Internet Killed The Radio Store

| Leicester, England, UK | Right | March 29, 2015

(I’m working on the till when a customer approaches me for an enquiry:)

Customer: “I’m looking for [Environmental Report] that was published at the beginning of the week. Can you check if you stock it?”

Me: “Of course I can. That sort of thing will probably be with the political or academic books but I’ll just look on the system to see if we’ve got it in.”

(Customer has the exact title but it isn’t showing up on our system. This sometimes happens as the system is quite old and requires correct syntax. I look it up on the Internet and find that it’s available to download for free as a pdf.)

Me: “I’ve managed to find a record of it online, but neither our system nor Amazon is recognising the title which suggests it’s not been published as a book. Were you aware you could read it for free from the organisation’s website? Or download a pdf of it?”

Customer: “Well, I want a print copy. I don’t have the Internet and I don’t like reading off screens.”

Me: “That’s fair enough but, unfortunately, it’s not something that we will ever be able to supply. I’d suggest going to your local library if you don’t have Internet access at home. You can view it just by typing the title you gave me into Google; a free online copy is the first link that comes up.”

Customer: “But I don’t like reading on screens.”

Me: “The only alternative I can think of is for you to access it at the library and print it out, but it’s 40 pages long so it might cost a bit.”

Customer: “Fine. There’s another one I want that was spoken about on Radio 4.”

Me: “That’s fine, book reviews on the radio are easy to find. Do you know the title?”

Customer: “No it was on [Show] on Radio 4.”

Me: “Okay, that’s fine. Can you remember on what day?”

Customer: “No, just that it was [Author] and it was in the last fortnight.”

(The author’s name doesn’t bring up any results and I can’t find anything similar in amongst the reviews on that show so far in a very long list.)

Customer: “You must have listened to [Show]. It’s one of the best things on the radio.”

Me: “Sorry, madam, I only listen to the radio in the car and my family has always listened to Radio 1 in the mornings.”

(The customer is very shocked by this and keeps lecturing me on why I should be listening to her show. Radio 1 is all current music, while as Radio 4 is aimed at older middle aged listeners. After having no success, and getting distracted by the customer’s rant, I decide to search the BBC’s website as a last resort and tell the customer as such.)

Customer: “No, don’t bother. I’ll look it up on the Internet at home.”

(The customer then left the store without so much as a thank you, leaving a queue of other customers speechless.)

Playing It By The Book

| CA, USA | Working | March 27, 2015

(I have been working at a recently opened bookstore for over six months. One day, I take advantage of our special ordering system and order an audio book that I’ve wanted for quite a while. One morning, about seven hours before I am supposed to come into work, I receive a call from my manager.)

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name].”

Manager: *in a very professional tone* “Hi, [My Name]. This is [Manager] from [Bookstore]. How are you today?”

Me: “Hi, [Manager]. I’m good, thank you.”

Manager: “Good, good. I just wanted to let you know that your special order was received today.”

Me: *giggling* “Oh, excellent. Thank you.”

Manager: “You are so welcome. I do want to let you know that we will hold the order behind the register for two weeks, and if you do not come in then, we will unfortunately have to send it back.”

(The entire time, he does not stop his professional intonation and treatment of me as a customer, and I am nearly dying of laughter.)

Me: “You made my morning, [Manager]. Thank you.”

Manager: “You are so welcome, [My Name]. I will notate that I called you, and you can just let us know your last name when you pick it up.”

Me: *deciding to play along* “Hmmm… how about I come in around 6:30?”

(6:30 is when I am supposed to start my shift.)

Manager: “6:30 would be great. We will see you then.”

Me: “Okay. Bye, [Manager].”

Manager: “Thank you. Buh-bye.”

(In short, I love my job.)

Fair Behavior Is Not In His Book

| TX, USA | Working | March 12, 2015

(My boss has just gotten off the phone with the public library. She has been trying to rent a room to host a book signing in.)

Boss: “They said because I’m selling the books I would have to PAY to rent a room. I can’t believe it. I’m the only bookstore in town. Do they want me to close down? You’d think they would support me. As a bookstore I’m practically a public service, just like them. They shouldn’t ask me to pay.”

(A few days later:)

Customer: “Could I put this flyer in your window about our school’s upcoming concert?”

Boss: “No, we only put posters up about our books, or book related activities.”

(The customer leaves.)

Boss: “Can you believe that? Why should we fill up our window space with that junk. That’s what the library is for. I’m running a business, not a public service.”

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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