Doesn’t She Know The Code Is More Guidelines Than Actual Rules?

, , , | Right | CREDIT: qatqaos | May 1, 2021

I was a bookseller for almost a decade but left for a high-paying Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five job. I loved my job. After I left, I still frequented the bookstores in the chain a lot, browsing shelves, checking out new titles, and catching up with old coworkers.

I’m in my old store. It’s in an area that has access to a number of posh neighborhoods. It’s been maybe three or four years since I left. The staff has gone through its sixth turnover, and only a small handful of employees that I worked with are still there. I’m in jeans and my university sweatshirt and I have my purse over my shoulder and my cell phone out with earbuds in, listening to metal music. I’m clearly a customer. There is no uniform here, just casual clothes with a lanyard that holds a name tag.

I’m perusing the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section and one of the employees, one that I don’t know, comes up to ask if I need any help. I say that I do, that I used to work there, and that I am looking for a couple more books. I tell him what type of books I like, and he recommends a few good titles. We end up chatting more about the genre in general, about the classic authors, etc. I thank him and he goes on his way, and I’m two books richer.

I move on to the Mystery section, putting my earbuds back in, and I pick up an empty basket to put my books in, when I feel it. The finger. That hard few pokes executed by a boney digit tipped with a long acrylic nail. Then the words.

Customer: “Excuuuuse me!”

I take out an earbud.

Me: “What?”

Customer: “That’s not how you greet a customer! So rude!”

Me: “Look who’s talking.”

Customer: “What did you say to me?”

Me: “What do you want? And I don’t work here, by the way.”

Customer: “You do, I heard you chatting with that other employee over there. I need this book.”

She presents her iPhone that indeed has a picture of a book.

Me: “I don’t work here, lady. Back the h*** up.”

Customer: “What did you say to me?! How dare you?! You’re required to help me! I’m a paying customer!”

Me: “I’m not required to do anything!”

I turn my back on her and move farther down the aisle, hoping she’ll take the hint. NOPE! Instead, she grabs the back of my hoodie and yanks me back.

Me: “What the f*** is your problem, lady?! I don’t work here! I’m in jeans and a sweatshirt! I have my purse! I was listening to music, for f***’s sake!”

Customer: “I know you work here. I’ve seen you here before working!”

Me: “I used to work here, years ago, but I don’t anymore, so back up!”

Customer: “You’re still obligated to help me! It’s part of your code!”

Me: *Pauses* “Say what?”

Customer: “Your code! You have to help me, or I’ll speak to your manager and get you banned and fined!”

I’m staring now at this lunatic and then at her husband with an “Is she serious?” look. He can’t even look at me.

Me: “Fine, do it. I’ll get a manager. Let’s see who gets in trouble.”

I flag down an employee and ask for a manager. When they ask why, I tell them we just need a manager. The employee shrugs, gets on their portable store phone, and calls for a manager, who comes over. This manager was here when I worked here and is known for not taking any crap.

Manager: “Hi, what seems to be the problem?”

The woman, of course, starts her spewing, yammering on about how I insulted her, called her names, and refused to assist her. She plays no tears, just rage.

Manager: “Ma’am, please, there is no need for that kind of language or that level of volume.” *Turns to me* “Miss, can you tell me what happened?”

I give him my version, trying to hide my smirk. The manager is staring at the woman now like she’s an idiot.

Manager: “Ma’am, she doesn’t work here. I can help you find your book, but you can’t go around harassing people, be they employee or customer, even if they used to work here.”

The woman says some other foul things.

Manager: “Ma’am, you have three choices. One, pipe down and I’ll help you out. Two, keep going and I’ll have you removed and banned. Or three, just leave. Your choice.”

The woman and the manager had a staring match that lasted a good fifteen seconds. Then, the woman left with a scowl, and the manager and I shared a small high-five.

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