The Book Thief

, , , , | Right | March 31, 2020

(While browsing at a bookstore, I am vaguely aware of a man at the other end of the aisle of shelves. A bookstore employee passes the aisle and pauses on my end.)

Employee: “You need to put those books back on the shelf right now.”

(I stare at her, but as she sounds deadly serious, I begin to put the book I am looking at back on the shelf. Then, I notice she is looking past me at the other customer.)

Employee: “Sir, you need to put those books back. This minute.”

(Her voice is IRON. The man pauses and then pulls a paperback out of his shirt and sheepishly sets it back on the shelf.)

Employee: All of them.”

(Two more paperbacks are pulled out of the man’s shirt and reshelved. The man goes past sheepish into anxious, as the employee is glaring murderously at him.)

Man: “I’m really sorry.”

Employee: “Not as sorry as I’m going to be marking those books as damaged returns. Leave the store.”

Man: “But I was going to—”

Employee: “Leave now, and I will not tell my manager that I watched you jam three books under your shirt.”

(The man almost runs toward the exit. The employee watches until he is gone, sighs, and refocuses on me.)

Employee: “Can I help you find anything?”

Me: “Your iron will?”

Employee: “I was a librarian for five years. He’s lucky I didn’t peer over my glasses at him; he would have melted.”

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Unfiltered Story #190987

, , | Unfiltered | March 30, 2020

(Customer walks in talking on phone and just places her credit card on the counter.)

Me: “Excuse me.”

(Customer continues talking on the phone, reaches beneath the counter, and puts some gum on the counter.)

Me: “I’m sorry, there’s a line just over there.”

Customer: “Hold on…” (Customer puts away phone, turns back to look at the line and gives an exasperated sigh.) “Can’t you just help me? I’m in a rush and need my gum.”

The Back-Track Of Notre Dame

, , , , , | Right | March 24, 2020

(This story takes place in 2008, right in the middle of the recession. I am luckier than most and am working retail to help put myself through grad school, rather than a lot of the under-employment situations going on at the time.)

Customer: *notices my class ring as I’m bagging her purchase* “Did you go to Notre Dame?”

Me: *proudly* “Yes, I graduated last year!”

Customer: *with a snobby smirk* “And you ended up working here?!

Me: *hands her her bag* “I’m just working my way through grad school, ma’am. Not that I owe you an explanation. You’re really going to judge a recent grad for taking a retail job in the middle of a recession?”

(I got a talking-to for sassing a customer, but she deserved it!)

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Fans Like You Are Why They Have Pen Names

, , , , | Right | March 22, 2020

(A customer approaches me holding a copy of a popular author’s latest book.)

Customer: “So, [Author] is a pen name, right? Where can I find books under her real name?”

Me: “No, ma’am, that is [Author]’s true name, although she does write under several pen names. Those would be [list of several alternate names].”

Customer: “No, no, no! Not those, her real name! It’s right here in the back of the book, real small. See?” 

(She turns the book around so I can see the inside of the back cover, pointing at the photo of the author.) 

Me: “I assure you, I’ve met [Author]. She’s a lovely person and her name really is [Author].”

(That’s when I realize the customer is pointing at the tiny printing under the photo.) 

Me: “Ma’am, that’s the name of the photographer who took the picture.”

Customer: *stomping away angrily* “No, you’re just being stupid! I’m going to the library! They’ll know that’s her real name and get me her other books!”

(My sympathies to the librarian.)

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Merry Christmas. NOT!

, , , , | Working | March 20, 2020

(I’ve been working at this particular bookstore for about eight years now as a part-time person just for extra money. I ask my boss in August if there is a chance for me to get off for Christmas, because I’ve been there so long and I’m planning a family holiday in Florida. She tells me as long as I get it in before the end of August that will be fine and I can have it off. Therefore, I put it in as we are talking about it and think nothing of it; she said it would be approved so I’m not worried. I then buy non-refundable tickets to Florida over that week in September, reminding my boss again before I purchase them. She tells me, “Yes, you should have it off.” Then, the first week of November, my time off goes straight to denied; our system is set up that you can’t accept the time off requests until it’s about four weeks out. I come in after my day off to find that it is denied, no explanation. I find my manager that said it would be approved and ask her what’s going on. She basically tells me that I will be scheduled regardless of my time off request because it’s Christmas and I cannot expect that I would be able to take the whole week off.)

Me: “You told me that if I got it in by the end of August, I would be able to have it off. I work all the time and I bought non-refundable tickets to Florida.”

Manager: “I never once approved you taking off that whole time. I told you it was completely up in the air.”

Me: “I bought the tickets in September, and before I bought them I reminded you of this and you said it would be no problem.”

Manager: “Well, we have to have you.”

Me: “I’m going to be out of state.”

Manager: “Well, I guess the best thing is that you call in every day that you are scheduled and let us know because we will be scheduling you.”

Me: “Okay, then.”

(So, basically, because I show up early and take over shifts when others won’t, I’m going to get punished? I was already close to getting out of this job and this is just making it that much easier for me.)

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