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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Marked For Better Things

| Philadelphia, PA, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Popular

(I work at a small museum and do outreach programs for schools, libraries, community centers, etc. We have been warned that the AC is down in this location, so instead of my usual slacks, I wear knee-length shorts. Two small tattoos on my calf and ankle are visible. After the presentation, while I’m cleaning up the crafts table:)

Patron: “What are those things on your legs?”

Me: “They’re for my family, ma’am.”

Patron: “You’ll never get a job with marks like that on you.”

Me: “I do have a job; I’m working it right now.”

Patron: “You know what I mean; a real job.”

Me: “It IS a real job. And with all due respect, ma’am, you’re the one at a public library at two pm on a Wednesday.”

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Might Spot A Few Graphic Differences

| Iowa City, IA, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Musical Mayhem

(While working at customer service at a bookstore a customer approaches me.)

Customer: “Do you have Candide by Voltaire?”

Me: “Yes, we do.” *I show her where it is*

Customer: “It’s in a weird place. Why isn’t it with the graphic novels?”

Me: “Because it’s not a graphic novel.”

Customer: “But he only writes graphic novels!”

Me: “I think you’re thinking of Voltaire the musician. This is by Voltaire the philosopher.”

Customer: “Oh. You’re sure they’re not the same person?”

Me: “Completely. Graphic novels didn’t really exist when Voltaire was alive.”

Customer: “Oh. Well, I might buy it anyway, in case it is the same person.”

(No matter what I said, I could not assure her that she was thinking of a different Voltaire.)

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Being Very Frank About It

| Kansas City, MO, USA | Books & Reading, History

Customer: “Do you have the Diary of Anne Frank?”

Me: “Of course. It’s in the Military History section in Holocaust studies. I can take you there.”

Customer: “Why is it in the Military history section? That is a disgrace. It should be in Memoirs section!”

Me: “Well, yes, it could go there, but we try to be as specific as possible with memoirs and diaries to help customers find what they are looking for. We also have presidential memoirs in American history, and celebrities memoirs in performing arts.”

Customer: “That is ridiculous! How rude!”

(The customer stormed out. I found out later that this customer later returned to the store and moved all of our copies of the Diary of Anne Frank to the Memoirs section. Apparently she felt very strongly!)