A Textbook Example Of Bad Textbook Shopping

, , , | | Right | June 22, 2019

(I work in a used bookstore, the type that’s mostly a paperback novel exchange.)

Customer: “Excuse me. Do you have any [Local College] books?”

Me: “You mean, textbooks used for classes at [Local College]?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “No, sorry, we don’t carry textbooks.”

Customer: “Do you know where I could get them?”

Me: “At the [Local College] bookstore.”

Customer: “Where is that?”

Me: “At [Local College].”

Mother Has Cut The Cord

, , , | | Right | June 21, 2019

(The vacuum cord at our bookstore only reaches halfway across the floor, so I have appropriated a giant, bright green extension cord from the supply closet. The extension cord has gotten kicked around a bit and is sticking out from behind my desk area. I hear a noise and turn around to find a very, very small child trying to pick up the extension cord, which is about the same size as he is. I’m sure he won’t be able to actually move it, but I’m slightly concerned he’ll get dirt all over his clothes, so I turn to him and say:)

Me: *cheerfully* “I don’t think that extension cord looks very fun to play with, dude.”

(His mother turns around, stifles a laugh, and says:)

Mother: “He thinks it must belong to him because it’s the same color as his shirt.”

(He gave up and toddled off a few seconds later. Most adorable supply thief ever.)

Ask Me Again And I’ll Tell You The Same

, , , , , , | | Learning | June 19, 2019

(I am working the textbook buyback at the end of the semester, which understandably makes the students grouchy when they get next to nothing for their expensive books. While I am sympathetic to their emotions, there are still regulations we have to follow when it comes to the condition of books we can accept. A customer approaches my counter, placing on the counter a textbook that has clearly been dropped in a puddle at some point. It is very obviously shriveled by water damage.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we won’t be able to take back this book.”

Customer: “Why? This was an expensive book!”

Me: “It’s got very obvious water damage. We’re not allowed to resell books to students if they’re in this kind of condition. I’m really sorry.”

Customer: “I’m not leaving without my money for this book.”

(At this moment the wholesale book representative, who helps during this time of year, sees the situation unfolding and steps in to help.)

Representative: “Ma’am, I overheard everything this employee said to you. They explained the university’s standards adequately when it comes to textbook condition.”

Customer: “I got it off the shelf like that!”

Representative: “While I personally don’t believe that, you have no way of proving it.”

Customer: “Here’s the receipt!”

Representative: “That just shows when you purchased the book at the beginning of the semester. And if you look at the bottom, it explains there the conditions on buying and reselling books in this store.”

Customer: “Wait, do you even work here? I’ve never seen you here before!”

Representative: “I’m a representative of the [Book Company], to help the student employees with any… difficulties that may arise during the buyback session.”

Customer: “I want to– No, I demand to talk to a manager who actually works here!”

Me: “Okay, I’ll go get the textbook manager.”

(I walk away from the counter, where the representative is still explaining the buyback conditions. I go into the office of the textbook department manager, where his desk is already stacked with books and paperwork. Apologizing for interrupting his backlog, I explain the situation. Sighing, he follows me back to the front of the store, where the customer and the representative are still arguing.)

Textbook Manager: “As my employee pointed out to you, and as the wholesale representative pointed out, we cannot take a book back in this condition.”

(To summarize, the customer goes on how she drove over 60 miles from her hometown to sell this book back to us. She tells us about some hardships in her life, which we feel sympathy for, but have no relevance to our refusing to take back a water-damaged book. She still insists she bought the book that way.)

Textbook Manager: “Is there anything else we can help you with?”

Customer: “I want to talk to your manager!”

Me: “I’m on it.”

(I make my way back to the bookstore manager, who not only oversees the textbook sales, but is also currently occupied by school apparel and memorabilia. Once again, I explain the situation. Groaning, he follows me up to the storefront.”

Bookstore Manager: “As my employee said, as the representative said, as my textbook manager said, and what I say is that our university policy prohibits us from accepting back a book in this poor of a condition. Plus, do you really think a student would buy something that’s like this?”

Customer: “I would!”

Bookstore Manager: “We refuse to take back this textbook.”

Customer: *some kind of noise*

Bookstore Manager: “No, ma’am, it’s non-negotiable. Now, unless there’s something else we can help you with, I’d like to ask you to leave the store.”

Customer: “I’m going to the president’s office to file a complaint against this store! You’re on notice!”

Bookstore Manager: “If that’s what you want to do, go ahead. Now, please leave the store.”

Customer: *more noise*

Bookstore Manager: “Ma’am, please don’t make me call university security to escort you out.”

