Noa Gotta Get Paid Son, Preferably As Weirdly As Possible: The Bridal Store

02/18/2013 · 29 comments

in Psychological Warfare, Sadist Vagina, What Is Wrong With You?

At age 19, I worked at a bridal store.

I was very poor at the time. Things weren’t really looking up for me, considering I had recently moved states in the middle of the night one Friday thanks to a knife-fight that I was in (not by choice) (also that’s a true story). I was tired of eating SweetTarts and Pickles for every meal because that’s all I had managed to bring from my original home. I really needed a job–any job, and the first place I saw was the bridal store.

What sounds like more fun at 19 than to be getting paid to help people try on wedding dresses? Why, it’ll be just like playing dress-up for money!

I would like to reiterate–I was 19. I was very, very naive.

I made less there than I did working 10 hours a week as a waitress in high school, but that’s not what made the job so fucking terrible. It was the soul-crushing grind of dealing with people who so value white dresses above all else.

Wedding dresses are far more of a serious business than I had ever thought they might be. I completed a 50+ page reference guide and quiz-pack before I ever fluffed a train, which covered such topics as:

  • When I was allowed to wear white (never)
  • When I was allowed to wear something that fit me (never)
  • What the most appropriate color of smock to wear (brown and teal, with black pants only)
  • Fire safety
  • How to woo a bride by romancing a train (not a joke)

To this day, I can romance a train better than sad Japanese schoolgirls. It wasn’t the shitty pay or the perhaps overly-thorough training that led to my bad memories. It was this:

  • The time a 60 year old woman wandered out of her dressing room nude to find something new to try on
  • The time I got a dress stuck on someone. Three times.
  • The time that the owner turned the fans on the wrong way so all the cold air was drawn up, which was every goddamn day
  • The time a bride farted in a dress, and then when I helped her take it off, it wafted out from underneath like a terrible flower
  • The time a 14-year-old tried on wedding dresses under the approving gaze of her family
  • The hundred-or-so times the other bridal store in town told any woman larger than a size 16 that there were no gowns for big girls, which, while guaranteeing me a sale because that’s a terrible thing to say, also led to so many tear-stained Saturdays
  • The time that Prom happens every year, and every 16-year-old girl treats retail employees like Gollum
  • The time a girl clogged the toilet and ran out of the store
  • The time my white boss told an older black woman, trying on a mother’s dress, that, “Ooooh, all the women in church gon’ say, Sister Harriet, you look so fine!”
  • The time a grandmother of the bride coughed in my goddamn mouth
  • The time someone said, “I specifically asked you not to put an ant-per-shand between our names.” (For the record, she means this: &)
  • The time a flower girl just shit everywhere
  • The time I burned my cornea on the steamer
  • The time I burned my face on the steamer
  • The time I burned my fingerprints clean off on the steamer
  • The time I used the steamer and was sweating so hard that someone asked if I had a medical condition
  • The time I found out only after I helped a particularly smelly bride that she had scabies and had also been to the lake that day–and did not shower first.
  • The time a kid puked all over a train, and they didn’t say anything, they just rolled it back into the bag and left
  • The time someone asked if I would get married in Dubai in her stead
  • The many many hundreds of vaginas I saw of varying degrees of likability

I realized it was time to leave when I timed myself tying up a corset and I got it–flat laces and a perfect V-shape–in less than 30 seconds. That’s too much bridal.

What’s the shittiest job you ever worked, or the worst story from job you’ve had?

Favorite Comment From The Last Post:

From Kathleen: You like me! You really like me! Sniff… Seriously, though, that’s awesome and reminds me of late night ads in which people are so incompetent they can’t even boil water without setting themselves on fire. “if only they’d had the water boiler 3000, they wouldn’t be covered in 3rd degree burns and cadaver skin!!!!”


Handflapper February 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

When *I* was 19, I worked in a nursing home for my summer break, cleaning up feces that demented old men painted themselves with on a daily basis. Now THAT was a shitty job.

