Adventures of a Part-Time Floor Associate at a Hipster Clothing Store

I’ve worked over six full-time years in the film business. I’ve also managed to work two part-time years, on-and-off, at a controversial hipster clothing store and that fact SCARES THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME. One time I was leaving work and someone shouted from a passing van, “Fuck you hipster!” and I nodded my head in agreement.

One of the reasons why I continue to work at the hipster clothing store (Besides working with some pretty cool people- Yes! We actually smile and ask how you are doing) is because of the delightful characters I meet on a regular basis. They fall into five categories:

1.) Teenagers who dress like Lady Gaga’s Texan cousin and steal
2.) Twenty-something hipsters who make fun of hipsters and then buy fanny packs
3.) Thirty-somethings who brunch and get drunk off Mimosas, then stumble out of the dressing room naked shouting to anyone who will listen, “Does thisss loook good on mee?”
4.) Forty-somethings who buy only yoga pants and quietly and rightfully judge us while having more fantastic asses than I will ever have
5.) Really awesome gay men who are prettier than me and only buy lamé

Occasionally a more special person will come along. Someone that touches your heart. The sort that will make you call the police or hide in the bathroom for hours.
1.) Man With Swastika On His Forehead– Man With Swastika On His Forehead had green teeth. Man With Swastika On His Forehead liked to swear at the floor. Man With Swastika On His Forehead would try to steal, but did it very slowly and purposely so that we would confront him. When I confronted him, he got verbally violent and I thought he was going to bite me with his green teeth and turn me into a Swastika tattooed zombie. Security was called. My manager on duty hid in the dressing room the entire time.

2.) Man Foaming At Mouth– Man Foaming At Mouth came into the store to simply tell me, “You don’t know my thoughts! YOU DON’T KNOW THEM!” He would slowly let the front door close on his face, then angrily push it back open and shout again, “YOU DON’T KNOW MY THOUGHTS!” I assured him that I indeed did not know his thoughts, that no one really understood him, and that he should just let the door close on his face again.

3.) Man Who Wore Bra– Man Who Wore Bra took me off guard. He didn’t have something obvious like a symbol of pure hatred tattooed on his forehead or white build-up around his mouth. No, Man Who Wore Bra looked a lot like Conan O’Brien and most likely worked at Dell Computers. He was tall, skinny, and wearing a polo shirt and khakis. Man Who Wore Bra was in the market for a new polo shirt and tried a few on in the dressing room. After he left the dressing room, I grabbed his leftover clothing like the good drone that I am and discovered that he left a little something in there for me. His double D bra attached to one of the shirts. Mind you, this guy was maybe 160 pounds and definitely had no boobage going on. I pretended like I didn’t see it, left it on the go-back rack, and promptly walked to the front of the store. Quiet footsteps came up behind me, “Excuse me,” Conan said, “Where did you put that shirt?” I pointed to the back without looking up. He went and got his bra and left without a word. To this day I have no idea what the hell he was doing in that dressing room. I’d like to think that he is a misunderstood Ed Wood type, but I doubt it.

4.) Buffalo Bill– Buffalo Bill is the first customer I ever yelled at and told to get out of the store. Buffalo Bill likes to creep around stores in Austin and get uncomfortably close to women. In his best Ted Levine voice he’ll say something along the lines of, “You’re purty” over and over. I really wish he would say, “Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me.” and then tuck his junk in between his legs and start flailing his arms in the air, but he hasn’t. I caught Buffalo Bill taking a picture of me on his camera phone. Shortly after he asked me if we had a restroom. I confronted Buffalo Bill about the photo he just took and he quickly ran into the dressing room and locked himself in. Certain circumstances let Buffalo Bill get away with it that time, but the next time he came into the store, I shouted, “Out! Out! Get out of the store! Creepy man!” He told me that his creepiness factor was my problem, but after suggesting I would call the police he left and has never returned with his lotion or basket.

5.) Girl Who Pissed Herself– She doesn’t deserve much text devoted to her, but in short, she stole A LOT, my awesome manager finally caught her, the police were called, and she pissed herself. Vengeance can be so sweet…and smelly.

