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.

I Was Only Borrowing It

, | Kent, England, UK | Books & Reading

(I volunteer in a charity second-hand bookstore where all our stock comes from donations. A woman comes into the store.)

Woman: “Excuse me, do you have ‘The Book Thief?’ I can’t remember who wrote it.”

Me: “Um, I’m not sure. Let me check.”

(I ask a coworker, who knows the author. Once we have this we go to the fiction shelves, where the books are in alphabetical order by author.)

Me: “Sorry, we don’t appear to have it.”

Woman: “Oh, no! I need a used copy. I borrowed one off my friend and she wants it back, but my husband accidentally gave it to a charity shop and he can’t remember which one.”

Me: “We can have a look out the back, as we’re currently sorting out some stock.”

Woman: “Would you? Thank you.”

(I go out the back where shelves of books ready to go out are sitting. They are not in order so it takes a few moments to search, but luckily we have one.)

Me: “Got it!” *I hand it over*

Woman: “Thank you so much! This may even be the copy we donated.”

(We head to the till and she offers to pay as we are a charity.)

Me: *as she leaves* “Tell hubby it cost £20 to buy it back!”

Woman: *laughing* “Oh, he’ll be paying for this for a long time!”

(It was only afterwards that we realised the irony in losing a book called ‘The Book Thief!’)

This Is Not What A Feminist Looks Like

| Dayton, OH, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Language & Words, Politics

(A woman approaches me at the counter, looking over her shoulder as if she is looking out for someone.)

Me: “Can I… help you, ma’am?”

Woman: “Yes, um, I was wondering if you had any books about…” *drops her voice to an urgent whisper* “… the ‘F’ word.”

Me: “Well, um, we have the ‘Kama Sutra’ in our world cultures section and our romance novel and erotica are—”

Woman: “No, no! The other ‘F’-word.”

Me: *thoroughly confused* “I’m afraid I’m not following ,ma’am…”

Woman: “The ‘F’-word, you know!”

Me: “Really, ma’am, I don’t. Would you like to write it down for me to—”

Woman: “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! FEMINISM! I’m looking for a book on feminism! Now the whole store knows my business! THANK YOU!”

(She proceeds to quickly flee the store, apologizing to other patrons as she leaves.)

Next Customer: “Is she going to be all right?”

Me: “I certainly hope so.”

Fifty Shades Of (Christian) Grey

| OR, USA | Books & Reading, Religion, Rude & Risque

(I work at an accessories store in a mall. There is a Christian store that specializes in books and movies right across from our store, and next to the bathrooms. After directing a customer to the bathrooms, she comes rushing back in with her eyes wide and her cheeks flushed.)

Customer: “Is that the only bookstore in the mall?”

Me: “Oh, that’s not actually a bookstore. That’s a Christian store.”

Customer: “Oh. That explains why the cashier got so angry when I asked where to find Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Things Just Got Weird

| USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading

(A teenage male comes in and asks for a book. After receiving it, he goes and stands in the middle of an open space, directly in my line of sight, and starts fidgeting and wiggling. He hasn’t checked out yet.)

Him: “I’m not stealing anything, I swear.”

(He’s been in my eyesight the whole time he’s been in the store and I know he hasn’t touched anything. The only books he passed by are huge coffee table books that he couldn’t hide in his current possessions.)

Me: “I know you haven’t.”

Him: “Well, I won’t. I swear. I’ll keep my hands right here!”

(He thrusts his hands in his pockets, but only lasts a second before taking them back out and fidgeting around some more – hands in his hair, messing with his shirt, etc.)

Me: “Do I need to be worried?”

Him: “No, no… I’m just standing here because if I don’t… I’ll… do things.”

Me: “Things?”

Him: “Bad things…”

(After about five minutes his dad came in and bought him a book on black magic. The kid said thank you and left. No inventory was missing.)

That’s One For The Books

| USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Books & Reading

(A customer drives up to the store, gets out, comes in, and walks directly up to the counter without looking at a single book or item for sale. Before I can even welcome him…)

Customer: “You are going to lose your job.”

Me: *shocked* “I am?”

Customer: “No one likes books anymore. Your store is going to shut down and you’ll be out of a job.”

(He turned around, walked out without looking at a single item, jumped in his car, and left.)

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