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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 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!)

    Putting The High Into Hiring

    | UK | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal

    Customer: *bloodshot eyes and stinking of weed* “Hi. I’m looking for a gardening book.”

    Me: “Okay. Our gardening section is right here. Was there are a particular book you were after?”

    Customer: “I’m wanting one that teaches you how to grow drugs.”

    Bookseller: “Like medicinal herbs? We have a few titles on natural remedies in our health sec—”

    Customer: “Nah, I mean like cannabis.”

    Bookseller: “Er… there are titles on that subject but they are only sold in our Amsterdam stores. I can’t legally sell them in this country.”

    Customer: “Oh, okay. You guys hiring?”

    Doesn’t Exactly Hook The Kiddies

    | Canberra, ACT, Australia | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid, Family & Kids

    Customer: *holds up a copy of Nick Cave’s ‘The Death of Bunny Munro’* “Is this book for children?”

    Me: “That’s a dead prostitute on the cover.”

    Customer: *blank stare*

    Me: “No, ma’am, it really isn’t.”

    Girls In Love Will Always Be A Mystery

    , | Toronto, ON, Canada | Books & Reading, School

    (I am at a school fund raising fair. At one table they are selling books and they have a category of ‘mystery books’ where the books are wrapped so you can’t see what you were getting until after you had paid your dollar. I am standing beside the table when I hear a voice:)

    Customer: “Oh, jeeze!”

    (Looking over, I saw a teenage boy holding a mystery book that he had just bought and opened. The title of the book was ‘Girls in Love.’)

    Dethroning Assumptions

    | NY, USA | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Movies & TV

    (During a quiet moment at work, I overhear a college-aged guy snickering as he watches a woman in her mid-twenties at the next table. She’s reading ‘A Game of Thrones.’)

    Woman: *finally sets down the book and smiles politely at him* “Can I help you?”

    Guy: *still snickering a little, gesturing to her book* “Let me guess. You’re reading those because of the show, right? And the hot guys on it?”

    (This is so out of line that I consider intervening, but before I can, the woman the guy the most condescending smile I’ve ever seen in my life.)

    Woman: “I’m sorry. How old are you?”

    Guy: “What? Why?”

    Woman: “This book came out in 1996. I’m curious to see if you were even alive when it was first published.”

    (The guy gapes at her, then scowls, mutters a sexist slur, and gets up to storm out. The woman notices me watching and grins.)

    Woman: “This is my fourth time through these books, and I bet you anything I was reading the first one before he even knew how to read. Plus I’m gay, so I actually watch the show for the hot ladies!”

    (Faced with this, I do the only thing I possibly can and bow deeply to her.)

    Me: “Khaleesi!”

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