Category: Books & Reading

Caused by stupid customers who know how to read (and often those who don’t!), feel for the poor librarians or book store clerks who are often tasked with finding a book solely by the color of its cover.

Narwailing On About It

| Portland, OR, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Pets & Animals

(I work at a bookstore that mostly sells children’s books. A mother comes in with her daughter who is about six years old.)

Mother: “I’d like to make a complaint. Who is the manager?”

Me: “I am the manager. What is the problem?”

Mother: “I found this book in the nonfiction section.”

(She holds up a book about arctic animals. The cover shows a polar bear and a narwhal.)

Me: “Ma’am, that is a nonfiction book. It contains facts about those animals.”

Mother: “No, it does not. There’s no such thing as a narwhal! They are imaginary creatures.”

Me: “…”

Found The Book But Lost The Irony

| AR, USA | Books & Reading

(I work at my local library as a library assistant.)

Patron: “I accidentally turned in a book that belongs to [Other Library].”

Me: “Sure, what’s the book title?”

Patron:I Am Responsible.”

Me: *staring a patron in complete silence*

(I find the book, and the great irony is that it’s a child’s book.)

Me: “…Have a good day, ma’am.”

Patron: “Thanks. You, too.”

A Gross Misunderstanding Of The Books

| Gainesville, FL, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Rude & Risque

Customer: “I’m looking for a book for my grandchildren. I don’t know the title but I know it’s some kind of encyclopedia of gross things and the cover has a picture of a kid picking his nose.”

Me: “Yes, I know that book. It’s called Oh, Yuck. Here’s a copy for you.”

Customer: “Do you think that would be embarrassing for me to send it to my grandchildren? I mean, it’s gross. Do you really think it would be appropriate?”

Me: “I don’t know, ma’am. I thought you already knew it was gross based on your description of the book.”

Customer: *sets book down* “I just don’t think it would be appropriate. Can you show me some storybooks?”

(I take the customer to the storybooks and she keeps asking for recommendations, so I show her book after book and she rejects them. Finally, she makes a suggestion.)

Customer: “Well, I’ve heard of this one book. Do you have ‘Walter the Farting Dog’?”

Me: ” Yes, it’s popular. Right here.”

Customer: “But wouldn’t that be kind of gross? I don’t know if that’s appropriate. A farting dog? That might be embarrassing for me to send to my grandchildren.”

Me: “…I don’t know how to help you if you keep asking me for gross books and then saying they’re too gross, ma’am.”

Customer: “I just heard those were popular. But I can’t send that. It’s too gross. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing?”

(I end up just leaving her to browse in the storybooks section.)

Ordering Books Not By The Book(store)

| NY, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Popular

(I work as customer service for an online bookstore that also has a physical store.)

Caller: “Hi, what’s your website? I want to buy books.”

Me: “I’ll spell it for you. It’s [Site].”

Caller: “Could you repeat that? I need to write it down so I can take it to [Cell Phone Provider] and ask them to order for me.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I must’ve heard wrongly. I thought you said [Cell Phone Provider].”

Caller: “That’s what I said!”

Me: “Ma’am, I don’t think they provide those services.”

Caller: “Oh, I know. But I’m a paying customer and an old lady. I’ll just make a fuss until they help me.”

Me: “Ma’am, I can help you order over the phone right now. I also see by your area code that you live near the store. You can come in to our store instead for help.”

Caller: “Oh, I don’t want to bother you. It’s okay; they’ll help me. What was the site?”

Me: “Well, it’s [Site], but you aren’t bothering me. This is actually my job, so I can help you.”

Caller: “Nonsense, you sound like a busy girl. Thanks!” *hangs up*

Diarrhea Of A Wimpy Kid

| ID, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Health & Body

(We get quite a few kids at our library, which we encourage as it promotes literacy. Unfortunately, that does mean we get some unusual requests for books, and it doesn’t help that sometimes younger kids don’t pronounce things very well. Case in point…)

Kid: “Do you have any diarrhea books?”

Me: “…What?”

Kid: “Diarrhea books!”

Kid’s Mom: “He means Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.”

Me: “Oh, phew, good. The only ‘diarrhea’ book I know of is Everybody Poops. But Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are this way…”

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