How Not To Be A Dick In A Sex Shop

Don’t come into the store and insult the sex toys, or the people who use them.

Aug 16, 2013 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

As a manager of a small sex shop in Alexandria VA, I’m privy to a lot of behaviors that you don’t see at your typical retail establishments. I recognize that sex can be a sensitive topic for a lot of people, and nervousness over a topic or stressful location can often affect your behavior. So here are 10 of my recommendations on how not to be a dick in a sex shop.
 
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1. Keep your ID on you.
In a number of states you have to be a certain age to go into a sex shop, and most places are going to card you if they think you look younger than the age limit. Bring your ID with you, and be polite when handing it off to the person asking for it. Trust me, we aren’t doing it to pick on you in particular. We do it so we don’t get in trouble by breaking a law. There are some states and stores that won’t even allow parents to bring their own children. Which leads me to...
 
2. Kids in the store.
First off, I applaud you for being an awesome parent who wants to discuss sex openly with your child. I still think you need to ask first. Some stores just don’t allow children. If your child is allowed in the store, make sure they behave themselves. Don’t allow them to tear around the store touching and moving everything. Don’t allow them to scream and cry in the store. The other customers probably came into the sex shop with the idea that they would be somewhere where there weren’t any children. When you allow your child to behave poorly in an adult environment, other customers may feel uncomfortable and awkward, be considerate.
 
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3. Do ask questions.
Everyone has a very different relationship with their own sexuality. Most sex shop employees understand if you are uncomfortable with asking questions, and they are usually willing to help you become more comfortable having a discussion about your needs.  If you’re still uncomfortable with the idea of asking an employee what a toy does, or how a toy works, don’t try to open the boxes of the toys to find out. Most sex shops have a box of gloves on hand for testing sex toys before purchase, make sure to ask if there is any way you can see the toy outside of the box. Touching a sex toy in the box without gloves or clean hands is gross, and can transfer all manner of bacteria if another person buys and uses that sex toy without cleaning it beforehand. 
 
4. Don’t be an “inside jerk.”
One of the many perks of my job is being exposed to a lot of behaviors that don’t often occur elsewhere. One such behavior is the sex shop jerk. The first is the inside jerk. These jerks typically say negative things about the items in the shop. For example, a group was browsing around the store and came across our anal toys for men. One person giggled profusely and another said “That’s disgusting. What kind of fag would use those?” I will absolutely not deal with that behavior. I have no qualms about kicking someone out of the store after educating them on the health benefits of prostate stimulation. Don’t come into the store and insult the sex toys, or the people who use them. 
 
5. Don’t be an “outside jerk” either.
In the same vein as the inside jerk, sometimes we get outside jerks. This particular breed of person is quite possibly the most obnoxious. Our street can get very busy, and the outside of our store has a beautiful window that we use to advertise our toys and workshops. The outside jerks will make nasty comments about how disgusting the store is, or even how disgusting they think the employees are. Here’s the catch: We can hear you. Just because we are working at a sex shop, doesn’t mean we like to be abused by the customers. If you do not like or agree with a sex shop signage, or with the fact that the store exists at all, that is your right. But please do not come into the store screaming at the employees there about how offensive you find it. 
 
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How pretty is this window?!

 
6. Don’t talk down to the employees.
I can’t even believe I have to write this. But it happens often enough that I do. Be nice to the employees. Some may think that no one would work a potentially seedy dead end job like a sex shop employee. That we are vastly uneducated. I’d have to disagree. Three of the girls who work at my store have their Masters degrees. Don’t talk down to the employees. We work very hard at our jobs. We remember materials, and number of settings, how to clean, how to power, and the price of most of the toys. We remember what lube is safe to use with what toy, and what lube is recommended. We work very hard at what we do, and it is super insulting when someone talks down to us because they feel we are just a lowly retail worker. 
 
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I can probably tell you more about everything on this table than you’d want to know.

 
7. Don’t scream at the sales associates. 
I know you’re upset. I know something didn’t go the way you wanted. I know you’re angry and frustrated and you want to be heard. I get it. There is no need for you to scream at the sales associates. They haven’t done anything wrong. They followed the rules and sold you an item. We don’t carry a lot of items on the shelf, and we offer a lot of special orders. This is because we are a very small store. Yelling at us because you wanted to walk out the door with your sex toy immediately isn’t going to change anything. Yelling because you didn’t like the return policy, or a sign that was outside of the shop, or anything isn’t going to change anything. In fact, if you’ve yelled at the girls who work at this store I, the manager, am less likely to want to help you. Most retail employees don’t get paid to deal with your bad attitude and sex shop employees are no different. 
 
8. No refunds. 
This shouldn’t be complicated folks. If you are unclear on the refund policy at the sex shop you’re at, please ask. We will be happy to tell you. Most stores have a solid defective toy policy where they can get a replacement, and rarely -- an exchange. Do not come back to the store furious because you bought something that you didn’t end up liking. Do not come back to the store with a toy you didn’t use or open hoping for an exchange. Let’s be honest here: would you really buy a toy from sex shop that you knew took returns?
 
If you are not sure about your purchase, ask more questions before leaving the store. Try to see a demo of the toy you want to purchase. Ask to have your toy tested before leaving. Most sex shops have a policy where the employees will don a pair of gloves and put batteries in your toys to test them and make sure they work. Take advantage of that policy so that you know what you’re buying before you remove it from the store. 
 
9. Don’t be creepy. 
If there is one thing that has always made me dread working at sex shops, it’s the creepers. It’s the people who come into the store overly intoxicated and ask a bunch of totally inappropriate questions. It’s the obnoxious to downright harassing prank call and sex calls. It’s the people who (intentionally or otherwise) make my skin crawl. 
 
If you have questions about a toy it’s OK to ask for a personal recommendation. Don’t ask which toys an employee has used. Don’t get intoxicated and treat the employees like sex workers. We are retail employees. We are not hotline operators. We are not having sex with you in our dressing room. We are not trying to hit on your partner. We do not all have crazy kinky sex at all times.
 
Please remember that most sex shops allow for their employees to boot someone out if they (or other customers) feel uncomfortable. Keep an eye on your behavior and don’t become an anecdote told about working in a sex shop!
 
10.Respect the store.
I am completely aware that a sex shop may be a new experience for you. It is OK to be nervous or giggle or say something wrong. Just try to be respectful. Try to keep the same kind of behavior that you employ in every other retail establishment. The only difference in my job from when I was working at an electronics store to working in a sex shop is that instead of talking about the components of computers and how they work, I’m now talking about the human body.
 
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Me in my second home!