Requests from a Disgruntled Vitamin Store Employee

by Anna Lindwasser

Artwork, “Take Your Vitamins” by Julia Sorensen

Requests from a Disgruntled Vitamin Store Employee

Don’t assume that I’m the manager because I’m the only white person on staff today. If you

make this mistake, at bare minimum you’d better not wrinkle your nose and grunt “oh”

when I point you toward the actual manager, Mr. Vishnavi.

If you saw me puking in the garbage can on the subway platform, don’t come into the store

twenty minutes later and complain that I’m moving too slowly. Instead, be grateful that I’m

standing here selling you catnip pills and oregano oil while my uterus is throwing a


Stop trying to buy human growth hormone for your prepubescent ten-year- old. If you have

to do this, please don’t tell me that your doctor refused to prescribe it to him. This will

result in me hiding it behind the Red Yeast Rice and upselling you on calcium gummy pills.

Don’t lecture us about how homeopathy doesn’t work and it’s a scam and we should all be

ashamed of ourselves. If you do this, Carlos will grind his teeth and scream internally until

you leave, and then he will scream externally about how you’re absolutely right, we’re

shills for unscrupulous companies who prey on people who don’t know any better. After

work he will get uproariously drunk and I will have to help him home. He lives on Staten

Island. Please don’t make me go to Staten Island.

Please just sign up for the points card. It is free. We will not sell your information to Google

or to the government. We are not affiliated with the NSA. Please just sign up so that Mr.

Vishnavi will stop tapping his foot at me.

Stop asking me about whether or not the penis enlargement pills work. Stop telling me why

you want them. Do not mention the existence of Ejaculoid unless you are actively buying it.

I don’t want to know how big your dick is, how long you want it to be, or how hard you cum

when you’re thinking about Lisette, the assistant manager. If you have to talk about these

things, ask Carlos, or Mr. Vishnavi, or Joel. Somebody who, most likely, has a dick.

For that matter, stop asking fresh out of high school Joel if those herbs that are supposed to

help with female orgasms actually work. If you must do this, don’t frown at me when I

swoop in to rescue him from your 40-year- old self.

If you have to swing a pendulum at our products to decide whether or not you should buy

them, please make sure that there are no customers, employees, or glass bottles in your

way. This is the third time I’ve had to clean up liquid probiotics because of you.

It hurts me enough to see you buying diet pills that are almost literally speed. Don’t make

matters worse by telling me I ought to buy some too.

Do not ask me if you can take vitamins with your psychiatric medication. Or your pain

medication. Or your asthma medication. I’m a 22-year- old English major. I learned what St.

John’s Wort was from watching a training video that I had to keep pausing so I could run

the register. I’m not a doctor and I cannot be responsible for killing you. Direct your

question toward an actual doctor, please.

Please don’t follow me from the store to the halal cart and try to buy my lunch for me. It’s

weird. I know I make minimum wage, but I promise you, I have $5. Maybe I’d be more

receptive if I actually knew you, and you didn’t keep trying to grab my ass, but as it is, if you

don’t leave, I’m going to ask the Russian kid manning the cart to squirt red sauce in your


Do not demand that you be allowed to use the employee bathroom. That’s where we keep

our coats and wallets. I understand that you didn’t know this, but an appropriate response

is to say “okay,” and leave. It is not to throw yourself against the register and scream that

you are going to call the company and get us all fired. It is definitely not to try and muscle

past Lisette to get to the storage room that you are insisting is the bathroom. Leave our

store and don’t come back.

Stop asking me to let you read my chakra. I am busy ringing up $80 worth of salmon oil

pills for the nice old lady who always calls me sweetie-pie and gives me tips even though

we don’t have a tip jar. After that I have to sell some creatine to a grimacing dude whose

pectorals probably have their own names and zip codes. I don’t have time for this. No, not

even if it’s free.

Do not ask for a refund on an empty bottle of Vitamin C from a brand we don’t even carry.

It’s gone, you used it, and you didn’t even buy it here. I don’t care that it didn’t “work.” I

don’t care that the other store is ten blocks away and you’re tired. Unless you have a new

job for me in that giant purse, I’m not about to get fired for you.

Stop asking for Dr. Oz products twenty minutes after the episode aired. We don’t have the

inside scoop on Dr. Oz, so we’ll get your green coffee bean extract and your hibiscus tea in

next week. Which you won’t buy because by then Dr. Oz will be on to something else.

Do not shamble in front of my register with your unfocused eyes and your skunk stink,

asking if the detox drinks behind the counter will help you pass your drug test. I am not

legally allowed to answer that question but I can guarantee that the answer is no.

Don’t whip out your dick and piss on the drink fridge. I don’t know why I have to tell you

this. You are a grown man.

You know what? Just don’t bother coming into my store at all.


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