Mandi February 18, 2013 at 9:33 am

When I was 19, I worked for a very popular casino/resort in Reno, NV where I was constantly disgusted by the humanity that wouldn’t think twice about dropping 150k at a craps table before splattering their brains on the wall of the kids arcade bathroom. Ice cream cone in hand. No joke. Reno/Vegas/Atlantic City has no glitz and glamour for me anymore.

Strangest job though was working as the accountant/web developer for a guy who did so many drugs in his heyday at UC Santa Barbara that he could NOT remember my name. Missy, Melissa, Sandra, Kate… Called me by his wife’s name in front of his wife. She made my life a living hell after that. I lasted in that job for 6 months, which was 5.875 more months than he deserved. Only time I’ve ever quit with no notice.
Mandi recently posted..Love Letters of DOOM: The Snowpocalypse Edition

Lydia February 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

I used to clean houses in a very rich part of New England. There was the woman with two emotionally disturbed sons who would smear poo on the walls next to their beds, the woman who “didn’t believe in” tampons so her bed would look like a goddamned crime scene every time she asked us to change her sheets, and the couple who wouldn’t let us open any windows in their house but also wouldn’t put on the AC in the middle of August. Their fridge was filled with rotting vegetables and prescription medication. I have a theory that every great crime author used to clean houses.

Jen February 18, 2013 at 10:18 am

I worked for an advertising agency for two years that had the dubious distinction of producing those soul-sucking infomercials that air at 3:00am between reruns of Roseanne and the Steve Harvey Show. Plus side? I actually met the crazy-eyed Sham-Wow guy. Negative side? I shall forever be immortalized in the background of not one but two Enzyte male enhancement advertisements. ((shame spiral))
Jen recently posted..Searching for Love: File Not Found

nadine February 18, 2013 at 10:25 am


Mayor Gia February 18, 2013 at 11:27 am

I got to “coughed in my mouth” before I started gagging. BLEH. Women. Ick.
Mayor Gia recently posted..Happy President’s Day!

Emelie February 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Haha – my sister used to work in a bridal shop for about 6 years and she has many similar stories. Brides are crazy.
Emelie recently posted..And Then I Woke Up With a Werewolf In My Bed and It Was Gross.

Amanda February 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I worked at a bridal salon for three years to help put myself through school, and mostly it was awful. I had a groom hit on me while his fiance was in the dressing room. I’ve been screamed at by brides and their mothers for things that were out of my control. My favorite story was of a bride who was making money off of her bridesmaids. The dress was about $250, but she told the ladies it was $350, and had the bridesmaids pay her and she paid us. One of the bridesmaids came in for a dress fitting a month before the wedding and inquired as to what made those dresses worth $350. When I said that was not the amount, and showed her the receipt, her expression was priceless.

Dana the Biped February 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I worked in one of those little toy stores that pop up around the holidays. I was an assistant manager. My boss had never worked a cash register, and couldn’t figure out how. She couldn’t do payroll. She couldn’t do scheduling. She couldn’t figure out how to dial into a conference call. She couldn’t manage opening or closing procedures. She couldn’t make change. And on several occasions, she just gave merchandise to people without charging for it or accounting for it in any way. (Apparently, this wasn’t theft.)

She also had this strange habit of accusing me of thinking her stupid…

(Well, sweetie, if the shoe fits, shove it up your ass.)
Dana the Biped recently posted..Read This! The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

liz rosema (@liz_rosema) February 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I just posted a cartoon about my customer service angst, called “tank you very much”
I have worked in a cafeteria kitchen for three summers and have learned that
a) I hate when my hands smell like onions or garlic for an eternity
b) If a bottle of Tabasco sauce spills on your leg and gets all over your sock don’t let your foot marinate in it…the result is pain.
Other employees: “dude you should change your sock.”
Me: “nah. I’m gonna tough it out.” (said every brainless dumbsickle)
45 minutes later:
Me: “Oh God my leg is on fire. I am such an idiot.”
liz rosema (@liz_rosema) recently posted..Tank You Very Much.

