Iron Chef

| QC, Canada | Right | January 18, 2013

(I’m working in a bookstore, storing cooking books. On top of the pile is Gwyneth Paltrow’s recipe book. A boy of around 10 walks by and stops next to me.)

Boy: “Mom, look! Pepper Potts wrote a cookbook!”

(Being a comics fan, he totally made my day!)

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Smells Like Teen Illiteracy

| Medford, MA, USA | Right | December 26, 2012

Customer: “Do you have anything from Nirvana?”

Me: “Sure, right this way. Here is a book about Kurt Kobain, and over here is a copy of his diary.”

Customer: “No, the music.”

Me: “Oh, did you want the book about the band and the grunge scene?”

Customer: “No, the music.”

(The customer holds up his hands to his ears, miming headphones.)

Me: “I’m sorry, are you looking for the music on CD?”

Customer: “Yeah, a CD.”

Me: “Oh, sorry. We don’t sell that here. Maybe you could try the music store on the other side of the mall?”

Customer: “What? You’re out of the CD?”

Me: “No, we don’t sell CDs at all. Just the—”

Customer: “Why the h*** not?”

Me: “Ah, because this is a bookstore?”

Customer: *looks up and around for the first time* “Huh! What a stupid store!” *walks out*

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History Needs Repeating

| TN, USA | Right | December 17, 2012

(A customer calls, asking if we have ‘War and Peace’.)

Me: “No, we do not.”

Caller: “I want you to tell me all the titles of the books you have.”

Me: “We have over 100,000 books.”

Caller: “What types of book?”

Me: “Fiction, mystery, how-to, true crime, western, history.”

Caller: “What is history?”

Me: “Like the Civil War.”

Caller: “You mean War and Peace?”

Me: “No, like World War 2.”

Caller: “There was more than one?”

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So Much For Out-Of-The-Books Thinking

| Flint, MI, USA | Working | December 14, 2012

(It’s the holidays, and I have a seasonal job as a cashier at a large, national bookstore. To reiterate, I am a cashier, which means I am stationed at the cash register. There are floor associates, who walk the floor and help customers find items. The following happens while I’m off the clock on my lunch break.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you work here?”

Me: “Yes, I do.”

Customer: “Great, I was just hoping you could point me in the right direction. I’m looking for Monty Python’s Best of John Cleese.”

(Note: This would have cost her about $15. I’m also a HUGE fan of Python and British comedy in general.)

Me: “Ah, I’m sorry! We actually just sold that earlier today. If you’d like, [coworker] can order that for you and we can have it in about two weeks.”

Customer: “Oh. I really wanted to give it to my boyfriend for his birthday tonight. Do you have any suggestions?”

Me: “Yes, actually! BBC has just released a box set that contains all of the Python episodes plus tons of bonus materials. We also have this 365 Days of Python tear-away calendar.”

(The customer buys the box set ($200), the calendar ($20), and a compilation of best British stand up ($20). So, she ends up spending about $240 when she’d planned to spend only $15. However, my manager grabs me on my way back to the break room.)

Manager: “What are you doing?! You are a cashier. There are people here whose job is to talk to the customers. Go do your job!”

Me: “Um, I just talked a customer into spending FIFTEEN TIMES the amount of money she’d intended to. And you’re upset about this sale?”

Manager: “It’s not your job!”

Me: “Serving customers is not my job in this customer service position? Really?”


Me: “I’M OFF THE CLOCK! And you’re welcome for the TWO HUNDRED FORTY DOLLAR SALE that [coworker] wouldn’t have been able to make because he doesn’t know the genre.”

(Needless to say, my seasonal job did not turn into a long-term position. This large, national bookstore chain collapsed under bankruptcy and closed last year. I was neither sad nor surprised. At my current job, if an employee makes a $200+ sale, we get a certificate of recognition and a 40% discount on an entire purchase!)

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Marriage Has Grey Areas

| London, England, UK | Right | December 12, 2012

(I’m at a bookstore, witnessing an exchange taking place between an employee and a middle-aged male customer.)

Customer: “Excuse me, do you know where your copies of 50 Shades of Grey are?”

Employee: “Sure, they’re over there.”

(The customer walks over to the indicated shelf and picks up a copy.)

Customer: “Right, anniversary present… sorted!”

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