Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Everything I needed to learn about niche marketing I learned from the porn industry.

I just found out my twitter feed (@jizzchronicles) is being followed by an account named @FemboyFeet. The fact that he’s following me isn’t really a surprise, but what fascinates me about his account is how specific its focus is. Not only is this account and video feed focused on shemales/femboys, it’s also sub-focused on shemale feet.

I’m a marketing professional by day, so allow me to go a little “industry-geek” on you. One mantra that keeps being said is that companies should focus on target clients and prospects. If you try to be all things to all people and market every angle, you’re going to fail. Very, very few companies can manage a very broad customer base and even fewer can market more than one angle point at a time. (For example, trying to convince potential customers that you’re both the highest quality AND the cheapest price.) It just doesn’t work in most cases in the business world.

The porn industry can teach us a lot of lessons about marketing, sales and product development. There are some who go so far as to say every recent technological advance has been pushed forward thanks to porn. Why is this? It’s because porn is the perfect way to get customers to spend large amounts of money on a fringe technology that offers a new experience.

This isn’t such a crazy idea. I’m barely old enough to remember when VCRs were $500+ and VHS cassettes were $100. This was in the early 80s and this price point was actually quite a drop from how high VCR prices used to be. Being able to purchase a video player for $500 made the technology available for the average person. However, $100 is still a lot to pay for a copy of the Wizard of Oz that you can watch in the comfort of your own home. Video production companies understood this and the vast majority of commercial VHS tapes first available to the public were XXX, adult videos.

DVDs follow a similar, but much faster path. Now that we have Blu-ray, we take a lot of current features, like perfect pause and super, slow-motion, for granted. I’ll admit, these features are pretty neat, but completely unnecessary for watching Eat, Pray, Love. However, if you’re a connoisseur of pornography, things like perfect pause and 10x zoom could be huge selling point.

If you’ve spent more than ten minutes online (and used search terms that brought you to this blog), you know the internet is just brimming with adult material. So much that it’s estimated that 83% of ALL internet traffic is related to pornography (thanks Straight Dope.) In this case, I’m not saying that the internet was created specifically for the sole purpose of distributing porn, but if the average person is using four-fifths of their time online looking at sex, you can be certain it was one of the defining factors in pushing the expansion of internet service throughout the world. (If you’re tempted to argue against these statistics, take a quick look through your internet browsing history and then cower your head in shame.)

Now that so many people have access to the internet and you can find pretty much ANYTHING online, what can this teach us about making money?

The main lesson the adult industry teaches us is, “Know your audience.” Yes, marketing naked women to horny men is like shooting fish in a barrel, but if you look at the niche products offered by even the largest adult entertainment companies (Playboy and Larry Flynt Publishing), it’s obvious there’s money to be made by streamlining your product to a specific audience.

Hustler has a variety of niche magazines and videos that focus on subjects that used to be small sections of their magazine (Barely Legal, Hometown Honeys, Asian Fever, Leg World, etc.) Playboy realized that more and more men weren’t willing to pay $10 for a monthly men’s periodical that only contained three pictorials per issue, so they started publishing special magazines that were chock full of masturbation material. Walking through the magazine rack at your local adult retailer (or even Borders) can show you how specific some adult publications have become. But these magazines are often owned by a larger, well known publishing company. There is no Elderly Amputee Strap-on Burlesque Inc.

Adult websites can get incredibly niche with their content and who they’re marketing too. My assumption is that many of these sites, like the magazines, are owned and managed by a larger organization that owns many different, very specific sites.

What’s the lesson here? First of all, the takeaway is to learn what your audience wants and then offer a high-quality (or incredibly cheap) version of this product. If you already have a core customer-base, don’t change your product without knowing this is what your existing customers want. Don’t expand your product line unless you know there’s a market for this product and you can afford to expend as much energy to this new product as your current product.

We’re used to a lot of one-stop-shops. A visit to the closest gas-station can also be a grocery, bank and video rental stop. Logging on to will allow you to purchase anything you can imagine. Target and Walmart are now grocery stores in addition to household goods and general merchandise stores. But not many organizations can run a business offering this many products and/or services.

If you want to start a small business, first pick something you enjoy (because you’ll be spending a lot of time focusing, managing and obsessing over this product.) Secondly, research the market (are you creating something new or do you have to steal existing customers from another vendor?) Third, make sure the product you’re offering is specific enough that you can streamline and target your marketing to this audience. (It also helps to offer an incredibly high-quality or incredibly cheap product.)

If you can accomplish this, you can make money. You may not be profitable (that’s a much longer blog entry), but you will have customers willing to pay for your product.

Even if they happen to like shemale feet.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Bill intervention... I'm made Assistant Manager...

The Rise and Fall of Bill Cook, Part III (I'm made Assistant Manager)

After two months of Bill as manager, the clerks made a solidarity move and expressed our concerns about how poorly Bill was managing the store to the owner. My guess is that the corporate office had their own concerns about this because the owner agreed to meet us at a local restaurant to discuss the situation. This was a huge surprise because any previous communication from the corporate office has been telling us the rules and laying down the law. Now they actually seem to care about what we have to say.

We explained that Bill’s attitude and behavior were making the store an uncomfortable place to work and that his feud with the assistant manager was bordering on the level of harassment. The owner listened politely and explained that he was well aware that Bill was an idiot. He also explained that less intelligent employees, provided they could actually do their job, were some of the most loyal people you can have working for an organization. “He’s the type of guy you could tell to slam his head against the wall before every shift, and although he’d probably ask you to repeat the instructions a few times, he’d actually do it,” he said.

In the end (pun intended), he agreed to replace Bill and promote the current assistant manager to store manager. Furthermore, instead of demoting Bill to assistant manager, which would just result in more fighting, I was promoted to assistant manager. Bill would become a standard clerk and the new manager and myself would slowly take over his duties.

This would all start tomorrow. For the rest of the day, I would have to play ignorant to this new decision as I worked the evening shift with Bill. It ended up being a tricky situation because the group met with the owner over lunch at 1 p.m. and I was supposed to start work at 2 p.m. When I arrived at 2:30 p.m., Bill was absolutely livid. He had called me at home and my cell repeatedly, and called the corporate office twice complaining that I hadn’t arrived and suggested I be fired. He asked me where I was and I lied that I was at a dentist appointment, that the main office knew where I was and that they were supposed to tell him. 

He was suspicious and still really angry, which made for a boring shift without any amusing Billisms, but at least I didn’t have to worry about letting any details slip about the new store management.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Melinda's world...

I’ve written a lot about Bill recently, but I want to make sure I’m giving readers a good representation of the rich tapestry of the bizarre we have running the register at the porn store.

Hiring new employees at a porn store always results in a mixed bag of applicants, but with Bill as manager, the pool of potential clerks is even more depressing.

