Playing The Waiting Blame

, , , , , | Right | November 1, 2018

(I am working at the registers with a line of people. A man on his phone comes to the registers and puts his books on the counter without acknowledging me or pausing in his conversation. He puts a finger to his lips when I greet him. I stifle the urge to sigh, and ring up his items.)

Me: “Your total is [total], sir.”

(He turns his back on me and continues talking.)

Me: *louder* “Your total is [total], sir.”

(He sticks a finger in his other ear and walks to the farthest point of the registers with his back to me. I turn to the lady who is next in line with huge eyes, look down at the pile of books in front of me, then gather them all up and set them on a shelf behind me. I suspend the transaction and call the lady forward.)

Lady: “Don’t worry, hun. He’s a rude jerk.”

Me: “Thanks, ma’am. Sorry for the wait.”

Lady: “Don’t apologize, dear. You aren’t responsible for his bad manners.”

(I get through three customers before he comes back and cuts in front of the rest of the line. He stares while I retrieve his books and redo the transaction, and then he wordlessly pays and walks off. I get through my line and a manager approaches.)

Manager: “A man just complained that you ignored him and helped three people before helping him.”

(I explain the situation, and the manager merely frowns.)

Manager: “Well, you know, some customers don’t appreciate you stopping their transaction.”

Me: “And the twelve customers behind him would not have appreciated being forced to wait for him to come back. Do you want one complaint, or twelve?”

(The manager just sighed and walked away.)

For Some, Trick Or Treat Is Torture

, , , , , | Right | October 31, 2018

(I’ve worked for this store for around three years, in three different locations. Tonight was the first time I’ve ever encountered a customer that made me want to take a shower after speaking to him. About five minutes before my shift ends, a customer calls and asks about a kids’ book called “Trick or Treat.” I know we haven’t received our stock of Halloween books yet, but I figure I can go ahead and order him one.)

Me: “Do you know the author’s name?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Okay, do you know if there’s any special character or animal associated with it, such as [Popular Children’s Book Character #1] or [Popular Children’s Book Character #2]?”

Customer: “No, it’s just called Trick or Treat.

Me: “Well, unfortunately there’s many books with that title, so without a character or author I can’t order it for you.”

Customer: “Try [Author].”

Me: “She does have a book called Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet. Is that the book you’re looking for?”

Customer: “What’s the title?”

Me:Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet.”

Customer: “Wow, really? What’s the description?”

(I pull up the blurb and tell him the first couple of sentences. He asks me to repeat the title and then the description once more. Alarm bells start ringing in my head and I remind him that the book is not in store and that we won’t have any Halloween books for a couple of days or more.)

Customer: “Right, I guess I’ll try again in a few weeks. What about books on torture?”

Me: *pause* “In the… children’s section?”

(Yes, I did say it exactly like that. This being my second day at this new location, my new coworkers definitely give me some strange looks at this point.)

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Sir, the children’s section won’t have books like that.”

Customer: “Oh, okay. What about in your historical war reference section?”

(Those alarm bells from earlier are now a full-fledged siren. Around a year or so ago, I heard a story about a guy who would call stores until he got a female worker and then ask them to describe different books, which was later determined to be his kinks. These books included torture books, especially foot torture. Now I’m just looking to get off the phone in as quick as a manner possible.)

Me: “We don’t have any in the store, unfortunately; do you have an author in mind?”

Customer: “What about [Author]?”

Me: “Unfortunately, my system doesn’t pull anything up for that author.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s too bad.”

Me: “Have a great night, sir.”

(I hung up the phone, called my manager, and told him I was leaving, and clocked out before the phone could ring again.)

A Textbook Case Of Bad Customer Service

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 30, 2018

(I am a college student, and classes start in two weeks. I decide to pop into the bookstore to pick up my required textbooks. When I get there all of the aisles are blocked off, so I go to the counter.)

Me: “Hi! I wanted to get textbooks, but it’s blocked off.”

Employee: “Yeah.”

Me: “When can I buy books?”