Grace February 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

You forgot to mention the time you were treated as “handicapped” while using the steamer.

Clarence February 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I worked in a jail. For a stretch I worked the official gay area of the jail, and when I managed to get transferred it was to the mental health section. Watched a guy chew and swallow his own eye that he pulled out with a plastic spoon.

JP February 19, 2013 at 1:16 am

No way! For reals?

Josh H D February 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm

There was that time at 17 I worked in grocery store in my country home town, and was told I wasn’t allowed to petition to have the gay magazines reinstated in the town library in case someone recognised me and decided not to shop at our store anymore.

Or the time I worked in a bar and had to hand plunge a sink full to the brim with red chunky vomit.

Or the time I worked in a bar and tried to steady myself on the vomit filled floor only to put my hand in the vomit that had gone all the way up the wall.

Or maybe that time I worked in insurance and was told I wasn’t allowed to mention I slept with men just in case someone got offended.

Highlander February 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm

During college I worked in housekeeping. In the all-girl dorms I saw more penises than dust bunnies, plus girls are apparently terrified of cleaning their own hair out of the drains. In the all-guy dorm there was a single room of mattresses called, “The Boom Boom Room,” thank all things unholy we only cleaned public areas!
Highlander recently posted..You, sir, can eat a bag of dicks….

Misty February 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Oh my holy hell. I thought working in a kiosk making cotton candy and having a candy coating by the end of the day was rough . . . and then I just read Clarence’s and threw up in my mouth. You people are made of steel.
Misty recently posted..VD Strikes Back

Laura February 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Wearing shit clothes to work sounds pretty good, you know, besides the whole fart thing…. And I once volunteered my Saturday to help time children’s races at an elementary school’s field day. I started out the day my sweet perky self but got more bitchy as kids came up to me wanting to know their times for a race that happened a hour ago, scaring the living shit out of some 4th graders.
Laura recently posted..I Would en-tittle this “Arguing with Myself” but Jeff Dunham has that Copyrighted

Kathleen February 18, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Shittiest job ever was cleaning college dorms one summer. The absolute worst moment was when I realized the guys whose floor I was cleaning had made it a personal challenge to not flush this one toilet FOR THE ENTIRE SEMESTER. And then shaved some guy’s head (gods, I hope it was his head!) over it as a rite of passage. There was no water in the tank and the smell was made of the despair of sewage. My boss came in, declared it a serious health hazard, poured bleach on the viscous mass of hair and shit, and set it on fire.

Valerie February 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm

When I was 17, I worked at a pet store cleaning up the dog kennels. I was covered in shit and pee everyday, all day. But that job was still better than working in the insurance industry, which is what I do now. What can I say?? I love me some puppy kisses… The best job perk I’ve ever had… Ever.


Valerie recently posted..Am I too late for VALentine’s Day wishes? Of course not! I’m VALerie!

Linda Thomas Anderson February 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm

The time I worked at A&W as a roller skating car hop, and fell, dropping the tray, like I did every day because I couldn’t skate, which sucked. But that last time it happened, the manager mumbled out loud to the guy standing next to him, who, unbeknownst to him was my boyfriend – “that girl’s so dumb she could fuck up a wet dream.” My boyfriend responded by punching him in the throat, quick was pretty awesome!

winopants February 19, 2013 at 12:10 am

Meh, I don’t have any super crazy stories, more just grating tedium working in fast food and pizza. The worst job was doing dishes. And breading nasty fish sticks. Managers always wanted to promote me and I was smart enough to say no!
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JP February 19, 2013 at 1:31 am

I notice a trend, worse job stories mostly involving human excrement. I’ll add mine too!

I worked as a medical assistant in a GI doctor’s office on the Upper East Side of NYC. I was in on more endoscopies and colonoscopies than I can even count. Patients were supposed to fast and use enemas prior to coming in, but man, people really are full of shit, no matter what. Literally full of shit. I had to clean those damn scopes too. So gross.