The owners always encourage hiring older applications. This is stupid because the only person in their 40s who wants to work at an adult bookstore/head shop is either a pervert or a junkie (sometimes both). Bill is obsessed with hiring women because he’s a 500 pound social moron who would never be exposed to women otherwise. Unfortunately for both, we didn’t get any mature women applying to work behind the counter.

The hiring process went like this; Bill had to fax all the applications to the main office in a different city. The owner returned a list of five applicants for Bill to interview. After he interviewed these candidates, he was to fax his “interview notes” back to the main office for the owner to make a final decision. I mention this because Bill writes in barely legible, all-capitals, so each interviewee’s “notes” ended up being 5 pages long with words like, “HAS KID” and, “NOT MARRIED” scrawled on the top of each sheet.
(The owners apparently failed to explain with Bill what the legal factors are you can consider when hiring an employee.)

When Bill was finally told who to hire, he ended up and hiring the wrong woman. (To be fair, when referring to women, Bill has said, “they all look alike to me.” And both female applicants were blonde.) The regional manager noticed the mistake, chewed Bill out, but allowed the wrong person to be hired since she had already planned on starting the following morning.

I really, really try to keep myself from having preconceived notions about people before I meet them. This being said, I had my doubts that a woman who wants to work at a porn store would be particularly intelligent. But I had no idea that the new employee would be (almost) as stupid as Bill.

Melinda has cancer. Or rather, she had cancer. She can’t remember, but her doctor says that she’s okay now. (This exchange happened in the first five minutes of our meeting. There’s nothing like starting conversations with light, comfortable subjects.)

I assumed her cancer diagnosis had something to do with her rotting teeth. She didn’t so much have teeth, but more black nubs that stuck out of her gums. In addition to being a focal point every time I looked at her, it also made her breath smell like rotting meat. She noticed that I kept looking at her mouth and explained that her poor oral hygiene was not the result of her cancer (or past cancer… I’m still not sure if she’s dying).

When she was 17, she got pregnant shortly after dropping out of high school. Her parents were incredibly disappointed and let her know that they had always expected this to happen to their daughter. She also explained that she didn’t even know what sex was before her boyfriend talked her into it. Melinda honestly thought the baby was going to come out of her ass. I said that her parents should have expected her to get pregnant if they never bothered to teach her about sex while growing up. She got really indignant when I said this and replied, “Oh really? Are YOU going to talk to YOUR kids about sex,” and smiled with the smugness of someone who has just won a complex debate.

I wanted to make myself perfectly clear about my thoughts on this matter. I took a deep breath and said, “YES! Teaching your children about sex is one of the greatest and most important responsibilities a parent has, especially when their child is old enough to start having sex. I’d go so far to say that these lessons are just as important as helping your children with their school work and making sure they understand proper nutrition.”

This obviously wasn’t the response she had expected from me and she turned away, a little hurt, before turning back and asking me something about football.

Shortly after she started, the Minnesota Vikings spring training camp had begun at their normal location at Mankato State University. Offensive tackle, Korey Stringer passed out during practice on a particularly hot afternoon and ended up dying from complications of heat stroke. This was a shock to most football fans and the first time something like this had happened during NFL spring training, let alone in Minnesota.

Two days after Stringer’s death, I took the store garbage out to the parking lot dumpster and ended up getting pelted with a huge stack of notebook paper when I opened the top. As I collected the loose sheets that were flying around the empty lot next to the store, I started to notice what was written on them. Melinda had written at least 30 different poems, mourning the death of this beloved Minnesota Vikings player. Over and over, I came across sheets with statements like, “Always a hero, never a zero,” I’m having a hard time dealing with this,” and, “Why god, why?”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a terrible thing that Korey Stringer died, but it’s hardly the event that should result in anything more than a remark of, “That’s so terrible.” I hope it will make coaches take greater care when practicing during hot days, but it doesn’t affect my life in the slightest. Obviously, Melinda’s life was obviously organized in a way that placed football players very highly in her hierarchy of importance.

Considering this is a woman who believed she was going to “shit out” her baby, I probably shouldn’t be surprised.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What an age we live in… (The Mojowijo)

Thanks to Twitter, I just found out about the Mojowijo, a device that turns your Wii remote into the world’s ultimate sex toy.

With the invention of the Fleshlight and a million other sex toys, we should have all expected this was coming (pun intended). I suppose it’s not all that crazy of an idea, but what really impressed me about this product is that you can allow someone else to control your Mojowijo from anywhere else in the world (with an internet connection.)

Also, the website uses the word Teledildonics, which is an awesome new word I’ll now try to incorporate into everyday conversation.

I’ve contacted their main office, offering to test and review this cutting-edge product. I’ll keep you posted with what their response is. (Please, please, please, please….)

Finally, how fitting is it that the Mojowijo connects to a device called the Wii. (I just made myself laugh hysterically… I’m a nerd.) (hint, hint, hint)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bill decides to lose weight…

(The Rise and Fall of Bill Cook - Part II)

Now that Bill was made manager and making an extra $100 a month, he decided to take a good long look at his health. If you’ll recall, Bill weighs close to 500 pounds and eats like a rabid hog. I expect most medical professionals would agree that taking control of his weight is incredibly important if he wants to live over the age of 40.

Unfortunately, instead of eating less, eating healthier foods and exercising, he decided to go to his doctor for a “magic pill.” His first attempt was with Meridia. This was a bad strategy for a number of reasons. Most importantly, since he was a heavy smoker and caffeine fiend, this drug (which is also a stimulant) caused him to stop sleeping and sweat more in addition to reducing his appetite. The only thing that his coworkers noticed about this medication was that he was even more irritated all of the time and his sweat-stained clothing was a much deeper shade.

His next attempt at medical weight-loss was truly disgusting and caused me to expect him to drop dead at any moment.

Bill began taking Xenical, a medication that prevents your body from absorbing the fat you consume. This pill can be a very effective way to lose weight when you combine it with a healthy diet and exercise. Again, unfortunately Bill didn’t change any of his lifestyle habits while attempting to lose weight on a drug.

To completely understand how extreme Bill’s eating habits are, allow me to describe what happened during the last shift we worked together. Godfather’s Pizza has a special where you get an extra-large, medium and dessert pizza for $30. For most people, this could be up to six meals, but Bill would consume it all by himself in one sitting. This “meal” was a favorite of Bill’s and I had seen him eat this much food many times before he was on any weight-loss medications. He was so fond of this particular pizza combo that we all referred to it as the “Billy Pack.” Because he ate so much, I was terrified I’d have to perform CPR on his bloated frame after he dropped in the middle of a carb-filled bite. Now that he was on Xenical, I was certain he’d end up shitting his colon out.

