Salvation For The Bookstore

, , , , , | Right | November 22, 2018

(An older gentleman approaches me.)

Customer: “You have any sex books? Sex magazines?”

(Since we’re in a government-owned building, we’re cautious in our merchandise selection.)

Me: “No.”

Customer: *looks a trifle disappointed, then asks* “How about Bibles?”

Me: “Oh, sure, we’ve got a whole ‘Bible studies’ section.”

(I showed him where that was; alas, he didn’t buy anything.)

Getting Booked Into Jail

, , , , , | Right | November 19, 2018

(Years ago I worked in a bookstore, which is now gone. For this part of the story, I’m shelving books while pulling a cart along behind me.)

Customer: “Get out of here!”

(I ignore this.)

Customer: “Did you hear me? I said get out of here!”

(I look around and see a woman who appears to be homeless sitting in a chair at the end of the aisle. She’s glaring at me.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m shelving books. I’m doing my job.”

Customer: “I don’t care! Get out of this section! I don’t want you near me!”

Me: “Then you’re welcome to move, ma’am, but I have a job to do. I’m going to be shelving this section for the next hour, whether you like it or not.”

Customer: “I was here first! LEAVE RIGHT NOW!”

(I calmly turn away from her and shelve the book in my hand. She jumps to her feet and advances on me:)


Me: “You are in a bookstore, ma’am, and you cannot ‘claim’ any part of our business as your own personal spot.”

(The manager steps around the corner and gets between us.)

Manager: “Ma’am, we allow you to come in from the cold and sit during business hours. We don’t mind that. But we will not tolerate you harassing employees or other customers. This is not your space, and if you cannot be civil, we will remove you from the premises.”

(The woman mutters to herself and chooses to ignore me for the rest of the time I’m shelving. Fast forward to closing time.)

Manager #2: “[My Name], someone went into the bathroom ten minutes ago. Please go chase her out.”

(Since he’s a guy and I’m a girl, I don’t question being asked to clear out the women’s room. But then he says:)

Manager #2: “Make sure she leaves, and don’t let her stall. Be rude if you have to. She’s tried to hide in the bathrooms after closing several times.”

(When I open the door, it’s the same woman, and she has a whole bunch of personal belongings with her. She’s washing her hands, and she has bathroom toiletries lined up around her at the basin.)

Me: “Ma’am, we closed ten minutes ago. Please gather up your things and head to the front door.”

Customer: “I’m not done!”

Me: “Actually, you are. We’re closed, and you need to leave.”

Customer: *fuming* “Fine! But you don’t have to stand in the door.”

Me: “Yes, clearly I do.”

(I stare pointedly at her array of items, which would take her a considerable amount of time to go through one by one.)

Customer: “No, you don’t! Go away! I’ll leave when I’m finished!”

Me: “Ma’am, you can either gather up your belongings and walk out the door, or we can call the police. You cannot stay here, and I have no intention of leaving you alone until you walk out the front doors.”

Customer: “You wouldn’t dare call the cops on me! I’m not leaving until I’m done!”


Manager #2: “GOT IT!”

Customer: “How dare you?!”

(She snatches up her things and shoves them roughly into her bag, then storms by me to the info desk, where [Manager #2] is currently on the phone with the police. She berates him loudly for our rudeness, disrespect, and discrimination against her because she’s homeless, either not paying attention or not caring that the dispatcher on the other end can hear every screamed word. When she pauses for breath, the manager taps the speakerphone button and asks:)

Manager #2: “Did you get that?”

Dispatcher: “Yes, sir, I did. Patrol is roughly a minute away.”

(The woman froze and her eyes went wide, as if she finally realized that we weren’t bluffing, and then she spun on her heel and rushed to the door, where [Manager #1] was waiting to lock her out. A patrol car pulled in even as she stood a few feet from the door, screaming about how she was going to call corporate on us for humiliating her. In the end, she was banned from our store, and both managers sent a message to corporate explaining what happened. Since I never heard anything more, I assume the problem ended there.)

Put Your Bags In The Euro Trash

, , | Right | November 17, 2018

(It’s October. I’ve just finished ringing up a customer’s order which comes to €60.)

Customer: “Do you have bags?”