Employee: “It depends.”

Me: *pause* “On?”

Employee: “How many people are in front of you.”

(I look around the store. It’s just the two of us, another employee, and a customer looking at notebooks.)

Me: “Is there someone in front of me?”

Employee: “I mean how many orders are in front of you. It also depends on the courses you’re taking and the books you need. It really just depends.”

Me: “Oh, I have the list right here.”

Employee: “…”

Me: “So, I can’t buy books today? Or like… order them?”

Employee: “No.”

(Bewildered, I walk over to the student services center to ask someone there.)

Me: “So, I was just in the book store trying to buy my textbooks, and I guess you can’t buy them yet? Do you know when they open?”

Employee #2: “Their hours are—”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, I mean when they start selling books. She just told me it depends.”

Employee #2: “Yeah, it really just depends.”

(I ordered my books online. I’m still not sure what the correct process is for getting books.)


That Will Probably Be In Non-Fiction

, , , , , | Right | October 23, 2018

Customer: “Where are your tiles for sale?”

Me: “We don’t sell tiles, sir. We’re a bookstore.”

Customer: “The ones you advertised on your sign out front. It says you have tiles for sale. Well, where are they?”

Me: “Sir, I’m afraid I have no idea of what you are speaking about. Again, we are a bookstore.”

Customer: “Well, one of your staff must be selling tiles, as you have it written on your sign.”

Me: “Let me just take a look at the sign, shall I?”

(I go outside and see written on the sign in big, clear letters, “New TITLES for sale,” along with our masthead of “BOOKSTORE.”)

Customer: “So, you don’t have any tiles, then?”

Wish You Could Flush This Experience Down The Toilet

, , , , , | Right | October 23, 2018

(A teenage boy of about fourteen or fifteen comes out of the bathroom and approaches me.)

Boy: “Um, ma’am, there’s a problem in the bathroom.”

Me: “Okay, let me take a look.”

(I am thinking I’ll just have to plunge or something. I walk in, and my eyes grow wide. The entire floor is covered in poo water. A HUGE ball of paper towels full of poo has clogged the entire toilet — not just the drain, the whole bowl — and some is hanging out of the toilet. Several more pieces of paper towel are strewn on the floor. The empty paper towel roll is laid on the counter. Yes, there is an ENTIRE ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS in the toilet.)

Me: “What happened?”

Boy: “Well, there wasn’t a lot of toilet paper left, so I tried to use the paper towels.”

Me: “You needed that many paper towels to take care of yourself?”

Boy: “No. I mean, I used the first bit, but then it wouldn’t flush down, so then I just kept shoving more in there thinking it would fix it. I’m really sorry; this is so nasty.”

(I look at him, and then, in silence, I walk out and fetch his mom. I bring her into the bathroom to take a look. She peeks in, and as she does, the boy says:)

Boy: “I’m so sorry, Mom. I didn’t know what to do.”

Mom: *with a blank face she responded* “Oh, honey, it’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed; this happens.”


Mom: “Okay, let’s go, Son. Or did you want to ask about that book?”

(I’m standing in a puddle of her son’s poo water, staring. The boy looks at me and says:)

Boy: “Oh, yeah. Do you have Bram Stoker’s Dracula?”

Me: *still staring* “No. No, I don’t have that one. Or any more paper towels.”

(The mom laughs. The boy laughs. I do not laugh.)

Mom: “Okay, have a nice afternoon!”

(The mom and boy walk out. I’m still standing in the middle of poo water in the bathroom. I stare at the mess around me, dumbfounded. I call my landlord and ask her to send a plumber over. I begin cleaning. The plumber arrives, and he gets to the bathroom, opens the toilet, and exclaims:)


(Yes, yes, I know. $95 and two hours of cleaning later… Moral of the story: I now understand why there are signs in public restrooms stating, “Do not flush anything down the toilet that isn’t toilet paper.” We’ve removed all paper towels, napkins, and hand towels from the bathroom and put them outside.)

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