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Bookstores Abhor A Vacuum

, , , , | Right | June 30, 2021

I work in a popular bookshop chain in my country. We do sell things like board games and stationery and gift-related things, but that’s it. It’s a bookstore.

I’m tidying the display in front of the counter when a man approaches me, looking confused. He’s holding a vacuum cleaner, which I assume he bought from the appliance shop next door.

Me: “Hi, sir, can I help you with anything today?”

Customer: *Holding out the vacuum cleaner* “Can I buy this?”

Me: *Thinking I’ve heard him wrong* “What?”

Customer: “Can I get this?”

Me: “Um… I’m fairly sure we don’t sell those here.”

Manager #1: “What do you need, sir?”

Customer: “I want to get this!”

Manager #1: “Uh… Okay. Come over here?”

The man follows him around to the other end of the counter. Then, as I’m watching in disbelief, he walks BEHIND the counter and puts his bag down. 

Customer: “So, how much for the wrapping paper?”

Manager #1: “Oh, you wanted this… wrapped?”

Customer: “Yeah!”

Manager #1: “I don’t think we have enough wrapping paper here. Would you like to buy some?”

Customer: “Okay.”

[Manager #1] goes to get more wrapping paper. The man follows him, BEHIND THE COUNTER the entire way.

Manager #2: “Does he know he’s not supposed to be behind here?”

Me: “I… honestly don’t know.”

[Manager #1] comes back. The man acts as if he’s going to follow him behind the counter again.

Manager #2: “Sir, you can’t be behind the counter.”

Customer: “I’m just getting my stuff.”

Manager #2: “Then go around.”

The man huffs and goes around. By this point, I’m hiding behind a display so he can’t see me trying not to laugh. The man spots me.

Customer: “Don’t be scared.”

Me: “I’m not. It’s just the first time someone’s come into a bookshop and asked me if they can buy a vacuum cleaner, that’s all.”

I very quickly turned and walked away so he couldn’t see me cracking up again. I ended up laughing so hard I cried once I’d made it into the break room. I don’t know what happened next, but when I came out, he was gone.

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