His absorption of these three pizzas would usually take around 30 minutes and by the end he’d be breathing heavy and dripping with sweat. All of this perspiration actually made him smell better as it washed away some of the spoiling obesity funk trapped within his layers of skin. Now that he was on a medication, he simply took the large, blue pill after finishing the first pizza and then sprinted to the bathroom after the last bite of his dessert pizza. Then he’d stay in the bathroom for 90 minutes. (I’m not exaggerating.)

The first few times this happened, I seriously considered picking the bathroom lock open, expecting to find him flopping around on the bathroom floor like a swollen guppy. I even went so far as to listen at the door to make sure I still heard signs of live inside. (For the sake of humanity, I won’t describe what I heard coming out of the bathroom. Let’s just say it was something like a cross between a pig being slaughtered and a sing garbage disposal.) Amazingly, he always came out of the bathroom an hour-and-a-half later looking refreshed and ready to tell me about all the crazy stuff that shot out of his anus.

Fortunately for him, this medication regimen didn’t last very long. While he wasn’t gaining weight anymore on his dinosauric diet, he wasn’t losing any weight either. All of this time in the bathroom was becoming an inconvenience for him and his internet porn habits, so after a few weeks, he was back to binging without purging. This sucks for me because I no longer get my regular 90-minutes of Bill-free time now that his bathroom trips have been reduced to 30-minutes or less.

The other day, he tried to explain how eating more than 1,000 calories at a meal actually kept you from gaining weight. I’d like to point out that as he said this, he was finishing his second foot-long meatball sandwich from Subway. He’s convinced that he’s going to lose weight by eating ‘healthier’ foods (like meatball subs with double the meat and extra cheese all swimming in mayonnaise.)

I’ve stopped trying to argue with him about his bizarre ideas and just look at his ramblings as some sort of eccentric performance art piece. It’s less depressing than thinking he actually believes the shit that spews out of his mouth. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jizz Rants... About porn star wish lists!

Since I’m posting blog entries in chronological order, the majority of items that have been posted so far have actually took place in the late 90s. However, now that I’ve created a Facebook page and twitter account for the blog (@jizzchronicles), I’m seeing the world of porn through social media. Because of this, I’d like to introduce the Jizz Rants section, where I’ll be discussing more topical subjects that interest or irritate me.

Some of the adult uses of social media are what expected. Porn stars having twitter feeds and posting images of their latest video shoots is something that makes complete sense. Porn video companies posting information about new movies and links to sneak peek previews is a great idea. Adult novelty companies posting information about sales, coupons and new products is an excellent way to increase sales and awareness through social media.

What surprised me was the large number of sex workers posting “wish lists” of products on Amazon. This is both amazingly brilliant and incredibly sad.

In some respects, I could see how this would make sense. If you hire a dominatrix, bringing her a present could result in a more intense session. I can also understand how bringing a present to a dancer you’re obsessed with at a strip club could result in a more enjoyable dry-hump. I can even see buying a present for a prostitute you’re planning on visiting in Nevada for a more ‘romantic’ evening at the brothel.

But what’s sad is that people who have no chance of ever meeting these sex stars will send them presents instead of using the money on a person they actually have a chance of starting a relationship with. These poor men (I’m sure women could participate in this as well, but my assumption is that most of the purchasing is done by pathetic single [and married] men) will be purchasing everything from clothing to expensive electronics for someone who they’ll only connect with via the internet.

Now that I think about it, I can understand clothing and shoes. At least in this case, you could give it as a gift and possibly see what the sex worker looks like in it… if they choose to share a photo with you. But what does a poor shy guy get out of buying his imaginary girlfriend an iPad?

It’s like a mild version of the Nigerian scam aimed at horny guys.

I’m not going to judge the sex workers for posting their wish lists. If you can get a stranger to buy you something, why not? I just remember myself as a lonely young man and how tempting it would be to buy an internet model a gift I couldn’t afford at the chance of getting some online attention.

Then again, if someone is spending all their time and money on internet porn, they may not be real-life relationship material.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Your porn soundtrack...

I think I’m going to go insane. I’ve gotten used to staying up all night and dealing with druggies and perverts, but the one thing I’m having a hard time with is the music pumped into the porn store 24-7.

We all know those 70s/80s, soft rock compilations that are advertised on late night TV. My work soundtrack is 24 of these compilation CDs that run in the same order, over and over and over again. Not that is really matters. Summer Dream by Seals and Crofts and Lost in Love by Air Supply are on most of the compilation CDs and I end up hearing the same 20 songs repeatedly, every shift.

I take that back about everything being compilation albums. I know for a fact that Air Supply’s, ABBA’s and Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits are in the cd-changer. I strongly suspect there are multiple copies of these CDs in the changer because I hear Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits at least once a shift, EVERY SHIFT. I wasn’t a big Jimmy Buffet fan before I started working here, but now I absolutely loathe him. With the exception of Yoko Ono, he’s the hardest musician to ignore when his music is playing in the background. As soon as Cheeseburger in Paradise opens the album, I immediately do everything I can to busy myself in the back rooms. I’m completely screwed if there are customers in the store and have to stay at the register, which is located right in front of a speaker. Because of this, I’ve seriously considered bringing in a large box fan to drown out the music.

I get no sympathy from coworkers. The morning guy who usually takes over the store from me is a huge “Parrot-Head” and loves Jimmy Buffet. He’s traveled out to see him live on multiple occasions and once brought in the blender attachment for his cordless drill that allows you to make margaritas while camping.
This puts the whole “Jimmy Buffet” mania into perspective. I can listen to almost anything while drunk and would have to down a lot of tequila to make it through a Jimmy Buffet show. This is probably a similar phenomenon to how the Grateful Dead and Phish are amazing live… as long as you’re stoned. Jimmy Buffet must be a blast you’re trashed.

The thing about Jimmy Buffet that really bugs me is the fakeness of his sound. I’ve recently discovered instrumental surf-rock and appreciate artists that attempt to bring in steel guitar and other sounds that are common in island music. I even love exotica, which is a completely artificial aural experience, but it’s fun, creative and makes me want to drink rum. Jimmy Buffet’s songs (at least the hits) are loaded with synthesizers and every sound is processed. It all sounds like it could have been recorded in one take, during a 4-hour studio session.

Furthermore, the only appropriate place to drink fruity island cocktails is while you’re actually on an island, or at least a beach. Failing that, you should at least be at a tropical themed restaurant. But Jimmy Buffet has made is socially acceptable for grown men to mix blended fruit drinks with a portable drill while out camping at outdoor concerts.

It’s shameful.

