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.

Irritable Book Syndrome

| Greenville, NC, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Health & Body

(A customer walks in already carrying one of our bags so I know it’s a return. Even worse it’s our Christmas bag and it’s currently June. She gets to the register, slams her bag on the counter and immediately jumps into a story. I pull the receipt out just to check the date and it says December 14th.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry but the receipt says December 14th and I’m looking and these two books rang up to $100. If it wasn’t so much there—”

Customer: *cuts me off* “No. No. NO! I already told you these aren’t for me. These were for my friend’s birthday and he’s already got them and I have no use for them.”

Me: “I understand that but we have a two-weeks with a receipt policy and—”

Customer: “Focus! These aren’t for me, okay?! I have no need for them and you will give me my money back!”

(I attempt to speak again but she cuts me off again)

Customer: “I’m done with you. I want a manager. Don’t say anything else, just get your manager. Shush.”

(I call my manager, who threatened to fire me two weeks prior for returning a $20 book that was four days past the two-week policy.)

Manager: “Hi, what seems to be the issue?”

(The customer then explains how I’m an idiot, these books aren’t for her, and she doesn’t care about our policy and wants her money back.)

Manager: “Oh, oh, well, absolutely. [My Name]? Ha! I’m sorry he just doesn’t understand. It’s ok, buddy, we’ll have a training sesh on this later.”

(The manager walks away as the lady smugly stands there waiting for her money. A line has now formed behind her. The next person in line is a younger guy. I then pull out the books to ring them up. The first is called ‘Headaches in the Pelvic Region’ and the second is ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Your Life.’ I then notice she used her discount card so I subtract the savings.)

Customer: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. What was that?”

Me: “Well, ma’am, you used your discount card and got 10% off. I just subtracted that.”

Customer: “Well, how much were those books?!”

(I speak loud enough for the line that had built up behind her to hear.)

Me: “Well… YOUR ‘HEADACHES IN THE PELVIC REGION’ BOOK WAS $50 AND YOUR ‘IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME AND MY LIFE’ WAS $50!”

(The customer tries to shush me then angrily snatches her money. The younger customer walks up, lays his purchases on the counter, and then mumbles:)

Next Customer: “B**** would have IBS.”

This Customer Is A Time Bomb

| IL, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

(My patron is a young boy of about seven or eight. He is using the online card catalog and looks stumped.)

Me: “Can I help you find something?”

Patron: “I want a book on how to build a nuclear bomb.”

Me: “Uh… I don’t think we’re going to have anything like that in our collection.”

Patron: “Well, how can I learn to make one, then?”

Me: “I would suggest a PhD in physics.”

Patron: “Oh! Here’s one!” *shows me a catalog record for a book called “How to Build a Nuclear Bomb”*

Me: “Oh, see, actually that book is about the global economics, politics, and resources that would…” *noticing patron’s blank stare* “You know what? Yeah, I can get you that book.”

(A couple of weeks later, the young patron comes in to check out his reserve.)

Patron: “Uh… I don’t think this is what I want. It doesn’t have any nuclear bomb plan in it, or anything.”

Me: “Yes, well, like I said before, we won’t have anything like that here.”

Patron: “Oh, well, I found a can of gas in the garage, and I have some matches. Do you think I could do something with that?”

Me: “Uh… stay in school?”

Volumes Of Knowledge

| TX, USA | Books & Reading

(Two customers are talking to my boss at the front desk. I’m around the corner, out of sight, at another desk.)

Customer #1: “We’re looking for Les Mis. Who is that by?”

Boss: “It’s by Victor Hugo. It would be over in fiction, but I’m not sure if we have any copies right now.”

Me: *without moving* “We have three copies.”

(I can hear them talking in the shelves.)

Customer #2: “Aha! She was wrong. There are four copies!”

Customer #1: “No, look.”

Customer #2: “Oh crap, those two are volume one and volume two. She really is good.”

Making This Harder Than It Needs To Be

| TX, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

(I run a small bookstore that specializes in first edition hardbacks. We had our fair share of weird requests. One day, a lady calls to see if we have a book.)

Caller: “Hello, I’m looking for a book but I can’t remember the title.”

Me: “Okay. Who was it written by?”

Caller: “I can’t remember that either.”

Me: “Do you remember what the book was about? That would help me narrow it down.”

Caller: “Can’t you just list the books you have in the store? I’m sure I would know the name if I heard it.”

Me: “Ma’am, you seriously want me to list the 18,000 books we have in stock, over the phone?”

Caller: “Would it help if I told you it was a hardback book?”

Me: “Ma’am. We only sell hardback books.”

Caller: “Then just list them and like I told you before, I’ll know it when I hear it.”

Say Your Prayers

| Guilford, NY, USA | Books & Reading, Religion

(I work as a waiter at a religious Jewish camp. The way we normally clear the tables is tie up the ends, remove anything reusable or of value that was left behind, and drag the whole thing into the trash. One night I just cleared one of my tables when one of my campers and her counselor walk in.)

Me: *smiling* “Hey, what’s up?”

Camper: “I left my pink siddur (Jewish prayer book) behind.”

(I search the shelves, benches, and floor to see if it was picked up or fell somewhere, but I can’t find it.)

Me: “Where’s the last place you remember seeing it?”

(She points to table I just cleared. I stare in horror and rush to the trash can I just dumped the tablecloth and all of the night’s meal into. I shuffle the can around to see if I can see anything but no dice. I look back up at her.)

Me: *beginning to panic* “Are you sure you left it on the table?”

(She nods yes. I look back down at the trash. This was a religious item so it was extremely important. I roll up my sleeve and reach into the trash. I shuffle and move things around, looking for any hint of a pink prayer book. Instead I touch all the leftovers the kids didn’t finish. After a while I bring my arm out, apologize and go to wash my entire arm with soap. Twice. When I come back I begin to apologize to her again but she that’s when she interrupts me with a realization.)

Camper: “Wait a minute! My friend borrowed it from me after dinner!”

Me: *staring at her long and hard while trying not to laugh at the situation and what I just did for her* “YOU TELL ME THAT NOW?!”

(I became her favorite waiter from that point on.)

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