Suffering Through Senior’s Day

If you’ve been following my blog or even just checking in occasionally you know I work a shitty retail job to keep myself off the streets. Now, because my job is at one location in a corporate chain of misery and cheap labour we have ridiculously inconvenient and inhuman sales and promotions. One of these promotions is Seniors Day. Unlike some events this promotion happens every Thursday of my life.

You already know how I feel about old people. I do have to deal with them on any given shift but Senior’s Day gives them a 20% off incentive to ruin my day. A 20% off incentive that I have to explain to half the senior’s who come in the store.

Where are your handlers?
Where are your handlers?

Apparently for some it’s not good enough that they get a discount on regular priced items but they want even more money off already marked down merchandise. Old people are cheap. An elderly man who’s english was questionable came in to buy paper towels and only paper towels. He asked “Senior Day?” and inquired through a sequence of gestures how much the 6 roll pack was after the discount which was $1.99. He then produces a dollar off coupon and I explain that the discount is only applicable to regular priced items and entering the coupon will cancel out his 20% off. Of course he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t believe me so I have to show. After 5 more minutes of explaining why he can’t have both he tells me he doesn’t want them if it’s for anymore than $0.99.

At one point he tried to barter with a hand full of beans and two sticks of gum.
At one point he tried to barter with a hand full of beans and two sticks of gum.

I’ll repeat similar scenarios 4 more times before closing including one old couple who comes in every week to buy milk which is always on sale and always complains in a less than polite manner about not getting a discount like they did on their other items.

In their defence they do say memory is the first thing to go.
In their defence they do say memory is the first thing to go.

No matter what day it is I have at least a dozen people of all ages who need to be talked through their debit and or credit card transactions because 30 year old technology is hard but that number goes up considerably on Senior’s day. As does the number of people who get their granny panties in a twist over a 5cent charge for a plastic bag. They don’t care if it’s meant as a deterrent to help the environment or that all the proceeds go to charity. The way they see it, “it’s not your place to push our political and moral positions on the public”. I’ve actually had an old guy say that to me. I can see why he doesn’t care about the environment and all the plastic bags overpopulating landfills. He’s gonna die soon. It’s not like he has to deal with the climate change, cluster fuck he’s leaving behind. An old lady once had the audacity to call in to my manager to complain about me for charging her for a plastic bag. She spent 10 minutes yelling at a stranger over the phone all over a nickel. If you don’t want to buy a bag re-use one of the hundreds of bags that are stuffed in your closet at home for fuck’s sake.

There are children in developing countries that would love to have your olf bags.
There are children in Italy that would love to have your old bags to carry their groceries in.

That’s all pretty typical stuff for any Senior’s Day but yesterday was something special. At my store every Thursday also happens to be an order day so there’s usually extra staff on to help unload the 8 carts of crap that have to go out. This week however one of our manager’s was on vacation so we were already gonna be down one extra person but then someone called in sick and we were terribly understaffed. On a good week as a supervisor I don’t have time to take half my breaks if I want to get anything done but this week I still didn’t manage to get anything done, do to my closing cashier calling me every 5-10 minutes for some reason or another. I get that he’s still fairly new but it has been 2 months and he should be fully capable of replacing receipt paper by now.

Well, I'm stumped.
Well, I’m stumped.

So since we’re busy as balls and my cashier has no clue how to ring someone through in a timely fashion due to an apparent desire to befriend anyone who approaches his counter I spent most of my shift defusing his line of overheated and therefore cranky customers. He also has a very shallow well of working knowledge about our policies and procedures so if someone had a return, or gift card to top up, or even a question, I had to boomerang my ass back to the registers. Even the simple act of getting change is an ordeal. Before getting change for my own till (which rarely happens when you’re the back up) I explicitly asked if he needed anything to which he said “no”. Of course as soon as I get back he tells me he needs dimes. Once I get him his dimes and find my way back to my cart of vitamins he pages me to tell me he needs fives. Buddy can’t even ask for change right and I had to go back and forth 3 times in 6 minutes.

