Out of Sight, Out of Store

| Fremont, CA, USA | Working | May 27, 2013

(For a few days I have noticed a two customers come into our bookstore with empty bags and crumpled receipts, match the books on the shelf with the receipts, then returning the “bought” books for cash. I make a phone call to my Store Manager, who never comes out of his office. This is after the third theft where we had two other eyewitnesses to the crime.)

Me: “[Store Manager], those two customers are back trying to return books that they pulled off the shelf again.”

Manager: “Just go ahead and give them the money.”

Me: “Sir, I personally watched them pull the books off the shelf and place them in the bag.”

Manager: “No one else saw them, right? We can’t take the word of one employee.”

Me: “Sir, after you said that the last TWO times I reported this, I had other employees watch them and they witnessed it as well.”

Manager: “Well, a few dollars isn’t much and I don’t want to deal with it.”

Me: “Sir, with today’s ‘return,’ the total would be over $300.”

Manager: “Just give it to them. I have more important things to worry about.” *hangs up*

(I hand the money to the customers but give them this parting shot as they leave…)

Me: *to the thieves* “Have a nice day, gentlemen, but if you come into this store again, I will personally hand over the security tapes with you on them to the police.”

(Three days later, my store manager comes up to me grinning.)

Manager: “See? They knew they were going to be caught soon so they finally stopped. Nothing to worry about!”

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In Search Of Degrees Of Freedom

, | FL, USA | Learning | May 22, 2013

Man: “See, honey? If you don’t do well in school, you’ll end up working like this girl.”

Me: “Actually, sir, I’m a student here, too. I just work for the extra cash.”

Girl: “That’s great! It’s my first year here. What’s your major?”

Me: “English.”

Man: “English? Why would you get a major in English?”

Me: *jokingly* “I’m in it for the money, sir.”

Man: “But you have an accent! You’re not even from America!”

Me: “Sir, that’s an Appalachian accent you’re hearing.”

Man: “Yeah, well, you’ll get your degree and still not be able to get a job! No one’s going to hire someone who doesn’t even speak proper English!”

Me: “My concentration is literature, sir. I doubt anyone cares about my accent.”

(The man turns away, grumbling under his breath.)

Girl: *nervously* “This is why I decided to move away for school.”

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A Comic Book Romance, Part 2

| Germany | Romantic | May 7, 2013

(I am a regular in my favorite store for comics, books and board-games. The owner is a big fan of one of the big labels, while I prefer the other. We’re talking about new comics, when a young woman enters the store. She starts talking to the owner.)

Young Woman: “Hey, I would like to start with [my preferred label] comics; could you help me?”

Owner: “Sure, no problem.”

(The owner turns to me.)

Owner: “Hey, you know [label] comics better. Would you help?”

(The three of us begin to talk about the comics. An overdressed girl enters, and overhears me talking about my favorite series.)

Overdressed Girl: “Are you f****** stupid? Those stories are s***, and they’re for little children. Read [other label of comics which is written mainly for children]; they are for cool people.”

Owner: “Stop talking like this, or I’ll kick you out.”

Young Woman: “I… I don’t know what I should read.”

Overdressed Girl: “A girl? Girls don’t read comics. Not even if they are as fat and ugly as you are.”

(The girl is not fat; she seems to be fighting her tears.)

Owner: “Shut up and leave. NOW!”

Overdressed Girl: “I’m the hottest person in here! You can’t make me leave! I’m the hottest in here, and all boys want me!”

(I turn to the young woman who is by now almost crying.)

Me: “Hey, you know she’s wrong. You’re much prettier then her! Uhm… do you… want to go out sometime?”

(The overdressed girl storms out. The young woman looks at me like I’m crazy. The owner is laughing hard.)

Owner: “Nice one!”

Young Woman: “T… thanks.”

Me: “Yeah… so, what about that date?”

(We started dating soon after, and are now engaged!)


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But Asgard Has All The Best Choreographers

| UT, USA | Working | May 6, 2013

(I am the author of this story on Not Always Right. I am in a popular book shop some 30 minutes away from home with my best friend. At the time, I am wearing a Marvel shirt with Loki on the front, and the phrase “I DO WHAT I WANT.” We approach the counter with film magazines. Our cashier is a woman who appears to be in her mid-thirties to early forties.)

Cashier: “Is this all for you today?”

My Friend: “It is, thanks.”

(I turn to browse through the pages of one of the magazines, as I indicate that we won’t be needing a bag. The cashier gives me a strange look and points at my shirt.)

Cashier: “What are you wearing?”

Me: “Marvel’s Loki. ”

Cashier: *stares*

Me: “God of Mischief? Brother of Thor? Portrayed by British actor Tom Hiddleston in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers?

My Friend: *sighs* “Just say yes. Otherwise, she’ll never shut up about him.” *coughs* “OBSESSED!”

Cashier: “…Isn’t he supposed to be the devil?”

Me: “Pretty much. But, come on. Tom’s Loki is one hell of a looker.”

Cashier: *backs away* “You worship the devil!!”

(Surprised by the cashier’s reaction, my friend and I exchange a look.)

My Friend: “Oh, come on! Yeah, Marvel consumes her life, but it’s just a bunch of comics.”

(The cashier screams and waves her arms.)


(At this point, my friend is yelling back and demanding to speak with the store manager. Leaning close to the counter, I stare the cashier in the eye with a straight face.)


(My friend stares in shock as the cashier bolts, drawing even more attention as the manager arrives to finish the transaction and apologize. Apparently, the woman has a history of jumping to severe conclusions, and has hair-trigger nerves.)

My Friend: “Why didn’t you just tell her off?”

Me: “Well, you know what they say: the Devil plays all the best tunes.”

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Diplomacy

| Liverpool, England, UK | Right | April 16, 2013

(A customer in his early 20’s is ranting at the front of the bookstore. He’s speaking as if he’s much older than he is. His rant is about kids nowadays not reading as much. There are no other customers, so it’s policy to let him vent. I smile politely to everything he’s saying, since he’s not being a bother.)

Male Customer: “…they just don’t understand the beauty of holding a book in their hands, smelling the pages and reading tales of epic proportion! Kids these days just want to stand around listening to crap music. No wonder they’re getting dumber.”

Me: “We get a few teenagers coming in the store, though.”

Male Customer: “I bet they’re just picking up crap like Twilight. They’d never read proper books.”

(A customer walks in as he’s saying this. I recognise her from a few days ago, when she ordered a book. She’s about 16, very blonde, and very clearly one of the popular girls.)

Female Customer: “Hi, I ordered a book. I just want to check if it has come in? It’s under [name].”

Male Customer: *mutters* “This is exactly what I was talking about.”

Female Customer: “Excuse me? What is that supposed to mean?”

Male Customer: “I was just saying that kids like you have no interest in reading. If you do, it’s all crap.”

Female Customer: “If I had no interest in reading, why would I be in a bookstore? And who cares what others think of a book, so long as you enjoy it? That’s all that matters, right?”

Male Customer: “Whatever, go on, pick up your crappy little Twilight.”

Female Customer: “For your information, I ordered John Green’s Looking for Alaska. I did not like Twilight at all.”

Male Customer: “Yeah, as if.”

Female Customer: “”War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” George Orwell, 1984. That last line is something you ought to think about before opening your rude mouth!”

Me: “She certainly knows her stuff.”

(I hand her the book she ordered, making sure the male customer sees the cover. She pays and walks away, but turns back around before she leaves.)

Female Customer: “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”

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