Can’t Buy The Seedy CD

| TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Musical Mayhem

(I’m a music team lead at a branch of a major chain of bookstores. We’re located in a shopping square in a rich neighborhood. Because of our location and the level of attempted theft we’ve seen, our music, DVDs, audio-books, and e-readers have been placed in a separate section with EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) scanners. Leads been instructed not to allow items in the section onto the book floor without having been checked out, and to put the EAS sound over other customers, as the customers get it and it’s usually a check-out misunderstanding. We are to use our best judgment on who we allow in and out of the section. This particular late night, there’s a homecoming dance at a nearby high school. It’s also best to mention I play piano and guitar at a restaurant down the street two nights a week.)

Me: *having been assisting a customer and heard the EAS sound off* “Excuse me, sir, if you’re still shopping I can hold your CDs here for you until you’re ready to check out.”

Young Customer: *dressed up in a tailored suit* “No, that’s okay. My mom’s just waiting for me at the front.” *starts to leave again*

Me: “I understand. Unfortunately, we have to keep all CDs and films in this section until they’re checked out. Are you ready to purchase?”

Young Customer: “No, I just want to show this to my mom.” *the CDs are by a classic rock group with PG-suggested labels on the fronts*

Me: “I can hold the CDs here for you while you go get her.”

Young Customer: *progressively getting louder* “But she’s just right there!”

Me: “Sir, store policy is we can not allow product beyond this point without a receipt.”

Young Customer: “This is bull-s***! I’m back here all the time! Your store should know that I’m a good kid!! My mom knows I’m a good kid!”

Me: *beyond annoyed but still professional, having quietly paged for the manager on duty* “Sir, I need you to lower your voice, please. As I’ve stated, you can show them to her. You would just need to bring her back here.”

Young Customer: “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You’re new and already know everything, don’t you?!”

Me: “I’ve worked here for over a year, sir, and our policy’s been the same.”

Young Customer: “Just because I’m a teenager doesn’t mean I’m a thief! I’ll have my dad sue for unlawful discrimination!”

(My manager, a friend and fellow musician, arrives and I explain the situation.)

Manager: “Unfortunately, sir, she’s correct. I can accompany you to find your mother while she holds the CDs for you.”

Young Customer: “My dad’s a lawyer! He won’t stand for this sh***y place staying open after this!”

Mother: *having finally heard the ruckus* “What did he do thi— Oh, hello, [My Name]! How’re you doing? Will you be playing tomorrow night?”

Me: *recognizing her as a frequent patron of the restaurant* “Yes, ma’am. Looking forward to it. Is this your son?”

Mother: *clearly just as annoyed as me* “I said I wouldn’t buy those CDs for you! They’re not appropriate for your age! Now give them to the young woman and get your butt in the car.”

Young Customer: *blushes heavily, stammers, then finally leaves with his apologetic mom*

Manager: “He’ll never show his face back here again.”

Me: “If he does, I’ll change the in-store playlist to Buddy Guy. That oughta keep ‘im out.”

What A Bunch Of Oxy-Morons

| USA | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

(A woman and her husband come up to the customer service counter.)

Woman: “Where is your non-fiction section?”

(Since ‘non-fiction’ ranges from cookbooks to field guides to history and beyond, I have no idea how to respond, so I stare at her for a moment before answering.)

Me: “Well, most of the store is non-fiction. What kind of book are you looking for?”

Woman: “It’s a non-fiction book about some people.”

Me: “Yes. What kind? Is it a biography or maybe true crime?”

Woman: “No, it’s just a non-fiction book about some people. My friend told me it was good. I’m in a book club.”

Husband: “Don’t you just have a non-fiction section?”

Woman: “It’s a non-fiction novel about some people!”

(‘Non-fiction novel’ is an oxymoron. I have to explain what nonfiction is, and she continues to insist that she just needs me to point her to the non-fiction section. She doesn’t have a title, author, or even a general description beyond it being about some people. She is convinced that if I take her to the ‘non-fiction section,’ she’ll find it. Finally, I try to politely end the conversation, because this is pointless.)

Me: “Well, I’m really not sure where to point you, since we’re already standing in a non-fiction section. Do you have any idea what or who the book is about?”

Husband: *looking confused and defeated* “It’s just a non-fiction book… it’s about people.”

