Portrait Of A Customer As A Young Man

| Curitiba, Brazil | Language & Words

Me: “Hi, this is [bookstore]. Can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, do you have Ulysses in stock?”

Me: “We have it on paperback and hardcover. Do you want to make a reservation?”

Caller: “What is the author’s name?”

Me: “It’s James Joyce, sir.”

Caller: “J-A-M-E-S-J-O-Y-C-E, 10 letters… thank you! I’m doing some crosswords and I needed the answer to this. Thanks!” *click*

A Whale Of A Story

| Pleasant Hill, CA, USA | Bizarre, Extra Stupid, Pets & Animals, Top

(My coworker and I have been laughing over a list of dumb laws during a quiet spell at the registers.)

Me: “Check this out. It’s illegal to hunt whales in Utah.”

Coworker: “Well, now, that’s not very specific. Is it illegal to hunt FOR them, as in go looking for one, or is it illegal to FIND one and harpoon it? Because, let me tell you, the second one is a lot harder!”

Me: “Well, if I ever go to Utah, I think I’ll walk up to a cop and ask them where I can go hunting for whales, just to see his reaction.”

(As we continue joking, a customer overhears us and becomes angry.)

Customer: “You filthy murderers! How can you think hunting whales is funny?!”

Me: “I assure you, ma’am, there is little danger of me actually harming a whale in Utah.”

Customer: “That’s no excuse! You think you could get away with taunting a police officer by openly admitting you were going to commit a crime?”

Coworker: “Yes… actually, in this case, we probably could.”

Customer: “HOW?!”

Coworker: “Well, since whales live in the ocean and there are no oceans in Utah—”

Customer: “Don’t treat me like I’m stupid! I’m calling the producers of Whale Wars on you! You’ll be shamed in front of the whole nation!” *storms out*

Time To Close The Books On This One

| Livingston, NJ, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid

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

Caller: “Hi, yes, I’m trying to reach your store in Short Hills but no one will answer the phone.”

Me: “Oh… well, the location in Short Hills actually closed three years ago.”

Caller: “No, I don’t think you know what I’m talking about. I mean the one in the mall.”

Me: “Yes, that was our only location in Short Hills. It closed because the mall wanted to jack up the rent.”

Caller: “That’s ridiculous! I go to that store all the time. The number I have isn’t working and I can’t find it listed anywhere, so I need you to give me the phone number.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry to tell you this, but the number isn’t working because that store no longer exists. You can’t find it listed for the same reason.”

Caller: “I was there last week!”

Me: “I… don’t think that’s possible. There isn’t even a bookstore in that mall anymore.”

Caller: “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Get me the number or get me someone else who can!”

Me: “Ma’am, I actually used to work at that location. It closed down, so I transferred to this store three years ago. Is there something I can help you find, other than the number for the Short Hills store?”

Caller: “You know, the employees at the Short Hills store are going to be VERY upset that you’re saying this about them! I’m going to drive over there right now and tell them all about this!”

(One hour later, my coworker answers the phone.)

Coworker: “Thank you for calling—”

Caller: “WHY IS THERE A CLOTHING STORE WHERE YOUR SHORT HILLS STORE USED TO BE?!”

The Girl Who Cross-Shopped The Employee’s Best

| OR, USA | Uncategorized

(A customer walks into the bookstore and begins looking around.)

Me: “Hello! Is there anything I can help you find today?”

Customer: “Yes, there is this book that I heard about on the radio that I want to read.  I can’t remember the title, though.”

Me: “Alright, do you know who the author is?”

Customer: “No, but I’m pretty sure that he was from Norway, and it came out really recently.”

Me: “Okay, I can’t think of any books by Norwegian authors that are big right now, but I can try to see what we have. I’ll go ask my boss if she can think of anything.”

Me: *to my boss* “Do you know of any books by Norwegian authors that came out recently?”

Boss: “No. Do they know anything else about it?”

Me: “I’m not sure, but I will ask.”

(I walk back to the customer.)

Me: “Neither of us can think of anything by a Norwegian author that came out recently. Can you think of anything else about the book? If we don’t have it in stock, I can special order it for you.”

Customer: “I think it was a mystery.”

(On a hunch, I walk out to our new book display and pick up “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Swedish author Stieg Larsson.)

Me: “It wouldn’t happen to be this, would it?  This book came out very recently in hard cover and is very popular right now.”

Customer: “That’s it!”

Me: “Excellent! That book is actually part of a series.  We have the first one right over here if you are interested.”

(I walk over and grab the first book and hold it out to her.)

Customer:The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Okay, that looks good!”

(I continue holding the book out for her, but she doesn’t take it.)

Me: “If this is all, I can ring it up for you right now, or I can set it aside for you while you browse.”

Customer: *happily* “Oh, no, I’m not going to buy it. Now that I know what the book is, I am going to go home and buy it on my Kindle!” *turns and leaves without another word*

The Age Of Petulance

| Livingston, NJ, USA | Extra Stupid, Family & Kids

Customer: “Hi, my son needs a book called Ethan for his summer reading.”

Me: “Sure! Do you mean Ethan Frome?”

Customer: “No, it’s just Ethan.”

Me: “Is it by Edith Wharton?”

Customer: *looks at a piece of paper* “Um… yeah, it is, but my son just wrote down Ethan.”

Me: “Okay. Well, he probably just didn’t write down the full title, so let’s go grab Ethan Frome.”

Customer: “No! You aren’t listening to me! It’s not Ethan Frome, it’s just Ethan!”

Me: “It’s really not a big deal. We’ll—”

Customer: “It IS a big deal! You’re calling my son a liar!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to—”

Customer: “My son is a very good student. Maybe you should have paid more attention when you were in school, or you’d know that Edith Whoever wrote a book called Ethan!”

Me: “My apologies. Let me grab that book for you.”

(I go grab a copy of “Ethan Frome” and hand it to the customer.)

Customer: “No! What are you, an idiot? You’re trying to trick me by giving me Ethan Frome when I just need Ethan!”

Me: “Ma’am, Edith Wharton never wrote a book called Ethan. She did write a book called Ethan Frome.”

Customer: “MY SON IS NOT A LIAR!”

(I spend the next five minutes showing the customer all of the books Edith Wharton wrote in her lifetime on the computer. “Ethan Frome” appears on every list, but there is no reference to a book called just “Ethan”.)

Customer: “My son said it’s called Ethan, and that’s what I need! Obviously, you people just haven’t heard of it and you’re trying to make me look like an idiot. I’ll show you! I’ll call the school and get them to read me the summer reading list!”

(She calls the school on her cell phone. The school receptionist informs her that the title in question is, in fact, “Ethan Frome.” The customer turns bright red, and eventually hangs up on the poor receptionist.)

Customer: “None of you know what you’re talking about!” *snatches up a copy of “Ethan Frome” stalks off*

Me: “Have a nice day!”

Manager: “You need to take a ten minute break?”

Me: “You have no idea.”

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