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    Category: Books & Reading

    Caused by stupid customers who know how to read (and often those who don’t!), feel for the poor librarians or book store clerks who are often tasked with finding a book solely by the color of its cover.

    Foretelling Will Be The Death Of You

    | Detroit, MI, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

    (I am managing a small bookstore, and a coworker who is usually very good at guessing what book someone wants based on minimal description comes up for help.)

    Coworker: “There’s a guy on the phone, and I can’t tell what he wants. He says he’s looking for something called The Death of a Toad.”

    Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar.”

    Coworker: “He’s getting annoyed with me because I don’t recognize the title. Can you handle it?”

    (I grab the phone. The customer sounds like a teenage guy, and he’s irritated.)

    Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

    Customer: “I hope so, that other girl was useless. I need Death of a Toad; how hard is that?”

    Me: “I’m sorry she couldn’t help you. I see she’s looked it up in the computer, and we don’t have any records of it in our system. Is it a new book?”

    Customer: “No, it’s a classic or something. I need to read it for school.”

    Me: “Okay. So it’s regular adult fiction, and it’s called Death of a Toad?”

    Customer: “Yeah, why is this so hard to understand?”

    (I do a more general search on the computer system, looking for any book with “toad” in the title, and don’t get any relevant results.)

    Me: “Is it spelled toad, like the animal? And death, like dying? I want to make sure I’m looking up the right search terms.”

    Customer: “Duh, yes! Death, like death, and toad, like frog. Wait… it’s not Death of a Toad; it’s Death of Four Toads.”

    Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar either. Do you have all or part of the author’s name?”

    Customer: “I don’t know, some guy. Look, how hard is this? It’s Death of Four Toads by some Mexican guy or whatever, and it’s a classic! Are you completely stupid? Death. Of. Four. Toads.

    (As he says this, a light bulb finally goes off in my head.)

    Me: “…are you maybe looking for Chronicle of a Death Foretold?”

    Customer: “Yes! Fine! It’s CHRONICLE of the Death of Four Toads! Do. You. Have. It?”

    Me: “Actually, I sold my last copy over the weekend. Have a nice day!”

    Poor Memory

    | PA, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Money, Top

    (We are having a book drive for a local school that has had a terrible fire, causing it to lose its entire library. When customers come up, we are allowed to tell them about the drive and ask if they would like to donate. If not, it is okay, but we ask just the same.)

    Me: “Would you like to donate a book to the St. [Name] book drive?” *I clearly explain their situation*

    Customer: “No, I don’t give money to poor people. If they want money, they have to work for it like the rest of us. I don’t like lazy layabouts.”

    (I am about to remind the customer that it was a fire, when the customer’s husband interjects.)

    Customer’s Husband: “Do you really feel that way, dear? I wonder if you felt this way 27 years ago when we had an infant, no jobs, no money, and had to ask my parents for an allowance so we could live. Now that we have money in the bank, a Volvo in the driveway, and a designer handbag on your arm, suddenly we are too good to help others?”

    (The husband then turns to me.)

    Customer’s Husband: “Are these the books you are selling?”

    (The husband indicates a pile we have beside the register. I nod, dumbfounded.)

    Customer’s Husband: “We will take them all.”

    Thou Shall Find Lovecraft Online, Ramen

    | Philadelphia, PA, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid, Geeks Rule, Religion, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (I’m a waitress in a popular buffet chain restaurant. I am serving a middle aged customer who is wearing a shirt that has a picture of Cthulhu and the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a heart. Beneath it is the caption ‘we met on the internet’.)

    Me: “That’s a great shirt!”

    Woman: “Thanks. I think it says a lot about the kind of people you find on the internet.”

    Me: “How do you mean?”

    Woman: “You know, how there’s nothing but monsters online.”

    To see the t-shirt design mentioned in this story, visit the NotAlwaysRomantic Extras section, which can be found here!

    The ‘E’ Stands For Evil

    | USA | Books & Reading, Technology

    (I work for the USPS help line. It’s 6:30 am, and the Postmaster General has just announced that they are cutting delivery of regular mail to five days per week, and packages to six.)

    Me: “This is [post office]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “I was listening to the radio station in Cleveland. WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME USE EMAIL?!”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “The radio in Cleveland says that this Saturday, all mail is getting thrown out and you aren’t going to deliver mail no more!”

    Me: “Well, sir, that isn’t what—”

    Customer: “They said it’s because all us old folk have to use EMAIL! I’m 75 years old and I can’t use email! It’s not fair!”

    Me: “Sir, I assure you that mail WILL be delivered, so you don’t only have to use email.”

    Customer: “GOOD! The people who died for their country on the Pony Express want you to know how disappointed they are that you use email!”

    Me: “Thanks for the input, sir.”

    The Mother Should Be Booked

    | Edmonton, AB, Canada | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Top

    (I am in high school, and earn money by paging in a library in a low-income area. Pages do the ‘grunt work’ of a library—mostly putting away books and cleaning up after people. I spend a lot of time in the children’s section, and talk a lot with the kids.)

    Seven-Year-Old Girl: *showing me a picture book* “This book is really cool!”

    Me: “Is it? What’s it about?”

    Seven-Year-Old Girl: “It has dragons, and horses, and a bad guy, and fighting!”

    Me: “Wow, that sounds like a pretty good book. Are you going to check it out and take it home to read?”

    Seven-Year-Old Girl: “No, I can’t.”

    Me: “Why not?”

    Seven-Year-Old Girl: “My mommy can’t read, and she says that she doesn’t want us to read. She says that books are dumb!”

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