You might be asking yourself, “Why doesn’t he just replace the CDs in the changer during his shift?”
During my first week, the owner had Bill create a wood box for the large CD changer because employees were changing the music. Their greatest fear is that someone would play rap or hard rock in the store. This seems fair, how many times have you been shopping for pornography when annoying music came over the speakers and drove you from the store? (sarcasm) Failing Melt Banana or death metal, I don’t think the music playing in the store could have any negative impact on sales.

What I did for a while was unplug the changer and then plug it back in again. The box has a tendency to make the electronics inside overheat, which will eventually cause the changer to turn itself off or jam. Bill has since drilled ventilation holes in the top of the box, which he insists will take care of this problem, so I have to use the unplug method sparingly. Otherwise, they’ll figure this trick out and mount the whole audio system inside the store safe.

And as much as I hate to admit it, it’s much easier to fall asleep during a shift with no music on versus any music playing. I’ve found it’s impossible to fall asleep during ABBA’s CD, so while it feels like my brain is slowly melting out of my ears, at least I won’t get fired for sleeping on the job.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ask Jizz 2.19.12 - The strangest customer requests...

Today's edition of Ask Jizz brings forth the question, what’s the craziest thing a customer has asked for?

You might not be surprised to learn this, but of all three stores I’ve worked at that sold adult material, each location had at least one customer asking for something truly bizarre. Furthermore, the ones who ask for the strange stuff always assume you have it in the back room. It’s as if most customers assume that all adult stores have a secret stash of forbidden porn that’s only available to those who know the secret password.

When I worked at the now defunct Shinders in my early college career, the obsession was with porn starring pregnant women. These fetish videos aren’t particularly hard to find, but we only carried mainstream porn videos and never carried anything featuring pregnant women. What annoyed me was that the several regular who asked about ‘Preggo’ videos were convinced that while these videos weren’t on the shelves, we had them available somewhere behind the counter. One such customer even tried to start an argument with me about selling him these videos before leaving, furious, convinced that I was hiding the movies he wanted.
The creepiest thing we sold at Shinders was nudist magazines, which weren’t technically pornography, but were kept in the back, 18 and up room. While I’m sure there are some nudist enthusiasts who bought these magazines to read up on nudist topics, the majority of people bought them because they featured naked photos of children and adolescents. I don’t know if these magazines are still available, but the publisher must have found a loophole to publish photos of children under eighteen by making the magazines intended for nudists.

We also received sample magazines from publishing distributors trying to get Shinders to carry their magazines. Most of these were pretty run of the mill, but sometimes we’d get very specific fetish magazines. The best was a ‘Pony Boy/Pony Girl’ magazine for people who were into dressing up in incredibly elaborate costumes that made the wearer look like a horse. There wasn’t any nudity or sexual content. Just page after page of people dressed in what looked like a cross between a shitty Halloween costume and the most elaborate bondage costume I have ever seen. The ‘erotic’ stories in the magazine were even more bizarre. Again, no sex, but incredibly detailed short stories about people dressing up like horses and being literally rode around by their lover.

In Mankato, the most common request was for pissing videos. We did carry a few of these when they happened to come in, but didn’t regularly carry this genre. When the owners bought movies, they’d order them in boxes of one hundred, only telling the distributor what genre of porn they wanted. Again, several customers asked if we had any of these videos in our back room. (We didn’t.)

The strangest thing I was asked for in Mankato was for pictures of women being dunked underwater repeatedly. The guy’s request seemed genuine, so I recommended he buy a computer and search the internet. This happened in 1999, so I wasn’t sure if sites actually existed for this type of fetish, but we certainly didn’t sell anything related to drowning women. Nowadays, a quick Google search will provide you with hundreds of sites dedicated to both simulated-drowning and real-downing photos. (I don’t recommend actually searching for this unless you want to be forever terrified of water, particularly if you have small children.)

During my time at the couples-based porn store, the questions I got were sometimes strange, but seemed a lot more genuine, involving what the average person with a fetish is looking for. I learned a lot about living a bondage lifestyle from a couple who frequently came in and would explain why certain products would or wouldn’t work. The guy was the dominator, with his wife as the subordinate and they lived these roles all the time. I had never considered it, but it's important to purchase high quality products when your gimp is wearing submission devises 24-hours a day.

This store wasn't open all night, so I was always amused at the people waiting to rush in when we opened at 10 a.m. Sunday mornings. (This also happened at Shinders every weekend morning.) These limited hours also avoided a lot of the creepy trollers who would come into the 24-hour Mankato store late at night looking for a date.

The strangest thing I was asked about at this strip-mall store was a belt that would hold a dildo in place up the wearer’s ass. The customer explained that he’d seen these devices before and it allowed the person wearing it to put underwear and pants on over it without anyone being the wiser. Also, it was possible to lock the device on like a reverse-shit-chastity-belt. Obvious a submission device, I can honestly say there is nothing about this device that turns me on. The worst part was that I started to imagine that everyone I saw, from the gas station cashier to the mailman, was wearing one of these devices.

For all you know, I could be wearing one right now. (I’m not.)

I’ll be writing more about the strange requests and questions that came in while working all three locations, but these are the ones that come up mind immediately.

Remember, you can ask me anything you like (preferable porn-based) by shooting an email to jizz_mopperhhh at or shoot me a message on Twitter @jizzchronicles 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You’ve Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me…

The existing manager got fired and two other employees quit, so Bill was placed as manager of the store.
While this is sounds terrifying the reality is that since the owners don’t trust anyone, a trained cat could perform the required duties of the store manager. Also, since Bill worships the owner and thinks every employee and customer is a thief, he’ll get along perfectly.

Those who won’t enjoy this change are the clerks.

As Store Manager, Bill’s normal clerk duties have expanded to writing up the monthly schedule (which never changes), coming in if one of the booth’s dollar accepters gets jammed and covering random shifts is someone is sick, quits or doesn’t show up. He has a certain amount of say when ordering product for the store, but the vast majority of our stock comes directly from the warehouse, whether or not anyone put in an order. He can’t fire anyone, has no authority over whom to hire, make deposits (this is already done by the person working the 3-11 shift) or get anything out of this position other than the title of manager and an extra $100 a month.

I was thrilled to finally move off the overnight shift to evenings, but this is really going to suck. Now I’ll be sharing the evening shift will Bill from 2-10 p.m. at least three day a week, which means seven hours of attempted conversation with Stupid-The-Kid.

I learned of his promotion yesterday afternoon when I came in for my 3-11 shift. He blathered on and on until 10 p.m. about how things were going to change with him as manager and how Kevin and Kris were so jealous that he was made manager after they left. (In reality, Kevin got fired and Kris moved out of the area.)