Me: “Yes, we do. You can either get a small plastic bag for ten cents, a large plastic bag for twenty cents, or a canvas bag for €1.”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Y-yes. We had to start charging a small fee for our plastic bags in April. It’s a negotiated environmental agreement with the trade association.”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “I am really sorry, but yes. All our stores now charge for plastic bags. We also sell pretty canvas bags for anything between €3.95 and €7.95, if you want something more fancy?”

Customer: “But it’s raining.”

Me: “Well, all your books are still shrink-wrapped. And as I said, I can sell you a plastic bag, and if you don’t like plastic bags I can offer you a canvas bag for €1.”

Customer: “But I just spent €60.”

Me: “Yes. But unfortunately, we still need to charge for our plastic bags. You can reuse them. If you put them in your coat pocket, you can just use them again next time, and then you won’t have to buy a bag every time you shop here.”

Customer: “Do you really think I will ever shop here again?”

(The customer left, without his books which he had just paid 60 for, and without his receipt.)

Her Brain Is Made Of Cream

, , , , , | Right | November 14, 2018

(I work in the cafe that sits inside of a large bookstore. A woman approaches my register and purchases a small cup of medium roast coffee with some pumpkin spice syrup and room for cream. I prepare and hand her the drink and continue about my business. I manage to take a fifteen-minute break AND be back on the clock for another hour before she approaches me with a scowl.)

Customer: “What kind of coffee did you sell me? This is not [Brand] coffee. You sold me some cheap stuff. This is just undrinkable.”

Me: “That is a cup of [Brand] medium roast, ma’am. It’s the same type of coffee that they sell at every other [Brand] store.”

Customer: “No, it isn’t. If it is, then you made this really wrong. Maybe it’s the pumpkin syrup.”

Me: “Have you had any pumpkin syrup at any other [Brand] store this year?”

Customer: “Yes, and this isn’t the same.”

(She opens her cup to reveal a surprisingly dark shade of coffee. I realize it looks exactly like it did when I first handed it to her.)

Me: “Did you try adding any cream? I left you room for it in the cup like you requested.”

Customer: “How can I add cream if the container is empty?!”

(I then realize that she tried to add cream, realized our carafe was empty, and decided not to notify or ask me about refilling it. I reach into our under-counter fridge and fill the container up and hand it to her.)

Me: “Add some of this and try it now.”

(She takes it angrily from the counter and adds a copious amount of cream. The drink is now more cream and pumpkin spice syrup than it is coffee. She takes a sip and nods.)

Customer: “See? Now that’s how [Brand] coffee normally tastes. Why couldn’t you have just made it like this the first time?!”

(She happily walked away, sipping on her coffee-flavored milkshake, while I stared at her in disbelief. When will I ever learn to make a decent cup of coffee? The world may never know.)

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here: The Book

, , , , | Right | November 11, 2018

(I work in a library, and one of the best parts of my job is when I get to go shopping for new books with what essentially amounts to a blank cheque. The bookstore we have an account with knows us, and when I or my colleagues turn up to do some buying they usually give us a big trolley to pile up our purchases in. These are staff trolleys; most customers in the shop wouldn’t use anything bigger than a shopping basket. I’m dressed in casual shopping clothes; the staff have uniforms, name tags, and lanyards. Another customer approaches me while I’m pushing my trolley around selecting books.)

Customer: “Excuse me. Do you know if you have [New Popular Cookbook] in stock?”

Me: “Sorry, I don’t work here!”

Customer: “Oh, I just thought…” *gestures at the trolley*

Me: “Yeah, I know it’s confusing. But I actually work for a library and I’m here buying some new stock!”

(The customer stares at me blankly before walking away. This has happened to me before, and this is the second time that line has gone down with blank stares and borderline hostile reactions, as if it’s my fault that they made the mistake and can’t just laugh it off or admit that they’re super jealous that I get paid to shop for books. I continue on my merry way, until about five minutes later, when the same woman approaches me again in a different aisle.)

Customer: “Do you know where [Some Other Specific Book] is?”

Me: *incredulously* “I still don’t work here?”

Customer: “Oh, I know. I just thought you might know, anyway.”

(The store is busy, but there’s always staff around who are knowledgeable and eager to help. I have no idea why she decided that I was more likely to know than they were, or why she doubled down on being wrong. But my library got new books, so it’s all good!)

I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 33
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 32
I Don’t Work Here, Does Not Work Here, Part 31

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