“I work in a hot sauce store in a busy outlet mall. We’re a well-liked locally owned business and have many loyal return customers, but at this particular location we also get a lot of tourists who are curious about our challenge items, or Hot Ones products.
We have a large variety of samples available every day. Literally like 100 hot sauces, 50+ bbq/wing sauces just out on the table and we can pull another 50+ bottles or so from the fridge if one’s open.
Every so often, we get people who come into the store and ask to try the hottest sauce. They love jalapenos in their burritos and have eaten habaneros straight, and they’re ready to enter the ring, swallow some sauce and gain the admiration of a couple of friends and bystanders at the cost of a stomach ache. We usually try to guide them to the 10th hottest sauce in the store, burn them with it, and move on to something mild or medium suited to their taste.
Today while I was selling items to people who were actually paying for things, a 10-or-so-year-old boy entered the store. I always get wary when children enter the store alone because it is full of glass bottles. They usually dart straight for the shelves and pick something up, but this child came barreling towards me like a bullet.
While I made change for the couple buying some sauce, he called out to me, ‘Excuse me!’, in a horrendous whiny pitch. I ignored the rude interruption and continued my conversation with my customers. He parroted it again twelve times or so back to back as I thanked these people and get them out of the store.
Finally, I turned to him, ‘How can I help you?’
Where the heck were this kid’s parents?
‘Hi, can I try the hottest sauce in the store,’ the boy asked.
Not this nonsense again. I was not going to deal with this, not with a 10-year-old kid. I explained to him the hottest sauce on the table is Hellboy: Right Hand of Doom. It’s spiked with a 6.66 Million Scoville extract, and honestly, if you’re not experienced with this kind of stuff more than just a tiny bit can really mess up a good part of your day. Take my word for it.
I explained to him he has to be 19-years-old to try it and sign a waiver (which is a lie, but I’m off in 30 minutes so forget this kid), and instead guided him to a tasty fermented habanero that he coughs his eyes out on before explaining to me that he could handle the Right Hand of Doom because his dad ate spicy peppers with him all the time.
‘Okay,’ I said.
He leaves, thank God.
15 minutes later, I was interrupted again by another customer. This time it was a gigantic woman, in a blue blouse. She’s was next to my sample table like a giant blueberry and blocked 20% of my floor space.
‘Excuse me!’ she wailed.
Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. The customers I’m with were polite and excuse me to speak to her.
‘You didn’t let my son try the sauce!’ she shrieked.
I explained to her that it has extract in it that was several hundred times hotter than anything he had ever eaten, and it would cause him severe discomfort and I would not let him try it in my store. I explained she is free to purchase the sauce and have him try it at home if she so wished. She explained to me that she married a Mexican man and I wouldn’t believe the things they ate in ‘New Mexico City’ where he grew up. When I asked what they had eaten there she said ‘Things hotter than anything we have in the store.’
At this point her daughter interrupted our conversation with, I kid you not, ‘Excuse me!’
‘What?’ I snapped.
I’m was getting annoyed now. I was annoyed from the second I saw the kid and now he was back 20 minutes later with three of him.
‘Why do you sell Valentina it’s not even a hot sauce?’ she asked.
Jesus Christ. Weren’t you from Mexico? It said Salsa Piquante on the goddang bottle. It was 5:50 pm, I was off work at 6. I’ve had enough.
‘How about this, you can try the sauce and if it’s as mild as you think, I’ll let him try it,’ I offered.
She agreed and grabbed her sample stick. I reached for the Right Hand of Doom and unscrewed the cap. Its nuclear aroma sent memories of aches to my stomach. As she dipped the stick into the sauce, I warned her to ‘Only take a small amount.’
She grinned at me and dipped the stick all the way into the sauce. Trap card, idiot. She slapped it into her mouth.
Immediately, she looked uneasy before throwing herself into pure agony. She coughed, swung her head back and forth, tried desperately to speak, but she couldn’t muster any words. She dropped her sample stick in all the chaos. After a solid few minutes of coughing and dry heaving, she managed a single word, ‘water.’
I explained to her that water won’t help her now. My relief walked through the door and witnessed the crazy scene.
She told me the only reason she coughed is that ‘it went down the wrong pipe.’
Yeah, sure liar.
She then immediately vomited into our garbage can. She apologized for ‘spitting up’ like she didn’t just projectile vomit a liter of chum into my trashcan and then left without saying anything else.
I tossed out the trash with a smile on my face and clocked out.”