Normally i don’t glean much from the kind of transactions that take place over the counter at a liquor store; there are surprisingly limited genres of customers. the smallest genre is the customer who actually wants something interesting or earnestly wants advice about wine, beer or alcohol, which i try my best to avoid, just on general principle, because that would involve sales machosensitivity. then there are regular customers, who buy the same six pack or bottle of wine or pack of cigarettes, banter, possibly exchange thees and thous with the store dogs, etc.
then there are the construction dudes, who buy 40 oz or 16 oz beers, never anything smaller, never anything more expensive than Heineken, and also purchase Gatorade, Fanta or Orange Crush, or tallboy cans of Arizona Ice Tea. these are the only things construction workers consume, as far as i can tell. they also have complicated relationships to having a wallet, or at least, keeping paper money in a wallet. one guy said “this dollar’s full of sand” as he was uncrumpling a dollar bill, to which i said, “no worries, how much sand could be in it” and then he uncrumpled and a shoe’s worth of sawdust mushroomed out. and a piece of metal.
there are boozier old people, who overlap with regulars a bit, and are also wont to engage in a conversational methodology i call the “confauxsation” or “not listening” where they don’t respond to what you actually said, but what their experience and personal ideology conditions them to expect you to have said, a problem that is approaching crisis state in american discourse, alongside “not having an internal monologue.” an example, with actual speech in italics:
ogre cellphone using man (O.C-U.M.): do you have ice?
me: yes. how many bags you need? no you fat homosexual, i don’t have ice
O.C-U.M.: how can a liquor store not have ice?
me: no, we have ice, it’s in the back. i can bring it out for you in a moment i want to engage in unconventional semi-legal acts with your family then crap on your golf clubs
O.C-U.M.: I NEED ICE. and can i get a bag for this 12 pack of miller lite THAT HAS A HANDLE ALREADY.
maybe this phenomenon isn’t as easy to translate to txt as i thought it was, but everybody knows what i am talking about, that much is certain. ogre cellphone man is a composite of several people, including the prick who snipped at me for doublebagging his ice cubes because i thought he might want a bag, considering one of his sausage-finger germcovered paws was glued to the side of his face so he could talk to his phonefriend, who was probably covered in germs too.
for some reason, boozier old people have a weird tendency to be from out of town, or at least to pretend to be from out of town; i don’t know if that’s some kind of baby boom vice-masking behavior where if you are a hopeless loadie, you just switch what liquor store you go to constantly so that nobody can tell your pastor or troop leader that you’ve been downing 3 liters of effen vodka a week. there’s an offshoot of the boozy old people tribe which is the 60ish ladies in impeccable clothes/makeup/jewelry who comes in like a heatseeking booze missile, finds the most expensive mid-shelf vodka, gin and/or whiskey, grabs it and basically throws their credit card at you as they streak out the door. my theory is either they have a lot of small cocktial parties, are hopeless drunks, or preserve their weird lady dracula good looks by taking ice baths in gallons of junipero gin (by the good people at anchor brewery).
benevolent young rich couples: polite, laidback, usually conversant in fine beverages, clearly rich based on their tendency to drop $100ish dollars on wine/booze once a week.
malevolent young rich couple: very rude, allegedly “in a hurry” despite taking fifteeen minutes to pick out a six pack of beer and bottle of wine, liable to do things like come in, put their motorcycle helmets down on the counter, where you’re trying to put shit in bags or just not have any helmets there, then run to a cooler, grab 17 cans of red bull and a handle of absolut vokda (not good or worth money) and then spend eight more minutes thinking about which fancy beer to get before aborting themselves and getting bud light.
stoned, or about to be stoned people: have different names for various paraphernalia. What people from ohio call a one-hitter is known as a bat amongst the cabaret sector of chicago’s population, or a stick, if you are the guy who came in yesterday, asking for the “small cigarette-looking stick” which we do have, as opposed to the not that small cigarette-looking stick, although i’d point out that the actual amount of drugs or special treats you can smoke with the respective devices is the same, since they have the same diameter. work-a-day potheads seem to be really into lingo (“i need a pack of one and a quarters”) and do actually really use a shitload of nag champa. usually the people who buy one-hitters are kind of seedy early-30s men and women, who also get some kind of cover up purchase, like if you were a man buying condoms, you would also get some soda just to convey an air of not actually needing the condoms right that minute, but that you were you know, running some errands. having never been on the inbound side of these orthogonally shame-driven transactions, i never realized how not awkward it is for the cashier/salesperson.