Posts Tagged ‘Store’

… and “MAD” in every damn sense of the word!!

You know.. when you have something that other people want :: in this case cheese, pepper ham or a pickle :: you inevitably wind up in that little town called CREDIT that’s tucked nicely between ROCK and HARD PLACE.

So.. here’s what I believe :: you might want to take notes because this is going to become important later on in the post :: .. I sincerely believe that we :: talking about me and Chief here specifically :: have a moral obligation to help those in need. It’s part of my faith. Everybody runs into hard times at some point in their lives and I wouldn’t be able to call my self a follower of Christ is I turned my back on those in need. Especially if they have kids.. because as we all know.. kids shouldn’t be made to suffer because their parents can’t do what they’re suppose to do.

But yknow.. all that is nice and stuff but don’t ever take my kindness for my weakness because then it isn’t pretty.

So when we opened the store, the first thing we said was that we weren’t going to get into the whole credit thing but that got hard once we got to know the people in our neighborhood and their situations. Half the time I think we should put one of those cups on the counter collecting a nickel for every problem we hear.. Like Lucy in the Charlie Brown comics.

And so it started with one person and snow balled from there. Not a big snow ball, though. The thing about is is that when these people would pay their tab, they would do it with food stamps.

NOTE: In case you didn’t know, it takes 10 business days for us to get the food stamp money from the state.

So now it’s bad enough that I’m waiting for the tab to be paid, but now I have to wait even more to get the actual money? The money that has to replace my stock?

And so in order to circumvent that, we told people getting credit that they would have to pay their tab in cash. Most of them understood when explained it to them..

But then a funny thing happened.

The people who had credit with us, started to work that credit into their budget and you know once you get into a hole it’s hard to get out of it… so I had a few people that I could count on to come in every week or so, get stuff, pay it back in another week or so and then the whole thing would start over again.

Ok. Well.. I may have been able to live with that except for a few things that happened. I’m going to explain it to you here and you tell me if I’m wrong or not:

Person 1: She comes in on a Wednesday to pay her 23.00 tab. She hands me 40.00 but my register is low on cash and I can’t make the change. I ask her if she has anything smaller and she goes into her pocket and pulls out a wad of cash and winds up giving me exact change. The next day, Thursday, she comes in asking for credit again.

I don’t know what that wad of cash was for.. but don’t you think she should have gotten what she needed on Wednesday when she paid her tab? I do.

Person 2: She isn’t on welfare.. doesn’t get food stamps.. has one pre-teen daughter and a husband that works. She isn’t able to work for whatever reason and so they would come in and get stuff and when her husband got paid, would take care of their tab. The time between making the bill and paying the bill was getting longer but the thing that really pissed me off was that she was having an in-home demonstration and needed stuff for her guests.. so she came into the store and got all this stuff and didn’t tell me it was going to go on a tab until after everything was cut. Do you see something wrong with that? I sure as hell do.

Person 3: She has four kids and two of her sons come in all the time. Her, not so much. But one day she came into the store, asked to see Chief outside and with tears in her eyes tells him that she isn’t one to ask for help but she has to put her pride aside because she had no food for her kids. She offered Chief her driver’s license and food stamp card to hold hostage until she came in four days later and paid him. His heart went out to her and he told her to get what she needed.. not just lunch meat.. but eggs, milk, cereal,etc. She racked up a 40.00 bill.. was thanking us through her tears and blessing us all over the place. She did come in first thing the morning she said she was and paid her tab. Fine, right? Okay. So a week later, she sends her boys with a note listing all the things she wants to get on credit ( including a pack of gum ) and writes at the bottom of the note that she will be in on Friday to pay for it. It’s been five weeks. Haven’t seen her or her kids since. Ya’think I have a right to be pissed????? I do.

Let me explain this to you..

Most of my customers are on welfare.. meaning something like 85% of my sales are food stamps. Of the remaining 15%, I’d say about 10% uses their debit cards and the remaining 5% pay cash.

I already told you it takes 10 business days to get reimbursed for the food stamps.. it takes four days to get reimbursed for the credit / debt cards.

So when I have to replace everything.. and I have to pay my vendors in cash.. it’s a huge juggling act. I can’t wait to restock my deli case because what’s the sense of having a store if there’s nothing to sell?

Do you see my point?

And so when we had something like 300.00 in tabs.. no cash to restock.. and checks bouncing left and right because there was some kind of bullshit delay with getting our deposits.. we decided to either hang ourselves or stop taking credit. Hanging ourselves wasn’t an option because frankly, I can’t count on the kids to feed the dogs or the fish :: the cats can eat the mice! :: so we started telling people that were weren’t able to extend credit anymore.

Person 1 understood but then came back the following week and tugged on Chief’s heart strings. I tugged on is balls when I found out.

Person 2 understood and when she would come in and get her dollars worth of cheese and whine about how poor she is.. I’d tell her just how poor I was

Person 3 well. we haven’t seen her in five weeks so she doesn’t even KNOW yet.

And then there was Person 4.

Person 4 and her husband started coming to our deli from another town because we have the best products for the most reasonable prices. He wasn’t working and she was getting food stamps and they would used to.. USED to be very selective of what they bought. And then one day, she asked for credit. She wasn’t quick to pay.. it took her maybe three weeks because he had gotten a job and his employer was holding a week so that was understandable. But then it kept happening and finally, last week, I told her that we couldn’t do credit anymore. I explained to her that it was nothing personal. That I had to worry about putting food on my table before I could put food on somebody else’s and our finances and the deli’s finances had gotten to a point where we couldn’t do it anymore.