Woman: “Maybe I should go get more information from my friend.”

Doesn’t Understand The ‘Customer’ Part Of Customer Service

| UK | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

Me: “Hello, [Store]. This is [My Name] speaking. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, so I purchased a print of [artwork] from your website and the quality isn’t very good because of the size. I want to return it.”

Me: “I’m sorry you’re not happy with your print. As you may have noticed when you made your purchase, although we offer prints on our website they are all custom orders made and shipped by [Different Company]. We simply supply the copyright for the image. You will need to contact the returns department for [Different Company].”

Caller: “Yeah, I know they’re made by [Different Company]. I’ve called them just about every day this week to make the return. The woman in the call centre said she’s waiting to hear back from the head of the department, and they still haven’t gotten back to me yet!”

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear about that, sir. Hopefully they will get back to you soon. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Caller: “Um, yeah! This return! I want to return it; it’s no good.”

Me: “Sir, as we just discussed, [Bookstore] does not make the prints; [Different Company] does. They will process your return.”

Caller: “But it’s on your website!”

Me: “Yes, but we contract [Different Company] to fulfill the custom orders. We at [Bookstore] cannot refund something that we do not make, stock, or ship.”

Caller: *nearly screaming* “But [Different Company]’s customer service is terrible! What are you going to do about it?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have no control over the customer service of another company.”

Caller: *now yelling* “You should care about how other companies treat your customers! YOU promoted [Different Company]. YOU should make them have better customer service! Now I want my return!”

Me: *finally fed up* “Sir, I don’t know how else I can explain this. [Bookstore] does not make the prints. [Different Company] does. They shipped your order to you, not us, and you must return it back to them. We have over 1200 products in our store from hundreds of different companies, and if you purchased any of them IN OUR STORE, and not a customer order from a third party, you could return them here. But you cannot return something that we have never had!”

Caller: “You should still care more about how other companies treat your customers!” *hangs up*

Bags Of Common Sense

| USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Family & Kids

(The bookstore where I work has recently switched bag printers, and there has been a delay getting the new bags. As a result we have run out of plastic bags to put purchases in. We have signs on the front door letting customers know. An older man and his son come up to the counter with a stack of about six books. I ring them up.)

Customer: “Where’s my bag?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we are out of bags.”

Customer: “How the h*** am I supposed to get my books out to the car?!”

Customer’s Son: “Dad, you carried them all over the store and up here to the register. You can carry them ten feet to the car.”

(I was so glad he said it so I didn’t have to!)

Wish You Could Throw The Book At Him

| Sydney, NSW, Australia | Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

Customer: “Do you have [Title]?”

Me: “No, we don’t; I’m sorry. It doesn’t look like we can order it in either.”

Customer: “Really?”

Me: “Yeah. Usually in these cases it’s something to do with copyright or publishing laws, and you can’t buy it anywhere in Australia. You may be able to order it online from overseas, but I think you’ll probably have trouble buying it in store.”

Customer: “So would the bookshop upstairs have it?”

Me: “Probably not, but you can give them a go.”

(The guy leaves and comes back about 15 minutes later.)

Me: “Hi again, how did you go?”

Customer: “They didn’t have it, but they said I could get it from some place called ‘Book Depository.'”

Me: “Oh, yeah, that’s a website based in England.”

Customer: “So can you order it from there?”

Me: “You mean, me personally?”

Customer: “Great. How much is it?”

Me: “Oh, no, we can’t do it through the store. I’ll write down the website for you though and you can do it when you get home.”

Customer: “I don’t have a computer.”

Me: “The library is just across the road. You can see if they have it and if not you can use one of their computers.”

Customer: “Why can’t you just do it for me? Don’t you call people to tell them when their books come in?”

Me: “We do that when we’re selling the book. Book Depository is another company. They’re our competition. Doing that would be like me buying a book from the shop upstairs and calling you to tell you it’s come in.”

Customer: “But the shop upstairs didn’t have it.”

Me: “…It would be like me doing your supermarket shopping for you.”

Customer: “Do you think they’d have the book?”

Me: *trying not to slap the guy in the face* “No, my point was that they’re a different company. We can’t do your shopping for you, especially when it’s our competition and I would have to order it for you personally and with my own money.”

Customer: “Great! Let’s do that!”

Me: “…”

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