Make An Early Booking

| Long Beach, CA, USA | Working | March 2, 2015

(I am 14, and I spend all my time hanging out at a particular bookstore, browsing, drinking their coffee, and reading.)

Customer: “Excuse me; I’m looking for a science fiction novel.”

Me: “Sure. Do you know who it’s by or what it’s called?”

Customer: “Well, I wasn’t sure which one; it’s a gift for a friend…”

(The customer tells me what their friend is interested in, and I recommend some of my favorite authors and help them select a book.)

Me: “I don’t really work here, so you’ll need to see an employee to pay for it… No need to apologize. I just like this place.”

Manager: “Excuse me; I keep seeing you doing that…”

Me: “Yeah, I just like talking to people about my favorite books. I hope I’m not overstepping or anything…”

Manager: “No, it’s great. You should apply for a job!”

Me: “I’m too young, sadly. I checked the application form already…”

Manager: “When you’re old enough, then. You practically work here already. I’m not really supposed to promise people jobs, but I think we can make an exception for you.”

(I had to move out of town a few months later, but 16 years later I still wonder what my life would have been like if I’d been able to stay and work for them and have my first job in a place I loved!)

A Bad App-raisal Of The Situation

| Chicago, IL, USA | Right | February 23, 2015

Me: “Thank you for calling [Store]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, I bought an eBook from your website, but I can’t read it on my tablet.”

Me: “Okay, let’s see what we can do. What sort of tablet do you have? Is it Apple or Android?”

Customer: “It’s a [high end Android]. My son bought it for me.”

Me: “Nice. And when you open up [Our App], does the book appear there?”

Customer: “No, it’s not in my library.”

Me: “You say you purchased the eBook from our website. Are you sure the account information you used when you purchased it is the same as your app is registered under?”

Customer: “Um, yes? I can’t imagine that I would have more than one account with you.”

Me: “And other books work just fine?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Have you tried syncing your library?”

Customer: “How do I do that?”

Me: “Open the app and hit the refresh button. It’s a circular arrow in the bottom left.”

Customer: “I don’t have that.”

Me: “That’s weird. What do you see?”

Customer: *describes a screen which sounds suspiciously like our competitor’s app*

Me: “Sir, what app do you use to read your eBooks?”

Customer: “I use my library.”

Me: “Yes, sir, your books appear in the library screen of the app, but which app do you use? Are you using [Our App] or [Competitor’s App]?”

Customer: “I use the app on my tablet.”

Me: “Okay, where do you normally buy your eBooks?”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “The eBooks currently in your library which you are able to read. Which website were you on when you bought them? [Our website] or [Competitor’s website]?”

Customer: “[Competitor’s website]. They have lots of good deals.”

Me: “All right sir, I’ve figured out the problem. You purchased an [our format] eBook from our website. That book is not compatible with [Competitor’s App]. You’ll have to download [Our App] in order to read it.”

Customer: “But I already paid for it.”

Me: “Oh, don’t worry, sir. The book is yours. The app is available as a free download both on our website and from the Play Store. It only takes a minute.”

Customer: “My books always show up in my library when I buy them. Why doesn’t this one?”

Me: “I know it’s confusing, sir. [Our Company] sells [Our eBook Readers], and [Competitor] sells [Competitor’s eBook Readers]. EBooks bought from [Our Company] can only be read on [Our eBook Readers] or [Our App], just as [Competitor]’s eBooks can only be read on their products.”

Customer: “I don’t understand. I paid for this book.”

Me: “Yes, sir, and it is yours. But the app you are using is made and run by [Competitor]. You bought this book from us. [Competitor] has no way of knowing that you bought this book, so they can’t put it into the app on your tablet.

Customer: Can you call them and tell them I bought it? Then they’ll know.”

Me: “I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that, sir. But again, you can download [Our App] for free and read the book you purchased.”

Customer: “Okay, so you guys have your own books and your own app thing, and [Competitor] has their own books and their own app, and they don’t work together at all?”

Me: “Yes sir. That’s absolutely correct. A little complicated, I know.”

Customer: “So how do I get your app so I can read my book?”

Me: “The same way you got [Competitor’s App]. Open the Play Store, search for [Our App], and download it. Once it installs you’ll have to enter your email address and password. Then your book will appear in your library. We’ll give you a couple additional titles for free.”

Customer: “My tablet’s library?”

Me: “No, sorry, the library in [Our App].”

Customer: “So when I want to read this book I’ll need to open your app, and when I want to read my other books I’ll need to open [Competitor’s App]?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “Okay, I suppose I can handle that. When should I expect my app to arrive?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Customer: “The app that you’re sending me in the mail. When will it be here?”

