Once upon a time I heard someone say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”
To that person I say, “You have clearly never worked in retail. Because we get them all the time.”
The following list of questions are questions I have had to answer multiple times a day every working day for the past six years.
1. Do you work here?
No. I do not work here. I wear this navy blue shirt and these khaki pants to signify my solidarity with the mantis men of Sigma 7 and their struggle against the oppressive Clown Monster regime.
The name badge with my name on it and the word “Walmart” printed across the top is a fake that I ordered off of eBay. I’ve been walking around this department for eight hours a day five days a week straightening things and putting up freight over the course of the last six years just hoping I could fool someone into thinking I work here. Finally my patience has paid off! Muahahaha!
2. Do you have this item in the back?
Yes, as a matter of fact we do. See, somewhere around the mid-nineties Walmart decided that instead “selling things” and “making a profit” were for chumps and it would be much more interesting to hold items in the back of the store and not sell them to customers. Really we’ve never been out of an item in the history of the store. We just enjoy watching you be frustrated. Because that’s good business.
3. Can you hold this item for me?
Sure! Because the theoretical money you say you will pay me in the future is so much more valuable than the actual money the guy standing right in front of me wants to pay for it. It’s because of economics and stuff.
4. Will this item be going on sale?
Why yes it will. The home office will decide to mark it down by seventeen and a half percent on a week from Thursday. Also the stock market is going to crash again in June, and a guy named Vinny “Champ” Edwards is going to discover the secret to cold fusion and make the world into a wonderful utopia. Unfortunately, you won’t get to see it because you’re going to get hit by a bus two days before your thirty-eighth birthday. Bummer. But at least my psychic prediction will allow you to prepare for it.
5. When do you get trucks in?
On the third day after the blood moon four thousand eighteen wheelers will descend upon the store like a swarm of locusts. We ship in thousands of hobos from all over the country to help unload those trucks and when they are done we quietly slit their throats and feed their blood to the demon-god that lives in the drainage pound out back. We keep our enormous stockpile of merchandise in the back room until the next shipment comes in and then if we’re feeling generous we might let you buy some of it.
Once upon a time someone suggested that we should try a system where two or three trucks come in every night, but that person was fired for being a moron.
[To be clear, I really do believe that there is such a thing as a stupid question. This is my definition: a stupid question is one to which you could have worked out the answer for yourself with a minimal amount observation and reasoning. Some of the preceding are arguably not stupid questions by my definition. But I’m making fun of them anyway. Because I can.]