Last Name Blame

, , , , | Right | November 14, 2019

(I work in a large bookstore. I’m shelving books under W in fiction. A man is sharing the aisle with me, pacing back and forth and looking more and more agitated. Finally, he realizes I’m not browsing and turns to me angrily.)

Customer: “This place is a mess!”

Me: *glancing around my spotless section* “Uh, if you’re looking for something specific, I’d be happy to help you. I know the books get shuffled out of order sometimes.”

Customer: “What the h*** kind of system do you even use to organize these things?!”

Me: *bewildered* “We sort the books alphabetically by author.”

Customer: “Well, you suck at it! Look at this: Sophie, Ian, Valerie, Ryan! WHAT KIND OF ORDER IS THAT?!”

Me: “Books are sorted by the author’s last name, sir.” *pointing at random shelf* “Wells, Wilkinson, Willins, Willis—”

(The customer looks at the shelf closely in silence for twenty seconds. His face slowly slumps into horrified shame.)

Customer: “I, uh… I don’t buy books much.”

(And then he fairly ran out of the store. I never saw him again.)

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Where There’s Smoke, There’s Incompetence  

, , , , , , | Working | November 14, 2019

(I work at my college bookstore. We’re a central location and people often come to ask for assistance not related to the bookstore. I am working on my own when this happens, but two of my coworkers are there killing time between classes.)

Student: “Uh, hey, you know that cigarette thing outside? I think it’s on fire.”

Me: *thinking this is outside my pay grade* “Oh, okay, thanks. I’ll call someone.”

(After conferring with my coworkers and peeking out the window, we determine it is a small, manageable fire at the bottom of one of those tall ashtrays )

Coworker: “Okay, I have a bottle of water. We’ll go put it out while you watch the store”

(My two coworkers then proceed to run full speed out of the store screaming:) 


(I watch out the window as they empty the water bottle into the smoldering cigarette bin and a huge cloud of smoke erupts out of it)

Coworkers: *running back in, panicked* “Oh, God, I think we made it worse. This is not okay!

Me: “Uh, yeah, it may be time to hang up your fireman’s hat. I’m going to call maintenance…”

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How Can I Offend Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

, , , , , | Friendly | November 14, 2019

(My best friend’s thirteen-year-old sister has autism. I stop at a bookstore to find a book for her. My best friend, his sister, and I get out of the car.)

Customer: “Hey!”

(We look up as we enter the store. This customer is coming toward us, clearly angry. He slaps my best friend in the face.)

Best Friend: “What the h*** was that for?!”

Customer: “Oh, so, you act all innocent? I know what you’re doing.”

Best Friend: “Dude, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Customer: “Parking in the disabled space, you piece of s***! You really think you wouldn’t get caught eventually?”

Me: “It’s a mistake.”

Customer: “D*** right, it’s a f****** mistake! You aren’t disabled!”

Me: “So, people with autism aren’t allowed in handicapped spaces because they don’t look disabled?”

Customer: “Oh, f*** off!”

Best Friend: “My sister has autism.”

(The customer looks at my sister, who’s looking off in another direction.)

Customer: “Nice rack.”

Me: “I’m getting security. She’s thirteen.”

Customer: “Nice rack. I’d have her if she wasn’t [ableist slur].”

(Security arrested him and we got on with shopping another day.)

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Unfiltered Story #177688

, , | Unfiltered | November 14, 2019

It’s a busy Saturday afternoon at a now out of business bookstore chain. I’m helping out on the registers during a rush. A customer comes up to pick up something on reserve. As I pick the item up from the reserve shelf, a heavier item beside it falls over and lands on my fingers. Mind, the first thing I want to do is drop a couple of F-bombs, as it really bloody hurt.

Me *through teeth clenched in pain*: “Expletive deleted. Expletive deleted. Expletive deleted.”

Everyone at the register got a chuckle out of it, and I got a chance to swear without actually swearing.

Unfiltered Story #177686

, , , | Unfiltered | November 14, 2019

(A few years ago, I moved to the United States from Russia. I wasn’t very fluent in English, but I knew enough to be mostly understood. I was a customer in a bookstore looking at language dictionaries and books. A large man in his early fifties walked up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder)

Man: *Raises voice* “Are you a russky?”

(I felt intimidated as he was acting aggressive, I was a much smaller man than he was.)

Me: “I am Russian.”

Man: “What do you think you’re doing?”

Me: “Buying books?”

Man: *He is obviously angry at this point* “What should you be doing?”

Me: “Buying books?”

Man: “No. Get out. You don’t deserve to be here, trying to steal good men’s jobs.”

(I didn’t know how to respond until a female employee walks up to us)

Employee: *In Russian* “Is everything okay, sir?”

Me: *In Russian* “I don’t know what to do.”

Employee: *Turning to man and switching to English* “What’s the problem?”

Man: “You need to make him leave. He doesn’t belong in our country.”

Employee: “Sorry sir, but now we’re going to have to ask you to leave. We do not tolerate discrimination here.”

Man: “Seriously? You’re letting this red shop here? Only real Americans should be allowed here.”

Employee: “If you haven’t noticed, there’s a picture of the owner right next to the door. He is Armenian. Like I said, you need to leave.”

(He left very angrily, slamming his fists on books and the door. I made a new friend who helped lead me in the right direction.)