Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ho(t) Me(n) Depot Gets Weird

I know!

No blogging!

What's with that?

Oh just take a guess.

All I do is work. And when I'm not working, I'm really really busy.

I could go on endlessly about "this thing that happened to me at work today," but I have always tried hard to make SingleTails Not That Kind Of Blog. But two recent items bear noting.

Okay. There I was at Ho(t) Me(n) Depot. It was a Saturday afternoon, a couple of weeks ago. Although Gardening was busy, not so the rest of the store. It seems that everybody was focusing on planting Spring bulbs and nobody was much interested in gussying up their bathrooms or kitchens. (Fools!)

When it's slow like that, I position myself in the center aisle of the store, right in front of the kitchen design center. A former fellow employee would refer to this as being a Wal-Mart Greeter, since it mostly involves smiling and saying hello to customers passing by and directing them to the aisle where they'll find whatever it is they're looking for.

Now, I was carrying the department phone. If'n someone calls the store they get one of those annoying menus, and one of the options is to be connected to one of the department, and if they select Kitchens and Baths, the portable phone in my apron pocket rings.

It's reeeeeeally annoying. There you'll be, busy with fetching down a bathtub from the overhead storage racks for an impatient customer, and the phone will go off. "Do you have...?" or "How much is...?" mostly. Now, since there's no way to put the phone on hold, you have to apologize to the customer your helping while you abandon them to go running through the aisles to answer the question of the caller.

So anyway, there I am, doing the Wal-Mart Greeter thing, and the phone rings.

Here's the conversation. Just about verbatim.

Me: Good Afternoon, this is Drew in Kitchen and Bath!

Caller: Hi, how are you, Drew?

Me: Pretty good. What can I do for you?

Caller: You're pretty well endowed, right?

Me: 'Scuse me?

Caller: Well from the looks of the way your filling out those pants your wearing, I'd say you're pretty well hung.

Me: Uhhh... So is there a Kitchen and Bath question that I can answer for you?

Caller: Not interested, huh? Okay.

Me: Only if it pertains to kitchens and bathrooms.

Caller: Okay. Just thought I'd ask. 'Bye.

My first thought: It was someone I knew having some fun at my expense.

Nope. No one I know would be aware of the complexities of the Ho(t) Me(n) Depot phone system to pull that off.

My second thought: It was one of my co-workers having some fun at my expense.

Uh uh. All of my co-workers who would pull anything like that are straight, and wouldn't be able to believably pull that off.

My third thought: Right now, standing there, I was the target of a voyeur. Who was probably watching me still, gauging my reaction.

Creepy. Infuriating. Flattering.

All at once.

I mean, did he know who I am? In certain circles, I'm Well Known. I've got creds. (Although not, admittedly, for being particularly well hung. I'm Standard Issue Six. Just like John Dillenger.)

But the mystery deepens. Must have been a current or former employee of Ho(t) Me(n) Depot. No one else would be able to navigate the phone system like that. But at the same time, someone who at least knew enough to know what department I worked in.

Very strange. I can't figure it out.

At the other end of the spectrum, today I worked with our store's own elected official. It was pretty slow today, but steady enough so I wasn't bored. So these two contractor guys--and, as it happens, pretty unappealing contractor guys, come up the aisle with their cart loaded down with shower doors or something. In response to my co-worker's question, "Do you need help?", one contractor guy said, "Are you a psychologist?"

"No," answered my co-worker, "But he sort of is."

(Later, in retrospect, I "got" it. Contractor guy was punning on the phrase, "needing help," using it to mean, contending with mental illness or delusion. Very witty, no? No.)

The contractor guy turned his attention to me.

"I need a psychologist," he said, "this guy I work with (indicating the other contractor with a thumb over his shoulder) is gay."


Homophobia rears it's ugly head!

Right there in the middle of Ho(t) Me(n) Depot!

My standard retort is to say, "So have you heard they invented this stuff that turns straight guys into cock suckers? They call it 'beer.'" But I was at work. And we always have to be nice to the customers, so I let is slide, saying something mamby-pamby like, "Well, don't know that I have much to offer by way of a response there."

I think a dim light of recognition flashed on his otherwise blank face, and perhaps some aspect of his reptile brain registered the fact that, in fact, he had just addressed this to a Gin-You-Wine Homo.

Or not.

Who knows.

So it's sort of run the gamut lately.

Gay goings on at Ho(t) Me(n) Depot.

Although, last week, a call went out over the walkie-talkies, someone somewhere fielding a question from a customer they couldn't answer and appealing to all of us for help: "Do we have any pansies in the store?"

It took all I had not to answer, "Well, I'm over here in Kitchen and Bath..."

But I didn't.


beaver4 said...


Johnny Boy said...

OK, now you're the SECOND gay man I know in Kitchens and Baths at HD. Amazing.