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Dealing With The Schoolmom-Three

, , , , | Right | June 17, 2021

I work in a bookstore in a state where parents have to buy some books and workbooks for school themselves; in other states, schools supply at least the books for free. They can either order them online or buy them in a local bookstore. This year, it’s a more difficult time because of the global health crisis. Our suppliers are having trouble shipping our orders on time, our customers are annoyed because they have to wear masks in our store, etc.

Customer #1: “You didn’t call me to tell me that my school books arrived!”

Me: “You didn’t leave a number to call with your order.”

Customer #1: “You could have sent an email!”

Me: “I did.”

Customer #1: “I didn’t get one.”

Me: “Maybe it’s in your spam file?”

Customer #1: *Checks* “Oh…”

Next customer:

Customer #2: “Why are school books so expensive?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I have no control over the prices of books.”

Customer #2: “But you sell them! You make the prices!”

Me: “No, I really don’t.”

[Customer #3] had ordered school books via our webshop and comes to collect them.

Customer #3: “There is a book missing.”

I check the books against the order she made online.

Me: “It looks to me as if all the books you ordered are here.”

Customer #3: “Yes, but I needed another one. It wasn’t available, so the homepage told me to send an extra order, to let you know that I need that book, too.”

Me: “I’m so sorry, I didn’t receive that order form.”

Customer #3: “Oh, I didn’t send it.”

Me: “You didn’t send the order?”

Customer #3: “No, I didn’t. You should have known that I needed this book, too. Why didn’t you order it?”

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Try Not To Read Too Much Into This

, , , , , | Working | June 15, 2021

I order a book online to be picked up at a bookstore in town. As I do it well after they close, I expect to pick it up the next day. Instead, I receive this text.

Text: “We’re sorry! Your [Bookstore] buy online, pickup at store order has been cancelled; see your email for details.”

I check my emails throughout the day but never receive anything. I resign myself to ordering through a major online realtor… until the day after. My phone rings.

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “Uh, yes. Who am I speaking with?”

Caller: “I’m [Caller] from [Bookstore]. I saw that your order for [Book] by [Author] has been cancelled. I guess the person pulling orders couldn’t find it and you won’t be charged for it. Well, I checked today and I found it, so all you have to do is submit a new order and come pick it up. It’s at the help desk ready for you.”

Fairly entertained by the whole situation, I submitted a new order and went to the store when it was ready. I ended up speaking to the person I had spoken with on the phone, who said they’d checked this morning and found the book exactly where it was supposed to be, and that they had no idea what had happened the day previous.

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Very Fishy Financials

, , , , , | Right | June 10, 2021

A woman walks up to my desk. She is wearing the required mask and has a slight, possibly Australian, accent. She says something to me that I can’t quite make out, and that sounds completely ludicrous. After a moment, I realize that what she was actually saying was:

Customer: “Is it all right if I pay with a card?”

I assure her that it is, then laugh and tell her:

Me: “For a moment there, I thought you said, ‘Is it all right if I play with a cod?”

Customer: *With a straight face* “Do you have one?”

We both cracked up.

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Retail Staff Could Write Books On It

, , , , , | Right | June 3, 2021

I work in a small independent bookshop. Due to the current health crisis, it is recommended that any merchandise touched by customers should be quarantined for seventy-two hours before being offered back for sale. We have set a couple of large baskets in the middle of the shop, and there are hand sanitisers in several places along with large signs asking people to sanitise their hands and to only touch books they want to buy, and if they decide not to buy a book they have touched, to place it in the basket so we can quarantine it.

A customer comes in and browses for a minute or two, then pulls a book, looks at it, and puts it back on the shelf. I go over and take the book and drop it in the basket.

Me: “Hi, sir, if you touch a book can you please put it in the basket?”

Customer: “What? Why?”

Me: “If any books are touched, we need to quarantine them for three days. It’s fine if you want to look at books; just please put them in the basket when you’re done instead of back on the shelf.”

