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Not So Book-Smart, Part 2

, , , | Right | September 10, 2019

(This is several years ago, back when there were two major booksellers, both beginning with B.)

Customer: “I need to return this book.”

(I take the book and look at it. It was purchased at the other major bookseller; it even has the price sticker with the other store’s name on it still on the back.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we can’t accept this return. This book is—”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Ma’am, this book is from [Other Bookseller]. We can’t accept a return that wasn’t purchased here.”

Customer: “There is no way you could know that!”

(I flip the book and show her the price sticker from the other store. She stares at it for a minute, then grabs the book out of my hands, peels the sticker off, jams it in her pocket, and hands the book back to me triumphantly.)

Customer: “There!”

Me: “We still cannot accept this return.”

Customer: “But now there’s no proof that it didn’t come from here!”

Me: “Ma’am, I watched you take that sticker off. I know this book is from [Other Bookseller], and I am not going to endanger my job taking a return that we both know you did not purchase from us. There is a branch of [Other Bookseller] literally across the street, and you can return this book there.”


(I call the manager. He comes over, and the customer tells him that I’m maliciously refusing her return, never mentioning where she purchased the book originally. Then:)

Customer: “…and I even have a receipt proving that I’m within the return timeframe!”

Manager: “Great. May I see it, please?”

(She hands him the receipt. The receipt that has [Other Bookseller]’s name and logo written in large letters across the top.)

Manager: “Ma’am, perhaps you didn’t remember that this book is from [Other Bookseller]?”

Customer: “I… well… You both sell books! You should both work together!”

Manager: “Ma’am, you wouldn’t try and return a shirt you bought at [Retailer #1] to [Retailer #2], would you?”


(She tried to argue for a few more minutes, but my manager shut her down, and she left with her book. I wonder if she ever crossed the street and tried to return it.)

Not So Book-Smart

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