6.) Girl Who Wrote On Mirror– Anytime a large group of females under 20 years of age enter the store, a serge of anxiety runs through me. Teenagers scare me. You have no idea what they’re capable of. Most of the time I’m convinced that they’re wielding a machete underneath their over-sized ironic sweatshirts that say “Disneyland 1983” or “Crack is Whack” on it. Teenagers are not to be trusted. Take for example the young girl who was the emo one of her group of friends. While all her friends were trying on clothing, she locked herself into the dressing room and rocked back and forth in a little ball. Her friends didn’t seem to mind. They eventually coaxed her out of the dressing room and were getting ready to leave when I noticed a message left for us. I stormed up to the girls, “Yo, your girl wrote “I want to kill myself” on our mirror.” The girls looked at us stunned. “It’s ok,” I said, “I’ll clean it up. At least it’s not poop or anything. Just go get your friend help, will you?” I guess there is really nothing funny about this situation. However, that didn’t stop me from taking a picture.

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  • Reply Impressions Of My Life At The Moment March 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    What a fascinating store. Swastika man sounds so frighting I would have pissed myself, making myself also be known as pee pee girl too!

  • Reply Christina In Wonderland March 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Wow. It's amazing the kind of people there are in the world, but it seems like you handled most cases, well, you know, as best as possible. Clothes, man, it kind of brings crazy people out of the woodwork.

  • Reply Wendybob March 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    OH, the stories I could tell of working in a western wear store in the Texas Panhandle….

  • Reply Apryl March 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    God I don't miss retail.

    We had some interesting people shop at Best Buy when I worked there.

  • Reply Christine Macdonald March 3, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    This is a series on Showtime, for sure. Excellent stufff here. Can't make it up.

    The 30-something mimosas chicks are fun, aren' they?

    AS a 40-something who wears Yoga pants, let me just say: I'm jealous you look better in them.

    My muffin top is mocking me now.

  • Reply Hipstercrite March 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    @Impressions- He was by far the scariest. And Buffalo Bill. You never know if these guys are going to hang out after you leave the store, you know?

    @Christina in Wonderland- Clothing sure does!

    @Wendybob- Oh man, I'd love to hear!

    @Apryl- Clothing retail I can handle. I don't miss waitressing though. Talk about stress!

    @Kiki- I look HORRIBLE in our yoga pants. I'm actually going to state that in there now. 40-somethings look way better than any of us do. The twenty-somethings are a bunch of beer-drinking flabby butts.

  • Reply Tara Rose Stromberg March 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, and to think I assumed these things only happened in NYC.

    I often miss working retail (my vice was Staples; yes, of "That Was Easy Fame"…take that as you will). If not for just the sheer wackness of some people.

    But then there's always the subway. ^.^

  • Reply VegKat March 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Having spent years in retail, I was nodding at every example you listed. It's scary how the weirdest, creepiest person you think you'll ever meet has their own clone(s) out there.

  • Reply IT March 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Worked a c-store once in an un-redeveloped downtown area. Transients would scavenge the trash bins behind restaurants, then try to sneak in to use our microwave oven to reheat what they'd found. Sometimes we didn't get there in time to stop them. Invariably we'd have to air the place out.

  • Reply The Mad Hatter March 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    First things first, nice legs.

    Secondly, I made a Buffalo Bill reference less than 3 minutes before reading this.

    Thirdly, are you guys doing any hiring? I might be willing to take a pay cut to see some of this…

  • Reply Kate March 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Muchly enjoyed reading about some of the more interesting characters in this strange world we live in.

    Kate x

  • Reply IT March 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I second the "Nice legs" comment

  • Reply Johana Hill March 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    They sure keep you busy! I'm scared of teenagers too.

    And jumping on the 'nice legs' comment bandwagon too ;p

  • Reply bard March 3, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Wow… I work with developmentally disabled individuals, but even they don't sound as interesting as some of your customers!

    P.S. Are those your legs? And if so… do you have a restroom?

  • Reply The Mad Dame March 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    And I thought working at a Chili's in between 3 colleges and the ghetto had some interesting experiences. Now I kind of want to take a crack at retail.

  • Reply Comic Book Candy March 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I had no idea the retail world served as refuge for people in such fragile states.

