If anything can go wrong, it will.

Tales From The Porn Store

Once upon a time, I was a clerk in a porn store.

For the most part, it was a pretty fun job. I found that I had to have a sense of humour, and that I couldn’t really afford to be embarrassed by anything. You’d be surprised what people will come in and ask you. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

The best was when men would approach the counter seeking my advice on what to purchase for their partners.  “How’s the vibration on this one”?  “Does this stuff feel good”? “Would you recommend this”?  As if I’d personally sampled every product on our shelves, or that doing so was just part of my job description. There were a few things in the shop I could make an informed comment on, and if I could, I would, but for the most part, I’ve never felt a need for massive vibrators, dildos, or novelty lubes, etc.

One of the services offered at the porn store was DVD rentals. Now, just prior to being hired, there had been on-site private viewing rooms that customers could use. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that they shut those down the week before I started. My very first day I heard such horror stories of having to clean up those rooms from the veteran staff. Ugh.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have horror stories of my own to tell. So many times I sent customers back home with the DVD they were due to be returning telling them “You’re going to have to clean that up before I can accept the return”. There were times I wished it was store policy to wear latex gloves before accepting rental returns. I learned to keep a small bottle of hand sanitiser on my person at all times. Thankfully, despite having had to reject returns on many occasions, it was usually a one-time event with a given customer. Usually.

Overall, though, I had little to complain about. Most week nights it was pretty quiet, and I’d stand behind the counter with whomever happened to be on shift with me and make commentary about whatever porn was playing on the TVs above our heads. The adults-only version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”.

Sometimes, just a little bit, I miss that job. On the other hand, it’s nice not to worry about having a bottle of Purell in your pocket at any given moment.

7 Responses to Tales From The Porn Store

  • I think that in the UK we would call the shop you worked in a sex shop, not a porn store. In the UK, sex shops are licensed and only people aged 18 and over are allowed in. Similarly, there are restrictions on what may appear in the shop window.
     
    Not being an habitué of sex shops I cannot say whether those in the UK rent videos but doing so is such an obviously bad idea that I am surprised anyone does so.
     
    I don’t doubt that your time as an assistant in said establishment was one of life’s learning opportunities and provided you with valuable insights into human nature.
     
    Sex is rather like religion in that both bring out the best and the worst in people and both are awfully good at causing guilt.

    • We did have the 18+ age restrictions in place, and in fact, we always had an employee whose sole responsibility was to sit by the door to check ID (and monitor for rowdy and/or intoxicated patrons).

      There are probably laws in place here, too, regarding what can be on display in shop windows, but, it was always a non-issue at the shop I worked at, as we had no windows.

      I did gain a fair bit of insight into human nature, during my time there. I am afraid that this might come out wrong, but I enjoyed observing our customers. We’d have the ones you could tell were at least mildly embarrassed to be there, and the ones who were ridiculously open about their needs and wants, and everything in between.

      When I first started there, I myself was a bit embarrassed about it. At the time, I still considered myself an active Mormon and it was a desperate need to feed and shelter myself that caused me to accept the job. Not only did I gain insight into some fellow human beings, but I also learned to be slightly less painfully shy.

      • Next to survival, sex is the strongest urge experienced by living creatures. Religion knows that it will always lose any direct competition with sex. It therefore seeks (a) to equate itself with survival (in the next life at least) and (b) to subjugate sex by making it “sinful” and controlling sexual behaviour. As religion declines, so its power to subjugate sex also declines and people are, quite rightly, ceasing to feel guilty for being sexual beings.

        Left to itself, sex is as normal and healthy as any other natural human appetite but by making it a “sin”, religion has perverted it and introduced a pathological dimension into human sexual behaviour.

        Institutions such as sex shops can either help liberate sex and restore its healthy character or emphasise the pathological side with the harm that that implies.

        • I think, thankfully, in my case, working there was liberating and helped me develop a healthier attitude towards sex.

          Of course, I really must give credit to the owner of the shop I worked in, as she was what one might describe as “sex positive”. She was disinclined to keep video or products on the shelves that promoted harmful behaviours or acts.

          While I don’t wish to be disrespectful towards anyone, or what have you, I must say that I feel that I’ve become a healthier, more well-rounded person since leaving church behind. That’s not to say that I left all spirituality aside, but, I no longer believe that the one thing relies upon the other.

          • Experience, taken in the right way, increases our understanding and in turn informs future experience. In the best cases, that rare essence called wisdom may be distilled from it.

            I have never been able to find this thing called ‘spirit’. As far as I can see, all human experience can be satisfactorily explained by the biological brain and the thoughts and emotions that derive from it.

            • Sometimes, I really wish I could figure out how to put the “like” button on comments around here, as opposed to having to seek the button out on WP.com

              I think that spirituality may not have been the most accurate or best choices of words. Maybe, maybe not. It’s difficult to sum up the notions and beliefs in my head in the space of a comment, and it’d be a dull and lengthy read if I tried.

              I suppose what i mean to say is that I carry with me a lot of the same basic core beliefs – that I should be kind to people, that I should do good in the world where I can, that compassion is a good quality to cultivate. These things I still “believe” in, but simply because for me, to be kind is its own reward. It feels good to do something nice, that’s it, no more, no less. No threat of some eternal suffering if I choose not to be kind, no need to say I’m sorry and beg forgiveness for being “imperfect”.

              • There is a mistaken belief that religions invented morality and that without religion, we would be wild beasts red in tooth and claw. This, of course, is untrue. As social animals, we have evolved certain habits without which our social life would be difficult or impossible. Religionists have simply taken these rules and fraudulently stamped their own badge on them.
                 
                Compassion, altruism, co-operative action and the various impulses vaguely grouped under the label of “love” have evolved as a natural consequence of our social life. They are “good” because they enhance our lives and often carry a reward by making us feel better about ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.