Customer: “You know what? You can just f****** keep this book!”

(The customer tries to throw the textbook at us, but it falls onto the countertop and some pages fall out. Dumbfounded, we watch as the customer storms out of the store. She suddenly stops right outside the doors and turns around.)

Customer: “F*** you!”

(We never heard from the university president’s office. For the rest of my employment at the bookstore, this story would come up as an example for the new employees training for buyback. Apparently, even after I graduated, this was still a horror story the trainees would whisper to each other in the safety of the break room.)

Yes, That’s A Call For The Books

, , , , | | Right | June 18, 2019

(I work in an independently-owned textbook store. We only sell textbooks, and only specific textbooks that professors order through us. A LOT of people have a problem understanding this. It is in between semesters so we have very, very little in stock at the moment. A customer has called to check if a book is in stock.)

Customer: “Do you have this book, [Textbook]? Yes, please let me know if you have it in stock. Yes, it is [Textbook] by [Author].

Me: “Unfortunately, we do not have that in stock right now. Sorry.”

Customer: “Yes. Tell me where I will get this book. I need [Textbook] by [Author], edition number 10, from [year]. Yes, you will tell me where I can get this.”

Me: “Well, I know none of our other stores have it in stock right now. Did you try [Local College’s school store]?

Customer: “This business is closed for two days. Where else can I get this book, [Textbook]? Tell me where else.”

Me: “I’m not sure, sir. Have you tried [Other Big Box Store that sells textbooks]?”

Customer: “Yes. You want to help me because I am a customer, and so, yes you need to tell me where to get this book. Yes, you are ignoring me and you need to help me.”

Me: “Sir, I’m not ignoring you; I just don’t have thi—”

Customer: “I want to speak with your manager.”

Me: “I am the manager, sir.”

Customer: “No. I want to speak to a manager. You are ignoring me. Sometimes you people just ignore your customers, but I need this book and you need to help me because I am a customer and you should want to help me.”

Me: “Um… Did you try [Yet Another Big Box Store]?”

Customer: “Yes. Why are you not helping me?! I am your customer and you need to tell me where this book is.”

(He keeps interrupting me to rant on about how I am ignoring him and how he is my customer and needs this book and I should be helping him. I am obviously getting a bit irritated as, at this point, he is not technically MY customer and I have tried to help him as best I can, even suggesting the bigger stores that are running my company out of business.)

Customer: “Tell me if [College store that apparently is closed] has this for me.”

Me: “I can’t look that up for you, sir. You could try calling their other branch.”

Customer: “Yes, then tell me [Other Branch] has this book. Yes, you will do this.”

Me: “I can’t, sir; I don’t work there. You’d have to call them.”

Customer: “Yes, you need to help me because I am your customer. You need to help me and you are ignoring me. Yes, I need help to find this book!”

(He goes on and on and on like this. He won’t let me speak and when he does he seems to ignore what I just said and continue his rant. This has been about a ten-minute phone call by this point and I am fed up.)

Me: “Okay, thank you for calling. Have a great day!” *click*

Thought You Wouldn’t Have A Cat In Hell’s Chance

, , , , , | | Right | June 15, 2019

(A while back I briefly looked at a book on the “New Fiction” wall in a bookstore and decided I didn’t really want to get it. Fast forward a few months. I can’t get that book out of my mind. I go to the bookstore in search of it and have to ask one of the cashiers for help.)

Me: “I have possibly an impossible question.”

Cashier: “All right. Well, shoot, and I’ll see if I can help you out.”

Me: “Okay. A while ago I came in and saw a book, but the thing is I can’t remember what the name was, who it was by, or what it looked like. All I know is that it was on the ‘New Fiction’ wall and it was about a cat.”

Cashier: “Hmm… Yeah, that’s tough. Well, do you know when you saw it? I can search up keywords on the computer, but a date would be more helpful.”

Me: “I feel so bad. I have no idea when I saw it. A few months ago, maybe? Definitely before September last year.”

Cashier: “Um… Okay. Let’s try looking up from January to now and put a few keywords in. Let’s go with cats and fiction… All right, it looks like we’ve got twelve books that came up.”

Me: “Well, that’s a lot less than I had thought would come up.”

Cashier: *after cancelling out ten books that were about cat training and behavior* “How about this one? [Book] is about a cat who used to live with a lady, but one day the lady never returned. Instead, her daughter came and picked her up, along with packing up all her mother’s belongings, and now the cat has to try and fit into her new lifestyle.”

Me: “Wow. Yes, that’s it. You are wonderful. Thank you so much!”

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