Life in a Hippie Shop

A few years ago now I worked at a hippie-ish shop.  It sold flowy dresses, hemp necklaces, piercings, incense, and various other treasures to a mostly young clientele.  While there, I made notes about my experiences.  Here are a few of them:

Had a guy come in carrying a skateboard asking if we were looking for anyone to work here.  I said I thought we were all set.  He said, “Can’t you fire someone or something?”

A bunch of teenage girls were in here yesterday.  One said she wanted to get her navel pierced.  Her friend told her not to because if anything goes wrong she could do damage to her ovaries and never have children.  She said, “I could always adopt.”

I had a woman last week come into the store.  She was in her mid-50s.  She had two dresses, identical except that one was purple and one was blue.  I told her where the fitting room was.  It’s behind this orange tye-dyed curtain and there’s a full-length mirror behind it.  She pulls the curtain to the side, and instead of moving two feet forwards so she’s in the changing area, she takes off all her clothes (except her underwear) in the middle of the store and puts on the purple dress.  “Which do you think is better?” she’s asking me, “The purple or the blue?”  “Purple.  Definitely the purple.  You can wear it out of the store if you like.”  She decided to try the blue anyway.  Whipped the purple dress off… I was trying to be subtle, “there is a changing area if you’d prefer.”  “Oh, no, this is fine.”

We get lots of heads.  They come in and say, “do you have glass?”

Had a guy the other day who seemed to be having a sexual experience with the incense.  He held eye contact way too long.  Very creepy.

A woman came into the store.  She was large.  Wearing a fabric pillbox hat embroidered with the same floral pattern as her long, heavy jacket.  Both were of a fabric reminiscent of a bed spread.  Her hair was just longer than a brush cut.  Her lipstick was blue.  Her purse was a giant mass of white feathers– like a beheaded, bleached ostrich.  I believe she was an actual woman, but she dressed with the flamboyance of a drag queen.  She came in for pink hair dye.  Since we had none, she settled for bright yellow.

Also one day had a guy trying on the skirts.  Asked my opinion on them.  He didn’t buy anything.  Left.  Immediately after he’d gone, another guy came in and wanted to buy an Indian shirt we have.  It’s a sack of a shirt with a single button at the neck.  I thought it was a man’s, but the one button was apparently on the wrong side.  He said he couldn’t wear something that buttons the wrong way.  (I don’t know the difference)  Kind of an odd juxtaposition to have these two customers back to back.

Had a guy try on a necklace.  Was about to buy it.  Really liked it and then he stopped as though he might be about to set off a land mine.  “This isn’t a woman’s necklace is it?”  I’m thinking, first of all, I’m trying to make a sale here, so if I tell you it is, I don’t sell it.  Second, you liked it a minute a go.  Third, if you buy it, it’s yours so it’s a man’s necklace…  I just said, “no.”

Question in the store: “Do you have men’s hair bleach?”  Well, we have bleach.  Hair is hair.

There’s a group of Appalachian trail hikers outside sitting by the window.  They’ve decided they want to dye their hair funky colors but they can’t figure out how to do it camping on the trail.  They were talking about coloring their beards and talked about having a violet goatee.  I said I thought that sounded like a good rock band name.

The hikers came back and bought bleach and hair coloring.  They bought yellow, green, and blue.  They were putting dresses over their heads to see how the color would look.  I told the red-haired guy, “you are the first guy to come in here and wear a dress on his head.”

I put a couple of the dresses out on the rack outside and someone came in to try it on.  Her son, who was maybe 8, followed her in.  As they were walking out he said, “I wish I was allowed to wear dresses.”

A guy wanted to know about glow in the dark jewelry.  He looked at the lighters we have, the one with the lights inside.  He wanted to know if you have to smoke to use them.  I said, “No, you can use them to set fire to whatever you want.”  He thought that was funny.  I elaborated that you could use them to light incense or hold over your head and wave at rock concerts.  Appropriate uses.

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