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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.

    His Lawyers Should Have The Book Thrown At Them

    | England, UK | Books & Reading, Language & Words, Top

    (I work as a publisher. I get a visit from a very distraught client.)

    Client: “Excuse me. I’m really sorry, but I was told you were the head publisher?”

    Me: “Yes, I am. How can I help?”

    Client: “Well, I’ve been writing stories my whole life. I even written a couple for my children that they love. I’m really good at it and it’s a great passion of mine. It’s my life long dream to make a living as a writer, but nobody will even look at my novel because I’m dyslexic. I know the spelling and grammar isn’t great but I’ve had people spell-check it for me. I just need someone to give me a chance. I know my book will be a hit.”

    Me: “I’m so sorry to hear how you’ve been treated. Send me the first few pages of your book, the best scene in the book, preferably around the middle, and the last few pages, and I’ll give them a read.”

    (The client thanks me, places the ENTIRE book on my desk, and then leaves. I start to read it later that day, only to discover that not only is the spelling and grammar awful, but so is the book itself. I continue reading much more than I usually do, wanting to believe this man was truly the great writer he claimed to be. The story gets worse and worse the more I read. I read a couple of pages in the middle. Then I skip to the end, only to discover he ended the book with the most despised sentence in the literary world, ‘and it was all a dream.’ Needless to say I wrote him a rejection letter. A few days later I get a message from the receptionist, who is in tears, claiming an enraged man is here, screaming about suing us. I told her to let him in. It was our dyslexic client.)

    Client: “What is this?! You told me you were going to publish my book!”

    Me: “No, sir. I said I was going to read your book, which I did. I’m sorry but I do not believe it is suitable to be published.”

    Client: “That’s bull-s***. My book is brilliant. You have to publish it. There’s no good reason not to.”

    Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but the book’s no good. I can’t publish this.”

    Client: “Oh yeah? Name me five reasons why you can’t publish it.”

    Me: “Five?”

    Client: “Yeah, five. Otherwise there’s no reason your editing team can’t sort it out.”

    Me: “Okay. First of all, there is next to no characterisation.”

    Client: “What the f*** does that mean?”

    Me: “It means that your characters don’t develop in any way.”

    Client: “That’s complete bull-s***. What else?”

    Me: “Your main character is suppose to be the protagonist and yet has no fatal flaw. He’s perfect.”

    Client: “Main characters are supposed to be perfect. That’s why people love them. Hamlet didn’t have a ‘fatal flaw’.”

    Me: “Actually, he did. He procrastinated and it resulted in many dying.”

    Client: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. And that’s only two.”

    Me: “I’m not finished. Three, I know you are dyslexic but almost every sentence needs to be edited. That is too much work for our editor and financially would not be beneficial for the company. Four, you not only use abbreviations in the narration like BTW for ‘by the way’, but you also use words that don’t exist.”

    Client: “Like what?”

    Me: “Like the word ET. It does not exist.”

    Client: “Yeah, it does. I ‘et’ an apple.”

    Me: “Ate, sir. You ATE an apple. ‘Et’ is not a word.”

    Client: “Fine, but that’s only four.”

    Me: “And five, it’s not long enough.”

    Client: “How can it not be long enough. It’s well over 100 pages.”

    Me: “Sir, the quantity of a book is based on word count, not pages. Your book may be over 100 pages, but with the size of the paper, the size of the font, and also that you start a brand new page every time you start a new chapter, it’s too short.”

    Client: “Well, how long does it have to be?”

    Me: “The average novel is between 80,000 to 120,000 words. Your novel is just over 16,000. I have nothing against people with dyslexia and there are many great writers who have it. You, however, will not be one of those writers. I can continue to list more things wrong with your novel but I have listed the five you requested. Now I must ask you to leave my office as I am incredibly busy.”

    (The client grabs his novel from my hands and storms out. A couple of weeks later we receive a letter from a lawyer suing us for discrimination, claiming that we were not publishing the man’s novel because he was dyslexic. I had our lawyers phone his, explaining the true reasons, and also that our conversation was recorded. We never heard from him after that.)

    To Term A Contradiction

    | Nashville, TN, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Movies & TV

    (My coworker and I are discussing our avid distaste for the ‘Twilight’ books.)

    Me: “I mean… even if you look past the story line, the syntax is poor, and the vocabulary redundant. I don’t understand how it even qualifies as literature.”

    Coworker: “I know. What’s to gain from even reading it?”

