That Question Is On Thin Ice

, | NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink

(I work in the cafe of a national chain bookstore, where customers can help themselves to free ice water at the condiments counter.)

Me: *tidying up the condiments*

Customer: “Excuse me. Is this real ice?”

Me: “…what’s fake ice?”

Going On A Mission To The Mission District

| San Francisco, CA, USA | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Geography, Language & Words, Religion

(Being in San Francisco, our store sometimes gets tourists, seeing as it’s local and family-run rather than a big chain. It’s a very slow day, and a couple walks in, identifiable as tourists from their southern accent.)

Customer: *walks up to me and begins speaking in Spanish, with a VERY heavy Anglophone accent*

Me: “Uhm… You can speak English if you’d like, ma’am.”

Customer: “Oh!” *seems pleasantly surprised* “I was just wondering, do you have any local Bibles?”

Me: “I could show you to our religious section, if you’d like?”

Customer: “No, no, I want a LOCAL Bible. I think the word is similar in Spanish. Your English is very good, by the way.”

Me: *somewhat confused* “Okay, I’ll show you a few from our selection.”

(I leave from behind the counter and take three different versions of the Bible from the shelf, and then come back to the lady.)

Me: *lays Bibles on the table* “Any of these?”

Customer: “No, no, I said LOCAL Bibles. These are in English.” *says something Spanish again*

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish. English is my native language. And I don’t know what you mean by ‘local’ Bibles.”

Customer: *getting upset* “You live in San Francisco; of course you speak Spanish. You don’t have any local Bibles?”

Me: *giving up on arguing with her* “Do you mean a Spanish-language Bible?”

Customer: “No, I mean a LOCAL Bible. We need it for our mission trip.”

(I leave the counter again and this time get a Spanish Bible, which I bring to her.)

Me: “Is this what you’re looking for?”

Customer: “YES! Finally. Gracias.”

(The rest of the transaction went normally, and she left with her husband.)

A Deception For The Books

| Victoria, BC, Canada | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers

(I am working in the children’s section of my bookstore. A father and his son, about five or six, come in and start browsing the books. I notice the child walk up to his dad with a rather expensive hardcover dinosaur book he had been reading.)

Child: *whispering* “Dad, I accidentally ripped a page in this book.”

(Sure enough, I look over to see a sizeable tear going half way up one page. The father turns his head and we make awkward eye contact where I give him a pained smile. Before I have the chance to say anything, he turns back to his son.)

Dad: “Well, buddy, that’s too bad, and you have to be more careful with things that aren’t yours. I guess we’re taking this home with us now.”

(Not expecting that level of decency, I am pleasantly surprised. The child, however, is not happy about this.)

Child: “What? No, I don’t want this one. I want another one!”

Dad: *shrugs* “Well, I’m sorry, but do you think any other kid is going to want this book now? We damaged it so we have to buy it.”

(The kid throws a bit of a fit but the father calmly repeats that they have to buy the book. They leave the section shortly after. I am really pleased with the father’s attitude, happy that he intends to pay for the book when many other parents would just cut and run. I tell a few coworkers about the customers and the incident lifts my spirits. However, half an hour later another coworker approaches me.)

Coworker: “Here, I just found this book wedged in the corner of my section behind a bunch of stuff.”

(To my dismay it’s the damaged dinosaur book! I guess either the child got his way in the end, or the father’s speech was all a show to fool me. Either way I was extremely unimpressed! We marked the book down to clearance and still no one wanted to buy it, just as the dad predicted!)

The Specific Lengths People Will Go To For Books

| Germany | Bizarre, Books & Reading, Home Improvement

(I overhear this exchange at my local bookstore:)

Customer: “I would like one metre of books, please.”

Saleslady: “Sorry?”

Customer: “I just got a new wall unit for my living room and it has a one metre shelf for books, so I would like to buy enough books to fill it.”

Saleslady: “No problem. What kind of books would you like?”

Customer: “Blue ones.”

Discount Is Not On The Books

| Atlanta, GA, USA | Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Money

(I work at a bookstore that has carts of bargain prices books for $1-3, mostly children and baby books, with the price listed on a big red and white sticker. A customer, with his daughter of about three to four, comes in with two of the books from the cart.)

Customer: “Hi, I’d like these two, please.”

Me: “Sure thing!” *I proceed to ring up the books: one, a small, flimsy story book for beginning readers at $1 and a small baby board book for $3* “Okay, that will be [total].”

Customer: “What?! That’s too much! Why aren’t they both a dollar?!”

Me: “Well, sir, the price is clearly labeled and set by our corporate office.”

Customer: “But this book for $3 is smaller than the $1 book! I want a discount!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t do that. The price on the book is the price. It’s already been discounted over 75% off, and I can’t discount it more.”

Customer: “Well, if you won’t discount it then I will take my business elsewhere!” *to his daughter* “Well, honey, it looks you can’t have these books because THIS man here doesn’t want you to have them!”

(Her face just drops as she looks at me and they leave the store.)

Coworker: *jokingly* “I can’t believe you! Breaking that little girls heart like that! But seriously, what the h***?!”

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