Pick Me Up

Dear customer who constantly hits on me and can’t understand why I won’t reciprocate:

THIS. THIS is why I’ll never go home with you, much less ever love you.

What is it, you ask? Why, it’s the EMPTY GODDAMN GLASS YOU LEAVE ON MY COUNTER EVERY BECURSED TIME YOU COME IN HERE.

Also, I have a boyfriend.

Who cleans up after himself.

Regards,

-MJ

PS: If you take the glass with you in the future, the answer is still no. I just wanted to be clear on that.

Signed, Sealed, Delivery Via Flying Lion TBD

Every year, my parents ask what I want for my birthday, and every year, I tell them there’s nothing I really want or need. And every year right after my birthday, I think of something I can’t live without, but it’s too late to mention it, so I just buy it myself.

My 2017 prezzie is as follows:

St. Mark PendantThis (extremely affordable; I am not breaking the bank on a non-milestone) pendant is crafted from an early 19th-century Italian wax seal and features the symbols of St. Mark the Evangelist, patron saint of notaries. So it’s a stamp of a stamp of the patron of stamping, and if there is anything on the planet more meta than that, I don’t even want to hear about it.

Incidentally, the ruling planets of notaries are Mercury and Saturn.

I’m sure you were dying to know this.

[awkward silence]

[shooting star, rainbow]

Don’t Bother. I’ll Write Myself Up.

[Carlisle often keeps me company when I work on Sundays. We were complaining to each other last night about how boring of an evening it had been and how something entertaining needed to happen, when two customers entered the store. Turns out, we are prophets.]

Customer 1: [slithering up to me] “Hello. My friend here is interested in leather but won’t admit it. Please help him.”

Customer 2: “Um… I’m really not.”

Me: “Is there anything you’d like to try on?”

Friend: “Nah. [patting belly] I’m not built for it.”

Customer 1: “Yes you are. See? She looks like you. [reaches out to touch Carlisle’s chest]

Carlisle: “Whoa, careful.”

Customer 1: “What?”

Carlisle: “I don’t know you.”

Customer 1: [with much smarm] “Well, I don’t know you either.” [tries to touch him again]

Carlisle: [firmly] “Please don’t.”

Customer 1: “Ooh, she doesn’t want strangers touching her? Listen, in this environment, you have to expect it.”

Me: “No. In this environment, people get to set their own boundaries.”

Customer 1: [righteously indignant, yet patronizing] “Um, this is the leather world. Have you ever even been to IML?”

Customer 2: “Oh, Jesus…”

Carlisle: “Yes. I’m a titleholder.”

Customer 1: “Oh, she’s a titleholder. Did you hear that? She’s a titleholder and doesn’t want anyone touching her.”

Customer 2: “Hey, seriously, knock it off. The owners of the Forge wouldn’t appreciate you treating their customers this way.”

Customer 1: “Oh, you know the owners, do you? We’ll just see what the owners think.” [flounces out of the store]

Customer 2: “I am so sorry.”

Me: “No worries, dude. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Customer 2: “Well… thank you.”

And then he ran after his albatross friend, who was already holding court at the main bar, literally screaming about how I had maligned him — like, he was going to speak with the owners himself and have me taken care of for being so disrespectful. I don’t know if the bartenders finally had enough or what, but a few minutes later he stormed out of the Ripcord, at which point Carlisle and I were crippled with laughter.

Granted, at its core, this incident is decidedly not funny — in fact, it’s just another reminder that we’re trapped in a society of victim blaming/shaming. In this case, a customer is threatening to have me fired, because I wouldn’t let him harass someone else on my watch; similar to how a Disney executive got fired for filing a sexual harassment suit against a supervisor, or how a black woman got arrested after calling the cops on the white neighbor who physically assaulted her son. This shit happens all the fucking time, and as such it’s no surprise that some douchebag’s immediate reaction to, “your behavior is unacceptable” is “and that is all your fault.”

From this perspective, the circumstances in which Carlisle and I found ourselves were demoralizing AF, but at the same time, the mansplained absurdity of the situation tickled the hell out of us. Maybe we would’ve been more unmoved if we’d been decked out in, say, casual sportswear, but to be dressed in leather while working in a leather store and have someone try to school me on leather culture was just the hilarity I needed to make it through the rest of my shift fancy-free.

