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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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.)

Related:
Returner Burner, Part 2
Returner Burner

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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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Your Numbers Are Up

| Omaha, NE, USA | Books & Reading, Religion

(I work in a medical clinic and part of the job is getting patients’ vitals at check-in. My standard joke with people if their blood pressure is up a bit is that they’re SO excited to be at the doctor.)

Patient: “I get all the excitement I need from my Bible. It’s ALL exciting!”

Me: “Well, what about Numbers? Isn’t that all who begat who, on and on?”

Patient: “Well, maybe not Numbers.”

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Books With The Same Story Every Night

| UK | Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Time

(It’s late on a Friday evening, near closing time, and the library’s empty. My coworker and I are discussing customers who dawdle at closing time in the various other branches of the library, taking FOREVER to select books and get them checked out.)

Coworker: “Sometimes I feel like they do it just to prove a point.”

Me: “I know! Thank goodness this branch is so quiet. Geez, imagine if someone walked through the door right as we were closing up?”

(Minutes pass, and seven o’clock gets ever closer; we tidy up and, in the final few minutes, shut off the computers. Then, right on the dot on seven, the phone rings.)

Coworker: “Oh, NO.”

Me: “You have got to be kidding.”

(I answer, hoping it’s from one of the other branches open this late.)

Me: “Hello, [Library].”

Caller: “Hello; I was wondering if you could find a book for me?”

Me: “I’m very sorry, madam, but we’ve just closed. The library opens again at nine tomorrow morning.”

Caller: “Oh, please, could you just check?”

Me: “Well, our computers have shut down for the night, so the only way I’d be able to find it would be by a physical shelf check. But I can make a note of it, so that we can look for it tomorrow and call you back as early as possible. What’s the name of the book?”

Caller: “I think it’s called Who Moved My Cheese? It’s a fiction book.”

Me: “And do you know the name of the author?”

Caller: “No, I’m afraid I don’t. Can’t you look it up?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t. Like I said, the computers have shut down for the night, and won’t start up again until tomorrow morning. The program we use for managing our books is on those computers, so I can’t look for the book on the system to see if we actually have it, whether it’s on loan or where it might be, or whether any of the other libraries have it.”

Caller: “But couldn’t you look on the shelves?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. We’re officially closed; we’re literally just about to lock up and leave. A physical shelf check would take a fair while, especially since we don’t know the author’s name or what genre the book is. Again, I’ll make a note of your name and request so that we can look for it when we open tomorrow at nine.”

Caller: “Please, can’t you have just a quick check now?”

Me: “I’m sorry, madam, but we can’t. It’s now past seven. We need to go home. If you’ll give me your name, I promise we’ll look for the book as soon as we open tomorrow.”

(She finally gives me her name, very disappointed. I hang up and stare at my coworker.)

Me: “She must know what time we close. She MUST. Who DOES that? A minute or two before closing time, I get that, but right on the hour?”

Coworker: “Let’s get out of here before someone thinks we’re still open.”

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The Quotable Works Of Jack And Hitler

| IA, USA | Books & Reading

(The coffee shop I work at offers 10 cents off if you guess what book the daily quote comes from. Today’s quote is lighthearted and optimistic. A young teenage girl comes in with her father.)

Girl: *excitedly pointing* “Hey, I know that!”

Me: “Do you? What is it?”

Girl:How I Did It by Jack the Ripper!”

Me: *taken aback* “Umm… no, that’s not it. Sorry, honey.”

Girl: *disappointed* “Oh… Mein Kampf?”

(She didn’t manage any more guesses before she burst out laughing. Her father hadn’t been in on the joke and was very relieved!)

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