I work at a grocery store.  But it’s not one of those boring, publicly-traded establishments with national name brands like Doritos, and completely indifferent employees, like this guy.  No, this is a store that’s got an organic/local reputation (however dubious), private-label preservative-free imitations of Doritos, free samples, and people who will patiently hold your hand as you agonize over whether the chardonnay for your sister’s wedding should be more oaky or more buttery—and herein lies the problem.

Stores like these have a way of… doing things to people.  Making them sick.  My experience has shown me that a shop’s treatment of its clientele has an inversely proportionate relationship with said clientele’s decorum and exhibited intelligence.  It’s almost like good treatment is a clarion call for customers to see how much entitled bullshit they can get away with.  Or maybe it’s that these stores attract people who were already shitheads to begin with.  I don’t know the exact origin of this diverse illness, and I don’t give a flying fuck, because you have no excuse for treating those who serve you as if they were subhuman, especially when: 1) you’re not fucking 1700s European royalty, and 2) you idiots can’t even remember not to adjust your genitals in public (probably because precious motor-control signals are being devoted to moving your lips as you read the ingredients on your jar of pasta sauce—I mean, Jesus, who could remember tomatoes, garlic, and basil?)

Contrary to what you may believe due to the courtesan-like nature of our work, your behavior is not normal, and we lowly denizens of retail don’t like you.  We’re not actually sympathetic to your organic-GMO-kosher-free-range tirades when we are not the decision-makers and there are other stores that cater to those needs.  We don’t find your inability to consider the bottom shelf when looking for an item to be amusing, cute, or even understandable.  Our disgust for you is only very slightly outweighed by our current dependence on this job.  We are Only Nice To Your Face. It seems you’ve contracted a Retail Disease.

There are many different types of retail diseases.  Some appear in isolation in otherwise healthy customers, while other diseases appear to go hand in hand—without proper treatment, one illness will almost surely beget another, and another…

If you suspect you may have a retail disease and are open to therapy, however, treatment is available.  Take a look through this series and see if any of these sound like you…

Photo of stenciled shopping cart artwork by Pøbel is used with most gracious permission of aka John Spence.

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