The Dali Grind: Surreal Stories about Real Jobs
Have you ever had a work experience that was funny, bizarre, or just plain awful? Share your experience so we can all laugh at those who frustrated you. Email us your stories at and we'll post the choicest ones. We don't publish real names of you, your coworkers or your employer.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
  STORY: Panty Man

I was a newbie inthe lingerie section of a department store when he came in. This little old man who'd shuffle among the racks of women's undergarments and run his hands over the silky drawers. Then he'd select a pair of huge nylon briefs and, tilting his face slightly up, drape the material over his face, inhaling deeply. "How should we handle this?" I asked the experienced saleswoman beside me. "Oh, don't pay him no mind. That's just the Panty Man. He comes in every so often. I'll shoo him away in a bit."

Transvestites?: An hour from closing time on a dead Friday night in the lingerie department, the phone rings. The caller tentatively asks, "Do you cater to transvestites?" Energized by the promise of something fun, I respond gamely, "Define 'cater to'." We negotiated rules and determined that certainly I would help him select items, and he was welcome to try them on (provided he not strain the fit of a yet unpurchased garment). The only caveat was he'd have to try them on in the men's fitting rooms across the store. I was totally bummed out that he never came in ... or did he blend so well that I never knew?

Uh, what size?: Men entered our frilly corner of the store from time to time, some stepping gingerly, some with lascivious grins. When I'd ask what size their lady required, they usually had no clue. More than one blushed and glanced involuntarily towards my chest. One day, exasperated beyond propriety, I snapped, "Listen, make this really quick. How does she compare to me?" After the thoroughly embarrassed man left with his purchases, I realized that I could simply direct customers to compare to the mannequins. Hmmm... I am soo slow.. . . As I type this in, it explains the group of three men who came in a few days later and looked disappointed when I crossed my arms and referred them to the mannequins.

Other times, the men would swagger in, toss something purple, feathered, and g-strung onto the counter and insist that the xsmall thong and 38DD bra were exactly what their wives needed. At least twice, these items were flung huffily back onto my counter a week later by a woman of average build who exchanged them for teddy bear sleep shirts. 

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