Tales from the Butcher's Counter

This was first published in the July 2017 of the Friendship Comedy Collective Zine

My name is Andy and I am a butcher. That’s right, I’m a butcher. I know, I know. You’ve never actually met anyone who was butcher, but here I am. I man a meat and seafood counter at a grocery store. While manning said counter, I provide an important service. I’m not talking about giving people meat and seafood to eat. No. I do something far more important. I deal with the general public, so you don’t have to. 

    People are smart, but something happens to the average person when they transform into……a customer. It’s unavoidable. NO matter who you are, or what you do, once you become a customer, you become one of them. 

    Here’s the definition of a customer: 

Customer: (Noun) A person with a glorious, amazing, profound absence of self awareness. 

    I’ve dealt with my fair share of mean customers; just total jackasses looking to ruin some poor clerk’s day. That is not what I’m here to talk about today. Below you’ll find the other type of customer. The idiots. The harmless, gently annoying, eye roll inducing, face palm creating, customers. The following stories are 100% true. They are presented for you as  cautionary tales. 

Customer: I bought a lobster tail yesterday. It was the toughest thing I’ve ever eaten. 

Me: How did you cook it?

Customer: Cook it?

Me: Uh yeah. They’re not cooked. They’re raw.

(Long pause)

Customer: ….Oh Lord Jesus, what did I do?

(She  just walks away.)


Customer : Do you have any London Broils?

Me: No, sir. I'm sorry.

Customer : That's fucking great! What the fuck are we going to eat now?

His wife: Honey, it's okay. Don't talk to him like that.

Customer : Fuck that. If he doesn't want to be talked too like that, he'd have a real job.


Customer: I bought a turkey a couple of days ago. I'm looking at your thermometer in your case, it says like 33. Does it have to stay at that temp?

Me: My cases run really cold. You don't have to do that; you just need to keep it refrigerated.

Customer: Crap. Really?

Me: Um....yes. It needs to be kept under refrigeration.

Customer: I've just had it sitting on my kitchen table.

Me: For two days!?

Customer: I put it in a freezer bag.


Customer : Your lying to your customers. Those shrimp aren't 51/60 count.

Me: Uh....yes, ma'am they are. I can show you the box.

Customer: They're too big to be 51/60s. You're telling me 60 of those would make a pound? You're lying.

(I count out 15 shrimp and weigh them)

Me: That's 15. It's about a quarter of a pound. So four of those would be about a 60 shrimp.

Customer : Look, I'm a local. I go shrimping. There's no way there 50 or 60 of those in a pound.

(I count out 50, throw out on the scale, it's a little shy of a pound. I put on 8 more. It's now a pound)

Me: That's 58. A pound on the dot.

Customer: Wow. I could have sworn it wasn't that much.

Me: How much did you want?

Customer: Oh, I don't want any. (Walks away)


Customer: I'd like a pound of shrimp.

Me: No problem.

Customer: These shrimp are boneless, right?

Me: Um.....yes. There are no bones in the shrimp.

Customer: (placing his hand on the counter) I'm serious, dude, there better not be any bones in these damn shrimp.

Me: Shrimp don't have bones, sir.

Customer: Look, man. I'm feeding these shrimp to a kid. I. Don't. Want. There. To. Be. Any. Bones.

Me: I 100% guarantee there aren't any bones in this shrimp.

Customer: Alrighty.


    Remember, every time you enter a store, you run the risk of turning into…..a customer. It takes focus, but it is possible to avoid the fate of the people above. Read signs, take a buddy with you, do whatever you can to be aware of your surroundings. Until then, I guess I’ll see you at the butcher’s counter.