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.


Borrowed An Already-Used Idea

| CA, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid, Popular

(We always have a large art book on display near our information desk for customers to look through, and copies of it are underneath for purchase. A customer wanders in and starts to look through it.)

Me: “How are you doing today? Anything I can help you with?”

Customer: “You know, you should really think about renting books.”

Me: *smiles* “I think what you’re looking for is a library.”

Customer: “No, think about it. For example, I love this book…” *points to the art book* “…and I would want to take it home with me for a few months, but I don’t want to own it forever.”

Me: *still smiling* “That still sounds like a library to me.”

Customer: “Well, the library is certainly not going to have this book.”

(I refrain from saying they might be able to get it in from another library knowing this customer probably won’t believe me.)

Customer: “I’m just saying it would be an interesting business model. Maybe it would stop bookstores from dying out.”

Me: *slightly strained but trying not to show it* “Can I help you find anything today?”

Customer: “Oh, no. I just think you should try looking at new models of business.” *walks out the door*

Me: *sighs* “You’re still thinking of a library.”


A Killer Pickup Line

| Brooklyn, NY, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading

(I am a 24-year-old female. I am cleaning some shelves when a customer comes up. It is important that the customer is female.)

Customer: “You’re pretty. You look like someone in my book.”

(I was about to thank her when I saw it was a book on serial killers. She walked out without a word.)


Et Tu Mother?

| Iowa City, IA, USA | Books & Reading

(While working at a bookstore, a customer comes up to me.)

Customer: “Do you have an English translation of the novel Julius Caesar? My daughter needs it for her class.”

(I perform a search in our system.)

Me: “Hmm, I’m not finding it. The problem is I’m getting about a million versions of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.”

Customer: “That’s the one. She said it was by William Shakespeare. I need an English translation.”

Me: “Well, Shakespeare wrote in English, so every version we have is in English. We do have some adapted with modernized dialogue. Could that be what she meant?”

Customer: “I don’t know. She just said she needed an English translation of the novel Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.”

Me: “Well… it’s a play, not a novel…”

Customer: “I- I have to call my daughter.”

(She calls her daughter. It turns out she needed a very specific edition for her class.)


Returner Burner, Part 3

| Austin, TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading

(I work for the largest national book store in the US. I get this phone call.)

Customer: “Hi. I ordered a book off y’all’s website and was wondering if I could return it to the store?”

Me: “I’d be happy to check that out for you, ma’am. What was the name of the book?”

(She tells me and I look it up. The information tells me it is non-returnable, but I tell her I’ll check with a manager to be sure. Manager confirms my concern.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but that item is non-returnable though the stores. If you wish to return it, you will have to ship it back. There should be a return label in the box and I’d be happy to walk you through it.”

Customer: “See, this is why I usually order from [the largest distributer of online goods and my employer’s biggest rival], you little b****.”

Me: *taken aback* “Whoa! But ma’am, if you bought it from [previously mentioned company] and wanted you to return it, you’d have to ship it back, too.”

(She hung up on me.)

Returner Burner, Part 2
Returner Burner


A Used-less Philosophy

| Waltham, MA, USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

(I work in a used book store.)

Customer: “Do you have new books?”

Me: “Well, we sell mostly used books, but we have a small selection of new books here.”

Customer: “I always forget this is a used book store. I NEVER read a book someone else has read. I was a librarian and I wouldn’t even let my children check out books.”

Me: “…”

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