Garnish the Bluff

Bartender: [to a grabby customer] “DO NOT TOUCH MY HAT. I would rather have a man SHOVE AN OLIVE UP MY ASS than touch my hat.” [then, to me] “What can I get you, baby?”

Me: “Oh, I just need an olive.”

Bartender: “…”

And he didn’t even offer to let me touch his hat. I feel mildly cheated and also wish I wasn’t craving tapenade right now.

The Queer Duck Says [Sad Trombone]

[A handsome, bearded customer enters the store. While his mannerisms are masculine, he’s wearing long, dangly earrings and glitter nail polish, and he’s carrying a tasteful, silk clutch. Immediately, Inner Me is like, “Non-binary! Genderqueer! Role model! Mentor! Instruct me in your liminal ways, Ascended One!”]

Me: “Hello! How can I help you tonight?”


Alrighty, then. Not quite the spiritual advisement I was looking for. I think I’m just going to go back to quietly venerating Tilda Swinton.

Keep the Turn in Saturnalia

Customer: “This place needs to be more festive!”

Me: “I’ll touch base with management, but I’m sure they have plans to decorate.”

Customer: “There’s a lot of red in here, which is good, but you also need, like, a dildo with antlers.”

Me: “Of course we do.”

Customer: “You could contact a company in Japan and have it made cheaply.”

Me: “That would be one option, I guess.”

Customer: “Or get one of those big, inflatable ones.”

Me: “A… big, inflatable dildo?”

Customer: “Yeah, you know. Like in ancient Greece?”

Me: “Oh. Yes. Those.”

Customer: “Saw the horns off of something, glue ’em on, BAM. Christmas!”

It’s heartening to know I’m not the only one with plans to worship the generative force in nature this holiday season. The conceptual design is a bit ambitious for the Forge’s limited space, but man, if I had a front yard and lived in a conservative HOA, this would be the best Christmas ever.

Not even the pipe cleaners. Especially not even the pipe cleaners.

Customer: “So you’ve got some pretty serious competition these days.”

Me: “Oh?”

Customer: “Yes. You can get all of this at Walmart.” [he opens his arms wide, indicating all of this.]

Me: “Ah.”

Customer: “Yep, all of this.” [He notices a set of sounding rods in one of the display cases.] “Even these! You can find these at Walmart now.”

Okay. I will freely admit that Walmart does sell colored bandanas, which may well cut into our hanky sales — in fact, I have a navy blue hanky from Walmart that sports a cunning gray stripe down the middle. And I will also own that I have not ventured very far into Walmart’s website, so for all I know, they sell harnesses. Or at the very least handy leather straps that can be fashioned into one.

That said… guys, please don’t stick anything you find at Walmart into your urethra. Even if it looks kind of soundy. I don’t ask for much, but I am going to make a stand on this issue. Thank you in advance for your compliance.

Two Preppies, One Pocket

Preppy 1: “Hello! What is the Hanky Code color for scat?”

Me: “Brown.”

Preppy 1: [gesturing to the preppy next to him] “Excellent. He’d like one brown hanky, please.”

Preppy 2: “No, I would not.”

Preppy 1: “Yes, you would. You said you were interested, so you need the hanky.”

Preppy 2: “I said I was curious. I don’t need the hanky.”

Preppy 1: “Get over yourself and own your scat fetish.”



Preppy 1: “You need to be more like me. I always flag.” [He catwalks across the store, strikes a pose, and glances over his shoulder like a starlet on the red carpet, pulling up his shirt just enough to expose the orange hanky in his right back pocket.] “See?”

Preppy 2: “What does orange mean?”

Me: “It means–”

Preppy 1: “It means always on the lookout.”

Me: “… Okay, sure. Why not?”

Preppy 2: “Well, that’s great. But I’m still not buying a brown hanky.”

Preppy 1: “Ugh. FINE.” [then, to me] “I am very sorry we wasted your time.”

Me: [scribbling notes] “I promise you did not waste my time at all.”

And the funny thing is, orange actually means “anything, anytime, anywhere,” although there’s debate about placement: Some people maintain that orange on the right says, “just looking, not interested,” while others interpret it as, “bottom in any situation.” I myself fall into the latter camp, and as such, I truly hope these two can set aside their differences and reinforce the strained bonds of their friendship by getting pooped on together. I would happily provide them with matching cups to commemorate the event. And also maybe some baby wipes.

Circuit Breaker

Customer: “Those little electrical boxes you sell in your main store are great, but they need to have multiple switches, so that you can control more than one device at a time.”

Me: “Oh. Well, I appreciate the feedback.”

Customer: “Yeah. You’ve gotta crank it all the way up for your butt plug to get, like, BLAAAAARGH.” [He shakes violently for effect.] “But then it’s way too intense for your nipples. You know?”

Me: “…”

Customer: “But that’s just me. That’s just my opinion.”

An ex-boyfriend of mine used to work at Barnes and Noble, and he was always going on about the intimate nature of his job. He’d be like, “A woman came in today and bought a book on coping with divorce! Man, it can be pretty unnerving to learn so much about people when you’re just trying to help them.” While I hold no resentments over that particular relationship, it is nice to know that there’s no way in hell he could handle my life.

Whoever Thinks It Kinks It

Customer 1: “Hey, can I ask you something?”

Me: “Sure.”

Customer 1: “Someone told me that all these colors mean something. Is that true?”

Me: “Well, the color of a given piece of leather doesn’t real-”

Customer 2: “HE NEEDS YELLOW.”

Me: “… ly mean anything. The only time color indicates something spec-”

Customer 2: “HE’S YELLOW.”

Me: “… ific is if you’re flagging a colored hanky, which would signi-”


Me: “… fy your personal kink or fetish. For example, your friend here is into piss play, so he flags yellow.”

Customer 2: “Wait… what?”

Me: “You’re into piss play. That’s what yellow means.”

Customer 2: “I would never…”

Me: “It’s okay, dude. I don’t judge.”

Customer 2: “I’M NOT INTO PISS PLAY.”

Me: “Then maybe you should learn more about the Hanky Code, because if the only color you’re able to talk about is yellow, I am naturally going to assume that you want to get peed on.”

[extended silence]

Customer 2: “I… would like to learn the other colors, please.”

Customer 1: [quietly, to me]Thank you.”

And that’s how I protect and preserve sacred traditions of my people. The Sentinelese are moments away from accepting me as a cultural attaché.

Criminal Mindless

Customer 1: [over his shoulder to Customer 2, who’s walking into the store behind him] “Hey, this is the place where you stole all that shi–”

[He turns and sees me behind the counter.]

Me: “Hi.”

Customer 1: “…”

Customer 2: “Uh… that was actually in Atlanta.”

And then he took Customer 1 on a tour of the shop and pointed out every product that he definitely legitimately purchased from us using money. I appreciate that he seems to have turned his life around, but on the off chance any fetishwear salespeople from Georgia are reading this, I can totally ID the guy who stole all your shit.

Building Barns from Bottom to Top

Customer: “Hello! I’d like a bottle of poppers, please.”

Me: “Well, we don’t sell poppers, but we do carry a fine selection of solvents and polish removers.”

Customer: “Oh. That’s right! I forgot. Okay. Um… I would like… a bottle of… furniture cleaner?”

The moral of this story is that if I ever start my own solvent company, I’m going to call it Amish Pride. Our signature scents will be Walnut, Maple, and Rumspringa.