If I was a Pokemon trainer, he’d be my Psyduck.

I’m so lucky my other co-workers are super studs and completely self reliant or I would have had a shit fit. Not that I didn’t audibly groan out disdainful ‘no’s and obscenities every time my name sounded over the P.A. because I did much to the amusement of my other wonderful and slightly sadistic co-workers. A girl can’t help it if her automatic response to conflict is tell people to “suck a dick”. I am what I am.

Back to the ancient folks. At the end of the night I haphazardly managed to finish all of my duties leading up to closing with minutes to spare before I got to close those doors and refuse people service. I thought I finally had a chance to catch my breath but I was wrong.

Oh so very wrong...
Oh so very wrong…

While passing on my way to the back a little while prior I had taken notice of the little old asian woman trying to get my cashier to help her decipher if the battery in her hand matched whatever clock thing was in her other hand. I had taken notice because he’s taken out the battery from the packaging which policy says is a no-no and I told him she was supposed to purchase before he could open it.

When I emerged 10 min later to close the back entrance I noticed she was still there this time with a guy in line behind her. When I came back there was a full blown line and this lady was still going I don’t know what the fuck with that battery. We’ve 8 minutes before closing and I have a line of 5 people all behind this old lady who was making a fuss about this battery not working and wanting him to get her a different one. I don’t know why this thing took so long to sort out but I have a hunch it was her complete lack of understanding of how batteries work. I jumped in to get shit moving and she didn’t seem to comprehend anything I told her. I’m still not sure if it was a language barrier or a senile barrier but I’m leaning more towards the later.

Based on the old timer she wanted the battery for I doubt she even knows what year it is.
Based on the old timer she wanted the battery for I doubt she knows what year it is.

Even after refunding her she still didn’t want to leave. With minutes before midnight I had to open another till to get people the fuck out and when everything was said and done she was still loitering around the exit but still very much in the store. It took two announcements that we were closed and another customer who took pity on my telling her to get out to finally get her to leave.

As a general rule, if the stores automatic lights dim, you should probably fucking leave.
As a general rule, if the stores automatic lights dim, you should probably get the fuck out.

My Beef with Senior Citizens

(A couple weeks ago in my post “My Week As a Door to Door Fundraiser”, I sited the elderly as one of my reasons for hating that job which I said I would elaborate on at a later date. Well, that time is now.)

Right now I’m working two part time jobs one of which is at a drug store in a high traffic area. As a result it’s generally pretty busy and our proximity to public transit means we get a lot of the same people in multiple times a week. Some of these people are cool, some are quiet, and some are a searing pain in my ass. If I didn’t wear pants I could probably shoot steam out of my asshole when dealing with these people.

One of these blistering anal probes is an older gentleman who clearly doesn’t speak english as his first language. Every single time he comes in, I spend the transaction trying to break through the language barrier while he talks to me like I’m stupid for not understanding what he wants from the lottery machine and scrutinizes the price of every item I ring through. Then, never fail, once I finally manage to complete his transaction so I can get started on the line that’s formed behind him he will ask to use the bathroom.

My store does not have a public bathroom. The only bathroom is behind a code locked door that leads to both the staffroom and the back room. It is not opened to the public. Exceptions our made for special cases, for instance a small child with bladder control issues, but for all intensive purposes we do not have a public bathroom.

EVERY TIME this bastard asks to use the bathroom and EVERY TIME I tell him that we do not have a public bathroom.  And EVERY MOTHER-FUCKING-TIME his reply is, “No, I’m a senior”.

Yeah, so? Like fuck, I know when you get older your bladder isn’t quite what it used to be but isn’t that what ‘Depends’ are for? But that’s not the point. This guy is in his early 60’s at the very oldest and appears perfectly able bodied.

I then explain to the smug prick that the fast food place 20 feet away does have a public bathroom. His response? “No. I’m a senior!” What’s your fucking point bro? What do you want a congratulatory toilet flush for not being dead?

