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.

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Customers Gone ‘Wild’

| DuPont, WA, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Rude & Risque

(I work as a library page in a very small library. We are promoting a book called ‘Wild’ as our “Book of the Year,” and copies of it are displayed throughout the library. The book contains some depictions of the author’s experiences with drug abuse and her sex life.)

Patron: “Excuse me, miss?”

Me: “Hi! Can I help you?”

Patron: “I checked out this book last week, and I can’t believe you people are carrying this.”

Me: “Oh, that’s one of our promot—”

Patron: “Have you read it?”

Me: “Yes, I have.”

Patron: “It’s very inappropriate! I What if some kid decided to check this out? I don’t think you guys should be encouraging such irresponsible behaviors!”

Me: “I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but—”

Patron: *angrily* “I didn’t say I didn’t like it! I just think you should remove the parts with all the sex and the drugs.”

Me: “Oh… Well, I’m sorry that some of the content offended you. But we can’t edit the book.”

Patron: “Why not?”

Me: “It’s already been printed, and we’re not involved in the publishing process. We just put it on the shelves, really.”

Patron: “That’s unacceptable. I need you to edit your books more carefully.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we can’t edit the books once they’ve been published.”

Patron: “So you think this is appropriate?”

Me: *choosing my words carefully* “I don’t really think that kids should be reading it, no, and I understand why you take issue with it, but I think the message of the books outweighs the scenes with the sex and drugs. The point of the book is that the author overcame those mistakes.”

Patron: “I bet you live like she does, don’t you?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Patron: *verbatim* “You’re probably pretty loose, too.”

Me: “…EXCUSE ME?”

(The library is very small and it’s difficult to have any conversations without another staff member overhearing; at this point, another page standing nearby comes around the stacks to intervene.)

Coworker: *to the patron* “Sir, can I help you? Is everything all right?”

Patron: “No. This book is completely inappropriate and your employee seems to think that kind of thing is okay.”

Coworker: “Well, she was correct that we can’t edit the book. We can’t have it removed from the shelves, either. I’m sorry.”

Patron: “This is totally unacceptable! This is a LIBRARY, not an adult bookstore! If you THINK for one second that this okay…!”

Me: *still reeling from the comment about my sex life* “We told you we can’t do anything about the content. What, exactly, do you want to have happen here?”

Patron: “I want you to do your d*** job!”

Me: “Which is…?”

Patron: “Stop promoting promiscuity and drug use!”

Me: “Sir, my job is to put books on the shelf, keep the library clean, and help answer patron questions. The LIBRARY’S job is to provide literature to the community. I guarantee, I’m doing my job, and the library is well within its rights promoting a book which encourages people to OVERCOME their mistakes.”

Patron: “That’s not good enough!”

Coworker: “Sir, you’re making the other patrons uncomfortable. If you’d like to submit a complaint to the people who choose which books we promote, I can give you the phone number and e-mail address for the county library headquarters. There isn’t anything we can do other than that.”

Patron: *sighing dramatically* “Fine, whatever!”

(The patron takes the contact info, angrily paces around the stacks for a little while, and then storms out.)

Me: *to my coworker* “Honestly, I didn’t even like that book.”

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The Book Isn’t Shady Enough

| NV, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

(I work in the book department of a thrift store.)

Customer: “Do you have ‘Eleven Shades of Grey’?”

Me: “Right here, and it comes with thirty-nine more shades free!”

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Murdering Your Opinion

, | VA, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Popular

(I work six hour day shifts on summer weekdays. As long as everything is clean and full, we’re allowed to read a book. I’m reading quietly, but set my book aside as the lone male customer approaches. I take his order, and we’re waiting for his card to go through when this happens.)

Customer: *gestures to book, the cover of which is hidden* “So, what trashy romance novel are we reading today? Twilight? Fifty Shades of Grey?”

Me: *silently holds up the book so he can see the title, which is “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie*

Customer: “Oh… That’s a classic.”

Me: “Yes, sir. Now let me get you your ice cream.”

(Being pretentious about books is obnoxious. If he hadn’t been a customer I would have said something, but I could tell he was embarrassed when he left.)