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.

Working Title

| ME, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

Patron: “Can you help me find a particular book?”

Me: “Sure! What’s the title of the book?”

Patron: “It was published in England so I don’t know if you can get it.”

Me: *fingers poised over keyboard* “Well, I can check. What’s the title?”

Patron: “It was in the bibliography of this other book that I just read. It sure sounded interesting, so it would great if you can get it.”

Me: “What’s the title of the book?”

Patron: “Now I don’t know if I spelled the author’s name correctly…”

Me: “What’s the title of the book?”

Patron: “I think it was probably published in the 1800s.”

Me: “What’s the title of the book?”

Patron: *looking at me expectantly*

Me: *fingers still poised over keyboard*

Patron: “Well, are you going to look for it or not?”

Misplaced Your Misplacement

| ME, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading

Patron: “Can you help me find a book? The catalog says it’s available, but it’s not where it’s supposed to be.”

Me: “Sure! First we’ll check and make sure we’re looking in the right ‘neighborhood’, since our books aren’t in strict Dewey order anymore; they’re arranged in neighborhoods and then by Dewey.”

Patron: “Yes, I know. This one is supposed to be in Sports & Recreation.”

Me: “Perfect! I’ll just look it up real quick to get the complete number.”

(I jot down the call number of the book he is looking for (he actually remembered the title!), and then we go to check the shelf in Sports & Recreation. Sure enough, the title he wants is not on the shelf where it is supposed to be. I scan the shelves above and below, and on either side, just in case it is a little out of order.)

Me: “Hmmm… I don’t see it anywhere. We can go check on the carts downstairs to see if it’s waiting to be shelved. We can also check to see when it last circulated. It might be missing.”

Patron: “Oh, it was just here the other day, because I was looking at it before.”

Me: “Oh, did you happen to put it on a cart to be re-shelved?”

Patron: “No, I put it on a different shelf so that no one else would take it.”

Me: *struggling to keep facial expression neutral* “Okay… well, where did you put it?”

(He leads me to another section entirely and points at the cookbooks. Sure enough, there was the book he wanted, tucked in among the vegan cookbooks.)

Me: “Here it is… right where you left it.”

Patron: “Well, that’s frustrating. How are we supposed to find books if they’re not where they’re supposed to be?”

Should Try Neurotica Instead

| Overland Park, KS, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Rude & Risque

(I am working at the customer service booth at a bookstore when a woman approaches with a young child.)

Customer: “I’m looking for—” *mumbles*

Me: “I’m sorry, could you say that again, please? I had a hard time hearing you.”

Customer: “I said—” *mumbles*

Me: “I’m sorry, please speak up a little more.”

Customer: *annoyed* “Didn’t you hear me the first time? I need it now!”

Me: “I didn’t hear you, that’s why I need you to speak a little louder, ma’am—”

Customer: “EROTICA! I said I want erotica! I need to have sex with the book!”

Me: “Well, our adult romance section is upstairs. I could lead you over there.”

Customer: *talking normally in a cheerful voice* “That’s okay, thanks.” *to kid* “You go get the condoms and meet me upstairs, okay?”

Kid: “Okay, mommy.”

(They split up, leaving me speechless. Another customer approaches.)

Me: “Can I help you find something, sir?”

Man: *mocking the crazy lady* “Cookbooks! I’m hungry and I want to eat the book!”

Me: “Our cookbooks are right next to adult romance. Let me bring you up there and introduce you to another customer…”

A Bookstore’s Last Day Is Booked

, | Mason, OH, USA | Books & Reading

(I overhear this while ringing two ladies out.)

Friend #1: “We should go to [Store]. They’re having a going out of business sale.”

Friend #2: “[Store]? What do they sell?”

Friend #1: “Books.”

Friend #2: *makes a face*

Friend #1: *quickly* “We don’t HAVE to go.”

Friend #2: “Okay, good.”

(And we wonder why they went out of business…)

The Difference Between Hard And Soft Reading Habits

| Dallas, TX, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

(I work at a bookstore where we regularly receive phone calls at the information desk for books to be put on hold. We usually ask for the title and go locate whatever copies we have and then call the customer back. This teenage-sounding boy has asked for a book that’s on many high school reading lists and I have gone and gotten the hardback and paperback versions and am calling back to see which he would prefer:)

Me: “Hi, [Customer], this is [My Name] calling you back from [Store]. I was able to locate a hardback and paperback of Lord of the Flies and was wondering which you would like to be put on hold?”

Customer: “How much are they?”

Me: “The paperback is only 1.50 but the larger hardback, which would leave you more room to write in, if this is for a class, is 5.00.”

Customer: “And when you say paperback, what do you mean?”

Me: “Um… it has a paper cover rather than a hard one and is a smaller version of the book.”

Customer: “So, like, it doesn’t have an actual cover?”

Me: “No, it does. It just happens to be a paper cover rather than a hardback.”

Customer: “So, is it like plastic?”

(This goes on for quite a while, while I attempt to come up with different ways to describe a paperback, which is harder to do than you think. Finally he says—)

Customer: “Okay, just forget it. Thank you.”

Me: “Okay. Well, I mean, the paperback is only 1.50.”

Customer: “I’m just not getting what you’re trying to tell me.”

Me: “How about I just put them both on hold and you can come look yourself?”

Customer: “Great!” *hangs up*

(I wish I could have been there when he saw what we were debating over.)

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