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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.

    Doesn’t Have The Gift(card) Of Foresight

    | Miami, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Money

    (I have previously worked for a large bookstore chain that went out of business. I now work at their competitor.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Current Bookstore] in South Miami. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Yeah, do you guys accept [Previous Bookstore]’s gift cards?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t. They were a different company, so they’re not valid here.”

    Caller: “But when I go to their website it redirects me to yours!”

    Me: “Yes. When the company closed, [Current Bookstore] bought their domain, and I believe their mailing lists, but they were never actually affiliated with them.”

    Caller: “So you don’t accept their gift cards?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but no. They were a different company. ”

    Caller: “So what am I supposed to do with this gift card?”

    Me: “I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do. The company went out of business. It’s closed. The cards are worthless now.”

    Caller: “But someone paid good money for these cards!”

    Me: “I understand that. But I worked for [Previous Bookstore] when they went under. When they announced their bankruptcy, they also made it very clear that as they liquidated they would only accept gift cards through a certain date. There were signs all over the stores. You had two months to come and use the card. After that, even the stores stopped accepting them. [Previous Bookstore] didn’t exist. They were owned by a liquidation company at that point.”

    Caller: “But someone paid for this. And you’re telling me that money is gone?! That’s unacceptable! I want my money!!”

    Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, the store closed three years ago. How important could the value of that card be to you if you’ve waited three years?”

    (Click.)

    Some Employees Never Grow Up

    | Seattle, WA, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Funny Names, Theme Of The Month

    (When employees forget their name tags we have temporary tags for them to write their name on and stick them to their shirts. One day I forget my tag, so I grab a temporary one and write ‘Smee’ as my name. I am called to assist an older couple with an issue at a register. After the issue is taken care of the conversation goes as follows:)

    Wife: “Smee? What kind of name is that?”

    Me: “Oh, it’s an old family name. Goes back many generations.”

    Wife:  ”Really? Is it European?”

    Me:  ”English, actually. It started with a famous relative.”

    Wife:  ”Oh, how famous?

    (The husband turns away and suppresses a laugh and smile.)

    Me: “Well I had a great, great, great, great, great uncle who sailed with a famous sea captain as his first mate.”

    Wife:  ”Really? What sea captain was that?”

    Me:  ”Oh, you know, Captain Hook!”

    (The husband cracks up.)

    Wife:  ”Oh, my. Wait. Who?”

    (At this point I got called away to another register. As I left the husband and the cashier were laughing and the wife was asking who Captain Hook is.)

    The Rains Of Custamere

    | Bern, Switzerland | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Movies & TV

    (I am discussing with a coworker the Red Wedding episode of ‘Game Of Thrones.’ We go all detailed and compare every action with the books. Suddenly, we hear a sobbing noise behind us. Turning around, we see that a young customer is standing behind us. She’s close to tears.)

    Customer: “Godd*** spoilers!”

    (The customer runs out of the store.)

    Coworker: “Well, you ruined her life. That’s the curse of being a bookstore employee.”

    In Desperate Need Of Books

    | UK | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

    (A teenager is looking for a book with her mother. The mother approaches me.)

    Customer’s Mum: “Hi, do you have books by Cheryl Cole?”

    Me: “I don’t think she’s released any yet. We do have some biographies about her life, though. Let me show you.”

    Teen Customer: “I’m meant to write some dumb essay for English on a true story written by the person.”

    Me: “Ah, so you’d be looking for an autobiography.”

    (Both customers stare at me blank.)

    Me: “… I’m afraid she hasn’t released an autobiography yet. The only biography we have on her is this unauthorized one.”

    Customer’s Mum: “Oh! See? Unauthorized! That means she wrote it herself, right?”

    Doesn’t Speak (Or Hear) French

    | Montreal, QC, Canada | Books & Reading, Language & Words

    (I work in a library which serves mostly English-speaking patrons, but also French-speaking patrons, too. As such, the library uses both a French and English name. I receive a call from a number with an area code that I do not recognize, but is somewhat similar to the library’s area code.)

    Me: “Bibliothèque Publique de [City]. Public Library. How may I help you?”

    Patron: “Yes, I received a notice that my books are late. I would like to renew them.”

    Me: “Certainly. May I have your last name?”

    Patron: “It’s [Last Name].”

    Me: “Thank you.”

    (I pull up the list of our patrons with the last name in question.)

    Me: “What is your first name, please?”

    Patron: “It’s [First Name].”

    Me: *checking the list* “I’m afraid I can’t find that name on my list. Did you perhaps register your membership under a different first name, or were you using someone else’s card?”

    Patron: *a little annoyed* “No. I used my card, and my name is [Name].”

    (We go back and forth for a moment, before I ask…)

    Me: *hesitant* “Ma’am, are you sure you are calling the right library?”

    Patron: *a little offended by my suggestion* “Well, I am calling the library in [City], [US State]?!”

    Me: “No, ma’am. You called [City], Quebec, Canada.”

    Patron: “…”

    (She said goodbye and hung up. I’m not sure how all the French and the different area code failed to clue her in! I’m also curious how much the long distance call cost her!)


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