Category Archives: The Failures of Humanity

I’m Winning… So I must be cheating

I haven’t been working on this blog as much. But I made a vow to myself two years ago that I would post an entry on the first of each month. I already wrote something for my author’s blog and as luck would have it, the perfect opportunity to remark upon the failures of humanity fell into my lap just a few moments ago.

I play Wordox on Facebook. I’m not going to waste a lot of time explaining it other than to say that it’s sort of similar to Upwords. Play the game and tell them I sent you.

Well, after nearly two years of not seeing this kind of behavior, out of nowhere I got accused by another player of cheating. This was a pretty mean spirited player to begin with. She was spiteful and some of her word entries were kind of nasty. She won the game, so I’m guessing based on her personality in the chatroom that she’s a Trump supporter, since she’s a crappy winner. (That’s as political as I get on this blog. Take it home with you an remember, if you post negative comments, I can delete them but I still have your hit recorded, so I still win)

I’ll never understand the mentality among gamers like this, but it’s been a thing since the earliest days of communal game play. If someone else is winning, they must be cheating. It can’t just be that someone might be better at the game than you are. They have to be cheating. That’s all there is to it.

Mind you, if they’re winning, they’re just good at the game. Or maybe they’ve been playing crappy players all this time and they just now met their match. Or maybe they’re cheating and they think that everyone else who wins must be cheating as well.

The cycle continues. To the player who accused me of using a “word solver” I hope training day at Walmart goes well for you.

More Information Has Come To Light

In the previous post, you read about the unpleasant encounter with the owner of Remember Salem, and his claim that I had a negative experience with one of his employees a “year ago”. You can read the actual quote in this post.

I still maintain that I have never had any sort of negative experience with any employee at Remember Salem during any of the times I have been in there. In fact, one of the most recent times I had set foot in there was during October. Anyone who has been to Salem in October knows how busy it is. I’m not the first person to have jokingly referred to Salem as the temporary capital of Massachusetts during the time of the Psychic Fair.

So it’s strange that this owner apparently remembers me in connection with a negative encounter when his and many other shops in the area are so packed full of tourists from all corners of the Earth.

However, as the title indicates, some new information has come to my attention. It’s actually something that happened close to a year ago, and it’s the only incident I can imagine this owner is referring to.

My dog was attacked last year. I documented this incident in the following post. I’ve written about at least one other incident involving an irresponsible dog owner in Salem Commons, but this particular incident was especially terrifying as actual teeth met flesh on this occasion. In this case the teeth belonged to a dog whose breed I will still not mention, as the breed has been wrongfully maligned, but I will mention by name as Athena.

Athena was poorly trained. I don’t know her entire history, before that day, only that after the incident in which she broke free of her leash and attacked Dickens, also drawing John’s blood in the process, the owner was required by law to place a muzzle on her when he was taking her for a walk as she had been deemed a dangerous dog. The owner seemed to believe that this was optional, as we encountered them several times out and about, without the required muzzle.

I refrained from documenting anything further about this incident for a few reasons. The officer who was building the case against Athena’s owner had requested that John not talk too openly about the incident while the investigation was on going. I wasn’t sure what details were safe to share on this blog, so I held back. John was also afraid of retaliation, since the owner lived so close by, so I held back out of respect to him.

Eventually, the problem took care of itself. Athena inevitably attacked at least one other person, resulting in her being put down. I want it to be clear that I don’t take any satisfaction in knowing that the dog had to be put down for her owner’s stupidity.

However, the owner of that dog, does occasionally work in downtown Salem, handing out fliers for some of the local businesses. Would any of my faithful readers care to guess which of the local businesses he handed out fliers for, last year? Yes, Remember Salem’s “Ghost Tour” was among them. And I know that Athena’s owner is on friendly terms with a number of people who work along Essex Street.SAM_0916.JPGSAM_0917

That would technically make him an employee of Remember Salem. So if the owner sees me as the reason why the dog of his irresponsible owner had to be put down, then clearly this is not a case of anything I did to threaten his business. This is the case of a man who believes, as he stated so bluntly himself, that he can do anything he wants. Including, but probably not limited to, bullying customers with the misguided notion of avenging a friend.