She understood.. understood.. understood..

Until today.

And today I saw how evil people can really be and how manipulative they are and how they just don’t care about anybody but themselves. And let me tell you.. and I think you’ll agree after you read this.. that as poor as I am.. as hard as it is now to make ends me and as close as we are to losing the store.. I can still put my head down at night knowing that I didn’t do anything wrong.

Person 2 and Person 4 come in at the same time. Person 2 is pregnant so she sits down on the chair I usually use to read in. No problem.. it was a freakin’ hot… sticky.. humid day. Person 4 comes in and starts chit chatting with me while I ring out a customer. When I’m finished I ask her what she needs. She tells me that she can wait and that  I can take care of Person 2. Person 2 declines and says that Person 4 can go ahead. She’s just soaking up the air condition.

And I know what’s about to happen. BOTH of them are going to ask for credit and neither of them wants to do it with the other one in the store.

So I tell Person 4 to give me her order and she does. A pound each of Roast Beef, Imported Ham, Gourmet Turkey, American Cheese and a half pound each of Swiss and Provolone. She gets cole slaw, a loaf of bread, and something like 5 bags of chips totaling 32 dollars and change.

While I’m cutting her order, her husband walks in followed by another customer’s son who’s mentally challenged. For real. This customer called her order in and usually she sends him to the store with either his brother or his sister. This time he came alone and while Person 2 and her husband were parked in the front of the store and Person 4 and her husband were in the middle of the store, the kid is going back and forth putting different stuff on the counter. Chief came in from the back and started helping me so I jumped on register to ring the kid out. Only one problem. He lost the money his mother gave him.

Not his kid has a bad habit of laying his money down on the ice cream freezer or pickle barrel and Chief said he saw him come in with the money in his hand.

All six adults in the store tore it apart and couldn’t come up with this money. While everybody else was looking for the money, I’m ringing out Person 4 and when I gave her the total, she asks me if she can come in Friday :: as in SEVEN days from now :: and pay me.

I was like, you have to be kidding right? You walk in here.. knowing what I told you the last time.. KNOWING that I you don’t have any money so you make me cut everything AND THEN ask me for credit? Do you even KNOW the size of your balls because let me tell you, as big as yours are.. mine are bigger.

And I told her that.

Flat out.

She looked at me like I was crazy and so being that she thought I was.. I decided to really go for it.

I told her, yknow, when SHE needed help I was there to help her. Now that I need to NOT give out credit because it’s going to help me she doesn’t give a shit. I told her that it’s not my fault that she doesn’t know how to manage her money .. I’m not going to leave my table empty to full hers. AND it wouldn’t even be so bad if she was even A LITTLE bit humble about it. Get half a pound a cheese and ham and call it a day.. but now, she was like a fucking goat in a meadow.. and just who the fuck did she think she is? Go to the supermarket and see if you can do that.. go to the convenience store and see if you can do that.. would YOU work for nothing? What if your husband’s boss said he’s going to wait to pay YOU.. would you stand for it.

That’s basically what I told her but I can tell you know that the whole string of words were peppered with words that would make my mother cringe.

Chief couldn’t believe that I would talk that way to a customer because I’m always calling check on him when he says things that are in the grey area between humor and sarcasm but I was pissed and you weren’t going to stop me.

And then I took everything off the counter and told Chief that it looks like WE were having roast beef sandwiches for dinner.

He husband had the balls to say how he thought I was a nice person.. I countered saying that I thought THEY were decent. There was some other word exchanges and then I remembered the mental kid and knew that I had to do something about him because his mother would be worried that he wasn’t home by then.

So I got his bags and I pushed my way threw Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb and told him I was going to walk him home.

And I did.. and I explained to his mother what happened and that we thought he came in with the cash but haven’t found it in the store yet. She asked how much the bill was and I told her and she was like, well, I only gave him 20 so I owe you another 5? And I was like, are you fucking kidding me? I said, “.. um.. noooooo… if I can’t find what he lost then you owe me 25” and she started going off on me about how it wasn’t her fault and I at that point, I knew that if I punched her she was going to do that whole Weeble thing and bounce back up and body slam me so I took a deep breath and stuck a smile on my face and said, “… you do. not. want. to. fuck. with. me. right. now”

She looked at me like I was out of my freakin’ mind and maybe I was but she just turned around and went into the house.

When I got back to the store, Chief was like, “.. I can’t believe you said that to them.” and I told him that I was sick of it. What were we really losing if they never came back? NOT having to lose stock and wait for cash? He was like, “No.. I’m glad you did”.

Figures he’d be all proud and stuff over me going ape shit.

Person 2 and her husband were still there and they did get stuff on credit but it was only a loaf a bread and a half a pound of cheese. I can deal with 4.50. They may have wanted more but after my little performance they may have thought twice.

But here’s the kicker..

When everybody was finally gone, Chief tells me that even though he hates to accuse or judge, he thinks that Person 4’s husband took the kids money. He said it all fits. The other two were in the front of the store and the TweedleDumb’s were in the area where the kid was.. in the spot where the kid always leaves the money.

As angry as I was at them, I told Chief that I really couldn’t believe that they would take the money knowing that the kid wasn’t right in the head and was upset about losing the cash. He said that’s because I don’t steal or take things that don’t belong to me so I don’t think the way those who do that kind of stuff think.

And I said to him, “.. yknow, if you can steal from a retarded kid that you got a lot more problems then I have”

And it’s true.