My year of serving the public as a cashier in a small town convenience store has given me the opportunity to meet a wide variety of human beings and to judge them unfairly for my own amusement.
People generally fall into one of several broad categories- Male, female, kid, geezer etc. Which can be further divided into sub-categories such as hippy, farmer, rich bitch, hot guy, crack-head and so on and so forth. One of the most interesting and diverse groups is the one broadly know as "Little Old Men" I have classified them into six easy groups for people-watchers to spot.
The Cute Little Old Man is one of my favorite types of customer. Cute Little Old Men have white hair, sparkly eyes and rosy cheeks. They may well have little round bellies that shake when they laugh like bowls full of jelly, but it's not a requirement. They mostly buy milk and lottery scratch tickets. They have adorable nicknames like Jigger, Sonny or Bear. They give change to small, stupid children who can't afford their baggies full of penny candies. They call me Sweetie, Love or even Beautiful. They may well be racist child molesters in private, but they give off an air of old fashioned gentlemanlyness which I find very endearing. They are grandfatherly in a way your own grandfather may never have been. They wink.
The Angry Old Man has come to your place of business today because he wants to argue. He is an ass-hole, but you're not allowed to refer to him as such because he is over the age of seventy-five. Ass-holes grow up to be Angry Old Men in the same way puppies grow up to be dogs. It's unavoidable. The Angry Old Man is very good at finding reasons to be upset: Perhaps he feels the small jug of milk is ludicrously overpriced in comparison to the larger jug of milk but he doesn't want the larger jug of milk because it will spoil before he can drink it. He will explain this predicament to you loudly and repeatedly, secure in the knowledge that he will be able to carry on being Angry because there's nothing you can possibly do to ameliorate this situation, particularly because he is unvaryingly deaf as a post and unable to hear any solution you might suggest to him. They never call me by any name.
The Lonely Old Man is sad. He is quiet when the store is busy, but given the opportunity he will stand at your counter for hours on end talking to you about his youth. You talk to him because you feel bad for him despite the fact that you have an extensive to-do list and talking to Lonely Old Men is not on it because your manager is kind of a jerk like that. They mostly buy chocolate bars. They call me by the name on my name-tag.
Dirty Old men must be further divided into literal and figurative sub-groups.
Dirty Old Men (lit.) are old farmers and mechanics so deeply encrusted with dirt that no amount of bathing will ever get them clean again. They stink of manure, gasoline and tobacco. They are generally missing one or more fingers. They communicate mostly by grunts and hand (stump) gestures. Their overalls, shirts and hats are stiffened with sweat and filth to such an extent that they could easily maintain the form of their owners even after having been removed from their bodies. They mostly buy cigarettes and coffee. They call me *slight nod of the head* if they are in a good mood.
Dirty Old Men (fig.) are aging perverts. They mostly buy porno magazines. Sometimes they claim they are too old to climb the stepladder which is required to access the top shelf where such magazines are kept and ask me to climb up for them while they stay below, ogling my ass and giving directions such as "The one on your left...further...further...reach a little further...yeah, that's it Honey." Or asking for a description of the magazine's content, specialty or price, claiming that their eyes are no longer strong enough to read for themselves without acknowledging the fact that if their eyes are that far gone this magazine will do them little to no good anyway. They call me Honey, Baby, Cutie or Sweetheart.
5. Crack-headed Old Men.
They are usually dirty (lit.) They have long, straggly hair that is grey or tobacco yellow. They have red or yellow eyes and teeth rotted by meth. They may not actually be all that old but their faces are made of creased leather so it's hard to tell. They mostly buy penny candies or individual coffee creamers and rolling papers, for all of which they pay with pennies, nickles and the occasional dime. They smell of piss, sweat, pot and failure. They don't call me anything, Thank God.
6. Utterly Bat-Shit Crazy Old Men.
Always entertaining, the UBSCOM can usually be identified by his wild, staring eyes and the smell of goat and vomit. He may well have forgotten one or more important articles of clothing this evening. He will be carrying something- possibly a broken walkie-talkie, possibly a can opener, possibly a human foot. He believes aliens may try to communicate with him via the ATM in the corner. Sometimes they are furtive and paranoid and you feel bad for them, but other times you luck out and get an UBSCOM who has embraced dementia with open arms and he will regale you with stories better than anything you might see on TV. They usually don't bite under the bright lights inside the store. There's no telling what they might buy, but it's possible that they will try to pay with cat food. They call me Susan.
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