Have I mentioned that Bill’s entire life revolves around the store? He never talks about anything other than the store, the employees and the store owners when I can actually get him to talk and most of the time this is spent bitching about his coworkers. Even his downtime is spent thinking about the store and he often calls at the end of the 3-11 shift to hear how much we made during the evening. I don’t know if he thinks this will discourage employees from pocketing money from the register or if he honestly believes that he’ll get a bonus if the store does well, but he loves hearing the daily totals and brings up past days’ sales all the time.

In fact, he loves to brag about how much he’s made when he worked a 3-11 shift. Remember, this is the guy that calls every other guy in the store, “Queerer than a two-dollar bill.” (Yes, the fact that there are two-dollar bills in circulation is completely lost on Bill.) He’s rude to every customer that makes him get off his wooden stool and answers every customer question with a one-word answer. Yet somehow, his amazing salesmanship has resulted in the store earning more money that otherwise would have come in during the evening.

Now that his ego has been boosted, I expect his bragging, bitching and waist-size will continue to grow. I just hope he doesn’t do anything to outright hurt the store.


A friend gave me this.... kind of makes you think.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What does excellent customer service mean to you?

I’ve written a lot about how I don’t have to be nice to customers and that I can kick out people simply on a whim, but the thing is that I actually like helping customers that have legitimate questions. The couple that wants to learn where to start with sex toys. The husband who wants to bring home a naughty movie that isn’t too intense. A young woman who doesn’t know what size lingerie will fit her and needs an objective opinion about which outfit looks best. (Okay, that last one has never happened.)

While the majority of customers I write about are freaks, the truth is that I believe adult stores provide an important service to loving couples who are looking to spice up their love lives. So I do my best when these customers get up the nerve to ask me questions.

Sometimes, even these legitimate questions are hilarious.

For example, one Sunday morning around 5 a.m., an older gentleman came in looking for, in his words, “masturbation sleeves” that were at least eight inches long. This was new terminology, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. For those unfamiliar with this product; do you remember those Water Wigglies toys that were a tube of plastic, filled with water and slipped out of your hand when you held them too tight? (If not, Google Water Wigglies.) Now imagine this toy with a handle on the side so you can slide your penis inside and squish the entire apparatus until you ejaculate.

These products are all about five inches long and there’s no reason you need to need to fit your entire penis inside as the movement in and out is the main appeal. I showed him what we had and he, realizing how small they were, started to object. As he started motioning towards his crotch to express his great need for something larger, I walked away and said, “I’m sorry sir, that’s all we have,” over my shoulder.

Then there was the married couple looking for a “vibrator with an insane amount of power.” (This was their, well-worded description.) This was fun because the husband kept agreeing and saying, “She just needs more power!” We went through a variety of different vibrators and toys, testing out the vibrating power of each with our test-batteries to find the most powerful toy in the store. In the end, they bought The Earthquake, essentially a penis-shaped vibrator that was four times as large as a typical vibrator and required 5 D-batteries to operate. They were so excited, I was surprised to see them tearing out of the parking lot. I assumed they would have gotten busy while still parked in back of the store.
Then there are the more depressing “family” incidents.

A large number of parents try to bring their small children into the store. This isn’t allowed by the store and I’m pretty sure it’s against the law. Sadly, most of these customers are looking to buy drug paraphernalia and I shudder to think of the children sitting in the back seat while their mommy or daddy takes hits while driving.

One incident that really disturbed me was a mom who came in with an infant that obviously had some sort of mental disability. I don’t know if drug use had anything to do with this child’s disability, or even if it was her child, but logic would suggest it did. I told her she had to leave with the baby and she went absolutely ballistic. She droned on and on about how she comes in here with the baby all the time and that she only needed a new bat box. None of this mattered and after she finished her diatribe, I repeated that I couldn’t serve her. She left, angry and swearing, and I was left wondering about the future of that poor child.

Some parents even go so far as to leave their kids in the car. If we see this, we’re supposed to kick the customer out of the store. I would kick them out even if it wasn’t store policy. What kind of a parent leaves their kid in the car while they buy porn or drug supplies? (I have an angry, blatant answer for that, but will keep these comments to myself.)

Sometimes, it’s really obvious that there are kids left in a car. All of a sudden, you’ll start to hear high-pitched laughter over the constant stream of 70s love ballads that broadcast throughout the store. Other times, the bored kids will start to honk the horn in a rhythmic pattern until their parent comes back to the car. In one case, someone’s child even stuck their head in the door and cried out, “daddy” as the ten customers jumped, faced the entrance and then turned away with red faces.

Some of the trolls in the video booths drive to the store in vehicles that have child car seats in the back seats. But as often as I have to kick them out for trying to have sex with each other, I have to give them credit for at least leaving their kids at home.

Some days, my childhood seems like it was a lot less complicated than most others.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ask Jizz 2/13/2012 - Gay Marriage

What’s your opinion on gay marriage?

I support gay marriage, but I’d like to begin my answer by explaining that gay marriage is one of the biggest smoke screens ever brought into politics. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a complete non-issue that shouldn’t be decided by politicians nor be a factor in any political race.

Minnesota is about to vote on a same-sex marriage ban amendment. This means that millions (perhaps billions) of dollars will be spent on advertising campaigns and efforts on both sides to get Minnesotans to vote one way or the other. It sickens me that we’ll be throwing so much money into this election that could have been spent to actually do some real good in the world. Also, there’s a 50/50 chance the results of this vote will be pointless because I strongly suspect this issue will be argued in front of the Supreme Court.

The fact that we’re even talking about this in politics is completely absurd. The biggest conservative groups against allowing gay marriage are also the same groups that want smaller government and less governmental influence in our everyday lives. How could you conceivably think it’s inappropriate for the government to tax you, but appropriate for the government to tell people who they can and can’t marry.

Furthermore, the people using the ‘biblical marriage’ argument are referring to a very small section of the bible. This is the same book that instructs you to marry your brother’s wife and impregnate her, should your brother die unexpectedly. You can also knock up your wife’s slave if she’s unable to provide you with children. Hell, bigamy is allowed too so why all the fuss about two guys or gals getting married.
I’ve long felt that the real issues at play here are:
  • Some people are really uncomfortable with the idea of homosexual relationships and would prefer them to stay hidden.
  • People insecure about their own sexuality or past relationship failures attack homosexuality in an attempt to feel better about themselves.
  • If we accept there are actual legitimate, permanent homosexual relationships, we won’t be able to look at gays as being creepy freaks that live lifestyles that run contrary to those of ‘wholesome’ people. If they start being houses, raising kids and paying taxes, we’ve suddenly lost a huge scapegoat to blame for the crumbling of our corrupt society. If all this happens, we’ll have to face the reality that all of our problems are actually our own fault.

So yes, I believe gays should be allowed to marry. The fact that two people are so in love with each other that they want to make a commitment to stay together for the rest of their lives should be celebrated, regardless of gender. This relationship has nothing to do with you, your marriage, your children or anything else in your life. I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable with the thought of seeing two married women shopping at Costco on a Saturday morning, but suck it up. I don’t give a fuck about your marriage, lack of marriage or relationship status, so stop caring about mine or anyone else’s.

