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    Doesn’t Have The Gift(card) Of Foresight

    | Miami, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Money

    (I have previously worked for a large bookstore chain that went out of business. I now work at their competitor.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Current Bookstore] in South Miami. How may I help you?”

    Caller: “Yeah, do you guys accept [Previous Bookstore]’s gift cards?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t. They were a different company, so they’re not valid here.”

    Caller: “But when I go to their website it redirects me to yours!”

    Me: “Yes. When the company closed, [Current Bookstore] bought their domain, and I believe their mailing lists, but they were never actually affiliated with them.”

    Caller: “So you don’t accept their gift cards?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, but no. They were a different company. ”

    Caller: “So what am I supposed to do with this gift card?”

    Me: “I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do. The company went out of business. It’s closed. The cards are worthless now.”

    Caller: “But someone paid good money for these cards!”

    Me: “I understand that. But I worked for [Previous Bookstore] when they went under. When they announced their bankruptcy, they also made it very clear that as they liquidated they would only accept gift cards through a certain date. There were signs all over the stores. You had two months to come and use the card. After that, even the stores stopped accepting them. [Previous Bookstore] didn’t exist. They were owned by a liquidation company at that point.”

    Caller: “But someone paid for this. And you’re telling me that money is gone?! That’s unacceptable! I want my money!!”

    Me: “Ma’am, with all due respect, the store closed three years ago. How important could the value of that card be to you if you’ve waited three years?”

    (Click.)

    The Rains Of Custamere

    | Bern, Switzerland | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Movies & TV

    (I am discussing with a coworker the Red Wedding episode of ‘Game Of Thrones.’ We go all detailed and compare every action with the books. Suddenly, we hear a sobbing noise behind us. Turning around, we see that a young customer is standing behind us. She’s close to tears.)

    Customer: “Godd*** spoilers!”

    (The customer runs out of the store.)

    Coworker: “Well, you ruined her life. That’s the curse of being a bookstore employee.”

    In Desperate Need Of Books

    | UK | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

    (A teenager is looking for a book with her mother. The mother approaches me.)

    Customer’s Mum: “Hi, do you have books by Cheryl Cole?”

    Me: “I don’t think she’s released any yet. We do have some biographies about her life, though. Let me show you.”

    Teen Customer: “I’m meant to write some dumb essay for English on a true story written by the person.”

    Me: “Ah, so you’d be looking for an autobiography.”

    (Both customers stare at me blank.)

    Me: “… I’m afraid she hasn’t released an autobiography yet. The only biography we have on her is this unauthorized one.”

    Customer’s Mum: “Oh! See? Unauthorized! That means she wrote it herself, right?”

    Demanding And Stupid In The Same Breath

    | MA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Musical Mayhem, Top

    (We’re a bookstore, but we also sell some smaller toys from a popular company known for their hand-crafted products. I’m covering the register on a slow night. A customer I rang out a few minutes earlier who bought a $3 wooden kazoo comes storming back into the store. Another customer reaches the register at about the same time, but holds back when she sees how angry the other woman is.)

    Customer #1: “Why’d you tell my son he couldn’t return this kazoo? It’s defective!”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. He just asked if he could get his money back, and I told him we couldn’t take it because it was opened already. It’s defective?”

    (I pick up the wooden kazoo that she’s slammed on the counter hold it near my mouth, and hum. It makes a kazoo noise.)

    Me: “Oh, maybe your son doesn’t know how it works. You have to hum into it, not blow like a whistle. Seems fine.”

    Customer #1: “What? I didn’t hear anything! It’s defective! I want my money back!”

    (I hold the kazoo near my lips again and hum louder. It makes a louder kazoo noise.)

    Me: “See? That’s what it’s supposed to do. You hum, and it makes that noise.”

    (I set it down in front of her, thinking the problem is solved.)

    Customer #1: “No way! I’m not taking that out of the store now! You’ve contaminated it with your breath! It has all your germs in it. Give me my money back!”

    Me: “Really?”

    (The woman tries to stare me down.)

    Me: “Ma’am, as I explained, you don’t blow into a kazoo. You hum. You can’t hum with your mouth open. None of my breath went into the kazoo.”

    (I demonstrate a humming noise without the kazoo, showing her my lips are firmly pressed closed.)

    Customer #1: “This is ridiculous! I’ve bought hundreds of things from here that were all defective, and I’ve never bothered to return them before. I just threw them away. Now, you won’t even take back this broken kazoo?”

    Me: “But, it’s not broken, remember? And I didn’t breathe in it, either. I’m not sure exactly what your complaint is at this point.”

    Customer #1: “That’s it! I want to talk to your store manager.”

    Me: “That would be me.”

    Customer #1: “Fine! Then I want to talk to a district manager! Is he here?”

    Me: “Yes. And he’s also me.”

    Customer #2: “This isn’t over. Not by a long shot! You haven’t heard the last of me!”

    (The woman snatches up her kazoo from the counter and runs out of the store. I turn to the other woman who’s been waiting patiently.)

    Me: “I’m sorry you had to be here for that uncomfortable situation.”

    Customer #2: “Oh, I don’t mind. That was pretty entertaining. I think you may have created a super-villain.”

    (Ten minutes later, one of my managers from another store location calls me, laughing.)

    Coworker: “Um, apparently, I’m supposed to fire you. Some crazy lady just called to tell me that you threw a kazoo at her?”

    Putting The High Into Hiring

    | UK | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal

    Customer: *bloodshot eyes and stinking of weed* “Hi. I’m looking for a gardening book.”

    Me: “Okay. Our gardening section is right here. Was there are a particular book you were after?”

    Customer: “I’m wanting one that teaches you how to grow drugs.”

    Bookseller: “Like medicinal herbs? We have a few titles on natural remedies in our health sec—”

    Customer: “Nah, I mean like cannabis.”

    Bookseller: “Er… there are titles on that subject but they are only sold in our Amsterdam stores. I can’t legally sell them in this country.”

    Customer: “Oh, okay. You guys hiring?”

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