Customer: “I used sanitiser.”

Me: “I’m sure you did, but I’m afraid we still need to quarantine anything that’s been touched.”

He looks into the basket, which has about a dozen books in it.

Customer: “So what if I want one of those books?”

Me: “Well, if there’s one on the shelf, you’re welcome to buy it.”

Customer: “What if it’s the only one?”

Me: “It will need to be quarantined.”

Customer: “So I can’t buy it?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, but any books in the basket are not for sale.”

Customer: “Well, that’s just stupid.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, it’s the rules.”

Customer: “What about this, then?”

He walks up to a shelf, rubs his hands over his face, and then rubs his hands all over all the books.

Customer: “Are you gonna quarantine all these, then?”

Me: “Yes. Yes, I am. Thanks for that.”

I started piling the books in the basket. He just stared at me and then left quietly.

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“Yeah, I Guess,” And Its Sequel, “I Dunno”

, , , , , | Right | May 25, 2021

Two boys, around fourteen years old, walk in and just stand inside the door, hands in their pockets, not looking at anything. I walk over.

Me: “Hello. Can I help you?”

Boy #1: “Yeah, we need books.

Me: “What kind of books?

Boy #1: “Dunno. Books.

Me: “For yourself? Or as a gift for somebody?

Boy #1: “Ourselves.

Boy #2: “We’ve got detention and the teacher said to bring a book to read.”

Me: “Ah, I see. What kind of books do you like?”

Boy #1: “Dunno.”

Me: “Would you like to look around and see what we’ve got?

Boy #2: “Nah, you show us.”

I start at the nearest display.

Me: “Do you guys like to take pictures?

Boy #1: “Yeah, I guess.

Me: “Here are some books about photography. This one’s about cameras and lenses and so on, and this one shows how to take a great photo with just the right colours and lighting. Would you like to look at them?

Boy #1: “Nah, sounds boring.

Me: “No photography books, then. Do you like scary stories?”

Boy #1: “Yeah, I guess.

The two of them are “Yeah-I-guess” interested in adventure, technology, sci-fi, true crime, cars, animals, foreign countries, history, philosophy, whodunnits, superheroes, Norse mythology, politics, and romance.

Every book I suggest either “Nah-sounds-boring” or “Nah-looks-too-long.” They never take their hands out of their pockets. I wonder if I should send them to the library just to get them off my hands.

While I’m taking the two of them from display to shelf and from shelf to display, showing them everything except the preschool picture books, my coworker is helping other customers. The doorbell chimes and one of our regulars comes in.

Coworker: “Hello, Mrs. [Regular]! Over here.”

He pulls a book from a shelf and holds it out to her. 

Regular: “That’s the one. Thank you!”

She follows my coworker to the till, buys the book, and leaves. My two teenagers have been watching. 

Boy #2: “Why can’t you do what he does?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Boy #2: “He just looked at that lady and knew what book she wanted.”

Boy #1: “Yeah, why can’t you do the same thing for us?”

Boy #2: “Or maybe he should look at us and give us our books.”

I suppress a groan, turn a beginning facepalm into a hair-adjusting gesture, and switch my smile back on.

Me: “My coworker has a special gift. If you’d like, we can go over and ask him to find the books you want.”

I walk them over. My coworker must have heard what we said, because as we are approaching, he squints at [Boy #1], then closes his eyes, murmurs to himself, and says:

Coworker: “Yes, yes, I can see it. You want, you want—” *points in a random direction* “—that one!”

He’s pointing at the technology shelf. [Boy #1] walks over, pulls out a book about the history of cars, and says:

Boy #1: “Yeah, this one looks good.”

My coworker repeats the process with [Boy #2]. Both end up buying books that they didn’t want earlier when I suggested them. After they’re gone, I turn to my coworker.

Me: “Mrs. [Regular] called ahead, didn’t she?”

Coworker: *Grinning* “Yes, she did.”

Me: “Why do you always get the easy ones?”

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