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Choose Your Battles, Part 2

, , , , , , , , | Right | December 2, 2022

This remains the only encounter in the bookstore where I worked that I would not have believed happened if it hadn’t actually happened to me.

Customer: “You’re selling an offensive cookbook!”

Me: “What book are you referring to, ma’am?”

The customer brings up a rather standard-looking baking cookbook and shows me a recipe.

Customer: “See, here! It says, ‘apply liberally,’ when it says to add the cream!”

Me: “What is the problem with that, ma’am?”

Customer: “I’m an American and a Republican! This book is encouraging its readers to be liberal!”

Oh… my… God.

Me: “No, ma’am, that’s not what it means. It just means to be… uh… generous with the portions when adding the ingredient. It’s not a political statement.”

Customer: “I’m still offended! They could have used a million other words! I bet the cook is a liberal and a communist!”

My nearby manager swoops in and tells me to man the counter. I see him talk to the customer for a minute more. She nods solemnly and wanders off. My manager comes over to me, and I have to ask:

Me: “What did you say to her?”

Manager: “That I understood her complaint and that I would be writing to the publishing company myself to demand that they change the recipe to say, ‘apply patriotically,’ instead.”

Me: “And she believed that?”

Manager: “Sometimes you can only fight stupid with stupid.”

Related:
Choose Your Battles

She Would Like To Listen To Stone Hitting Stone To A Rhythm

, , , , , | Right | December 1, 2022

I’m working in the music section of a large bookstore. I notice a seemingly kind, gentle old woman who is wandering around aimlessly.

Me: “Do you need any help?”

She responds with a very abrasive no, so I leave her to it. About ten minutes later, she comes up to the register, very exasperated.

Customer: “Where can I find music from when music began?”

I don’t really understand what she means, so I ask her to go into more detail about what she is looking for.

Customer: “You know! Music from when music began.”

Me: “Well, ma’am, what do you mean exactly? Like classical music?”

Customer: “Music from when music began. Old music.”

Me: “Um… okay. Well, music has been around far longer than we’ve been able to record it. Do you want older, folky, Americana stuff, or classical music?”

Customer: “Music from when music began.”

Me: “Ma’am, humans have been making music since we were living in caves… Can you explain a little better?”

Customer: “I know what song I’m looking for. It’s called Boomerang Biscuit. It’s from when music began.”

I searched the database and Google trying to find this “Boomerang Biscuit” but found absolutely nothing even close to the song title. I asked her to describe what the song sounded like, and her description sounded very bluesy, so I took her to the blues section. We both just started scanning every CD in the blues section, trying to find something that even sounded like what she was looking for.

Finally, we came across this record.

Turns out “music from when music began” was actually just “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers.

Sadly, This Happens, And That’s The Gospel Truth

, , , , , | Right | November 29, 2022

Customer: “Do you sell the Bible here?”

Me: “Yes, we do. Which version would you like?”

Customer:The Bible.”

Me: “Yes, I understand. Which version?”

Customer: “The one Jesus wrote.”

Did They Seriously Walk Into A Bookstore And Say, “I’m Looking For A Book; It’s Blue”?

, , , , | Right | November 16, 2022

I work in a used bookshop in a small row of shops. We have a good selection of books available on the shop floor arranged in proper alphabetical order, and a large storage area where extra books are stored by surname initial letter only.

We have far too many books coming in several times a week to have the time to completely alphabetise the stock. We’re perfectly willing to go look in our storage if a customer wants a particular book. It’s important to note that the storage area for the shops is out the back (staff only) door, down a flight of steps, across the staff car park, and up another flight of steps to the storage units.

Customer: “I’m looking for a book I read years ago. I can’t find it on your shelves. Can you see if you’ve got any in the back?”

Me: “Sure! Which book are you looking for?”

Customer: “It’s by Stephen King.”

Me: “Okay, what’s the title?”

Customer: “I’m not sure.”

I know there is a HUGE number of Stephen King books in the storage.

Me: “He’s written a lot of books. Can you remember anything at all about the title? Or what the book is about?”

Customer: “No, but I’m sure the cover was dark blue. Or black. It was really good.”

Me: “Okay, was it about a person? Or animal? Can you remember anything at all?”

Customer: “It was a horror story. I do remember that, but that’s about it.”

Me: “Sorry, but without a title, I’m not going to be able to find it. He really has written a lot of books.”

Customer: “Can you bring them all up here and I can look through them?”

Me: *Pauses* “No, sorry. There are several boxes worth.”

Customer: “Well, this is terrible service!”

I checked later, and at a rough guess, there were around thirty crates of books stored under K, and I’d guess around a quarter of those were Stephen King! Sorry, but I’m not carrying seven crates of books into the shop so you can buy ONE and then carrying them all back again!

And What Happens When You Assume? Part 2

, , | Right | November 5, 2022

In the spring of 1995, the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II, I worked in a bookstore, and we were drenched — FLOODED — with books about Norway and the war. Mostly it was about the resistance work and glorified local history.

Right before the eighth of May, I was working, and an old man with a grumpy countenance entered the store. My more experienced colleagues got mysteriously busy or scarce when they saw him, but I greeted him politely.

Me: “Can I be of any assistance?”

Customer: *Barking* “I want to see your books about The War!”

I showed him our table with a vast amount of books on display. He busied himself, looking at the books and grunting and exclaiming to himself. I hovered nearby, ready to be of assistance.

After a small eternity, he shut a book with a loud crack, making me jump. He looked me over and exclaimed:

Customer: “You don’t know how lucky you are, young man, to have grown up in peace and to never have experienced war!”

I nibbled on the bait by replying:

Me: “Oh, I have an idea about what it’s like, actually.”

This led to a guffaw and a condescending reply.

Customer: “Oh, I’m sure you’ve read about it, but you’ll never know the horror of living in a country at war!”

Me: “Actually, sir, I came back from a year as a UN soldier in Bosnia about six months ago, so…”

He shrunk, squeaked out a timid, “Oh!”, and practically ran out the door. My colleagues burst out laughing.

It turns out this guy, an insufferable braggart, had elevated himself to the position of Local Resistance Hero. He’d joined the resistance movement in January 1945, and his contribution to the war effort? Hiding a shotgun from the Germans. This action made him the local hero. He arranged guided tours to the Shotgun Hiding Spot and went to schools to talk about his experiences at length.

He pointedly avoided me after that.

Related:
And What Happens When You Assume?
Remember What Happens When You Assume
What’s That Saying About What Happens When You Assume?
What Happens When You Assume