If you happen to work at Hot Topic, the retail chain specializing in counterculture-related clothing, there is a big chance you’ve encountered some weird customers.
Hot Topic stores are aimed towards an audience interested in rock music and video gaming, and most of that audience are teenagers and young adults. Their employees will tell you how it is to deal with people who claim to be dragons or being yelled at that zombies could never exist. Never a dull day behind the counter here.
In the following Reddit threads, you will read some fascinating stories told by Hot Topic employers, as compiled by Ranker.
1. Bronies fans are frequent customers at Hot Topic, which can get awkward
“It’s just so awkward sometimes to talk to these kids. I get the appeal of the show, I’ve seen many episodes, but please stop telling me who your favorite pony is and why she’s the best and how people just don’t understand that being a brony is cool. To be honest. I think that culture is a self-sustaining culture of the glorification of introversion.
I have had so many women that come in, not realizing the guy they are dating is a Brony, and standing there awkwardly while he picks out what new pony shirt he wants or better yet, the older father (40 to 50 years) who mentions he’s looking for MLP for his daughter and his wife comes in and blows his cover by mentioning their son is a brony. The look on the father’s face is always delightful.”
2. Hot Topic attracts odd regulars who like to cyber-stalk employees
“There were several crazy people who shopped at the store on a regular basis. One man spent a good 15 minutes yelling at me about how zombies could never exist after seeing the cover of a Fangoria magazine we had in stock with a George Romero zombie on it. Lots of parents came in demanding refunds for whatever their kids bought or the gift card they received because they thought the store was evil.
And every employee of the store has stalkers. The kids find you online and friend request you until you accept. And then they spend their weekends in the store trying to talk to you while you are trying to work. So basically, the customers, in general, are crazy.”
3. You will definitely need to have a sense of humor if you want to work at Hot Topic
“You start to lose your mind working at HT if you don’t try and have some fun. I once had a big buff dude come into the store, asking me if I had “guyliner.” I had to have him explain to me what he meant. I had a husky girl dressed in a witch costume try and put a spell on me to make me fall in love with her. It sadly did not work.
And I had a parent order a Jack Skellington bedcover in-store and she continued to call in every day until it came in, even though we told her it would take between 7 to 14 days.”
4. A Customer, who believed he was a dragon, demanded a cashier’s soul
Here is a conversation that happened between one weird customer and a cashier working at the store:
Customer: “They were able to resurrect my flesh, it’s healed. And it’s time for me to go home.”
Cashier: “Oh, my god!”
Customer: “And I… They even told me my scales are turning gold as my father’s were. My father was a piece of creation itself. He was the protector of god himself.”
Cashier: “Well, that’s good then.”
Customer: “That’s the thing. People damn power. It’s not evil, it’s how you choose to use it.”
Cashier: “Oh, yeah, most definitely. That’s pretty much like how everything is.”
Customer: “But the dictation of true power is lost to this world. I’m returning home, but I’m going to come back. But I’m going to make it so that no human is permitted to use power without sanction.”
Customer: “You must give your soul to me.”
Cashier: “Oh, my god!”
Customer: “I am the Sovereign of Power and I’m going to become what my father was before my birth: ‘Eternal Guardian Dragon of Time.'”
Cashier: “Oh, wow!”
Customer: “My father gave up much of his power when I was born. Because she… H-he… His mate was Hecate, mother of angels. I was the only true born… My brethren. Even Lucifer, down in the pit for his f*cking retardation, he was my brother.”
Cashier: “Oh, my goodness!”
Customer: “I am not a fallen. I am a lost. I fell to Earth from my own folly – not following that bastard.”
Customer: “Honestly, look into my eyes. Do I seem mad to you?”
Cashier: “Not really.”
Customer: “Most humans denounce anything that is outside their realm of…”
Customer: “But that is my dictation. I do not demand your soul as payment. It is more so protection that if you abuse your power… Then your soul is going to be bound. You keep your soul within your flesh, but your soul will be bound never to touch power again. That is the dictation of the blood contract. I give you my blood, you give me… A piece of your soul. You do not lose your soul. I am not the father, I have no rights to your soul. But I do have rights to claim how you use my power. And that is the only reason I bind your soul like that.”
Cashier: “Oh, yeah, for real… Like… That makes sense.”
