Last Name Blame

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2019

(I work in a large bookstore. I’m shelving books under W in fiction. A man is sharing the aisle with me, pacing back and forth and looking more and more agitated. Finally, he realizes I’m not browsing and turns to me angrily.)

Customer: “This place is a mess!”

Me: *glancing around my spotless section* “Uh, if you’re looking for something specific, I’d be happy to help you. I know the books get shuffled out of order sometimes.”

Customer: “What the h*** kind of system do you even use to organize these things?!”

Me: *bewildered* “We sort the books alphabetically by author.”

Customer: “Well, you suck at it! Look at this: Sophie, Ian, Valerie, Ryan! WHAT KIND OF ORDER IS THAT?!”

Me: “Books are sorted by the author’s last name, sir.” *pointing at random shelf* “Wells, Wilkinson, Willins, Willis—”

(The customer looks at the shelf closely in silence for twenty seconds. His face slowly slumps into horrified shame.)

Customer: “I, uh… I don’t buy books much.”

(And then he fairly ran out of the store. I never saw him again.)

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