10 Commandments of Adult Store Etiquette
Krispin Milch debuts his super-hero head on Sex Is For Men, Too with this, his 10 Commandments of Adult Store Etiquette. Krispin has years of experience in education, sales, and the management of stores and staff in the adult retail business local to the Seattle area. Having coordinated many ladies-only events and serving clients of all genders and orientations, one cannot doubt his expertise as a male in his industry which, these days, is heavily run and managed by women. I loved reading and editing this article, and I’m excited to see his work finally appear on the site!
Hello, Valued Readers!
Krispin Milch here, with a message to all of you out there who have ever sought love, lust, and renewed passion in the halls of your local Adult Boutique!
According to my insider data, that figure comprises a full 75% of adults of legal age – and yet every day, adult store employees see hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of people, all of whom seem to be under the impression that:
A) Shopping in an Adult Store is a deviant act, and it would be simply the height of shame and embarrassment if anyone knew they were there, and
B) That their own discomfort gives them a free pass to be obnoxious, boorish and predatory menaces within the store. After all, these people working here can’t possibly have any measure of self respect or pride, can they?
Well, dear sir or madam, rest assured that we, the employees of Adult Stores nationwide, are most assuredly not judging you by the 10-inch dildo you just purchased, but we most certainly are judging you by the civility and manners you display in dealing with us. In order to prevent undue embarrassment, let alone the wrath of someone who now knows what you do in the privacy of your own bedroom, I have graciously formulated and humbly submit these 10 Commandments of Adult Store Etiquette for your perusal and enjoyment!
1. Don’t Disrupt Other Customers
When you start your visit by laughing loudly at product, making loud nervous chatter, or (goodness forbid!) commit the cardinal sin of commenting on other customers’ purchases, be prepared to have the staff move to “damage control” mode and try to rush you out of their store as quickly and brusquely as possible. All of us can be nervous when entering an adult store, and a certain degree of good humor is required to make it through your visit without exploding, in some sense or another. But keep in mind that Adult Store employees have worked long and hard (no pun intended) to advance the perceived value of their products. If you act as if there is something inherently shameful, funny, or sleazy about the products or store in general, you not only make other customers think twice about their own presence there, but make your partner think that their shared sensual pleasure is unimportant or untasteful to you. Be as lighthearted, clever, or obnoxious as you like, but try and keep it at personal listening volume.
2. Do Take the Employees Seriously
Adult Store employees are there to help, and face obstacles to doing so you rarely see in mainstream retail. Despite the persecution and disrespect they face on a near daily basis, they come back day after day, with the goal of helping you first and foremost in their minds. Don’t roll your eyes, don’t give them the stinkeye for daring to say “hello”, and don’t assume that they are there because they can’t do anything else with their lives – adult retail work is often a labor of love, often stemming from a deep desire to improve the world, one orgasm at a time.
If an employee informs you of a rule or statute, don’t give them a hard time – comply if you are able, and come back another time if you cannot. Adult store employees understand that many of their customers are nervous, and that they may inadvertently “act out” without intending to. Usually, if you respectfully comply, the employee will have no problems helping you in earnest from that point onward. Adult Stores often face a lot of persecution and legal difficulty just to stay open in certain areas, and having you set a bad example makes things a lot more difficult. Examples include:
- Checking ID: Much like the liquor store, many areas require Adult Stores to check all customers’ ID to ensure customers are over 18 years of age, or face hefty fines. Even in areas where this is not required, retailers reserve the right to do so, regardless of apparent age.
- Dress Code Requirements: Although you may be free in certain areas to walk down the street in a mesh halter top and loose denim “coochie-cutters” while pointedly bereft of undergarments, adult stores must consider that to allow such attire in their stores appears to condone exhibitionism, prostitution or other unlawful activities. This is a sore subject with many retailers, because this is the exact reason that many stores are closed each year, and face perpetual harassment from law enforcement officials, whether such activity actually occurs or not.
- Rules of Conduct: Never assume that rules exist in an adult establishment to play face to law enforcement officials alone. If there are signs prohibiting indecent exposure in private areas of the store, know that it is the duty of employees to monitor behaviour and remove offenders from the premises. Don’t act bewildered when they ask you to put your pants back on while in a video booth, take your hand out of your girlfriend’s pants, or to stop blatantly stroking your partner’s erection through their jeans. Which brings us to number 3…
3. Don’t Disrespect the Premises
Please, try not to leave products lying in the wrong area, don’t break tester toys and displays, don’t drop trash and gum on the floor, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in a mainstream retailer. The staff often must be so focused on the serious business of educating customers and upholding rules that they don’t need the added pressure of extreme custodial duties.
Even in stores where tacit “understandings” seem to exist between posted rules and conduct expectations, don’t flaunt your violations. Don’t expose any part of yourself in public areas, don’t interfere with other customers, and for goodness sake, don’t leave bodily fluids of any kind on any part of store property. If you are in a store that seems lax in its enforcement or patrolling of violations of stated policy, please return the favor by following the same rule you would at any campsite: “If you pack it in, pack it out, and leave no trace behind” if you appreciate and want to preserve these endangered national treasures.
4. Do Ask to See Product out of Package
Would you want to purchase a toy that had been handled, unsupervised, by the hands of hundreds of strangers? The answer is likely “no”, but retailers appreciate the value of letting customers know the relative functions and benefits of an item before they leave a store. Almost every Adult Retailer will allow you to see an item out of package and even with batteries in a controlled environment, such as at the counter area. Not only is this one of the most fun parts of an employee’s job, but it also helps to ward off the adult store employee’s natural enemy: the dissatisfied return customer. The more you know about an item before it leaves the store, the less likely you are to come back two days later with the product rattling around in a grocery store bag, complaining that your partner didn’t like it.