5. Don’t forget to wash the clothes you bought before wearing them
“Hot Topic attracts the smelly kids like you wouldn’t believe. If you shop there, make sure you wash what you buy before you wear it. When some kid smelled up a Resident Evil shirt while coveting it in the fitting room, all I could do was Febreeze it and hope for the best.”
6. Employees are not as judgmental as you might believe
User deStone asked: “I am a thirty-year-old dad that wears polo shirts and occasionally goes to Hot Topic to listen to random alternative-metal CDs from artists I’ve not heard of… Do the employees mock me after I leave?”
HotTopicThrowaway666 answered: “No! If anything, we think it’s pretty cool that you’re willing to give the music a listen. The only people we really ‘mock’ or make fun of are just bad customers, shoplifters, and annoying people. It’s rad that you come in! Don’t feel out of place.”
7. The dress code is pretty casual and relaxed except on Halloween
“I wore a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers to work everyday. Once in awhile, we’d have a big visit from regional management or someone else high up, so I’d wear a skirt and some flats or something.
And as for the goth-y part, I never considered myself goth. I think the feel of the store was gothic, but it wasn’t really my thing. And truth be told, I only worked with a handful of people over the years who would have considered it their thing.
The only time when they were really super concerned with what we were wearing was during Halloween. There were theme days and we were supposed to participate. But the only thing they could do if we didn’t was lecture us about team morale.”
8. Harry Potter fans are more annoying than Twilight fans
User ejchristian86 asked : “How often do you feel the need to stab Twilight fans who come in and squeal over the merch?”
Employee HotTopicThrowaway666 answered : “Personally, the 30-year-old Harry Potter fans annoy me more. But I’ll tolerate anyone who helps fund my paychecks!”
9. Hot Topic merchandise has changed with the times
yuckyuck13 asked: “How close does Hot Topic stay to its roots? I have noticed merchandise catered toward film franchises, but does Hot Topic still hold a connection toward what made the chain popular?”
Nayth1220 wrote: “Essentially every thing you wanted back in 2002 to 2005 can still be bought online. However, you have to think of who is actually paying for the product. Most of the time, it’s the parents. If it’s just a bit more family friendly and approachable by both goth kids and Catholic mothers, the store is going to make more money. Moms love Sons of Anarchy, not so much love for Marilyn Manson. You get the idea.”
From yuckyuck13 and Nayth1220:
10. The Company has strict rules when it comes to employee interactions
“No shenanigans went on while I was there. The company has a policy forbidding employee interaction outside of the workplace unless everyone that works at that particular location is invited. For instance, if the store manager is having a party and he or she wants to include employees, everyone has to be invited for it to be legit. He or she can’t hand pick employees to invite or they risk getting in some hot water if anyone higher than them in the food chain finds out. So, because of this reason, the sexy time is kept to a minimum for the most part.
Although what ends up happening is romances between employees that work in different locations. The store manager of the first location I worked at was dating the manager of another store in our district. This is a-okay with corporate.”
11. There are a lot of shoplifters at Hot Topic
“I worked at Hot Topic for years. We get a lot of shoplifters at the store and people just kind of f*cking around because a lot of kids’s parents just drop them off at the mall so they think, ‘Hey, let’s go f*ck around in Hot Topic.’ I have a lot of stories about the stupid things prepubescents thought they could get away with in our store that they would never try anywhere else. So, we get kinda wary of any kids coming in by themselves and especially wary when they start just picking things up without any apparent intention to buy them.”
12. They only sell products that move fast because of the small size of their stores
“Skinny is in at the moment, although they have Slim Straight fits now. The huge Tripp pants can still be bought online, the same with your obscure punk bands. The target demo has shifted, but the online store remains true to its roots. In a store like HT, if it doesn’t sell out, it just sits there collecting dust most of the time. That’s why the buyers go for product they know they can move. Otherwise, you end up with 60 pairs of $100 Tripp pants that take up an inordinate amount of space in an already-small store.”
13. Just like any other store it attracts nightmare customers
“Worst Customer Story: Same as every other retail store. Self-entitled middle-aged white woman throws fit at the register because she realized five years ago that she married into obscurity and hates that she never made anything of herself, so she takes it out on people paid to put up with her sh*t.”