Needs A Stern Conversation With Her Son

| Medford, MA, USA | Right | November 28, 2012

(It is 1993. I am working the register when an elderly woman comes up to the counter.)

Customer: “Do you have that book, Body Parts?”

Me: “Hmm, I don’t know that one by name, but let’s see if we can find it. Who’s the author?”

Customer: “I don’t know. It’s that new story, Body PartsBody Parts.”

Me: “Hmm, okay, just give me one second to look it up so we can find it on the shelves. All our fiction is alphabetical by author.”

(I look it up in our primitive computer, and find an old book.)

Me: “Well, I don’t have that book here, but I can order it for you. It would take one to two weeks.”

Customer: “Why don’t you have it? My son says it’s a bestseller! You should have a lot of them! He saw it here and I want to get it for him for his birthday!”

Me: “Actually, it’s a few years old and we haven’t had it in the store for some time now. When’s his birthday? Maybe I can get it in time.”

Customer: “No, he saw it here yesterday! Body Parts! It’s a bestseller.”

Me: *flash of recognition* “Wait, a bestseller, right? Are you looking for Private Parts by Howard Stern?”

Customer: “That’s what I said! Private Parts! Private Parts!”

(The woman is now yelling the correct name of the book. Other customers turn to look and giggle.)

Me: “Of course, Private Parts. Sorry, I must have heard you wrong. Right this way.”

(I bring her to the best sellers rack and hand her a copy of the book. The cover has a photo of the disk jockey Howard Stern, naked, but holding a cloth over his private parts.)

Me: “Is this the book?”

Customer: *squints through her glasses at the book* “Oh! This is disgusting! Ugh! My no-good son’s gonna get it!”

(She drops the book on the floor and walks out in a huff.)

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One Customer’s Bash Is Another Customer’s Pleasure

| Medford, MA, USA | Right | November 20, 2012

Customer: “Do you have the new Oprah book?”

Me: “Probably… what’s it called?”

Customer: “The new Oprah book.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch Oprah. Do you know the title or author?”

Customer: “It’s the one on TV! You should know it!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I work full-time and don’t get to see the show. Do you happen to know the name of the book?”

Customer: “It’s the one on TV! Oprah!”

Me: “Sorry, do you remember the author’s name? Did she do an interview?”

Customer: “Yes, that guy… oh, I remember!”

Me: “Great, what is the—”

Customer: “Blue!”

Me: “What?”

Customer: “The book is blue.”

Me: “Hmm… is it that blue one in best-sellers behind you there?”

Customer: “No, the one on TV! Why don’t you have it! Why don’t you know what I’m looking for?”

Me: “I work when that show is on, so I don’t really know what you’re looking for.”

Customer: “Ugh! Let me ask my friend.”

(She walks away and comes back ten minutes later with her friend. They each have a copy of ‘Ageless Body, Timeless Mind’ by Deepak Chopra. The cover indeed does have a blue background.)

Me: “Ah ha! You found it! Great!”

Customer: *holding up the book* “It was on TV! You’re the worst employee ever! Why don’t you know what I saw on TV?”

Me: “I don’t know. Sorry. Let’s ring you up.”

(About 30 minutes later, another customer comes up to my register.)

Customer #2: “Do you have that book, um, ‘Strong Body, Strong Life’?”

Me: “Oh, Deepak Chopra? The blue one?” *I show her the now familiar ‘Ageless Body, Timeless Mind’* “Is this what you are looking for? Did you see it on Oprah?”

Customer #2: “Wow, you’re the best employee in the world! How did you know what I was looking for?”

Me: “I don’t know. Let’s ring you up.”

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Don’t Fold Under Pressure

| UK | Right | November 7, 2012

(I work in a local bookshop that was recently taken over by a large chain store. Because of this, the manager is often in the other shop down the road, as they trust me to be able to handle anything. This shop also sells items for gift wrapping.)

Customer: “I have looked everywhere for your christening gift wrap. I find it disgusting that you don’t carry any. Get me your manager.”

Me: “I apologise, but I’m currently the only worker in the store. I’m sure we carry gift wrap for christening. Have you checked down the isle to your left?”