At this point he’ll tell me to talk to the manager. At which point I am now seething and begrudgingly stop helping other customers to go unlock the door for him. Buddy then takes 7min to reemerge, thanks me and finally moves his bags that have been cluttering up my station.

I have been through this exact same scenario 4 times in 2 week. Most people take note for the future the first time that there is no public bathroom and wont ask again, but not this guy because he’s  “a senior”.

You think this is funny? Well, FUCK you!

Now I know that this isn’t a fair representation of all the entire elderly population, but it is accurate for many. Some of the sweetest people I deal with daily are older individuals. At my last job working in an electronics department the sweetest little old lady used to come in every few weeks to look for old westerns on DVD and I would spend a good 10 minutes sorting through the $5 bin helping her look while she talked to me about John Wayne. 

John Wayne: object of your grandmother’s sexual fantasies since 1939.

We almost never found anything but I didn’t mind taking the time because she was always kind and respectful to me.

But for the most part my dealings with the older generation are painful. Sometimes I’d rather deal with children than with old people and you all know how I feel about children. I know we’re supposed to respect our elders and all that tried old shit (see what I did there?) but they make it pretty hard when they start talking down to you because you don’t need a high fiber diet to help you poop.

It’s like having wrinkles is some pass to just not give a shit about other people and their feelings. You’re bitter. I get that. Hell, I even respect that but there is a fine line between telling it like it is and being a miserable old bat that only finds reason to continue living in making others lives difficult. It sucks that their youth has dried up but it’s not my fault. And not being old enough to remember what people did before electricity doesn’t make me an idiot, it makes me capable of finding the call button on a cellphone in under 15min.

Seriously old folks I know you didn’t grow up on technology like I did but if you don’t know how to use the debit machine than you shouldn’t have a debit card. Use fucking cash or the barter system or whatever the hell you used to trade for bread back in the day.

You all need to understand how painful this exchange is.

They’ll take forever just trying to find their card in their wallet with squinted eyes, then they’ll put their card in the wrong way. Then they wont know what button to press and after I tell them they’ll still hit the wrong button. Then they’ll mess up inputing their PIN. All the while 3-10 people are waiting their turn. Your slowing down the line and the progress of society old man.

Just pray it isn’t touchscreen.

Not to mention the pyramid of other things they do slowly, like walking. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been stuck behind some hunched over, glassy eyed mummy as it shuffles it’s way down the middle of the sidewalk or grocery isle. Either attack or at the very least take a step to the left so I can pass.

Considerably less scary than Brendan Frasier would have you believe.

And then there’s the special requests they all think they’re entitled to. I already think it’s kind of unfair that there’s all these senior discounts, especially when I’m a broke too but ok. Whatever. You’ve worked your whole life and pension rates suck. I get it.  On top of that the elderly are one of the most high maintenance hard to please demographics. The other being well to do middle aged women.

Fuck those Bitches

They just expect the laws of society to bend to them and be pandered to and worshiped like a tribal elder but the thing is reaching 70 is no amazing feat and back then they were lucking to make it to 40. Hell the average life expectancy in this country is 82 and the news has human interest stories about old broads turning 112 every damn week. It’s hardly impressive.

Plus, if I’m perfectly honest, people suffering from dementia and that shit freak me out. I had to visit an old folks home with school in the third grade. I was scared shitless yo. The whole place smelled like stale library books and disappointment, it was cold and sterile like a hospital, and the white haired occupants were way to eager to interact with someone who could actually remember what they had for dinner last night.

“It was your daughter’s tit.”

Incoherently crazy people already creep me out and time’s eroding of their physical likeness only adds to sinister undertones and sad atmosphere. They just get wheeled around spending their last years in a drugged up daze, watching soaps, playing backgammon with shaky hands and waiting for a phone call that will never come. It’s like being confined to a prison where your chains are flabby skin and bad hips…

I hope I die relatively young.