  • Reply TheHouseofBouton March 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    This sounds slightly familiar. I Spent many years working for Goodwill. One morning I found a man who appeared dead in the dumpster. After the police arrived, it turned out he was a sleeping man with several warrants for his arrest. Who doesn't wake up when you dump a box of brass and dishes on them?

  • Reply Christopher March 3, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Kind of reminded me of the time a crazy person came up to me on the bus and started cussing me out told me to tell them to stop f'n following them. I love the crazies.

  • Reply Linds March 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    want to both laugh and cry for you…

  • Reply Ellie March 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Sounds frighteningly familiar!

  • Reply raymi lauren March 3, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    diggin this bloggo

  • Reply Libby March 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    your legs look super hot in this photo girl

  • Reply Heidi March 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Thank you… my butt and yoga pants both thank you. :)…

  • Reply T!nK March 4, 2010 at 1:14 am

    I love the bra one. he was probably a drag queen and he wanted to see how the shirts looked over the bra. duh!

  • Reply Paula March 4, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Hmm, do those people hit the nearest Whole Foods before or after shopping there? Cause I've waited on many of them.

    You don't know scary til you wait on home school families with their musty reusable bags, flowbee cuts, and inappropriate staring.

  • Reply Amanda West March 4, 2010 at 3:50 am


    I used to work at Gap and one time somebody piled a whole bunch of clothes in the corner of a fitting room and pissed on em.

    Yeah, it was a hella lotta fun to clean that up!

  • Reply Enn March 4, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Haha! I would never work retail, but I love the stories.

  • Reply Hipstercrite March 4, 2010 at 4:43 am

    @Tara- I'm sure NYC keeps you on yours toes. Half the stories I listed happened in LA.

    @Vegkat- I'm starting to lose faith in humanity.

    @IT- I like your story better than mine…and thank you! 😉

    @Mad Hatter- Why, thank you! A day shouldn't go by without a Buffalo Bill reference.

    @Kate- Thanks!

    @Johana- They're capable of anything! They kill and don't even care!

    @Bard- First of, very cool that you work developmentally disabled people. Second of all, thanks for the legs comment?

    @Mad Dame- Retail can be kind of fun at times. If the customers are cool. Where I work is super laid back.

  • Reply Juliette March 4, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Oh, man, this is brilliant.
    Thanks for posting! I always love reading about your hipster adventures.

    Although the other ones were funny, I really do hope that girl found help…


  • Reply That Chelsea Girl™ March 4, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Geeezus, you definitely have interesting stories about the misadventures of customer service…you deserve a pat on the back!

  • Reply Sassy March 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I love this post. It will make me a little more self-conscious when I go into Beacon's Closet in Brooklyn, however; I am Girl Who Comes In With Her Sister To Try Stuff On and Laugh But Never Buys Anything. Surely your favorite customer!

    If only you lived in Boston, I have a supercute friend who works at a hipster clothing store who I want you to date.

  • Reply Peaches and Cream March 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    haha! Hilarious post! Thanks for making me laugh, I really love your blog. I work in health care so see a fair amount of nut jobs, too. My most memorable was the guy who just repeated over and over 'follow me, I'm the Pied Piper' the whole 20 minutes I was treating him!

  • Reply birdykins March 4, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Ahhh the joys of retail… you always think you're going to get out, quit, and then it pulllllls you back in…

  • Reply j March 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    i'm honestly so glad that i found this post. i don't think i've ever laughed harder about store customers in my life. my energy bar was practically being squeegeed out my nose and i couldn't stop.

  • Reply Jenny March 5, 2010 at 4:30 am

    Delurking because I've worked in clothing retail for years and years (one of which was in Austin) and I've never had any of those awesome encounters. Although, I did once have a creeper pee ON the clothes. Good times.

    Keep fighting the good fight. The best part of retail work is the war stories, no?

    -Jenny – closet365.wordpress.com

  • Reply David March 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    This post was awesome. I kind of want to live your life for a day…but then get my life back. Hipster stories are the best!

  • Reply Benny Paul March 6, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Oh man, I thought they were being ironic when they said, "Keep Austin weird." Hilarious stories.

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