I feel all your pain. Having worked retail (book stores, primarily) most of my high school and college years, those vaguely coherent searches are always so much FUN.
One story always comes to mind is a tad different…
I was working a weekday morning at a mall bookstore and noticed a guy, probably in his early 50's, waiting outside of the closed gates. When it was time to open, he bee-lined to the magazine racks and started searching. With a disappointed grunt, he turned to me and asked if the new Playboy
was in yet. I told him that the magazine shipment didn't usually come in until the early afternoon. So he left.
So about every hour until the afternoon, he'd wander back into the store to check the racks and then leave. I remember thinking that this guy really had an itch to scratch.
The magazines did finally come in and we got them shelved. A few minutes later the guy walks in, sees his plastic-coated MacGuffin, grabs it and walks up the counter with a big smile. As I'm ringing it up, he asks if I've seen the new Playboy
yet. Despite the fact that they frown on employees ripping open the skin mags in the back room (which occurred sometimes anyway), I guess he wondered if I had a subscription or something (no -- though my roommates did. For the articles, of course.
). I told him no and so he proceeded to open the wrapping and pull out the magazine at the counter. The store was empty and the one other employee was in the back room (probably reading a Playboy
) but I do believe my eyes widened a bit with an "Oh geez -- what next?" expression.
He flips to one of the pictorials and lays it down with an even bigger smile.
"That's my daughter," he says.
"Really?" Avoiding eye contact...
"Yep -- she'd been trying for months to get in and she finally made it," he replies back. "Beautiful, isn't she?"
And I shit you not, he actually stroked the face on the page with a finger while smiling down at it.
"Uh, yeah. You must be very proud."
With that he smiled again, closed up the magazine, declined a bag (I'm almost POSITIVE that he wanted it in hand for easy access to show random guys in the mall), and walked out. I never saw the guy in the store since then, but I'll never get the picture of his proud/creepy smile out of my head.