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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    The Girl Who Played With Hellfire

    | Stockholm, Sweden | Books & Reading, Religion, Rude & Risque

    (I’m the customer in this story. I’m a tourist in Stockholm looking for a book for my boyfriend at the time, who is learning Swedish. I don’t speak a word of it. I see a bookstore and just wander in.)

    Me: “Hi there. I’m looking for a Swedish book that has something to do with crime. Could you help me with that?”

    Clerk: *looks at me dumbfounded* “Uhm. What was that?”

    Me: “You know. Something thrilling and exciting ?”

    Clerk: “You do realise this is a Catholic book store and we only carry books on religion, right?”

    Not Booked For Stealing

    | NY, USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal

    (In the store where I work, to prevent theft, a security alarm at the doors will go off if your items have not been scanned. At the same time, we’re never allowed to accuse someone of stealing. A woman walks through the doors to leave and the alarm sounds off and she comes to a halt, so I approach her.)

    Me: “Hi, ma’am. Sorry about that. Do you want me to go re-scan those to make sure the alarm won’t sound off when you walk out again?”

    Customer: “Oh, I think these might have accidentally fallen into my pockets. I’m sorry…”

    (She then pulled out two books from her coat pockets, handed them to me, turned, and walked out, leaving my coworker and me very confused.)

    Fifty Shades Of Dark Knight

    | Markham, ON, Canada | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule, Rude & Risque

    (A woman comes into the store.)

    Customer: “I need the latest Harlequin book!”

    Me: “Of course. Do you know the title or author?”

    Customer: “No. But it’s the latest one!”

    (In the spirit of providing good customer service, I quickly retrieve the latest Harlequin releases to show the woman. Upon seeing the books, the customer gives me a very unexpected response:)

    Customer: “NO! NO! This is wrong! I want the one with Batman!”

    (Fortunately, the Batman reference tells me what the customer is ACTUALLY looking for.)

    Me: “Ah. You want the latest HARLEY QUINN comic book.”

    Customer: “That’s what I said! Harlequin!”

    (The wrong emphasis on the wrong syllable determines whether you get a comic book, or an erotic novel.)

    A Bad App-raisal Of The Situation

    | Chicago, IL, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid, Technology

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

    Customer: “Yes, I bought an eBook from your website, but I can’t read it on my tablet.”

    Me: “Okay, let’s see what we can do. What sort of tablet do you have? Is it Apple or Android?”

    Customer: “It’s a [high end Android]. My son bought it for me.”

    Me: “Nice. And when you open up [Our App], does the book appear there?”

    Customer: “No, it’s not in my library.”

    Me: “You say you purchased the eBook from our website. Are you sure the account information you used when you purchased it is the same as your app is registered under?”

    Customer: “Um, yes? I can’t imagine that I would have more than one account with you.”

    Me: “And other books work just fine?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “Have you tried syncing your library?”

    Customer: “How do I do that?”

    Me: “Open the app and hit the refresh button. It’s a circular arrow in the bottom left.”

    Customer: “I don’t have that.”

    Me: “That’s weird. What do you see?”

    Customer: *describes a screen which sounds suspiciously like our competitor’s app*

    Me: “Sir, what app do you use to read your eBooks?”

    Customer: “I use my library.”

    Me: “Yes, sir, your books appear in the library screen of the app, but which app do you use? Are you using [Our App] or [Competitor’s App]?”

    Customer: “I use the app on my tablet.”

    Me: “Okay, where do you normally buy your eBooks?”

    Customer: “What?”

    Me: “The eBooks currently in your library which you are able to read. Which website were you on when you bought them? [Our website] or [Competitor’s website]?”

    Customer: “[Competitor’s website]. They have lots of good deals.”

    Me: “All right sir, I’ve figured out the problem. You purchased an [our format] eBook from our website. That book is not compatible with [Competitor’s App]. You’ll have to download [Our App] in order to read it.”

    Customer: “But I already paid for it.”