Where is this kind of behavior going to stop? We already had an incident involving a prominent local business owner who was a very strong and visible member of Salem’s economy, getting arrested for trafficking heroin. This person is currently sitting in jail and has been ostracized by Salem’s local psychic community. Clearly, not every single shop owner is represented by that man. But just like this drug dealer, the shop owner of Remember Salem has placed a negative mark on all of them by mistreating a member of the community.

Some may call it a bit extreme, my comparing this little man to a known drug trafficker. But I also remind you that before the police showed up, and I peacefully explained my side of the story and left the premises when the officers asked me to do so, this owner had made himself completely scarce. That’s certainly not behavior that I would expect of a legitimate business owner who has nothing to hide from the law.

This is How I’ll Remember Salem now…

No good deed goes unpunished. The customer is always right. I try to avoid clichés, which is easier than avoiding conflict. But sometimes the conflict comes to me whether I’m looking for it or not. And sometimes it finds me in the worst possible place; a place that I had no problems with in the past, but suddenly decided to have one with me.

Trolls will troll. People are going to say, “Well you must have done something.”

Because one thing bullies need is a reason to push people around. And that’s just what happened at Remember Salem, or as I once lovingly called it, The Harry Potter Store.

Allegedly, Remember Salem is the only licensed retailer of Harry Potter merchandise in the United States. I learned this from the gentleman who gave me the local discount, when I was visiting Salem whilst living in Danvers almost five years ago.

Since starting this blog, I’ve made no bones about airing my grievances. I’m not unique in this. So many bloggers do just that. Some of them even make their living doing this and really I’m just trying to make myself heard. Usually retaliation comes in the form of anonymous trolling, but every now and again a person who is in less of a position than I am to criticize will give me their “Come to Jesus” lecture, including a list of personality traits they decide that I need to alter, which they will list in an ascending order of what I assume is meant to be shame.

But I’ve never had a negative thing to say about Remember Salem, because all of my encounters with the shop have been typically pleasant.

As I said, twice, the old owner gave me the local discount on the soda, even though I hadn’t been living there for more than a couple years by that time. I bought Christmas presents for my nieces and nephews there. I bought my sister a scarf from that shop for her tenth birthday. I routinely and openly praise this shop to my friends on Facebook and Twitter.

On June 8th, I went into the shop to browse. Maybe buy another bottle of Butterscotch Beer. You know, like what I’m drinking in this photo.Butterbeer

This new guy who hasn’t owned the place for that long, or if he has owned it for long, he is a far smaller oversight than the much larger gentleman who used to be owner of those two shops, walked right up to me and told me I needed to leave. The shop isn’t closed. They’re getting ready to give one of their tours. He just tells me I need to leave and I ask why.

“Because I don’t want you here.”

“Well, I’m just here to browse,” I said.

“I don’t like your presence here.”

At this point I reminded him that I’ve never stolen from them, and I’ve purchased merchandise here before. His employees were just sitting at the counter. I’ve never met either one of them and they weren’t people I was familiar with, so probably fairly new, or recently hired.

“You need to leave, or I’m calling the police,” the owner repeated.

“Okay,” I said, calmly. “Please do.”

“Get out of here right now, or I’m going to.”

“Okay,” I said. “They’re not going to arrest me right away. They’re going to get my side of the story as well as yours and you’ll have to explain to them why you want me to leave.”

This exchange goes for a while. The guy did not leave at this point. Out of nowhere he says, “A year ago you had a problem with one of my employees.”

“I don’t recall that,” I said.

“Well, now you need to go.”

I’m really trying to remember any negative encounter I’ve had with this shop. Again, the two employees at the counter are not people I recognize. This is a small shop with barely more than a few people working there in more than a week. I walk past this shop all the time.

At this point I should also point out that Essex Street has a very large portion of the transient population walking in and out of these shops. The police log is full of  reports from “undesirables” being escorted, arrested, or asked to leave properties in or around the Peabody Essex Street Mall.

So, thinking this might be a case of mistaken identity, I asked the owner, “What’s my name.”

“I don’t care what your name is,” the manager replied. “Get out of here, or I’m calling the police.

“Sir, I will gladly wait for the police.” I said.

“I’m going to kick your ass when you come out of this shop,” he muttered.