I got asked out on a date one time by a patient. I thought he was just out of it from the IV sedation. But he called the office a few days later to follow up. I thought, hey, if this guy was ok with me there while he had a tube stuck up his butt, and was still curious enough about me to ask me out (i.e., the drugs worked great!), then maybe it would make for an interesting story to go out with him on a date. Which we did. Nothing special, and then his psycho ex-girlfriend called my phone in the middle of the freakin night to ask if I had sex with Noel. Yes, honey, butt sex!

Lianne Marie Mease February 19, 2013 at 2:16 am

I worked at IKEA one summer in the restaurant. There was the day they decided to cut costs by not buying latex gloves any more for the people handling the hot dogs. There was the day I dropped a pan of hot dogs on the floor and was told it would come out of my paycheck if I didn’t pick them up and serve them. There was the day the industrial dishwasher broke and I had to crawl inside it to unblock it ( a chicken bowl had become wedged in a part. ) removed it and the dishwasher turned on, covering me with hot soapy water and sending a conveyor belt of trays full of dirty plates towards me. I had to crawl out of the other side because I couldn’t go back the way I came!!!)
Fucking IKEA.
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Lovelyn February 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

In high school I worked at a trashy grocery store owned by questionable management. I’d often notice a bug stuck beneath the plastic wrap of people’s meats as I checked them out. The freezers in the store were always leaking. The health inspector came once and upon seeing the broken freezers pulled all the food out and put it in the dumpsters behind the store. Once they left the owners ordered the stock people to take the food out of the dumpsters and put them back in the freezers. A week later the health inspector returned threw all the food in the freezers away again and this time pulled bleach all over all of it. The store went out of business a month later. That was good for me because I hated that job.
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Ashley February 19, 2013 at 11:02 am

When I was 14 my first job was at a crappy little coffee shop in a highly industrial area that mostly catered to truckers, factory workers and strippers. Yes STRIPPERS. There was a strip club about a block down the road and the girls used to come in and get a coffee before their shift and stretch in the parking lot at these crappy picnic tables we had.

The other perks of the job was cleaning out the smoking room, opening the shop at 4:30am for my summer break, and wearing an obnoxious yellow and brown polyester polo shirt.
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nadine February 19, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I worked at the produce store in my hometown. Aside from finding out it was infested with everything you don’t want on your food, I found out that the creepy manager was banging the assistant manager practically on top of the watermelon bin.
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Melodie February 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Hm. In my limited experience, the worst job I’ve ever had was when I worked at a hibachi restaurant. Every server there was female and they were the cattiest bitches to ever bitch.

I got fired not a month after I started because since the hiring manager didn’t want to bother with showing me around or telling me what to do, she stuck me with another girl who everyone secretly hated and who was always ducking work. As a result I didn’t know how to do anything and thought it was acceptable to sit on my ass and fold napkins all day because THAT’S ALL THE REST OF THEM DID. The only time they ever actually worked was when our hiring manager came in.

They gossiped and bitched and sniped and simpered until I wanted to claw my fucking eyes out. Once it became obvious that I was the worst waitress to ever wait, I was pretty much waiting for the day I got fired. Couldn’t say I was too torn up about it.

Koleslaw March 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

Thumbs up if you like to comment on month-old blog posts. I can’t help it, I have a bazillion blogs in my feeder and only several hours a day to read them.

The worst job I ever had was a gas station inventory counter. The job involved getting up obscenely early to meet at our office and then carpooling for a couple hours to go to a truck stop where I had to literally count every piece of crap for sale in the store. Any time things were missing we’d have to figure out a way to account for it because there’s no chance someone shoplifted a candy bar or something. Not only was the job mind-numbingly boring, once I was done counting my section, I’d have to sit around off the clock and wait for every one else to finish counting their sections. Then, I got to ride in a car for a couple more hours until I got back to the office to drive home. The whole day would often take 16 hours of which I was only paid for 10. I can’t believe I lasted a month at that job.

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