    Me: “Oh, don’t worry, sir. The book is yours. The app is available as a free download both on our website and from the Play Store. It only takes a minute.”

    Customer: “My books always show up in my library when I buy them. Why doesn’t this one?”

    Me: “I know it’s confusing, sir. [Our Company] sells [Our eBook Readers], and [Competitor] sells [Competitor’s eBook Readers]. EBooks bought from [Our Company] can only be read on [Our eBook Readers] or [Our App], just as [Competitor]’s eBooks can only be read on their products.”

    Customer: “I don’t understand. I paid for this book.”

    Me: “Yes, sir, and it is yours. But the app you are using is made and run by [Competitor]. You bought this book from us. [Competitor] has no way of knowing that you bought this book, so they can’t put it into the app on your tablet.

    Customer: Can you call them and tell them I bought it? Then they’ll know.”

    Me: “I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that, sir. But again, you can download [Our App] for free and read the book you purchased.”

    Customer: “Okay, so you guys have your own books and your own app thing, and [Competitor] has their own books and their own app, and they don’t work together at all?”

    Me: “Yes sir. That’s absolutely correct. A little complicated, I know.”

    Customer: “So how do I get your app so I can read my book?”

    Me: “The same way you got [Competitor’s App]. Open the Play Store, search for [Our App], and download it. Once it installs you’ll have to enter your email address and password. Then your book will appear in your library. We’ll give you a couple additional titles for free.”

    Customer: “My tablet’s library?”

    Me: “No, sorry, the library in [Our App].”

    Customer: “So when I want to read this book I’ll need to open your app, and when I want to read my other books I’ll need to open [Competitor’s App]?”

    Me: “Yes, sir.”

    Customer: “Okay, I suppose I can handle that. When should I expect my app to arrive?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

    Customer: “The app that you’re sending me in the mail. When will it be here?”

    Me: “The… mail? You know what, sir? I think you should come into our store. Can you drop by tomorrow?”

    (And I made d*** sure I was not around when he came in!)

    His Logic Doesn’t Check Out

    | Chicago, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

    (I am working at the registers along with a head cashier shortly before closing. One of our regulars, a very old man, shuffles up to my register. I’m a little surprised, as he usually only talks to Manager, sometimes waiting for hours until Manager starts his shift.)

    Customer: “Yes, I’d like to buy this book.”

    Me: “Certainly! That will be [total].”

    (Customer pulls out a very old leather case with about 100 sheets of perforated checks. He slowly flips to the correct page, slowly starts to fill out a check, and then drops the whole case on the floor, scattering pages everywhere. I help him pick up.)

    Customer: “Oh, no, these need to be in order! Help me put them in order!”

    Me: “Sir, perhaps we should finish the transaction. Then you can put these back in order later.”

    Customer: *getting angry* “That is RIDICULOUS! How am I supposed to know which check to fill out?!”

    Me: “It’s the one you’ve already started filling out?”

    Customer: *muttering* “This is ridiculous. You people are SO unhelpful. I don’t even know why I shop here!”

    Head Cashier: *whispers to me* “Just do it, or we’ll never get out of here.”

    Me: “All right, sir, let’s get these back in order.”

    (Customer insists he put them back in order, very very slowly, while I hold the case. Nothing else will do. 20 minutes later, the check is finally filled out and we can continue with the transaction.)

    Me: “And can I see your driver’s license?”

    Customer: “My WHAT?!”

    Me: “Driver’s license, passport, or other state ID?”

    Customer: *getting hysterical* “What?! WHY?!”

    Head Cashier: *jumping in* “Sir, you’ve shopped here for years. You always pay by check. You KNOW you have to show us your license.”

    Customer: “THAT’S IT! I’m getting the manager!”

    (The customer storms off, and comes back with the manager.)

    Manager: “So, what seems to be the problem?”

    Me: “He’s paying by check.”

    Manager: “Okay, can I see your license, sir?”

    Customer: “Sure, here you go!”

    (Customer handed over his license, the manager finished the transaction in about 30 seconds, and we ushered the man out and closed the store.)

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