Me: “The… mail? You know what, sir? I think you should come into our store. Can you drop by tomorrow?”

(And I made d*** sure I was not around when he came in!)

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Short-Staffed To The Point Of Bursting

| Buffalo, NY, USA | Working | February 12, 2015

(I wake up with a very sharp pain in my side. I think it might be gas cramps or something, so I get up and get ready for work. My boss is really stressed out because it is November and we are getting ready for the holidays. By the time I’ve worked about two hours it is pretty obvious the pain is worse and I can barely stand.)

Me: *to my boss* “Hey, I’m sorry to do this but I’m going to call my mom and have her take me to the hospital. I’m pretty sure this pain is from my appendix and I need to get this checked out.”

Boss: “You’re kidding me, right? You’ve still got four hours left on your shift. Just suck it up and you’ll be fine!”

Me: “No. I’m really sure something is very wrong. I have to have this looked at.”

Boss: “Ugh, you would do this to me now. You know how short staffed we are!”

Me: “I know that, but you don’t want me to die, do you?”

Boss: “FINE. You can go. It’d better be your appendix, though!”

(It was indeed. I got into surgery mere minutes before the thing burst. I was out of work for a month, so my boss was even more short-staffed. Can’t say I felt too bad for him.)

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Either Sell It Or Shelve It

| NS, Canada | Working | February 12, 2015

(I work in a bookstore, and we have a very funny and laid back manager. However, he does tend to just walk away after giving you little to no idea of what he’s doing or what he wants you to do. During the Christmas shopping season we have these really soft, fluffy throws on sale and we are basically supposed to sell as many as possible, so we have one open to let customers see and feel them.)

Manager: *shoves display blanket into my arms* “Here, take this.”

Me: “Sure! Oh, hey, when is my break gonna be?”

Manager: “Sell two blankets, you earn your break.” *walks away without another word*

Me: “…okay, then.”

(Later, about 10 minutes to close, the manager is shelving some copies of a book but the last one doesn’t fit on the shelf.)

Manager: *shoves book into my hands* “Sell it.” *walks away without another word again*

Me: “…okay?”

(I spend the next eight minutes helping customers with that book in my hand, and even suggest it to some of them but no one wants it. At two minutes to closing I see my manager again.)

Me: *holding the book out toward him* “Here. I’m sorry. I tried.”

Manager: *doesn’t take it* “You can sell it.” *walks away without another word again*

Me: “Okay… but we close in one minute.”

(I did get my break despite only selling one blanket, but I did not manage to sell the book in the last minute before we closed. Typically, my manager never said another word about either one.)

His Logic Doesn’t Check Out

| Chicago, IL, USA | Right | February 11, 2015

(I am working at the registers along with a head cashier shortly before closing. One of our regulars, a very old man, shuffles up to my register. I’m a little surprised, as he usually only talks to Manager, sometimes waiting for hours until Manager starts his shift.)

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to buy this book.”

Me: “Certainly! That will be [total].”

(Customer pulls out a very old leather case with about 100 sheets of perforated checks. He slowly flips to the correct page, slowly starts to fill out a check, and then drops the whole case on the floor, scattering pages everywhere. I help him pick up.)

Customer: “Oh, no, these need to be in order! Help me put them in order!”

Me: “Sir, perhaps we should finish the transaction. Then you can put these back in order later.”

Customer: *getting angry* “That is RIDICULOUS! How am I supposed to know which check to fill out?!”

Me: “It’s the one you’ve already started filling out?”

Customer: *muttering* “This is ridiculous. You people are SO unhelpful. I don’t even know why I shop here!”

Head Cashier: *whispers to me* “Just do it, or we’ll never get out of here.”

Me: “All right, sir, let’s get these back in order.”

(Customer insists he put them back in order, very very slowly, while I hold the case. Nothing else will do. 20 minutes later, the check is finally filled out and we can continue with the transaction.)

Me: “And can I see your driver’s license?”

Customer: “My WHAT?!”

Me: “Driver’s license, passport, or other state ID?”

Customer: *getting hysterical* “What?! WHY?!”

Head Cashier: *jumping in* “Sir, you’ve shopped here for years. You always pay by check. You KNOW you have to show us your license.”

Customer: “THAT’S IT! I’m getting the manager!”

(The customer storms off, and comes back with the manager.)

Manager: “So, what seems to be the problem?”

Me: “He’s paying by check.”

Manager: “Okay, can I see your license, sir?”

Customer: “Sure, here you go!”

(Customer handed over his license, the manager finished the transaction in about 30 seconds, and we ushered the man out and closed the store.)

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