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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.

    Not A Hobbitual Reader

    | Mount Pleasant, MI, USA | Books & Reading

    Customer: “Hi, I’m looking for Tolkien’s books.”

    Me: “Alright, which ones?”

    Customer: “The four he wrote.”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, he wrote more than just four books.”

    Customer:The Lord of the Rings.”

    Me: “Ma’am, not to be rude, but The Lord of the Rings is only three books.”

    Customer: “The first one of that trilogy then! The Hobbit!”

    Me: “I’m afraid we don’t have any copies of that at the moment.”

    Customer: “Oh. Well, do you have anything else by Tolkien?”

    Me: “Well, we do have The Silmarillion—”

    Customer: “I don’t speak Spanish. I guess I’ll try at one of the other stores, thanks.”

    He’s Not Fine With It

    | Zion, IL, USA | Books & Reading, Money

    (A few weeks earlier, we had a massive power outage in the area. Even after we got power back, the system was down for a time, and patron accounts were not accessible. Because of this, if anybody wanted to use the public computers, we had to print out a guest pass. The system is now working again.)

    Patron: “I’d like a guest pass to use the computer, please.”

    Me: “Actually, the system is back up. You should be able to sign in with your card.”

    Patron: “The fines on my card are too high; it won’t let me on.”

    Me: “Oh. I’m sorry. In that case, you can’t use the computer.”

    Patron: “I don’t understand. Somebody printed a guest pass for me last week.”

    Me: “That’s because the system was down. Nobody was able to use their cards then. But now that they’re back up, we have to go by the rules.”

    Patron: “Tell me something: if somebody came in from a different library district and had to use the computer, what would you do?”

    Me: “I’d give them a guest pass.”

    Patron: “So how is this any different?”

    Me: “If a patron came in from a different library district, then they wouldn’t owe us money.”

    Stared To Death

    | Tolna, Hungary | Bizarre, Books & Reading

    (I’m a regular at a small bookstore that a kindly old lady opened some years ago. We’ve been friends for as long as I’ve known her, and chat when there are no customers around. I walk up to the counter and see her talking to a woman in her late fifties. I’m an Emo, though uncharacteristically cheerful at the moment. I wear black, causal clothes most of the time.)

    Me: “Good day, how’s it going?”

    (She notices me, smiles, but motions me to move. Realizing I butted into their conversation, I sheepishly back away so they can continue. The customer is staring at me with her mouth wide open.)

    Me: “Umm…”

    (My friend and I exchange looks. I don’t believe she understands what’s going on either.)

    Me: “I’m sorry; is something wrong?”

    (The customer doesn’t answer or react in any way, and just keeps staring for what feels like minutes.)

    Me: “…is there something on me?”

    Customer: “…”

    Me: “Lady?”

    Customer: “…”

    (My friend seems worried as she observes our rather one-sided conversation. I’m starting to get annoyed, and a little scared.)

    Me: “It’s impolite to stare at others, you know.”

    Customer: “…”

    (At this point it occurs to me she could have issues with my hairstyle. I pull my bang aside, but nothing changes.)

    Me: “Okay, what?”

    Customer: “…”

    Me: “What is it?!”

    My Friend: “Ah, I know! It’s because you’re wearing black! She thinks you’re attending a funeral, and since you were so happy—”

    (The customer immediately snaps out of it and confirms this. She actually thinks I am happy because someone died. After five years, we still talk about the woman whom my fashion statement sent into catatonia, and my friend, the store owner, who’s apparently psychic.)

    Past The Point Of No Return, Part 2

    | Tampa, FL, USA | Books & Reading, Technology

    (I have reserved an audio-book at the library and have come in to get it. I am looking at other books, when another customer runs up to me and grabs my reserved books—which still have my name on it—out of my hands.)

    Customer: “Oh, my goodness! I have been looking everywhere for this one!”

    (She starts to walk away from me with the audio-book in her hand.)

    Me: “Um, ma’am. That’s my audio-book. I reserved it.”

    Customer: “Why do you have to be so greedy! I want this book! It’s not yours; it doesn’t have your name on it!”

    Me: *pointing to the large sticker with my name on it* “Actually, it is!”

    (The customer scoffs, and tears the sticker off.)

    Customer: “There! Now it’s not! Thanks for the book!”

    (She storms off to the self check-out counter, and then starts screaming when it won’t let her check the book out. A librarian comes over to find out what the screaming is all about. I stand just behind her.)

    Librarian: “What seems to be the problem?”

    Customer: “There is something wrong with this machine! It won’t let me check this audio-book out!”

    Me: “Actually there is nothing wrong with the machine. That’s my book that she stole out of my hands. I reserved it over a week ago!”

    (The librarian turns to me, obviously not paying attention to what I was saying.)

    Librarian: “Ma’am, please wait your turn.”

    Customer: “I want this book! This girl tried to take it from me! She’s too young to be reading a book like this! It’s too big for her!”

    (The librarian takes the audio-book from the lady and asks to see her library card. After trying to check the book out and it giving her a fail message a few times, she ‘deems’ the book broken, and therefore not able to check out. She starts to walk away with the audio-book, when I stop her.)

    Me: “May I try something real quick?”

    (The librarian shrugs and hands me the audio-book.)

    Customer: “It won’t work! Are you stupid, little girl? She just said that it was broken.”

    (Within seconds, I scan my library card and the audio-book. It checks out with no issues.)

    Librarian: “Well that was interesting! Why didn’t it have your name on the side?”

    Customer: “Oh! I thought she did that herself. She looked like a greedy little girl that felt the need to put her name on everything!”

    Me: “Well ma’am, like I told you, I reserved the book. And by the way, I am almost 30. I am in no way a little girl, and even when I was a little girl I loved to read ‘big books’.”

    (I turn to the librarian.)

    Me: “It did have my name on it, but she tore it off and threw it at me.”

    Customer: “So… can I have that book now?”

    Librarian and Me: *at the same time* “NO!”

    Related:
    Past The Point Of No Return

    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 13

    | CO, USA | Books & Reading, Movies & TV

    (An older customer approaches me. I’m in the demographic the ‘Twilight Saga’ is marketed towards.)

    Customer: “Have you seen that movie all the girls your age are excited about?”

    Me: “I’m sorry?”

    Customer: “That big movie, Eclipse I think?”

    Me: “Oh, I never got into Twilight.”

    Customer: “Good! Read some real books, and hope they get made into movies that are actually good!”

    Related:
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 12
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 11
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 10
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 9
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 8
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 7
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 6
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 5
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 4
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 3
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy, Part 2
    The Twilight Of Our Literacy

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