I think we’ll get there and same-sex marriage will soon be legal in the United States. But issues like this are great for bringing assholes out of the woodwork who want to force their beliefs and agendas on others.
I keep hearing about a “homosexual agenda” from the far right. All of this hate feels more like a conservative Christian agenda than anything else. If you want to be a strict, biblically-based Christian, that’s fine, but don’t expect everyone else to live up to what you feel are ideals. You should also follow all the other rules in the bible and stop obsessing about gay sex. If you want to avoid things that are an “abomination to God” in the bible, you’re also not allowed to:
  • Divorce and/or remarry 
  • Lay with a menstruating woman 
  • Lie – EVER! 
  • Be proud 
  • Sacrifice humans

If you start going through the Old Testament; one could get stoned to death for cursing, not being a virgin when they get married (only women) or doing work on the Sabbath. So if we’re going to start telling people they’re going to hell, let’s first take a look at our own actions and realize that we’re all going there for that trip to Home Depot last Sunday.

Bottom line, everyone needs to stop caring about what other people are doing in their bedrooms. Once we do this our lives will be a lot simpler.

(Thank you for allowing me to rant.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

So you’re being hit on by another man…

I’ve always been completely oblivious to when women have flirted or shown any interest in me. Gay men (particularly ones who would hit on the clerk of a porn store) tend to be a little more, shall we say, direct.

This particular incident took place during one of my last official overnight shifts. I didn’t pay much attention to the regulars who used the jerk-off booths in the back and as a result, they didn’t pay much attention to me. This night, there was a new face, a chubby, older guy in his 50s who kept coming up to get ones for the machines. I knew there was no way he was using all of his ones and he smiled at me, rather creepily every time he came up with another five to break. I ignored him, hoping he would just go away.

On the third visit to the counter, he asked me if there was a place in town, “Where guys go to meet other guys.” (I assume he meant, “Where guys go to MEAT other guys.”) I told him about a park across the way where I had heard was the local hook-up spot (see recent entry Sex vs. Sick). He thanked me for this info, his change and went back to the booths.

Within 10 minutes he was back for more ones. (I should point out that the video booths give you 4 minutes per dollar. The 50 ones that I have given to him in the course of an hour were not used up.) He put another $5 bill on the counter and mumbled something that sounded vaguely like, “You’re very attractive.” I gave a confused grunt and he stepped back from the counter getting redder and redder. His five ones were sitting on the counter, but he just stood in place, staring at his feet. The uncomfortable feeling that rose through my feet and up my spine was like a river of snot making me feel like I was being sucked-on by a chain-smoker. It wasn’t that he was hitting on me, it was that he wouldn’t go away.

After what seemed like 15 minutes, he finally got his strength up and spoke a little louder, “Do you ever go to the park?”

I had a number of options at this point. I could have gotten angry, threatened to beat him up and kicked him out of the store. I could have ignored the statement, walked into the back room and waited for him to leave. I could have yelled back a diatribe about how I wasn’t gay and even if I was, I certainly wouldn’t screw a creepy old fuck that hits on strangers in porn stores.

In the end (pun intended), I chose to laugh and respond with an exaggerated, “Nooooooooooo….”

He replied, “That’s too bad. You’re very attractive.” I completely lost it at that point and burst out laughing, trying to say, “Thank you,” and amusing myself with a pipe catalog until he walked away.

The saddest thing is that I felt bad for him. If he comes on to a stranger like this, he’s probably gotten his ass kicked a number of times. He’s looking for companionship in an all-night porn store and evidentially very determined. He seemed like a lonely, little man looking for “love” in “all the wrong places.”

On the other hand, he could have been a family man with 5 kids and a wife, visiting Mankato on business and just looking for a young trick to suck him off.

You just never know.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The window into peoples' lives...

As you can probably imagine, working at a store like this, you’re allowed a rare opportunity to look into the dark little windows of people’s personal lives. And a lot of times, it’s really fucking creepy.

In this instance, a guy came into the store a few days ago dressed in a dirty mechanic’s outfit. This was a little out of the ordinary because generally people come into the store after stopping at home to change into something more casual, but didn’t’ raise any red flags. 
The fact that he bought an elaborate, $300 bondage kit didn't surprise me either. I would have thought a purchase on this scale could have waited until you had time to take a shower after work. Or at least wash your face and hands (he was pretty filthy… with oil. I’m not going to comment on the status of his mind.)

The truly terrifying aspect happened when I was handing him his change and I heard him mumble something about, “That smart-ass teenager thinks he can do whatever he wants without any consequences,” as he walked out the door.

I honestly went pale and expect to see a story in tomorrow’s paper detailing a medieval torture dungeon in the basement of someone’s suburban home. I started thinking of every survival horror movie where the victim is tied up in a basement and imagined this happening mere miles away from the store.

I haven't heard anything more about this and really hope that the bondage set never got put to use. To be fair, we don’t sell very high quality bondage gear. It’s expensive, but not the sort of stuff that would last more than light use by people that aren’t really into bondage.

But you never know… somewhere in Mankato there could be a gimp in the basement, yearning for freedom.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


To truly appreciate the eeriness of this story, you have to know a little bit about the location of the porn store in Mankato. Not only is it located on the edge of a college town, its parking lot is right along the railroad line with just a thin, wooded area in between the parking lot and the train tracks. The store convenient for people coming in from the outskirts of town, but it’s also a perfect target for transients riding the rails looking for god-knows-what.

Considering this, I suppose it’s nothing short of amazing that I haven’t been robbed or even harassed all that greatly during my time here.

But back to autoerotic asphyxiation…

I had been working nine days straight while covering shifts for a coworker who was taking an extended vacation to visit family in India. Nine days of work straight at a porn store wasn’t a thrilling experience, but I have to admit that I didn’t have to work that hard sitting around reading (non-sexual) books for 90% of the shift. It’s always fun staying up all night, it’s the constant nocturnal schedule that starts to mess with you.
After the last of my overnight shifts, I had to come back in later that same day to work the evening 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. shift. It was a short night’s sleep, but not really all that demanding in the scheme of things. What really surprised me was that the parking lot was filled with cops when I arrived back at the store, a mere seven hours after my overnight shift had completed.

Apparently, the person working the morning shift found a dead body while she completed her daily cleanup of the parking lot. A man was hanging from a tree with a noose around his neck and his pants around his ankles. Authorities were not able to determine if it was a suicide, an autoerotic asphyxiation game gone wrong or if other people were involved. Honestly, it’s really hard to tell. I could see all three as possibilities given the location.

