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.

Maybe He Should Look Up Irony

| Portland, OR, USA | Books & Reading

(I work at an office supply store and one night an elderly gentleman comes up to the register and sets his items down, one item being a dictionary and thesaurus.)

Customer: *pointing to dictionary* “What’s a thesaurus?”

Me: “It shows you synonyms and related words. It’s a great tool for writers.”

Customer: “Oh, okay.” *pays and leaves*

(Used to answering stupid questions without flinching, I didn’t think much about it until after he left. Then we all had a good laugh over the fact that he asked what thesaurus meant while purchasing a dictionary…)

Rubber-Stamped As Racist

| VA, USA | Books & Reading

(I work in a public library at the reference/circulation desk. The patron has just taken a rubber band out of one of our rubber band return bins, and seeing that it’s full of rubber bands and trash, I go over to empty it. Both the patron and I are white.)

Patron: *whipping her head around seeing me empty the bin* “What? Was there something wrong with them?”

Me: “No, ma’am. It’s the rubber band return. It needs to be emptied periodically so we can try to get our rubber bands back.”

(We have a major issue with patrons taking office supplies and library materials so we try to keep an eye on this.)

Patron: *rips the rubber band off her wrist and throws it on the desk in front of me* “Guess you may as well have this one, too!”

Me: “Oh, thanks!”

(A little while later she comes up, and I let her know she has a fine, after which time she leaves the library, then comes back several minutes later and dumps a handful of pennies on the counter to pay her fine.)

Patron: *to my coworker while glaring at me* “I don’t know what some people’s problem is! I take one rubber band from the thing and he HAS to empty it right then! Some people take all the rubber bands they want and nobody says anything to them! Guess it just matters what color your skin is, HUH?”

Me: *to the patron I’m helping at the desk* “Did I really just get accused of being racist against white people by another white person?”

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 18

| Chesapeake, VA, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Food & Drink

(I’m standing with my shopping basket full of food in the dairy aisle of my local grocery store when I’m approached by a middle-aged lady I’ve known for years and who frequently comes into the library where I work. I’m wearing my black jeans and a maroon shirt, which looks nothing like the khakis and blue shirts employees wear.)

Lady: “Young man, do you work here?”

Me: “No, Mrs. [Lady]. I work at the library. Remember? You came in earlier this week? I checked out your books for you?”

Lady: “Oh, so you don’t work here then? Do you know the differences between these two kinds of cheese?”

Me: “No, but I bet I could probably find you a great book on them next time you come into the library where I work.”

(Some time later she came into the library during my shift and asked if I still worked at the grocery store, too.)

Related:
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 17
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 16
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 15

Urine Real Trouble

| VA, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Liars & Scammers

(One of my jobs at the library is to bill people who damage library books. Three children’s books have been urinated on and reek. As we’ve had problems in the past with people claiming that the library fabricates damages for money, I put my gloves on and snap some pictures of the pee-soaked books. The next day, the customer comes in.)

Customer: “Your coworker says I can’t check out any more books until I pay my fines. Why the heck do I have fines?”

Me: “You returned three of our books damaged with urine and are responsible for replacing those items.”

Customer: *angrily* “I did no such thing! They were just fine when I returned them!”

Me: “Here, let me show you what we found in our book drop.”

(Shows customer pictures of damage as customer gets more agitated with each picture.)

Me: “They are damaged and you are responsible for paying for them.”

Customer: “They were just fine when I put them in your book drop!”

Me: “Are you saying that one of my staff peed on your library books?”

Will Have To Chew On That Lie For A While

| ID, USA | Books & Reading, Pets & Animals

(Our policy is that if a patron returns a book damaged, they pay for it. We get a lot of arguments that “it was like that when I checked it out,” but we check items for damage before they’re checked out.)

Coworker: “I’m sorry; it looks like this book was returned with damage. There’ll be a replacement fee.”

Patron: “I didn’t do it! It was like that before I checked it out!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, this book has been dog-chewed. There’s no way we would check a book out in this condition.”

Patron: “But it couldn’t have been me! I don’t even own a dog!”

(The book in question was a puppy-training manual.)

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