Cat-atonic, Part 2

, , , | Right | July 20, 2020

The customer is an older lady.

Customer: “I got a paper in the mail. There was a book with a cat on it. Do you have the book?”

Me: “Do you know which paper it was?”

Customer: “I got it in the mail.”

Me: “Do you remember the author or the title of the book, then?”

Customer: “No, I don’t remember. It had a cat on the cover.”

Me: “Was it a book about cat breeds or owning a cat?”

The customer just stares silently.

Me: “Was it a novel? It might have been ‘Knut: Nobody’s Baby’ by [Popular Norgwegian Author]?”

Customer: “I don’t know. It had a cat.”

Me: “Do you remember anything about what it’s about?”

Customer: “There was a cat on the cover.”

I give up and hand her the catalogue for the big sale all the Norwegian bookshops are having.

Me: “This is the only catalogue we’ve given out recently. Can you see if you find it in here?”

She looked through it, and the next time I looked her way, she was gone. I still have no idea what she was looking for. It mystifies me that people think we can read their minds.


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The Reading Dead

, , , , | Right | July 17, 2020

I work in a small bookstore that is part of a very large national chain. A big-deal gay-themed movie has just premiered. I happen to be very familiar with it myself; I’ve already taken out and read the book with the story collection from the library. When the movie comes out, the publisher puts out a new fancy and expensive book with just this one short story; the book chain carries it and is selling many copies.

One day, a man comes up to me at the register. He’s middle-aged and wearing poorly-fitted leather pants that look extremely out of place in this high-end, fashionable neighborhood. He speaks a little tentatively and slowly.

Customer: “Hello, I want to buy the book Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx.”

Me: “Sure! You can find it at the fiction shelves under the author’s last name.”

Customer: *Confused look.* “Um…”

Me: *More carefully* “It’s on our fiction shelves under the author’s last name: Proulx — starts with a P.”

Customer: *Blank look* 

I point at the shelves a few feet away again. We are a small store and the P fiction books are only about three rows in. The shelves are quite short and you can even see all the way to the back of the store from the registers where we are standing. It’s extremely easy to find any fiction book. Everything is plainly alphabetized by author’s last name. I’m on register duty and cannot leave the counter.

I try speaking slower and clearer.

Me: “It’s around the third aisle. Right over there. Under the first letter of the author’s last name. Proulx — starts with a P.”

The customer is just silent with a dull blank look. He looks a tiny bit to either side in complete confusion and stares back at me with empty eyes. I am confused and beginning to get weirded out at this point; he’s starting to somewhat resemble a zombie. I point at the shelves again and speak even slower.

Me: “It’s right over there. On the third shelf. You just need to find the letter P on the shelf.” 

He’s still silent, staring at me with a blank, wide-eyed look.

Me: “You just look for the letter P. Everything is alphabetized. The book will be under her last name. The author’s last name. It’s Proulx. It’s on the shelves right over here.”

No change. Not a sound out of him. Blank look. One of our managers happened to be walking by right then and observed a few seconds of this interaction. He just looked at the customer for a few more seconds and then quickly went to the fiction shelf, retrieved a copy of the book, and brought it upfront. It took him less than ten seconds.

I rang up the book and the customer silently went on his way, still with a blank look on his face. The manager and I silently stared after him in bewilderment. Zombie searching for gay-themed books instead of brains?

A Brokeback Fountain Of Hate
Not Your Dad’s Cowboy Movie
I Wish I Knew How To Quit This Class
Going For Broke(back)
A Desolate Beauty

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Unfiltered Story #200753

, , | Unfiltered | July 17, 2020

(I work at a bookstore that also sells little gift items like candles, mugs, & flashlights. Well today this lady was curious about one of the flashlights you can clip on your baseball cap.)

Customer: Excuse me but does this come with batteries already in it?
Me: Yes ma’am but someone probably tested it too much & now they’re dead.
Customer: Well does that mean I get a discount?
Me:… No ma’am it doesn’t work like that. I’m sorry.
Customer: Well I should get a discount cause if I bought this I’d have to get replacement batteries myself & batteries are expensive.
Me: Well I’m sorry ma’am but I still can’t give you the discount.
Customer: Alright, if I change my mind I’ll come back.
(She then bought almost $105 worth of stuff, but paying $5 for batteries is expensive.)

Extra Salty Recipes

, , , , , | Right | July 13, 2020

The phone rings; I answer.

Me: “[Bookstore], how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi. I was wondering if you guys have a book in stock. It’s called Cooking With [Word I’m sure I heard wrong].”

Me: “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

He does, and again, I am sure I’ve heard him wrong.

Me: “Could you please spell that last word?”

Customer: “S-E-M-E-N. I want to get it for my girlfriend for her birthday.”

I am confused and pretty sure this is a prank, but I still stay professional.

Me: “That’s not something we have in stock, but do you want me to see if I can order it for you?

Customer: *Surprised* “That would be great, thanks!”

I looked it up, and sure enough, it’s a real book but is only available digitally. I explained what information I found and he was super grateful. Apparently, we were the fifth bookstore he called, and I was the only person who didn’t hang up on him!

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Oh! The Tantrums You’ll Throw!

, , , , , | Right | July 11, 2020

A coworker and I are shelving a good-sized stack of books on a bottom shelf in our children’s section of the store. As we’re sitting or kneeling there, a customer, who is male and about sixty or seventy years old, comes over.

A customer walks up to us briskly and thrusts out a copy of “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!”

Customer: “Don’t you have this in regular format?”

My coworker and I look at one another.

Coworker: “That’s the only kind we have of that title.”

Customer: “No, it’s not! This is different! I just want the regular book!”

Me: “Well, then, what is so different from this one and the ‘regular book’?”

Customer: “It doesn’t have this sticker on it!”

Coworker: “Unfortunately, that is all that we have of that title currently. I can order you another one, if you’d like?”

The customer storms off with the book in hand, muttering under his breath.

We continue to shelve, but I get called away to help a customer. The angry customer comes back to the children’s section and throws the book at my coworker, causing it to hit her on her leg. It’s a different copy with no sticker but it is the same book.

Customer: “See! If you work here, you should know your d*** inventory better!” *Storms off*

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