Need To Lawyer Up For The Bookstore These Days

, , , , | | Right | June 9, 2018

(We have just had two of our busiest days of the year in our academic bookstore; it’s as if two Black Fridays happened back to back. We’re also short-staffed as a few people called out sick. It is 8:50 pm and we close at 9:00 pm. All is finally quiet and we’re trying to clean up, when I hear a coworker talking to a customer at the returns desk.)

Customer: “What do you mean, you’re out of the book for my class?”

Coworker: “We had several hundred customers today, so I’m sorry, but we did run out.”

Customer: “That is ridiculous!” *grabs a book with a similar name* “Is this my book?”

Coworker: “I’ll check.”

(He comes over to me and we check the course listing; it isn’t her book. It’s a supplement to the other section’s book. I tell him to have her place an order, and that we will get the book back in stock. He goes to tell her, and then she comes over to me.)

Customer: “Why do I have to order my book? Why would you just collect part of the book? What kind of a business is this?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it’s been very busy.”

Customer: “I’m the only one here! You lie!”

Me: “No, ma’am, it was very busy, but you can place a web order—”

Customer: “I don’t care! What do you mean, I have to do a web order?! You order it for me!”

Me: “We will, but you have to do a web order to reserve it.”

(She demands we do a special in-store order, which is only for people with financial aid for their course books.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you have to do a web order.”

Customer: “I can’t believe this! You make such a big deal out of answering the phone—” *she’s there in person* “—and you collect incomplete books and now you’re trying to hurry me out because you close too early!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but we do close at nine pm, which is in two minutes.”

Customer: “Nine pm is too early! You have to understand, we are law students! We are in class until nine pm! And we have to get here at two pm to get parking!”

(We’re a city campus, it’s mostly street parking and as the bookstore, we have nothing to do with this.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry about that, but I cannot change our hours.”

Customer: “Stop yelling! You are being so rude and this is a terrible business!”

Me: “Ma’am, I am not yelling, but it is now nine pm, so have to ask you to leave if you continue to behave like this.”

Customer: “I am writing a formal complaint. I want all your personal details!”

Me: “My name is [First Name].”

Customer: “And what is your last name, and your address and phone number?”

Me: “I’m not giving you my last name. That is personal. The address and phone is [store info].”

Customer: “Argh! That isn’t what I asked for!”

(She finally flounced out, but not before telling another coworker that “that woman over there is mean and rude!”)

Dummies For Oprah

, , , | Right | June 6, 2018

(I am stocking shelves and overhear this conversation.)

Customer: “Hi, I’m looking for a book on massage.”

Coworker #1: “Yes, ma’am. Is there a particular title or author you were looking for?”

Customer: “I saw the author on Oprah. I don’t remember the title or the author’s name but the author had blonde hair. Do you have the book?”

Coworker #1: “…”

Coworker #2: “We have Massage for Dummies.”

(I had to hold my breath so I wouldn’t laugh as the customer, oblivious, talked on and on about how she didn’t like those dummies books. She never did understand why no one could tell her which book she wanted.)

Wish They Would Just Scoot

, , , , | Right | June 5, 2018

(We are located on the downtown strip of an eclectic town, so we get all sorts of characters in our store. Usually, it makes the job fun and interesting, but sometimes it’s just aggravating. This is a story I watch unfold. A customer tries to drive a motorized scooter into the store.)

Coworker: “Sorry, you can’t bring that in here!”

Customer: *shouts over motor* “What? I can’t hear you!”

Coworker: “You. Cannot. Bring. That. In. Here.”

Customer: “What?! I still can’t hear you!”


Customer: “Oh.”

(He does a 16-point turn to turn around and take the scooter outside. He then places it directly in front of one of the doors.)

Customer: “Can you give me directions to the post office?”

Coworker: *trying to get rid of him as fast as possible* “Cross the street, and then take a left. It’s at the end of the block.”

Customer: “Where?”

Coworker: *explains again*

Customer: “Where?”

Coworker: *explains another three times*

Customer: “Oh…” *wanders out confused and takes his scooter the wrong way*

In Receipt Of A Bad Attitude

, , | Right | June 5, 2018

(I live in a small town that’s right next to a larger city where I work. It’s only 15 minutes from my home to work on my bicycle. A posh-looking couple comes in and the man walks towards the counter with book.)

Customer: “I got this as a present, but I already have it.”

Me: “That’s no problem. You can either pick out another book or receive a gift card from our store if you can’t find anything right now.”

Customer: “I want a gift card.”

Me: “Okay, may I have the receipt?”

Customer: “I don’t have that; I got this as a present!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I need to have the receipt to be able to proceed. Without it, I’m not allowed to do any return actions.”

Customer: “That is ridiculous! No other store ever demands something like that. If I go to [Other Bookshop nearby], they just hand me another book, no questions asked!”

(I find that very hard to believe, but leave my sarcasm in my head and just keep on smiling.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but that’s our store policy.” *points at the sign next to me that has our policy printed on* “Maybe you could ask the person who gave you the book for the receipt and come back with it later.”

Customer: “Then I have to go all the way to [Town] to get it. Do you know how far that is to go all the way up there?!”

Me: “Yes, I live there.”

Customer: “I just want a new book right now! I’m in my right to get a new book! I have a real job and don’t have time to go get a stupid receipt!”

Me: *trying my hardest to keep my frustration out of my voice and stay polite* “Sir, I’m sorry, but I need it as proof that the book was bought here, and the barcode on it to trigger my register for a return action.”

Customer’s Wife: “Honey, let’s go before you start making a fuss.”

Customer: *yelling* “I’m not making a fuss; I’m defending my rights!”

(The wife drags him away after some more yelling from the man. The next day they return, the man looking smug. He passes me the book with the receipt on top of it.)

Customer: “There, happy now? I went all the way to [Town] to get this piece of paper for you.”

(He sounds as if it was a trip that took hours to get there, and he clearly wants me to say something about it. I just stay neutral and make him a gift card for the price of the book. The man keeps on complaining how he had to travel all the way to get the receipt while I make him the card. Fifteen minutes later, he is back at the counter with a new book and pays with the gift card instead of just exchanging for that in the first place. After they leave, I turn to my coworker who lives in the same town and witnessed both encounters.)

Me: “I really, really, wanted to say to him, ‘Bravo, we do that everyday.'”

“Change” Your Parenting!

, , , , , | | Right | May 31, 2018

A kid comes up to the counter to buy a book. After tax, he’s short by 82 cents. I can see no parent in sight, so I take out my wallet and give him a dollar.

Two minutes later, his mom comes up with the receipt and asks where his change is. I politely explain that I gave him a dollar to cover the remaining amount. All I get is a cold stare as she briskly walks off without saying thank you.

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