PS: I’m also a titleholder and will be competing at IML this year, but, y’know, dude didn’t ask. I feel like that’s probably for the best.

An Epic Lack of Clapping Back

Customer: [gesturing to the solvents, attempting to look sly] “Are these… what I think they are?”

Me: “Yes, they are.”

Customer: “How much is a small bottle?”

Me: “$12.99.”

Customer: “Would you take $10?” [flashes ten-dollar bill like he’s trying to bribe a maître d’]

Me: “No, I would not.”

He ended up buying a bottle anyway, but you know what kills me? When he offered the $10, I didn’t even think to give him a knowing look and say, “Yes… yes, I would,” and then pull out the actual nail polish remover I keep under the counter specifically for occasions just like this one.

Clearly, I’ve gotten soft and slow in my dotage. I’m going to have to arrange for some kind of alarm to trigger whenever customers leave themselves open for savaging.

I Got Your Stamp Right Here

Shhh.

The problem with writing a blog about bad and/or weird customer service experiences is that if I don’t have any bad and/or weird customers, I have nothing to write about. Fortunately, I’m also a notary, which doesn’t necessarily lend itself to bizarre situations, but does give me plenty of opportunities for creative kvetching.

A friend of a friend recently reached out and asked if I could notarize some papers for him. My response was, of course, “FUCK YEAH, NOTARIZING,” on account of I love being a notary even more than I love cursing. But then he explained what he needed me to do, and I was like, “Okay… yeah, that’s illegal, but thanks for thinking of me!”

I find myself in this situation a lot. Someone will bring me a pre-signed and dated document, or will want me to notarize a blank form that they’re going to have someone else fill out later, or, in the case of a particular impatient co-worker, will try to steal my stamp instead of waiting for me to come back from lunch or whatever, to the point where I have to keep it in a locked bank bag stashed in my briefcase with protective amulets attached to avert her evil intentions.

I may have overreacted a little on that last one.

But only a little.

Anyway, while I’m waiting for Forge customers to generate blog fodder, I thought it might be helpful to explain to everyone what the purpose of notarization actually is, so that you never inadvertently put a notary in an unethical position. Because if something goes south, you probably won’t get in trouble… but the notary will. Like, big-ass fines and possible jail time.

[Ed. Note: Ha HA, didn’t realize that, didja? Everything is totes the notary’s fault. Plus, if I got busted, Texas would never let me stamp anything again, and that would murder my bliss. You don’t want to murder my bliss, do you? I didn’t think so. Read on, yo.]

So, notaries: A notary (or notary public) is an official appointed by the State to serve as an impartial witness. (In some states there’s a whole certification process, but in Texas, you just send in $80, and they ship you a stamp with your name on it and are like, “Good luck!” which is a bit of fuckery, truth be told.) A notary is a ministerial officer, which means that he or she is expected to follow written laws without discretion. Judicial officers — magistrates, justices of the peace, Judge Dredd, etc. — have the authority to make decisions regarding the application of law, but ministerial officers perform functions under the law. In other words, we have shit to do, but we don’t have a say in how that shit gets done.

The main duty of a notary is to verify the identities of the signers of important documents, their willingness to sign, and their understanding of the documents themselves. Depending on the nature of what’s being signed, the notary might have to put the signer under an oath, in which he or she swears that the information contained in the document is true and correct. This is my favorite notarial thing, because when people ask me what I do for fun, I can be all, “I administer oaths,” and that makes me feel like fucking Gandalf.

A lot of people seem to think that the stamp itself is the part that matters, that it makes a document official or something. But in reality, the stamp is the notary physically giving his or her word that the signers are in fact who they say they are. This is why notarization is usually required for affidavits, mortgages, powers of attorney and wills. As an example, written testimonies have to be notarized before a court will consider them, because, y’know, the signer has to swear everything in the statement is true, and somebody has to aver that yep, he swore it.

So that, in a nutshell, is What Notaries Do™. I hope you guys found it interesting, and I hope I’ll have the chance to notarize stuff for each and every one of you in the future. Seriously. I’m pretty obsessed with it. Just do me a solid and don’t hit me up for anything questionable — if I’m going down, I want it to be for something way more newsworthy than the wrong name on a warranty deed.