The really creepy thing about this story is that the police estimate that the guy strangled sometime between midnight and 5 a.m. the night I was working. This happened while I was sitting behind the counter or mopping the floors less than 100 feet away!

Part of my cleaning responsibilities includes me to check the parking lot before the evening shift person leaves for the night. Usually, I get annoyed by finding a pile of empty nitrous oxide containers someone dumped out of their car after getting high in the parking lot, but now I have to worry about finding dead bodies!  

As expected, the entire staff started making jokes about people ‘dying’ to get into the store, but you could tell everyone was pretty uneasy about it. The owner was at the store when I arrived and said that he was installing a “buzz-in” system to let customers in between 1 and 6 a.m. Overnight workers are now forbidden from going into the parking lot when working alone in the store. Nice gestures, but a little too late for one unlucky gentleman.

You never know what will take your breath away at the porn store.

Monday, February 6, 2012


We live in an amazing time and place. Not only do we have easy access to a wide variety of chemicals that can alter our reality (both illegal and available with a prescription), but we also have another selection of chemicals we can consume to hide the fact that we’re taking the chemicals we’re not supposed to be smoking/swallowing/injecting/etc. At least that’s what the outside of the boxes would tell you.

I’m not stupid. I’ve experienced my share of chemicals and realize that addition is the biggest factor in play here. If part of your probation agreement involves you subjecting yourself to random drug screenings in order to stay out of jail and you still feel the need to take drugs, there are some very powerful addictions at work.

One thing that does baffle me are the guys on probation, who know full-well that they’ll be back in jail (or prison) if they fail a urine screen test and still insist on smoking pot. Now my stoner days are over, but as good as pot ever was, it’s certainly not worth going to jail for. Hell, with what you can pick up at any given pharmacy, it’s hardly worth tracking down a dealer.

Anyway, interacting with the customers on probation is a continual reminder of why I distanced myself from the drug culture and why I’m glad I won’t be working in a porn store for the rest of my life.

The science behind a toxin-flush drink is pretty simple. When you consume anything, (food, drugs, pollution in the air, etc.) a portion of that chemical will stay in your system for a certain amount of time. The more of something you consume, the more of it stays in your system and the more you have to flush out (either through pee, poop, vomit or sweat.) I really hope this concept hasn’t confused anyone up to this point.

There are toxin flush products readily available to the public. The problem is that a toxin-flush will only remove a portion of these chemicals and it’s only a matter of time before your body starts naturally flush out the remaining chemicals through pee, poop, vomit or sweat (you may have noticed a trend). This is a crucial point every drug user needs to understand because no matter how good the toxin flush is (or how much water you drink) sooner or later, your urine is going to start containing traces of the drugs you’ve taken until they’re completely removed from your system.

Additionally, many of the drug testing companies can find traces of any chemicals you’ve used to clean out your system (Goldenseal for example). This will invalidate your drug test, so you have to be really careful. Knowing all this, it’s still quite possible to pass a UA test, IF YOU’RE WILLING TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

I haven’t been working here very long and I’ve already had multiple customers come back in with their empty box and receipt demanding a refund. (The box does advertise a double-your-money-back refund, but you need to go directly through their parent company and provide a copy of your failed test.) At the same rate, I’ve also seen a few regular customers come in at the same time every month and buy the product. After talking to both groups, the issue is clear.


I didn’t think this would be such a big deal, but considering my earlier statements about addition and continuing to smoke pot even though you know it will send you to jail, I guess it shouldn’t. Here’s how it’s supposed to work; one to two hours before your test, drink the bottle of toxin cleanse. Fifteen minutes later, fill the empty bottle with water and drink that down. Make sure you pee twice before your test (this isn’t an issue as drinking this product causes you to piss and shit like a racehorse.) Oh, and AVOID ANY UNWANTED SUBSTANCES AT LEAST 48 HOURS BEFORE THE TEST.

This is probably why most people fail. I’ve heard stories of people strictly following the directions, then packing a oneie and smoking it on the way to the testing facility. I expect there’s a special box on the form that the tester checks if you come into your test reeking of marijuana. I’d like my response to the people who do this to be, “You’re a fucking idiot and deserve to be locked away,” but strangely enough, I usually feel sorry for these people and politely explain that you need to abstain from any chemicals at least two days before the test.

I should point out that I’m not talking about people who get random drug tests. These folks have an appointment set a month in advance with their parole officer and know exactly when they need to pee into a cup. There is absolutely no excuse (other than basic addition and being stupid) that they should fail to follow these instructions. In a worst case scenario, their test should come back inconclusive or too diluted, not positive for pot.

Another common complaint is that the customer drank the toxin cleanse immediately after leaving the store, then failed their drug screen a week later. Again, a consumer shouldn’t use any product they don’t understand. A cleanse will only remove traces of chemicals from your urine for a short period of time. Failing a blood transfusion and liposuction, there’s no way to ensure drugs you’ve taken won’t eventually appear in your urine.

We’ve all heard stories about former drug addicts to wind up tripping-out during a long workout because their body started to burn fat that storing drugs from their wild past. Or the acid-head who went into a chiropractor for an adjustment, only to leave on a trip because a spinal adjustment released some of the LSD trapped in their spinal column. (I have no idea if these stories have any merit of truth, but since most people have heard them, you can assume most people would understand the concept… but you’d be wrong.)

Drug testing is evolving as quickly as the cleansing systems, so it’s not easy to say how long these store-bought cleansing methods will continue to be effective. We’ve already started stocking a shampoo that can be used before a hair follicle drug test that is supposed to clean out any evidence of drug use. I haven’t heard any testimonials as to whether or not this product works, but my guess is that it doesn’t. If someone is willing to have your hair chemically analyzed by a lab, I’m assuming ANY chemicals on your hair will be easily detected.

Perhaps the most ingenious (and disturbing) product available in the UA screening world is the mechanical penis that you can wear inside your pants, attached to an external bladder of clean urine. While I’ll admit this is kind of neat, it does raise some red flags about priorities in your life. Not only are you continuing to use drugs when you know it could get you thrown back in jail, but you’re also wearing a synthetic penis device with a bag full of someone else’s urine attached to your leg to warm the fluid so it comes out at a “natural” temperature. This doesn’t even consider what you had to do, and who you had to ask, to obtain this clean urine.

I have heard an amusing anecdote about a guy who failed his probation drug test because it came back pregnant. This could be an urban legend, but considering what these people have gone through to attempt to pass the test (everything except not taking drugs), it wouldn’t surprise me. Then again, nothing surprises me anymore.

