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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.

    An Unlikely Story

    | WA, Australia | Books & Reading, Liars & Scammers, Money, Theme Of The Month

    (I have been checking books back in that have been left on our returns desk and come across a new book that has been badly damaged by what looks to be coffee. When the patron comes back to the circulation desk, I show her the book.)

    Me: “Good morning! I’ll check those out for you in just a moment. Unfortunately because this book has been damaged quite badly, we won’t be able to have it in our collection any more. The replacement cost will be [dollar amount]; are you able to pay now or should I send an invoice out?”

    Patron: “Oh, it was like that when I took it out!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we’d never loan something in that condition, and as it was on your membership, you are liable for the damage done to it while on loan.”

    Patron: “I didn’t do it! You can’t prove I did it! It must have been the person before me! I won’t pay! It’s been like that for ages.”

    Me: “Ma’am, this is a new book. We only got it last month and the only person to have it before you was I. And I can assure you, I didn’t spill coffee on this book.”

    (There is a long pause.)

    Patron: “Um, how much was it?”

    Getting Lost In Books

    | Montreal, QC, Canada | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month

    (The bookstore I work in is in a mall, close to a grocery store. I work in the kids section, in the back. I’m working on my knees, placing some products, when I overhear a conversation between a mother and her kid.)

    Mother: *to her kid* “You stay here; I’ll be back later.”

    Me: “Excuse me? You can’t leave your kid here.”

    Mother: “Why? I have to do my groceries.”

    Me: “That doesn’t matter; kids can’t be left unattended.”

    (The mother huffs and leaves with her kid directly out of the store. A few minutes later, my coworker approaches me.)

    Coworker: “Why did that woman tell her kid you were a big meanie?”

    Veteran Veterinarian

    | OH, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

    (A girl of about 11 years old, who is a frequent library user, has brought a stack of books to my counter to check out. I’m in my 20s.)

    Me: “Oh, lots of books about being a veterinarian!”

    Girl: *nods head enthusiastically*

    Me: “Well, when you become a vet I’ll bring my pets to you.”

    Girl: *startled expression* “You’ll be dead by then!”

    The Odds Of Her Believing Are Ever In Your Favor

    | MD, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month

    (I overhear the following conversation between a boy who is about 12, and his grandmother.)

    Grandmother: “What are you reading there?”

    Boy:The Hunger Games.”

    Grandmother: “What’s that about?”

    Boy: “Don’t worry Grandma. It’s about these kids who enter a Hungry Hungry Hippos tournament, and the winner wins a bag of candy!”

    Grandmother: “Oh. That sounds nice!”

    Pray For Her Math Students

    | Asheville, NC, USA | Books & Reading, Criminal/Illegal, Money

    (As the manager of a large bookstore, part of my job is to call customers who have written bad checks to arrange payment. I call one such customer. I identify myself and verify that I am speaking to the check-writer.)

    Me: “I’m calling in regard to a check you wrote for $534 on [date]. It has been returned for insufficient funds, so we’ll need you to come by—”

    Customer: “Oh my God! I can’t believe you’re calling me about this! I gave you the books back!”

    Me: “I’m sorry? You gave them back? Did you speak to anyone?”

    Customer: “Of course! I gave them to the cashier and filled out paperwork!”

    (On a hunch, I search the returns for her name. She did return the books, and got a cash refund.)

    Me: “Okay, I see you brought them back on [date] and got a cash refund. Is that right?”

    Customer: “Yes! And you should be fired for calling me at home for no reason!”

    Me: “Ma’am, you still have to pay for the bounced check.”

    Customer: “What? I don’t have the books! I am not paying for books I don’t have!”

    Me: “You wrote a bad check for merchandise, then returned the merchandise for cash. But the check is still worthless and has to be paid.”

    Customer: “What kind of idiot are you? Listen carefully: I. Do. Not. Have. Your. Books. I gave them back and that’s the end of it.”

    Me: “I’m afraid it doesn’t matter whether you have the books or not. Now, instead of books, you have our money and we still have a worthless check. You really need to take care of this, or it will be a police matter. I’m sure you don’t want me to go to the magistrate.”

    Customer: “Are you calling me a thief?! If you turn me into the police, I’ll have YOU arrested for false reports! I’ll have your job for this! I am a school teacher! I teach math!”

    Me: “Ma’am. I need you to follow along here. You wrote a bad check for merchandise, and then returned that merchandise for cash. That is fraud, and it is in an amount that can get you in serious trouble.”

    (The customer screams about how I am trying to rob her of money, then hangs up. I phone back a few days later to give her another chance. Still furious, she sticks to her guns. I try my best but she just won’t listen or try to understand. After sending her several certified demand letters, I have no choice but to file a criminal complaint. Being over $400 it is a felony fraud charge. Not long afterward I get a final phone call from her.)

    Customer: “ARE YOU THE B**** WHO SENT THE POLICE TO MY SCHOOL?!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I had to turn your NSF check over for prosecution because you refused to pay. I gave you many chances to avoid that.”

    Customer: “I MIGHT LOSE MY JOB! I have never been so humiliated! I’m going to sue you and your company for this! You are going to jail for what you’re doing to me!”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, I’ve tried everything to make you understand, so do what you think you need to do.”

    (Ultimately, she was found guilty and told to pay the check and fee, plus court costs. Even when the magistrate explained it to her, she refused to believe that she owed the money.)


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