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    Burned With Goblets Of Fire, No Doubt

    | Douglasville, GA, USA |

    (This happened quite a few years ago, but it’s still one of my fondest bookstore memories.)

    Customer: “Do you happen to sell that Harry Potter book?”

    Me: “Yes, sir, we do. Would you like me to show you where they are?”

    Customer: “If it’s no trouble…”

    Me: “No trouble at all. ”

    (I lead him over to the children’s section and hand him the first book in the series.)

    Me: “Here you are. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

    Customer: “No, I think that’s all I need.”

    (The customer shovels a dozen copies of the same book into his arms.)

    Customer: “The church is having a book burning tonight and I just need to make sure I bring enough.”

    Me: *laughs*

    Customer: *completely serious* “I’m not joking.”

    Me: “Oh. Well, you do realize that there are now four books in the series?”

    Ah, Love/Hate Relationships

    | Staten Island, NY, USA |

    (A woman and her boyfriend walk into the store and up to the cake showcase.)

    Me: “Is there anything I can help you with?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I need a cake for my sister’s birthday. I want that one…” *points to the cake of her choice*

    Me: “Would you like me to write anything on it?”

    Customer: “Yeah, put ‘Happy Birthday, [sister's name]‘. No, wait… make that, ‘Happy Birthday, Slut’.”

    Customer’s boyfriend: “Do you think you should put that on her birthday cake?”

    Customer: “Yeah, why not? She a slut!”

    Customer’s boyfriend: “Yeah, you right.”

    Customer: *motions to me* “Go on, write that!”

    (I go into the back to write “Happy Birthday, Slut,” and bring the cake back out.)

    Customer: “Oh, that’s perfect! Thank you!”

    Me: “… have a nice day, ma’am.”

    Confuse ‘em With Kindness

    | Massachusetts, USA |

    (I am working as a cashier at a small farm stand and a man comes to purchase.)

    Me: “Hello, how are you doing today?”

    Customer: “I’m good. You?”

    Me: “Very well, thank–”

    Customer: “You d*** teenagers! None of you have any manners anymore! I swear, I have no idea–wait. What did you say again?”

    Me: “Very well, thank you.”

    Customer: “Oh, okay.”

    (I finish totalling his purchase, he pays.)

    Me: “Thank you so very much, kind sir. I certainly hope you have the most wonderful day. Please come back soon, if you wish.”

    Customer: *sheepishly* “… thanks…”

    Sometimes, Ignorance Really Is Bliss

    | Montreal, Canada |

    (A customer has called to redeem the points earned on her credit card in exchange for return airfare from Montreal, Qc to Chicago, Illinois. I have just given her the flight departure and arrival times.)

    Customer: “Why is the flight going there so short? You said it was a 90-minute flight.”

    Me: “The times are given in their respective time zones. We are in the Eastern time zone, but Chicago is one hour behind us, and it’s in the Central time zone. The flight really is 90 minutes long, it just looks shorter due to the time difference.”

    Customer: “Time…zones?”

    Me: “Yes, we have five time zones: Maritimes, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific Time. In your case, there is a one hour difference between each zone. If it is 11:00am here, it is only 10:00am in Chicago. So when your flight arrives in Chicago at 11:30am, that is Chicago time. In Montreal it will actually be 12:30pm, so the flight is an hour and a half.”

    Customer: “Then why is the return flight so long? It’s like, an hour longer than the way there!”

    Me: “Again, it is the difference between the time zones, only in reverse. It only looks as though the flight is longer but it’s also a 90 minute flight. It adds an hour on the return flight because you are coming back East.”

    Customer: “I still don’t get it – the flight should be the same time in both directions. It’s 30 minutes to get there, but more than 2 hours to get back!”

    (After 20 minutes of more explaining I give up.)

    Me: “For the flight to Chicago, the wind is at your back, so the plane goes really fast. On the way back, it’s against the wind, and so the plane goes slower.”

    Customer: “Oh! Well that makes much more sense. Thank you!”

    Me: “I do my best. Have a good trip, ma’am.”

    Ill-Timed Intervention

    | California, USA |

    Me: Hi, Ma’am. How can I help you on this fine Sunday afternoon?”

    Lady: “I need to talk to the owner.”

    Me: “She’s not in today, ma’am. If you’d like to–”

    Lady: “I need to talk to her NOW! I have a message from GOD!”

    Me: “…”

    Lady: “…” *glares*

    Me: “Well, she’s still not in. If you wanna leave a message…”

    Lady: “You don’t understand! God Himself has sent me here with a message for her; it’s important and needs to be delivered today, right now!”

    Me: “God sent you here?”

    Lady: “Yes, to deliver an important message to the owner.”

    Me: *leaning across the counter, eyebrows raised* “Um…wouldn’t God know that the owner never works on Sundays?”

    (She freaks out and begins ranting incoherently about how God will strike us down. Then she throws some things and leaves, slamming the door.)

    Me: “Have a good day!”

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