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July 20, 2002

True Porn Clerk Stories
Posted by Teresa at 08:42 AM *

I just got sent the URL for the journal of a video clerk in a porn shop, and it’s utterly compulsive reading:

There’s a New Porn Freak in Town
Posted on 04-01-2002 at 03:01 AM

We have a new vistor to the porn section. He’s been in twice now. Actually, he’s been in at least three times, as he is a registered member, but he’s only stood out twice.

He comes in, goes down to the straight porn section, and whips out a hand mirror. Then he applies makeup for about an hour.


No browsing, no chatting people up, no whacking. In, mirror, makeup and out. And again, he’s in the straight section.

No one’s sure what to do yet.

The last time he was in, two clerks went down to ask him a) what was up and b) to leave. He pointed out that he was a registered member, and that he wasn’t stealing, whacking off, or bothering anyone. Since he wasn’t hurting anyone, why did he have to leave?

Nobody’s thought of an answer yet, and we’re not really sure we want to toss him for loitering. He is, after all, just putting on makeup.

But why in our porn section? It has such harsh fluorescent lighting.

I’m sure we’ll find out eventually. I can’t wait.

Comments on True Porn Clerk Stories:
#1 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2002, 11:33 PM:

Patrick's web findings may be more useful and in some sense more worthy, but yours are fascinating and entertaining, and it does indeed pay to advertise in Making Light.

#2 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2002, 11:50 AM:

As someone with a middling interest in porn and a long history as a retail clerk, I am among the perfect target audience for this material. I stayed up at least half an hour longer than I intended to last night because I couldn't stop reading it.

#3 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2002, 02:16 AM:

Whenever work becomes a drag, I can read this to get a little perspective. Dealing with unruly source code and hostile testers has nothing on lube warnings.

#4 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2002, 11:09 PM:

Expanding on my earlier comment: I worked as a clerk in a specialty shop (a comics & sf shop) from 1984 to 1992. There's not a single customer whom she describes that I didn't immediately recognize, although mercifully I never had to deal with sticky products. This is probably the best work I've ever read dealing with life as a retail clerk. More power to Ali Davis.

#5 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2002, 07:20 PM:

A related piece by this author was aired on "This American Life" recently, in their episode "Give the People What They Want."

#6 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2002, 07:56 PM:

What is "This American Life"?

#7 ::: Kip T. Williams ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2002, 10:30 PM:

It is this. No, really. They explain that it's this radio show on public-type radio, and tell who does it, and have shows archived.


#8 ::: Kate Salter ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2002, 07:16 PM:

I laughed for a long time at this. As a former video rental store clerk, the author is so right.
Thanks for pointing this out. Aqua in the morning. Oh how I wish I could have done that.


#9 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2003, 09:34 AM:

She's spamming me, too, but she did give me a chance to point out what no one else did: He's putting on makeup under the harsh flourescent lights because, if he looks good there, he'll look good anywhere.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2003, 09:40 AM:

Wouldn't a train station do as well?

I clicked on "Lolita" and got a faceful of porn. Got to do something about spam in my comment threads.

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