Finally, it would be prudent to discuss the legal ramifications of cheating on a court-ordered drug test. It’s one thing to get caught cheating on a test you’re taking for a potential job and simply not getting hired when you fail, but getting caught cheating on a court-ordered test is a FELONY. Not only will you be going back to jail, you’ll also likely get time added to your original sentence for attempting (poorly) to cheat on your pee test. This failed attempt will most-likely be brought up at any future attempts for parole, so getting caught fucks you over in a variety of ways.

But hey, getting high it worth it… right?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ask Jizz - February 5, 2012

Today’s question comes from a fellow blogger who writes a lovely blog called 3XX Days to Go.

Are the booths automated or do you have to touch their money?

This question made me realize I didn’t give very much detail about the physical mechanics of the booths. I’ll get to the answer to this question in a minute, but please allow me to indulge myself first.

Back when I turned 18 and was still in high school, some friends and I used to occasionally go to Broadway Book and Video in downtown Minneapolis. This was back before downtown Minneapolis got revamped and the place was a real eyesore. The creepiest people hung out in front and if you went anywhere near the gay section; guys would follow you throughout the rest of the store. The thing I remember the most was that they had a giant bondage cage in the center of the store with a lingerie-wearing mannequin inside (presumable for those who couldn't imagine it’s intended use.)

The first time a group of use went to Broadway, another customer with the same color jacket as one a guy in our group was shoving magazines under his coat. Suddenly, the voice of god came out of nowhere yelling that a cop car was immediately outside and that two in our group were under arrest for shoplifting. When the clerk, who was standing on top of a display case for extra intimidation, checked these two and found their jackets empty, he yelled at us for making him think we were shoplifting. (While he was yelling, the guy who was actually shoplifting slipped out the door with his stolen goods.)

They had video booths in the basement, which was even more disgusting than the main floor. Instead of the individual “booth/stalls” like the store in Mankato, each booth only had two, small saloon-doors that left your legs, upper torso and head completely exposed. Because of this, you could walk down the video hallway watching legs and shoulders shake as the patrons jerked off, completely unconcerned of others. They also had a “snack machine” that had, in addition to candy and chips, condoms, lube packs, playing cards (?) and (surprise) poppers!

Their system took tokens and I mention this because the one saving grace of Broadway was that their basement also had classic video games in addition to the video booths.  I was once convinced to go to the store on the premise of playing the original Tron arcade game. About halfway through my game, I started thinking about what was on the hands of the other people who had recently played the machine. I decided to let my friends finish the game, gave them the rest of my tokens and washed my hands ten times under very hot water.

The store I worked at had booths that only accepted bills. The machines took ones, fives, tens and twenties. As the clerk, I had to provide change to the customers that needed their larger bills broken down into ones. I always thought the main reason customers wanted change was an excuse to walk down the video booth hallway and scope out who else was in the store. The guys who were serious about getting in, jerking off and getting out would put whatever they had in their wallet into the machine. I’d often start my overnight cleaning with a booth or two still running because someone, now long gone, put in a twenty and then finished when they had… (ahem)… finished.

It was always the regulars who asked for change. The guys I kicked out on a regular basis. They’d come into the store, ask for change, sit in a booth for a few minutes, come out and walk around the store, go back to their car, come back in and then go back into a booth for a few minutes. We had signs up that explained how ‘trolling’ was forbidden at the store, but when you’re the only clerk and there are customers in the store, there’s no a lot I could do to prevent it. (There were a few guys on our black-list that were forbidden from coming into the store. They'd often attempt to sneak into the booths by coming in the back entrance and never asking for change. But you had to fuck up pretty bad, or try to steal something, to get on this list.)

Some of these regulars came in cars I started to recognize. A large number of these cars had child seats in the back. This is why I try to make such a big point that not everyone who is gay is a sexual deviant. I don’t know if these guys were actually gay and stuck in a marriage, or sex addicts coming out every night for a quick thrill, but I saw them as creeps rather than gay. Anyone who spends more than a half-hour at a porn store and isn’t getting paid for it, is probably not the sort of person you’d like around your kids.

Nowadays (remember, I worked at this store from 1998 to 2001) I expect customers can swipe a credit or debit card in addition to inserting bills into video booths. Places probably offer hi-definition video booths at a premium price for their upscale customers.  I doubt there are many places that have token systems, but if you find any, I’d leave the store as soon as possible.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cleaning your head...

After writing about the rather tame in comparison nitrous oxide, I thought I’d put down my thoughts on huffing “poppers” (video head cleaner/amyl nitrate).


But seriously, it’s really stupid and if you’ve ever smelled this stuff, you understand why. Amyl Nitrate smells like someone took ammonia, combined it with rubber cement and paint thinner, and then left it to ferment in the sun for a year. I don’t care how good it makes you feel, the smell alone should tell you that it’s doing something terrible to your body.

Since I had never heard of them before I started working here, perhaps I should explain poppers for the uninitiated. Poppers are a small bottle of liquid that people inhale for a temporary state of euphoria and disassociation. It came into popularity among homosexuals in discos during the late 70s and has sense become popular throughout the adult entertainment and dance cultures. It was originally developed to treat angina (chest pain) and Hunter S. Thompson discusses its recreational use in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Today it’s marketed as liquid incense or video head cleaner with names like Rush, Quick Silver and Locker Room (remember I mentioned that they were popular in the gay community?) The problem is that since it’s not officially created for human consumption, there are no regulations dictating what is actually put into these products. Amyl nitrate is now a regulated substance that is only available with a physician’s prescription. So what you’re actually inhaling could be anything from butyl nitrate (same effect at amyl nitrate with more risk of stroke) to good old fashioned ether (remember what killed the doctor in the Cider House Rules?)

Strangely enough, this stuff is a very effective video head cleaner, provided you want to open up your VCR and clean its head directly. Since there are 30 VCRs constantly running that supply the video booths with a constant stream of fresh porn, we frequently have to utilize this horrid liquid to keep the VCRs running. Bill, surprise, was the one who taught me how to clean a VCR head with a bottle of rush and a paper towel. It’s a simple matter of taking the top off the VCR, applying the cleaner liberally to your paper towel and spinning the video head manually a few turns until it wipes clean.

Simple and easy yes, but it’s just as easy to give yourself an unintentional rush while cleaning the VCR head. So far, this has happened to me twice and the pounding heartbeats in my head combined with the feeling that the building was about fall down on top of me had taught me that this isn’t a pleasurable recreational drug. I suppose it could be fun to use while at a dance club is already pounding your head with thumping beats or perhaps when you’re about to ejaculate, but I’ll leave those experiences to more daring individuals.

Poppers evaporate incredibly quickly and are one of the (many) reasons the video booth room is so well ventilated. Because of this awesome ventilation, I never smell them when people are utilizing the product while masturbating in the booths. Overall, I don’t mind selling the bottles. The only inconvenience is that I often have to sweep up empty bottles during the cleaning portion of my shift.