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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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.

    Getting Crazier Organ(ically)

    | Willow Grove, PA, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

    Me: “[Bookstore]. This is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Hello, do you have any books about dogs?”

    Me: “Yes, we have an extensive section all about pets.”

    Caller: “Dog spleens?”

    Me: “Um, we have a smaller section of veterinarian books, but—”

    Caller: “COOKING dog spleens?”

    Me: “Uh…”

    (The caller finally broke into laughter in his own voice, revealing himself to be my boyfriend in one of his weird moods.)

    Extension Number Two

    | AB, Canada | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Health & Body, Theme Of The Month

    (I don’t think this actually was a prank call, but I wish it was. I answer the phone at the library and it’s a regular customer with a history for over sharing with staff…)

    Me: “Hi, this is [Library]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Hi, yes, I need more time with my library books.”

    Me: *bringing up her account* “Okay, well, it looks like you’ve already had a couple of extensions…”

    Customer: “You don’t understand! I can’t leave the house! I have explosive diarrhea! I can’t leave the toilet! I’m on the cordless!”

    (I, noticing that every single book she has checked out are for weird diet fads like the ‘strawberry diet,’ figured her story seemed to check out, and extended her materials before I had to talk to her on the toilet anymore.)

    Prank Calls Of Urban Legend

    | WI, USA | Books & Reading, Rude & Risque, Theme Of The Month

    (I’ve taken a lot of weird calls over the years and have looked up a lot of strange books and have always maintained a level of professionalism, but this almost broke me.)

    Customer: *older male voice, with a slightly southern accent* “I’m a disabled veteran and need help getting some books.”

    Me: “Okay, what are you looking for?”

    Customer: “Well, I really like… uh… stuff with ‘urban’ women in them.”

    Me: “Ooooookaaay. Um, we’ve got an urban fiction section.”

    Customer: “Oh, good. See, I’m a disabled veteran, and I can’t move around that well, so would you pick some out for me?”

    Me: *getting progressively more uncomfortable* “Well, I…”

    Customer: “I like the urban books because I like black women. I like the way they smell.”

    Me: “…uh.”

    Customer: *breaks into laughter* “Sorry, [My Name], I’m just f***in’ with you. That was great though, you were serious the whole time!”

    Me: “I hate you.”

    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.”

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