Monday, September 27, 2004

Eyes To See

Another sign of the impending apocalypse: we now sell reading glasses. Spiritual Eyes Reading Glasses (yes, that's the real name) recently made their debut at our store. I can't help but be reminded of Joseph Smith and his "magical spectacles" that allowed him to translate the tablets that later became the book of Mormon. I doubt that's a comparison welcomed by most Evangelicals.

We placed the glasses next to the WWJD bracelets. Hopefully, people will have "eyes to see" that Jesus wouldn't wear any of this crap. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.)

Between the reading glasses and the Precious Moments calendars, I might have to start drinking at work.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Have A Blessed Day

My coworkers and I are thinking about writing a book. We'll call it, How I Almost Lost My Faith and Committed Murder Working At a Christian Bookstore.

Chapter 1: Don't Make Me Take Your Oxygen Tank

As the Christmas season approaches (it begins in September for retailers) a variety of Christmas related charities come to the forefront. An endeavor my store supports is Operation Christmas Child, which is run by Samaritan's Purse. Basically, you fill a bunch of shoe boxes with items geared toward a specific type of child (such as a boy age 5-8). These boxes are wrapped and given to needy children around the world so they can have a gift at Christmas.

You can use your own shoe boxes, or you can use some of the pre-decorated boxes provided by Samaritan Purse. My store agreed to be a distribution point for these boxes. We were given 3000 on Saturday morning, and they were all gone by noon even though there was a limit of 300 for each individual/church.

One of my regular customers, a mean woman we shall call "Bonnie" called when we opened to see how many boxes we had. She was told 3000. She first became enraged when we told her we could not hold any for her. It was first come first serve as per our agreement with Samaritan Purse. She was amazed we couldn't hold any for her, "an old, frail woman who was one of our best customers."

Bonnie, you're an old, obese former chain-smoker with an oxygen tank and a grudge against the world. You are not one of our best customers. When you enter the store, we assume we are being punished by God. Nothing is ever good enough for you. You are verbally and emotionally abusive to the staff, but you assume a nice, "It's not you're fault," at the end of a tirade will make everything better. People leave the church because of jerks like you.

Anyway, she comes into the store around 2:30 and demands shoe boxes. I politely inform her we are completely out. The floodgates of hatred opened up. It would have been more fun to run naked through the Mall of America the day after Thanksgiving than to listen to Bonnie tell me what a miserable shit I was.

I stood there and smiled while she went on and on. I can take verbal abuse; I played Little League. What frustrated me were the sadistic fantasies I had about tormenting Bonnie. At one point she asked me what I was going to do to fix the situation. "I don't know, slap you with a Bible," I wondered to myself. Then she wanted to know what she was supposed to do. "Go play in traffic."

I'm really not a violent person. More than anything I was furious at myself for the hatred toward Bonnie boiling over in my soul. I wish I could say is she the only cranky customer I ever have. The truth is, most of my day I spend trying to massage the egos of condescending suburbanites who spit on my very existence. It's enough to make a man an athiest.

And we wonder why people think religion is a tool of oppression and hatred. We treat our dogs better than our own Christian brothers and sisters. Glory glory hallelujah.