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!)

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There Will Be One More Death Tonight

| Folkestone, Kent, UK | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading

(It is the day that the sixth Harry Potter book, “The Half-Blood Prince,” has been released. Almost every customer has a copy of the book. I am serving a young boy of about 10 who has been flicking through the book whilst waiting.)

Me: “Oh, Harry Potter? You must have been looking forward to this for ages!”

Boy: “Yeah! It’s great! And did you know Dumbledore dies?”

(A little girl in the queue, also holding a copy of the book, burst into tears. Whether this was because she liked Dumbledore or she didn’t want to know any spoilers, I don’t know!)

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Edith You Are, Or You Aren’t

| PA, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid, Funny Names, Trigger Story

(I work in a second-hand bookstore where we purchase items from customers. I’m currently working at the buy counter where I have two separate customers, both females. An older lady brought her items in a bag (“Edith”) while the second middle-aged lady (“Anne”) brought hers in a box. They shop the store while I look through their items and I page them over the PA system once their offer is ready.)

Me: “Edith, your offer is ready at the buy counter. Edith.”

Customer: *approaches* “Hello.”

Me: *recognizes her as one of the two ladies, but I am terrible at remembering faces* “Hi! Miss Edith?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “All right, your offer is [amount] today.”

Customer: “Oh, okay.”

Me: “Okay, so I’ll just have you sign this piece of paper once it prints, Miss Edith—”

Customer: “Can I have my box back?”

Me: *a little alarmed, as I’m currently working on the box* “Oh, wait, so these books are yours?” *points to the books from the box*

Customer: Yes.

Me: “Ah, sorry, Miss Edith! It seems that I had mixed you two up! Give me a moment to look you up in the system so I can re-enter your correct offer.” *does so* “Good thing you’re the only ‘Edith,’ otherwise this would be a long search!” *quickly finishes the buy* “Okay, your correct offer is [different amount].”

Customer: “Okay.”

Me: *hands her the slip of paper to sign* “Okay, please sign here—”

Customer: *looks at slip* “This isn’t my name.”

Me: “…Oh. Well, I had paged for ‘Edith’ before and asked you if you were ‘Edith.'”

Customer: “It sounded like ‘Ann.'”

Me: *thinking* “IN WHAT UNIVERSE?!”

 

Dear readers! This story was originally submitted without a title, to encourage you to come up with a witty submission yourselves. After considering the many amazing suggestions in the comments section, we have come up with the title above. Thank you all for participating; we had a blast reading them!

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