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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Customer Service Melodrama In Two Acts

Dramatis Personae

Chris: The dashing and handsome hero of our story. He is a clerk at a comic book store, and all the ladies want him. He is quietly noble, and yet totally awesome at the same time.

Jerkin McLeatherson: The villain of Act One. Longhaired and clad in both a leather jacket and a leather vest. At the same time.

Gingivitis Jones: The villain of Act Two. Balding, he has four teeth, one of which is rotten and yellow. Said tooth is always connected to his lower lip with a thin strand of saliva. For the duration of the play, he sports Blu Blockerâ„¢ shades, the lenses of which look like they've been left in a desert for a minimum of six years.

Note: All events documented in this play are based on fact.


[Chris stands center-stage, looking radical and well-read. Enter Jerkin McLeatherson]

CHRIS: Can I help you, sir?

JERKIN: Yeah, do you have that story Kingdom Come, but like, all in a book, with words?

CHRIS: Uh, the novel, you mean? The one by Elliot S! Maggin? I'm pretty sure that's out of print, and I know we don't have one here, but you might be able to find one at Barnes & Noble.

JERKIN: Oh. Well can you reccomend a good graphic novel for me? I read Dark Knight Returns and Arkham Asylum and I liked those because they're more adult. I want something like that, because other comics are just for kids.

CHRIS: Uh, right. Well, let's see what we've got over here... Have you ever read Watchmen--


CHRIS: Oh, well it's definitely more adult-themed, and it's probably the best comic--

JERKIN: Does it have Batman in it?

CHRIS: Uh, no.

JERKIN: Because I only want something with Batman in it.

CHRIS: ... Oh.

JERKIN: This "Hush" one here has good art. I'll take it!

CHRIS: Yeah, sure.

JERKIN: You know, I used to collect comics...

CHRIS: [Aside] Oh Jesus, here we go...

JERKIN: ... but I threw 'em all out. Kept a few of 'em, though. I got a Fantastic Four #1 sittin' at home. Maybe that'll be worth somethin' someday, right?

CHRIS: Yeah, it's worth quite a bit now. [Aside] Or it would be, if you weren't a liar, which you are, you fucking liar.



[Chris stands at center stage. Enter Gingivitis Jones.]

JONES: Hey man, y'all buy comics?

CHRIS: I'm afraid we don't right now, sir. We just recently moved.

JONES: Oh, because I've got like twelve long boxes of stuff I used to collect during the four years I was reading comics.


JONES: Yeah, it's from 1991 to 1994. Mostly Marvel.

CHRIS: Ah. Well most of that stuff we don't really need, you know?

JONES: Well I only want like two hundred bucks a box for it, man.

CHRIS: ... Yeah, good luck.

JONES: Do you think that's a fair price?

CHRIS: No. Not at all.

JONES: Aw, c'mon, man, that's like a dollar each!

CHRIS: Yeah. Not really a good deal.

JONES: Huh. Well maybe the owner of the store will think different. I'll be back.



Anonymous Notorious Mjt! said...

Methinks those twain embossed carbuncles most certainly veil their true natures as foul and pestilent congregations of vapors beneath the guise of gorbellied knaves...

12/13/2005 9:03 AM

Blogger TheWriteJerry said...

Ah - these tales rival the time I was standing in a comic book store shortly after Phantom Menace had announced pre-production...

LAST OF THE SPECULATING DOOFUS - NOT: Hey, you guys have Star Wars figures? How much could I get for a figure I got at home, that black dude, Lango Calibreezey?

12/13/2005 11:07 AM

Blogger Mark Fossen said...

Of course Jerkin McLeatherson has Fantastic Four #1.

12/13/2005 11:47 AM

Anonymous Lorene said...

Christ, Chris, I feel your pain. I have gone through both those scenarios, just with a different set of numbnuts.

Caller: Do you buy comics?
Me: Only stuff before 1975.
Caller: Oh. I've got a Spawn #1, would you buy that?
Me: Only stuff before 1975.
Caller: How about the Death of Superman?
Me: Only stuff before 1975.
Caller: It's still in the black bag.
Me: And it came out in 1993, which is almost 20 years after 1975.
Caller: Oh. How much is it worth?
Me: About 10 dollars.
Caller: Oh. [silence]
Me: Anything else? Okay, bye.

Or they do finally bring something good in...

Customer: How much would you give me for this?
Me: $100.
Customer: But it's $200 in The Guide!
Me: Yeah, and I'm here to make money. If I buy it off you for the book value, I make money how?
Customer: Well, I'll just sell it on eBay!
Me: Have a nice day.

But nothing, nothing beats the guy who came in, walked up one aisle, past the bin books, past the new comics, took a left, past the trades, came down the opposite aisle, past the value packs, past the manga, came up to the counter, looked around confusedly and asked me, "Do you sell comics?"
Me: Besides the 10,000 you walked by on your way to the counter? No.

12/13/2005 12:42 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

You know, Lorene, tales of wretched customers are the cornerstone of the ISB. I even swapped a few with Colleen Coover after she posted about some kids coming in asking for bongs on her LiveJournal. She's nice.

And since you mentioned Death of Superman, my favorite encounter with that book was a guy who came in and asked how much it was. I told him--as you did--that it was about ten bucks if it's complete. This guy looked broken-hearted. Seriously, it was as though I'd ruined his world.

"Man, that sucks. I was hoping I could put a down-payment on a house with it."

It was adorable.

12/13/2005 8:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crucial detail you left out: is the manky spit-laden tooth on the top or the bottom?

12/13/2005 9:05 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Top left incisor. My memory of it is clear as day... I still have trouble sleeping.

12/13/2005 10:13 PM

Blogger Hermes said...

Funny how a lowly comic-book clerk can still find fault in, and ridicule, lowly patrons even dorkier than himself. A battle for supremacy amongst the pitiful bottom-feeders.


I eagerly await the remaining two acts.

12/14/2005 1:00 AM

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