Also, as above, the sound of a toy opening unsupervised on the floor is the quickest way to get every available employee on the floor to come up and “overservice” you in an attempt to help you better follow the rules – probably the last thing you want if you were embarassed enough to attempt opening it yourself in the first place. Do everyone a favor and let an employee help you out.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Adult Store employees have seen it all, heard it all, and by virtue of simple exposure know more than even most medical professionals about sexual health, safety, and even relationships. Despite certain assumptions made by much of the public, adult industry work is often a labor of love, and Adult Store employees often love to share the knowledge they have obtained.
6. Do Come Prepared
Prepare for your visit in a variety of ways. First of all, have some concept of the experience you want to have. Trying anal for the first time? Looking for a better lubricant? Want to upgrade to a more satisfying toy? It is easy to get so overwhelmed by options that many customers lose heart and end up leaving without anything at all. This is another case where asking an employee about even a basic concept floating around in your head can make all the difference in the world.
Another point to consider is the currency you bring. Many customers do not want an Adult Store appearing on their Credit Card bill (“What if I ever want to run for public office???”), and so their last stop before entering the store is the bank. Not wanting to limit their potential find, many customers opt to carry a single $100 bill. However, most people who take such measures to avoid embarassment ususally end up leaving without buying what they really want, purchasing instead some inexpensive trinket they believe will be “just as good”, or to pass off as a “gift for someone else”… meaning they pay with their big bill and take home all the change in the poor clerk’s register. Be kind, and consider that adult store employees do a lot of business and are often single staffed – bring smaller bills, and know that a cheap toy today may bring a bigger cost tomorrow!
7. Don’t Get Stuck on a Certain Product by Name
General rule of thumb: if they are advertising a product in a magazine or on mainstream TV, a better, less expensive, more refined version already exists in an adult store. Few things are more frustruating to Adult Store employees than having a customer come in looking for “The Super Sparkle Beaver!!! The Sparkle Super Beaver and Super Sparkling Beaver WON’T do!”. Forget for a moment that no such product by any of those names exists – your friend of a friend who does home toy sale “parties” insists it did 5 years ago, and insists it was the best.
If an adult store employee doesn’t think they’ve heard of it, they will likely reccomend a great alternative – this is their polite code for “You may not have any clue what you are talking about – allow me to help by showing you the top items of this century.”
8. Don’t Cheap Out
As touched upon earlier, Adult Store employees are rarely motivated solely by profit. As a result, the only people you disservice when you buy the cheapest product in your line of sight are your partner and yourself. I will also guarantee you that cheap products are almost invariably cheap for a reason – faulty parts, toxic materials, poor designs – these are but a few of the factors that can make your thrifty purchase into a truly regrettable one.
That being said, many Adult Store employees will likely be more than happy to show you the least expensive item of quality – in some cases, these can be less expensive than inferior alternatives! What to look for is the point where the employee is visibly making compromises in their estimation of your satisfaction – Adult Store employees will often give you the best price available at the expense of a higher sale, but they will rarely be enthusiastic to provide you with a lousy experience in order to pander to your frugal side.
9. Don’t Hit on the Staff
The products sold in Adult Stores are generally packaged and price-tagged. Anything not posessing those characteristics is likely not for sale or customer use. Obviously, this includes the employees of the establishment. And yet, every day, customers attempt to use pick-up lines on us such as “Would you like to come home and help me try this out, heh-heh-heh?” or “Your sweetheart must be pretty lucky… where does the line start, heh-heh-heh?”.
Adult Store employees have seen it all, heard it all, and have likely already done anything that appealed to their curiosity at the time. Even though they work in a potentially sexually charged environment, to them, it is really just a place they go to get away from their lives and make their money each day. They see endless lines of people, just like you, buying exactly what you are buying, saying exactly what you are saying – the only possible way to set yourself apart from another sweaty, blustering face in the crowd is to show genuine manners and respect.
To even put them in the position where they have to spend energy deflecting your unwanted advances is the peak of inconsideracy. On the clock, many employees don’t have the luxury of throwing a drink in your face and storming out of the place – they still have a shift to work! Just because their initially polite deferrals don’t present as acute a rejection as you may be accustomed to, doesn’t mean you have a chance.
If, by some expenditure of magic beans or genie-granted wishes, an Adult Store employee does take a fancy to you, rest assured that they likely have the confidence, presence and social toolset and tact to let you know in an appropriate fashion.
10. Do Leave Satisfied
Despite the hardships they may face, Adult Store employees are universally disheartened by one thing only – knowing that, due to some combination of embarassment, lack of knowledge, or simply being overwhelmed by choice, a customer leaves the store either empty-handed, or with an item other than the one they want.
Never assume that, if you experience anything short of ideal bliss from your purchases, that you have the best you can reasonably hope for. Adult Store employees never want to see our customers settle on sticky, irritating lubricants, toys likely to break or poorly designed for human anatomy, or a masssage candle and a greeting card, when what they really wanted was hardcore Tranny porn and a baby-bottle-themed butt plug.
On behalf of Adult Store Employees everywhere, I urge you, ask any question that comes to mind, hold your heads up high, and be prepared to have your wildest desires realized – if you follow these Commandments, you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience!
Featured image photo credit: “Rob, sex shop, toys, Marais” by Elias Rovielo on Flickr. CC, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), Some Rights Reserved.