His Expertise Is A Work Of Fiction

, , , | Right | March 3, 2021

I work at a large chain bookstore.

Customer: “Excuse me, I’m looking for the book Island.”

Me:Island by…?”

I’m silently thinking he’s a dumba** because there’re a million books with the word “island” in their titles.

Customer: “Aldous Huxley, obviously.”

He rolls his eyes. I just nod and smile and look for said book in our system.

Me: “Okay, we might have one copy. Give me one moment to look for it.”

I walk off to find it and the customer proceeds to follow me.

Customer: “Yeah, he’s an awesome sci-fi writer. One of the best. If you can just show me where that section is, I know I can find it faster than you.”

Me: “Oh, REALLY?

I fake looking impressed. The customer looks smug

Customer: “Yeah.”

Me: “Okay.”

I walk over to general fiction and find the book and hand it to him.

Me: “Here you go.”

The customer looks shocked.

Customer: “Oh, it’s in fiction.”

Me: “Yeah.”

Customer: *Looking hurt* “It should be in sci-fi.”

Me: “Yeah, I mean what does [Bookstore Chain] know about books, anyway?”

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Baja Backroom Blah Blah

, , , , | Right | February 25, 2021

While I usually just handle the inventory, I occasionally deal with customers in the morning and answer the phone when we’re short-staffed.

Me: “[Bookstore], how can I help you?”

Caller: “Hey. I’m looking for a travel guide to Baja, but the latest edition doesn’t come out until February. Do you guys get things in before the official release date?”

I am thinking she’s probably asking if it’s a hard restriction, which it is, or whether she can reserve a copy.

Me: “Yep, we’re just not allowed to sell them before the release date.”

Caller: “What about a backroom deal?”

Me: “Ma’am, are you asking me to illegally sell you a book?”

Caller: *Very cheerfully* “Yes!”

I ended up having to explain to her that we could get in VERY serious legal trouble with the publishers if we sold a book before its release date. She was very polite but seemed shocked that there would actually be serious consequences for breaking the rules.

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Some People Are A Real Mystery

, , , , | Right | February 23, 2021

I am browsing the mystery section of a used bookstore and I pick up a book by an author I really like. The lady browsing beside me takes notice of the book I’ve picked up: a cozy mystery about a member of a knitting club being accused of murder. I should point out that I am twenty-two years old. I am also barely five feet tall and have what I call “baby cheeks,” making me appear younger.

The lady speaks to me as though speaking to a small child.

Lady: “Oh, sweetie, you don’t want that book. That book’s for big girls.”

I look around for a little girl, see no one else in that section, and realize that she is talking to me.

Me: “Uh, excuse me?”

Lady: “That book you’re holding. I know it has cute little kitties on the cover, but it’s a grown-up book. I’ve read it, and it’s full of mean people and scary things.”

I am completely dumbfounded. I have often been mistaken for a teenager, but a little kid? That’s a new one. It really doesn’t help that I am wearing a low-cut top and have rather large breasts. I don’t know how she could have missed that.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m twenty-two. Besides, I’ve read the other books in the series, and—”

Lady: “Do you want me to take you to the children’s section? You’ll find lots of great books there!”

The worst part is that I can tell that this lady is sincere; she seems to genuinely believe that I am a small child. I’m so confused that I don’t even react when she takes the book out of my hands, puts it back on the shelf, and takes a few steps away, trying to get me to follow her. I finally snap out of it, still wondering if I’ve somehow entered the Twilight Zone, and grab the book again.

The lady smiles like I’m an adorable toddler.

Lady: “Ah, sweetie—”

I had meant to look around some more, but at this point, I just want to get my book and get out. I fast-walk to the checkout, the lady following me the whole way, chastising me even as I pay! I don’t know what my face looks like, but it must be enough for the cashier to have some idea of what is going on. I should also mention that the cashier is a pretty big guy.

Cashier: *Leaning in and whispering* “Want me to block the door?”

Me: *Relieved* “Thank you.”

I slipped a few dollars in the tip jar and bolted the moment he gave me my book and receipt. I got in my car as fast as I could. I saw the cashier watching me, the crazy lady still trying to get past him. He didn’t move until my car left the parking lot. Thank you, cashier, for saving me from whatever that was. I did enjoy the book, by the way.

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Making That Kind Of Display Does Not Do Favors For Your Display

, , | Right | February 18, 2021

I’m at a chain bookstore, browsing a section near the door where an employee is arranging a display of the biography of a famous former football player and coach, which just came out. Said former football player recently thought it was funny to say, “Sieg Heil,” after an interview between a journalist and a German-speaking football trainer which was broadcast during a football-themed talk show where he was one of the guests.

What this has done for his popularity is evidenced by the following exchange between the bookstore employee and a man who notices the display upon entering the store.

Customer: “I really don’t think you should have those out, not after what that guy said on TV.”

Employee: “Corporate decides on our displays, sir. But to be honest, you’re not the first person to make a remark like that.”

I don’t think that biography is going to sell well anytime soon.

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No, Thanks, We’ve Already Got Enough

, , , , , | Working | February 17, 2021

It’s my second day as a bookseller at a large chain bookstore. Right now, we have an event where, when a customer makes a purchase, they can also buy a small paperback children’s book, which the store keeps (with a gift receipt) and then donates to children in need. We’re supposed to ask customers if they would like to donate a book to a child in our county.

I’ve just finished training on the register and a customer approaches. My manager tells me to check him out, so I do.

Me: “Okay, your total is [total]. Would you like to donate a child to… Wait…”

The customer chuckles, and I take a moment to figure out where that sentence went wrong and correct it before finishing the transaction.

Later, I tell my mom about it.

Mom: “There were a few times when you were younger where I would’ve liked to donate a child!” 

Thanks, Mom.

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