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    Foretelling Will Be The Death Of You

    | Detroit, MI, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

    (I am managing a small bookstore, and a coworker who is usually very good at guessing what book someone wants based on minimal description comes up for help.)

    Coworker: “There’s a guy on the phone, and I can’t tell what he wants. He says he’s looking for something called The Death of a Toad.”

    Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar.”

    Coworker: “He’s getting annoyed with me because I don’t recognize the title. Can you handle it?”

    (I grab the phone. The customer sounds like a teenage guy, and he’s irritated.)

    Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

    Customer: “I hope so, that other girl was useless. I need Death of a Toad; how hard is that?”

    Me: “I’m sorry she couldn’t help you. I see she’s looked it up in the computer, and we don’t have any records of it in our system. Is it a new book?”

    Customer: “No, it’s a classic or something. I need to read it for school.”

    Me: “Okay. So it’s regular adult fiction, and it’s called Death of a Toad?”

    Customer: “Yeah, why is this so hard to understand?”

    (I do a more general search on the computer system, looking for any book with “toad” in the title, and don’t get any relevant results.)

    Me: “Is it spelled toad, like the animal? And death, like dying? I want to make sure I’m looking up the right search terms.”

    Customer: “Duh, yes! Death, like death, and toad, like frog. Wait… it’s not Death of a Toad; it’s Death of Four Toads.”

    Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar either. Do you have all or part of the author’s name?”

    Customer: “I don’t know, some guy. Look, how hard is this? It’s Death of Four Toads by some Mexican guy or whatever, and it’s a classic! Are you completely stupid? Death. Of. Four. Toads.

    (As he says this, a light bulb finally goes off in my head.)

    Me: “…are you maybe looking for Chronicle of a Death Foretold?”

    Customer: “Yes! Fine! It’s CHRONICLE of the Death of Four Toads! Do. You. Have. It?”

    Me: “Actually, I sold my last copy over the weekend. Have a nice day!”

    Poor Memory

    | PA, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Money, Top

    (We are having a book drive for a local school that has had a terrible fire, causing it to lose its entire library. When customers come up, we are allowed to tell them about the drive and ask if they would like to donate. If not, it is okay, but we ask just the same.)

    Me: “Would you like to donate a book to the St. [Name] book drive?” *I clearly explain their situation*

    Customer: “No, I don’t give money to poor people. If they want money, they have to work for it like the rest of us. I don’t like lazy layabouts.”

    (I am about to remind the customer that it was a fire, when the customer’s husband interjects.)

    Customer’s Husband: “Do you really feel that way, dear? I wonder if you felt this way 27 years ago when we had an infant, no jobs, no money, and had to ask my parents for an allowance so we could live. Now that we have money in the bank, a Volvo in the driveway, and a designer handbag on your arm, suddenly we are too good to help others?”

    (The husband then turns to me.)

    Customer’s Husband: “Are these the books you are selling?”

    (The husband indicates a pile we have beside the register. I nod, dumbfounded.)

    Customer’s Husband: “We will take them all.”

    This Is A Bad Sign, Part 2

    | ON, Canada | Books & Reading

    (We have signs all over the store advertising 30% off hard cover books in huge letters. A customer approaches, holding a paperback.)

    Customer: “So, this is 30% off?”

    Me: “No, sorry it’s only the hardcovers that are on sale, as the sign says.”

    Customer: “Well, that’s very misleading.”

    Me: “Sorry? Why is that sign misleading?”

    Customer: “Well, it’s misleading because I didn’t read the sign properly.”

    Related:
    This Is A Bad Sign

    Not A Hobbitual Reader

    | Mount Pleasant, MI, USA | Books & Reading

    Customer: “Hi, I’m looking for Tolkien’s books.”

    Me: “Alright, which ones?”

    Customer: “The four he wrote.”

    Me: “Well, ma’am, he wrote more than just four books.”

    Customer:The Lord of the Rings.”

    Me: “Ma’am, not to be rude, but The Lord of the Rings is only three books.”

    Customer: “The first one of that trilogy then! The Hobbit!”

    Me: “I’m afraid we don’t have any copies of that at the moment.”

    Customer: “Oh. Well, do you have anything else by Tolkien?”

    Me: “Well, we do have The Silmarillion—”

    Customer: “I don’t speak Spanish. I guess I’ll try at one of the other stores, thanks.”

    Stared To Death

    | Tolna, Hungary | Bizarre, Books & Reading

    (I’m a regular at a small bookstore that a kindly old lady opened some years ago. We’ve been friends for as long as I’ve known her, and chat when there are no customers around. I walk up to the counter and see her talking to a woman in her late fifties. I’m an Emo, though uncharacteristically cheerful at the moment. I wear black, causal clothes most of the time.)

    Me: “Good day, how’s it going?”

    (She notices me, smiles, but motions me to move. Realizing I butted into their conversation, I sheepishly back away so they can continue. The customer is staring at me with her mouth wide open.)

    Me: “Umm…”

    (My friend and I exchange looks. I don’t believe she understands what’s going on either.)

    Me: “I’m sorry; is something wrong?”

    (The customer doesn’t answer or react in any way, and just keeps staring for what feels like minutes.)

    Me: “…is there something on me?”

    Customer: “…”

    Me: “Lady?”

    Customer: “…”

    (My friend seems worried as she observes our rather one-sided conversation. I’m starting to get annoyed, and a little scared.)

    Me: “It’s impolite to stare at others, you know.”

    Customer: “…”

    (At this point it occurs to me she could have issues with my hairstyle. I pull my bang aside, but nothing changes.)

    Me: “Okay, what?”

    Customer: “…”

    Me: “What is it?!”

    My Friend: “Ah, I know! It’s because you’re wearing black! She thinks you’re attending a funeral, and since you were so happy—”

    (The customer immediately snaps out of it and confirms this. She actually thinks I am happy because someone died. After five years, we still talk about the woman whom my fashion statement sent into catatonia, and my friend, the store owner, who’s apparently psychic.)

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