    (A customer approaches, and I take her order. As I’m loading a box of plain glazed donuts for her, I suddenly notice a teenage girl standing at the other end of the counter. She looks quite shy as she waits for assistance. She’s wearing a shirt that I can’t help but admire aloud.)

    Me: “‘…and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.’ I love your shirt!”

    Teenage Girl: *shyly* “…thank you!”

    Me: “My coworker and I were just making fun of that series… what a coincidence!”

    Teenage Girl: *nodding enthusiastically* “I know! I like, totally love Buffy! But I like, totally love Twilight, too!”

    (I feel my smile freeze in place, and politely refrain from commenting further. The girl continues to chatter on about the vastly different vampire series.)

    Teenage Girl: “And I like, totally have this Cullen jacket and some jewelry… and I wore them with this shirt last week and I was, like… all… opposite-y…”

    Me: *smile still frozen in place* “I see…”

    (I finish the other customer’s donut order and ring her up. The teenager doesn’t take the hint and continues to wax poetic about her conflicting interests, trying to hold my attention. My coworker, who has been present for the whole exchange, assists the teenage girl with her order for cookies. After both customers leave, I turn to my coworker.)

    Coworker: “‘Opposite-y?’”

    Me: “I think the word she was looking for was ‘contradiction.’”

    Coworker: “Let’s blame Meyers for that.”

    Me: “Case in point. Not much of a lexicon.”

    Doesn’t Understand The ‘Custom’ Part Of Customer

    | MO, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Home Improvement

    (A popular bookstore chain is going out of business, and all of their stores are having ‘going-out-of-business’ sales. One such store is located in the same plaza as the home improvement store where I work.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Home Improvement Store]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yeah, you guys are located in the same plaza as [Bookstore] right?”

    Me: Yes, ma’am, we are located a few stores down from [Bookstore]. How can I assist you today?”

    Customer: “Are they open?”

    Me: “That particular branch of [Bookstore] hasn’t closed their doors yet, but given the fact that they’re going out of business, I’m not sure how much longer they’ll stay open.”

    Customer: “Well, I just tried calling them and no one is answering the phone.”

    Me: “I do know that they are still open. However it’s possible that whatever few employees are actually still working there are currently assisting other customers at the moment, so I would try giving them a call again a little bit later. In the meantime, is there anything we here at [Home Improvement Store] can help you with today?”

    Customer: “Yeah, could you go down to [Bookstore] and see if they have any copies of [various book titles] left?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but no one here is going to be able to leave the store in order to check that for you.”

    Customer: “Well, why the h*** not?”

    Me: “Because we’re all employees of [Home Improvement Store], not [Bookstore]. We’re all needed here.”

    Customer: “You retail people are supposed to go above and beyond for your customers!”

    Me: “We do a lot for our customers, ma’am. You, however, have expressed no interest in being our customer, but rather that of [Bookstore].”

    Customer: “Well, you’re no f****** help!”

    (I ended up transferring her call to my manager, who laughed at her request to send one of his employees to check the inventory of a different store.)

    Don’t Be Forward, Just Lean Forward

    | Springfield, VA, USA | Books & Reading, Health & Body, Rude & Risque

    (A customer with rather large breasts approaches me.)

    Customer: “Excuse me; can you help me please?”

    Me: “Of course, ma’am. What can I help you find today?”

    Customer: “I’m looking for books about plastic surgery.”

    Me: “Ah, I see. Well, let’s just look on the computer and see what we can come up with. Do you have a particular area you’re interested in reading about?”

    Customer: “I bet you can’t guess!”

    Me: “I wouldn’t want to be forward!”

    Customer: “Well, breast reduction surgery, then. Shy, aren’t you?”

    Me: “Just a little, yes. Let’s see what I can find.”

    Customer: “I’m always having back problems! These are just too big; I want to see if I can get them smaller.”

    Me: “It’s probably best to check with a doctor first, but maybe we can find something that will help you know what questions to ask.”

    Customer: “Well, don’t you agree they’re too big?”

    Me: “Er, again, I wouldn’t like to be forward.”

    Customer: “Oh, come on. You can touch them and see how big they are for yourself!”

    Me: “WHAT!”

    Customer: “C’mon, touch ‘em!”

    (The customer reaches for my wrist.)

    Me: “No, that’s okay!”

    Customer: “TOUCH MY PUPPIES!”

    Me: “Let me see if I can find someone more experienced with this.”

    Customer: “Why won’t shy guys touch my breasts!?”

    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?”

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