26 Apr

I have always considered myself to be pretty quick witted.  If somebody starts arguing or becoming verbally insulting which in retail is unfortunately quite common.  I pride myself on always giving as good as I get, if not better and in an environment that can be unexpectedly hostile and actually dangerous having the wherewithal to face trouble head on and actually not show any fear is essential.  Showing the slightest hint of apprehension  can often be the most dangerous thing to do.

I have to say though when it comes to the witty retort and stunning an argumentative punter into silence, then I have absolutely nothing on my partner Dawn!

I have watched in wonderment over the years as she leaves people speechless with her ingenious comments.  She also has the capacity to sum somebody up in a brief brilliantly witty sentence.

We attended a car boot sale today that we regularly go to mainly to buy rather than sell.  It is an indoor sale so we always pay for a stall and stand so we can get in early and grab the bargains.  We both happened to spy at the door waiting to go in with her clothes rail a fellow dealer who incessantly rips all the other dealers to bits behind their backs and is rather a bitter older lady.  Said woman happened to be wearing a pair of Ugg boots.  “Oh there she is Dawn remarked to me, the woman who put the Ugg in Ugly.”  This made me snort with laughter, once again marvelling at Dawn’s remarkable talent.

During our time owning The Entertainment Exchange stores in Nuneaton there were many bizarre, threatening and at times turbulent encounters with customers.  We were the only collectors record shop in the world to ever have endured an armed robbery.  I had a knife held at my throat by an unhappy customer.  Stock was continually stolen (sometimes in bulk) by both customers and unfortunately at times by staff.  We had customers fall through windows, even ride through windows on their bikes.  I think when you are selling and buying from people that at times desperately need the money tensions can become fraught.

Dawn and I always faced down every threat and all abuse with as much wit, dignity and bravery as we could.  A decidedly northern ‘gentlemen’ once came into the shop and started to demand a refund for an item he hadn’t actually purchased from our store.  I could see Dawn was getting bored with his yelling.  “Oh go fuck off and smack a whippet” she yelled into his face.  He was astonished, it worked!

A ‘mod’ pop star who shall remain nameless once visited the store and started the old “don’t you know who I am?” routine wanting a discount.  “Yeah you’re that idiot in bowling shoes who now thinks they are D.J. ……oh and no you can’t have a discount.”  Dawn was quick as a flash.

A corpulent gentlemen was in the video game store.  He became unhappy about the amount of money he had been offered for his video game and started to hurl homophobic abuse in Dawn’s direction.  Dawn looked him up and down, the ‘gentlemen’ was wearing a Tommy Hillfiger sports top.  “Huh Tommy Hillfiger, with a figure like yours I wouldn’t bother.”

The stores actually became legendary and perhaps it’s owners and in particular peculiar Dawn’s brand of wit notorious.  I think we put the Entertainment in Entertainment Exchange.

Even on the car boot sales Dawn would work her magic.  A young girl was looking at a video game.  “Come away it won’t work her mother said to her snappily.”  Quick as a flash Dawn answered; “ I tell you what don’t work, your arse in those trousers!”

I have a plenty more of these anecdotes but I have to save those for the autobiography.  But if ever you are in a situation where somebody is in your face and you need inspiration just think, what would Dawn do.  I always do, I guarantee you it works.Image

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