(The customer angrily goes to look. She comes back with some gift wrap mumbling about how I should be fired for being alone.)

Customer: “This one says ‘new baby’. That’s basically the same thing as christening, right?”

Me: “Uh, sure. Would you like this rolled or folded?”

Customer: “Ugh. You and your questions. Just roll it!”

(I begin to roll it.)

Customer: “No, no! What are you doing?! Are you deaf? I said fold.”

Me: “…of course, ma’am. I apologise.” *begins to gently fold it*

Customer: “No, no! What are you doing?! Don’t fold it. You’ll crease the paper. Then what will the baby think?! Give it here, I’ll do it myself!”

Me: “I apologise for creasing the paper. Here you go…”

Customer: *aggressively folds the paper anyway and leaves*

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Cult-ivating Ignorance

| Hilliard, OH, USA | Right | October 27, 2012

(I managed a family-owned bookstore that caters to Mormons. We have people come in weekly to pick fights with us, and by this time I was use to being called about every name in the book.)

Customer: “You have a lot of pictures of Jesus in here. Is this a Christian book store?”

Me: “Yes, we cater to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Customer: “Church of Christ you say? Cool, okay.” *wanders off*

(About 10 minutes later he comes back, confused.)

Customer: “Why do you have the Book of Mormon in your store?”

Me: “It is one of our Holy books, along with the Bible.”

Customer: “Is this a Mormon store?”

Me: “Yes, the LDS Church is one of the branches of the Mormon religion.”

Customer: “Aren’t you a cult?”

Me: “No, were just another kind of Christian, like Catholics or Protestants but with our own beliefs that set us apart.”

Customer: “No, you are a cult.”

Me: “Cults generally follow one leader, and our leader is Jesus Christ. So, if you want to say following Jesus makes one in a cult then you may be right.”

Customer: “You follow Jesus, you say? Is this the Jesus you follow in the pictures on the wall?” *points to an image of Christ overlooking Jerusalem*

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “Well, you are a cult then. That Jesus looks too perfect.”

Me: *confused* “We do believe that Jesus, as the Son of God, is perfectly perfect.”

Customer: “No, that’s a lie. Jesus can’t be perfect. Only God is perfect.”

Me: “Yes, and we believe that Jesus is God.”

Customer: “Wait, you worship Jesus?”

Me: “Um… yes.”

Customer:Real Christians don’t worship Jesus. You are a cult!” *storms out*

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Getting Owned By The Owner

| USA | Right | October 25, 2012

(I work in a privately owned bookshop, and the shop owner/manager has very little patience for rude customers. He’s generally not unkind about it unless you upset other customers, though. He actually owns the property where the shop is located, and rents neighboring spaces to other businesses.)

Customer #1: *to another customer* “You have a very nice a**!” *tries to grab her*

Customer #2: *alarmed and backing away* “Don’t touch me!”

Customer #1: “God, you feminist c***s need to learn to take a d*** complement! Besides you can’t f***ing tell me what to do, I’ll touch you if I godd*** want!” *tries to touch her again*

Me: “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Customer #1: “What’re you going to do about it? You’re only a woman, you have no right to tell me what to do. I have more rights than you! I’m better than you!” *tries to hand me a slip of paper* “Get me that book, slave!”

Me: *refusing to take it* “You need to leave, sir.”

Customer #1: “Get me your manager, stupid w****!”

Manager: *approaching from behind, and speaking firmly to Customer #1* “Get out.” *to Customer #2* “I’m so sorry. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help you with.”

(Customer #2 starts to tell him what she’s looking for, handing him a reading list, but Customer #1 isn’t done yet.)

Customer #1: “Hey, who do you think you are, buddy? Do you even know which book this is?” *waving the paper at him*

Manager: “I’m fairly certain everyone over the age of 12 knows what book that is.” *frowning* “I thought I told you to get out.”

Customer #1: “Only the property owner can tell me to leave!”

Manager: “Well even if that were true, I do own this property. So, you have two options. You can say good bye and leave, or you can just leave, which I would prefer.”

(Customer #1 leaves, embarrassed. However, he remains in the parking lot, so afterwards my boss walks Customer #2 to her car. I ended up having to call the police to get rid of Customer #1.)

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