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I Am A Security Guard: Hairy Situations

At six on a recent Monday morning, a woman bought two bags of goods and walked toward my post. We made eye contact. She asked me, "Do you like my hair?"

Such a question can lead to problems if the hair looks wretched. A yes may spur additional uncomfortable queries. A no means someone's feelings get hurt.

And I really hated her 'do. It was a frizzy, uncombed mess that resembled a fallen bowling pin.

Rather than offend a customer, I played dumb. "I'm the wrong person to ask," I said.

She repeated her question. I repeated my answer.

The woman left.

Of course the Lazy Cashier saw the whole thing. "You were supposed to say it looked nice," she said.

The Lazy Cashier is my least favorite co-worker, but she made sense. Perhaps I could have been a little kinder to the customer.

Ooh, Ooh That Smell
Around 4:45 on a recent Sunday morning, a man walked to the cosmetics section and bought cologne.

He smiled while walking toward my post.

"This only cost $10," he said. "Good stuff for the price." He then took the bottle from the box and said, "Smell it."

I said no while waving my right hand. But he sprayed anyway. The stench of diluted pine cleaner filled the air.

That pissed me off. But I had been trying to be nicer since the hair incident.

"Smells good," I said while gritting my teeth.

"See, I told you." He smiled while walking out the door.

Just after Halloween, my store shifted into Christmas mode. The staff displayed trees, lights, and other Yuletide merchandise. Holiday tunes blared from overhead speakers.

But the inflatable Mickey Mouse decked in the Santa outfit did not reflect any cheer. The piece drooped due to a shortage of air.

"What's wrong with Mickey Mouse?" I asked the Cool Cashier.

"Maybe he needs Minnie to blow him up," she innocently replied.

The Peep Show
Just before my shift ended on another Monday, an overweight, buxom woman brought her merchandise to a cash register. She wore a dress, but did not carry a purse.

The morning cashier rang up the purchase. Afterward, the customer squeezed her breasts together and jiggled them up and down. She then ran her hands around her chest.

My eyes widened in horror. The cashier, a mother of four, maintained a stoic glance.

The customer's eyes locked with mine. She turned her back, reached inside her bra and pulled out her money.

After she left, the cashier thanked God the cash was dry.

Gay Pride
Late on a Saturday night, a drunken, skinny man and a husky male friend walked into the store while holding hands.

The slim man wore faded blue jeans, which slid downward. He rocked major butt crack. I asked him to pull up his pants.

The couple paid for orange juice and potato chips. On the way out the door, the slim man looked at me. "I hope I see you again," he said with a wink.

The Nice Cashier laughed at me.

Dream Come True
While sleeping before a recent shift, I had a nightmare about a pit bull gnawing at my right leg. The dog morphed into one of the store's more pugnacious guards.

That was a bad omen.

When I arrived for work, that was the guard who greeted me. "Just the man I wanted to see," he said.

The guard then gave me some bad news. A man carrying a backpack had stolen a shelf of gum two nights earlier during my shift.

The Price is Right
A man brought a box of Imodium to the Nice Cashier. The customer claimed it cost $3. The cashier asked for a price check. Another employee searched for her. The item cost $16.

The customer did not buy the item.

A Dose of Perspective
One night, the guard I normally relieve skipped work. Instead, a substitute who had served at several different stores stood at the post.

Usually, substitutes provide great gossip. I asked him about life at the other locations. He told me that thugs had beaten up two guards at a crime-ridden store.

The news provided some food for thought. My job can be pretty bad, but it could be even worse.


A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain.


See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in the Life at Work collection.


Posted on December 10, 2009

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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