works in a gift shop and she says people love to come in at the bitter end. Sometimes, if it’s a hot day, they come in and hang around to stay cool. And don’t leave when it’s closing time. Now I know what to tell her to do.

  2. jessica says:

    i worked retail and oh boy I remember those customers. they would come in right at closing try on a billion things and then buy nothing and leave the dressing room a freaking mess.

  3. Suzie says:

    I know the feeling. I work at a dress shop. I had a few ladies come in at 5 o’clock.
    They tried practically every dress on and left a huge messy pile.
    We usually close at 6. They of course stayed until 6:30. When they were leaving, one of the ladies said to the other, “let’s put some of them back or hang them up.” The other idiot said, “no
    that is their job, they get paid for it.

  4. omawarisan says:

    I’m guessing that these are the people who would say “they saw us coming to the door and they just locked it right in front of us!”

  5. Ferd says:

    I think people like this don’t play by the rules of common decency, so it is fair to play in kind.
    I think it’s okay to tell them right out something like, “We are now closed and you must leave. Our cash registers are cashed out. We open again tomorrow at 9.” None of it should be a lie, just the truths that polite people know instinctively, but stupers need to hear over and over again, clearly and firmly.

  6. Elaine says:

    I worked in retail many decades ago during the holiday season and it was not fun! I don’t think the general public realizes how stressful these jobs can be. Society has become less patient, more aggressive, and focused on ME or I WANT attitude. My hat off to anyone who works in retail day after day and still able to maintain a positive attitude and smile after dealing with the stupers all day.

  7. Chelsea says:

    Try turning off the air or the heat. That always worked for us.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.