Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tonight's Tale from the Porn Store: Poppers and the Po-Po

I'm not naive by any stretch of the imagination, but I am still fairly innocent in some respects. One of those respects are ways to get high. I am a D.A.R.E. graduate, but that doesn't mean very much aside from a snort of laughter from those of us who went through the program. Let's just say I know a lot of fucked up D.A.R.E. kids.

So, I knew about mainstream stuff-Marijuana, coke, smack, meth, reds, barbs, uppers, downers, and on and on; I knew about prescription drugs and which ones will mess you up or make you bank if you decide to go that route; but the street appeal of regular old everyday household items that could get you high were one thing I didn't know much about.

I mean, as a girl I would put together models (most memorable were the model rockets and the Visible Woman with my dad, learning every bone and internal organ at the dining room table), and I had to open a window or turn on the fan, because the glue gave me a headache. I didn't realize people wanted to smell that stuff. Glue, spraypaint, markers, all that jazz, nope, not me.

So, poppers were introduced to me at the Porn Store. The first time I unpacked a shipment, there was a small box full of little bottles of VHS head cleaner. I knew what that stuff was, my mom used to manage a video store when we lived in Dublin, GA, and I knew how to use it to clean a VCR that was having tracking or catching issues. I asked where I should put it, and was told to put some in the case, and some in the fridge. I was a little confused at that, because head cleaner doesn't go in the fridge! It was then explained that some customers like it cold. A raised eyebrow on my part got the whole story.

So, we sold several different brands, and they all were awful. One shipment came in, and the box had shifted and the bottles had all either leaked or broken. I had to clean it, and boy howdy was it awful. My eyes were streaming, I was dizzy and my head was pounding, and the whole time I was thinking, "people do this for fun???"**

**I am pretty open in my views on disgusting things people put into their bodies, so don't view that last bit as disapproval, just an honest opinion. People think the same thing about my occasional cigar. Just don't mess with me, don't sue someone if you're the one who does something stupid, and don't hurt anybody else while you're doing it and we'll get along fine.**


I did my job, though, and sold it to people that wanted it, which consisted of whip-thin, wild-eyed men who were all extremely polite and well spoken. Couldn't be doing much damage to the ol' brain cells, I thought; and they would not just buy them and run, but would stay and chat, getting rundowns on the latest movies or my opinions on whatever they happened to think up.

One evening, I was working and a couple of guys came in and were looking around. They were followed shortly by another man that reminded me of Tom Hanks' character in Dragnet when he was working undercover. It was that obvious: bandana on the head, denim jacket with patches and a red bandana knotted on his bicep, cut-off American flag and screaming eagle t-shirt, tight blue jeans with a big belt complete with a huge buckle, big leather biker boots, skull rings. All his clothes were immaculate-no tears, stains, or signs of wear. He made a beeline for the door to funland, and I stopped him. I had to see ID or nobody could go back there. I verified his age, and he went back and walked around for a few minutes, not looking at anything in particular. He came back out and looked in the case for a bit, then tapped on the glass above the bottles of head cleaner. He asked me, "What are those?"

I looked at him, and said, "Those are bottles of VHS head cleaner."

"Why do you have those here?"

Ah-ha; this could get interesting. I put on my A-#1 dazzling salesgirl customer service smile, and said, "Well, sir, we sell VHS tapes, and to optimize the quality of viewing, it is good to occasionally clean the heads on your VCR. Therefore, we sell head cleaner."

It was his turn to raise his eyebrow. "Can't you use these for something else?"
"I'm sorry, sir?"
"Can't you , you know, do other things with this? I hear people do other things with this."

At this point, the customers on the other side of the room wandered closer.

I fixed the man's eyes, and said, "Not that I am aware of, sir; after all, use of such chemicals outside of their stated purpose could be hazardous and is not recommended."

He got the most hateful look on his face and stormed out. The other guys came over and were freaking out. "Oh god, that was a cop! I can't belive it! That was a cop! Can I have a bottle of the blue label?"

And so it goes.

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