I work in the back corner of a “big-box” home-improvement store, so I don’t have a lot of contact with customers. Bringing things up front, going to break, heading to the bathroom, “mall-walking” during slow times, and whatnot, all cause me to cross paths with mostly nice people, some attractive women, a few jerks, and some real Einsteins. Not too long ago, at the entrance to the “unisex/family” bathroom, I ran into a gentleman who was obviously on his way to a Mensa convention. The janitor dude was cleaning the men’s room and had cone barriers at the entrance plus a sign up asking that men use the unisex/family bathroom. Now, most bigger stores in the U.S. that have a unisex bathroom have a door on that room with a locking handle (because they’re small, they’re intended for parents to bring young’uns in and have privacy, and they don’t have privacy barriers inside the room), whereas many of the men’s and women’s restrooms have no doors at the entrance, just a wall or two (a sort of “mini-maze”) keeping the “looky-loos” from peering into the rooms, with, of course, stalls for some privacy inside. Apparently Joe Mensa-guy had never left the farm till that day, because when I was in the unisex/family restroom doing some quick business, he rattled the locked door handle. Then…he rattled the locked door handle again. I was thinking, “You know, the door isn’t gonna get any less locked just by you rattling the handle more.” When I exited the room, I had my vest on identifying me as an employee there, and he goes: “Oh, the cleaning guy”. Again, Einstein, no, I’m just someone using the pisser. The cleaning guy would obviously be the guy, um, oh, I don’t fucking know, maybe behind the yellow cones blocking entrance to the actual men’s room, not a guy who just happened to be an employee and was coming out of a different restroom, with no cleaning stuff in his hands and no cleaning stuff in the room he walked out of. Einstein.
A few weeks earlier (and this was a nice gentleman, by the way, but I got a big kick out of him) there was a feller in the light bulb aisle looking for a certain kind of light bulb for a kitchen vent/fan thing. He didn’t have it with him, but he had some helpful info. about what he needed. He said it screwed into the socket on the kitchen vent thing (he even made a helpful “righty-tighty” motion with his hand to simulate the bulb-screwing), and went on to tell me that it turned on and off with a switch (I believe he made the “switch-flipping” motion also). I bit my tongue and resisted the desire to say, “So, we’ve established that it screws into a socket, and it lights up when you flip a switch. Well, that narrows it down quite a bit.” Luckily he was one of those nice folks who really don’t need anyone in front of them to carry on a conversation (I’m one of those also), and, while I was making helpful “Hmmm” noises, he finally talked himself into thinking that he should actually bring in the old bulb for comparison. Perhaps he and his wife are happily flipping the switch even as I write this, marvelling at Mr. Edison’s invention. At least he figured it out; I’m pretty sure the bathroom guy will never understand why some public bathrooms are lockable.