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.


I’m Team Peppa

| NJ, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Liars & Scammers

(I work at a bookstore that closes at 10:00 pm. I am checking out my last customer when someone comes up to me and puts a book on the table.)

Customer: “Hello. I’d like to return this book.”

Me: “Of course, sir! Why would you like to return this book?”

Customer: “I gave it to my four-year-old son and he said that he couldn’t read it. There also weren’t any pictures in it.”

(As I continue to inspect the book, I realize he has given his son a Twilight book.)

Me: “Sir, you do realize that you just gave your son a Twilight book. He shouldn’t be reading this.”

Customer: “What? Man, you must be VERY stupid. If you know how to read, it says ‘Peppa Pig’ on the cover.”

Me: “Sir, I assure you that this is Twilight.”

(I then realized that the customer had taped a paper that read “Peppa Pig” over the normal title so that his son wouldn’t notice. He kept trying to convince me that it was Peppa Pig. He had to be escorted out when he tried to assault me.)


Closing In On Copying

| Victoria, BC, Canada | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Time

(I am working the closing shift during the summer season when we are open quite late, and it is basically time to go home. The lights are all off, and mere seconds before the door is locked, a woman runs in. I approach her.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but the store is closing now.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s fine! Don’t worry, I know exactly what I’m looking for.”

(We are known for being very polite in this situation, and seeing as she seems to know where she is going I let her search. Sure enough, she comes up to the counter with a book about 20 seconds later, which is a pleasant surprise.)

Me: “Wow, that was quick! Okay, I just need to scan the book—”

Customer: “Hold on a second, I just need to take a look at something.”

(I sigh inwardly, but I know I like to give books a quick scan before I buy them, so I let her do it. My coworkers are a bit jumpy and want to go home, but we all remain silent. After about a minute, the woman pulls out a pad of paper and a pen and actually starts copying part of the book onto it.)

Me: “Umm… ma’am, perhaps you could do that after you’ve bought the book? it’s just that we’re past closing and we need to lock the door.”

Customer: “Oh, no, I’m not buying it. I just need to get this information. Just give me some time.”

Me: *shocked* “I’m so sorry, but I can’t let you do that. I might suggest going to the library for this book as you can take it out for free. If you do need to come back tomorrow, we are open at nine, but I’m going to have to ask you to leave so we can lock the door.”

(The customer sighed sharply, jammed her paper and pen into her purse, and stomped out. I have no idea if she came back for her all-important information.)


You Won’t Believe This Story

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

(It is the early 1990s, before online shopping has become the norm. The customer appears to be a student, maybe in her early twenties. She’s standing at the information desk at the front of what’s literally one of the world’s largest bookstores: 100,000 titles and counting.

Customer: “Uh, hi… I’m looking for a book?”

Me: *grinning appreciatively at what I think MUST be a little joke* “Great! What did you have in mind?”

Customer: “Uh… I dunno… Just something to read.”

Me: *notices she’s not smiling* “Oh, okay. So what subject were you thinking of?”

Customer: *shrugs, turns to boyfriend, who mutters something unintelligible, turns back* “Well, you know, a good story. You know, like my grandma reads.”

Me: *noticing a line forming behind her* “Right-oh! Fiction! So, let’s see…” *all while anxiously scanning her face for a reaction* “These are our bestsellers over here…” *blank face* “We have romance, horror, sci-fi, comedy…” *blank face* “…uh, Canadiana, historical…” *even blanker face*

Customer: “I dunno, just a good story. I’m going on a trip and I need something to read.” *starting to look really annoyed* “Can’t you just recommend something?”

Me: *gushing a little with relief* “Not from here, but I know who can.” *picks up pager* Fiction staff to the front desk, please…”

(Later I ask the poor Fiction staffer who rescued me how it went.)

Fiction Staffer: “I dunno. Every book I showed her, she just shook her head and said she wanted a ‘good’ story…”


Don’t Leave Santraginus V Without It

| USA | Books & Reading, Geeks Rule

(I am a trainer for an internal helpdesk. We have several new employees, and one of them is currently sitting with me while I show her how to handle our calls. She is older, and has commented several times that I say the weirdest things.)

Me: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Caller: “Well, you’re doing really well so far, so let’s see. The meaning of life?”

Me: “Well, as far as I understand, the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42.”

Caller: “You would be surprised how many people don’t know that.”

Me: “Those people probably also don’t know where their towel is, and that’s a shame.”

Caller: *cracks up laughing*

Trainee: “…”


Objectionable And Uninterruptable

| Manhattan, NY, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal, Popular

(An irate customer has found a book she objects to and is complaining to the cashier. Another customer in a suit and tie is quietly browsing books in the back.)

Irate Customer: “Hey. Hey. Hey, you. Why do you stock this filth?”

Cashier: “I, uh…”

Irate Customer: “No. Listen to me. Get rid of this. It’s wrong. Okay? It’s wrong.”

Cashier: “We just have what people want to–”

Irate Customer: “NO. It’s your job to be a gatekeeper. You protect your customers. Take this off your shelves.”

Cashier: “I don’t choose what to stock. I–”

Irate Customer: “Fine. Manager. Where’s the manager?”

Cashier: “Wait, he’s—”

(The irate customer has already sighted the suited customer and zeroed in on him.)

Irate Customer: “Hey. Hey, you. You can’t have this in your bookstore.”

Suited Customer: “I don’t–”

Irate Customer: “Yes. Yes, you do. It’s right here.”

Suited Customer: “But I’m–”

Irate Customer: “You’ve also got [list of other objectionable books]. You have a duty.”

Suited Customer: “But I–”

Irate Customer: “Don’t give me that free speech garbage. You have a duty. A moral duty. Above the law.”

(As the angry customer keeps ranting, the suited customer wordlessly takes something out of his pocket and shows her. She lets out an ‘Oh!’ and hurries out of the store.)

Cashier: “What was that?”

Suited Customer: “FBI badge. Just in time for ‘above the law,’ too.”

Cashier: “Uh, she didn’t pay for her copy of [Objectionable Book].”

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