“Did you just threaten me?” I asked.

“No, I promised you. That’s what I can do in this town.”

“Well now I insist you call the police,” I said. “Because you’ve just threatened me with assault.”

About five minutes later, the manager disappeared. The employees, who remained at the counter, kept telling me they would call the police, which I now insisted they do since their boss just threatened me. The male employee said, “If you leave right now, I’ll tell the police you just left. I don’t need to know your name and I’d rather not know it.”

“Well, when the police get here,” I said. “They’re going to know my name and you will too. And after this I doubt you’ll forget it.”

The police finally showed up. I showed them my ID, which they checked. They could not find the manager either, but the employee just parroted what he was told about an alleged negative encounter with an employee.

By the way, I walk past the shop all the time. I see that scrawny little manager several times, up and down Essex Street. At no point in the past year or so that I’ve been aware of his presence has he told me to stay away from his shop. I was actually there a couple of times in October. I even brought my family in there while they were visiting the Salem area.

It’s very telling that he didn’t stick around to talk to the police. After all, he’s a Salem business owner. What does he have to hide from them? I just feel sorry for the poor employees who were left alone, while I remained on the premises, waiting for the police. I mean if I was a dangerous person, this guy just left them high and dry to deal with me.

Fortunately, in spite of what my blog trolls think, I’m not a violent and unreasonable person, as evidence by the fact that I stayed and spoke to the police, gave them my information, and left without a fuss afterward. I certainly didn’t threaten to harm the owner, as he threatened me.

Now, the real work of magic will be if anyone who reads this blog will ever set foot in that shop again.


Update: 10/7/16

According to Tim, the owner of Remember Salem, he was not aware of this incident. He believes his employees may have lied to him. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt since I certainly know what it’s like to have dishonest coworkers, however, until Salem PD advises me on how to respond to Tim’s request for more information, I am going to hold off on responding to him.

He made a friend request on Facebook. Because I don’t want him to be the victim of harassment by people on my own Facebook who may be moved by my experiences, I have refused the request.

Read his other comment here:

Aw, is Beverly Library Feeling Left Out?

I guess it’s not fair. Most of my writings thus far have been focused on either Salem or The Peabody Library in Danvers. With all of the attention they’re getting, it must make Beverly feel left out when I don’t acknowledge the ways they have gotten under my skin.

There was one instance not too long ago wherein I was just getting into the library after suffering from a massive case of the runs. Keep in mind that I don’t drive, and to get to this library, I have to cross a bridge from Salem. I was trying to drop a book off, but I  had to run to the restroom. Even after I explained this to the, ahem, professional at the desk, she still felt the need to have me bring the book to the little cubbyhole all the way at the other end of the desk.

But, this was so long ago, why dwell in the past?

Especially when I have something much newer to share that would better serve its purpose as the first blog in a new category of entries called, “Checked Out”.

You Can’t Start a Fire Without a Spark

And oh boy, CVS and probably a ton of other companies are holding the matches.

Today I saw, for the first time, a sale tag specifically announcing a sale as “App Only”. There was a cute little graphic of a device that I’m sure is meant to depict one of the many interwebs devices upon which such an app can be found.

What’s my problem, you ask?

Social Darwinism comes in many forms. It can be a change in policy that prevents people from getting services. Or, it can be a policy that says, “As long as you can afford this popular technological advancement that will allow you to use this particular service, no one else has the right to complain.”

I can already hear the complaints. The customers who are not satisfied with being told that the sale price isn’t for them, and I hear them taking out their frustrations on the cashiers who are only doing their jobs.

The cashier will suffer because the customer will naturally complain about this development in the surveys. The store’s numbers will drop and the cashiers and the store clerks will suffer from the unrealistic blame shifting that corporate will dump on them, and the budget for employee hours will fall and so some people will have to lose hours.

All of this will bite CVS in the ass as Walgreens slowly takes over Rite-Aid, which it is in the process of doing as I type this. The third largest drugstore chain, which also swallowed Brooks and Eckhards will no longer be with us, and they weren’t winning friends before the take-over.

Now CVS is embracing this idea of discriminating against people who are still using the most basic cellphones for the purposes of communication and not, gasp, everything else that the smartphones can do.