A Whale Of A Story

| Pleasant Hill, CA, USA | Right | July 29, 2012

(My coworker and I have been laughing over a list of dumb laws during a quiet spell at the registers.)

Me: “Check this out. It’s illegal to hunt whales in Utah.”

Coworker: “Well, now, that’s not very specific. Is it illegal to hunt FOR them, as in go looking for one, or is it illegal to FIND one and harpoon it? Because, let me tell you, the second one is a lot harder!”

Me: “Well, if I ever go to Utah, I think I’ll walk up to a cop and ask them where I can go hunting for whales, just to see his reaction.”

(As we continue joking, a customer overhears us and becomes angry.)

Customer: “You filthy murderers! How can you think hunting whales is funny?!”

Me: “I assure you, ma’am, there is little danger of me actually harming a whale in Utah.”

Customer: “That’s no excuse! You think you could get away with taunting a police officer by openly admitting you were going to commit a crime?”

Coworker: “Yes… actually, in this case, we probably could.”

Customer: “HOW?!”

Coworker: “Well, since whales live in the ocean and there are no oceans in Utah—”

Customer: “Don’t treat me like I’m stupid! I’m calling the producers of Whale Wars on you! You’ll be shamed in front of the whole nation!” *storms out*

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Time To Close The Books On This One

| Livingston, NJ, USA | Right | July 25, 2012

Me: “Thank you for calling [bookstore]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, yes, I’m trying to reach your store in Short Hills but no one will answer the phone.”

Me: “Oh… well, the location in Short Hills actually closed three years ago.”

Caller: “No, I don’t think you know what I’m talking about. I mean the one in the mall.”

Me: “Yes, that was our only location in Short Hills. It closed because the mall wanted to jack up the rent.”

Caller: “That’s ridiculous! I go to that store all the time. The number I have isn’t working and I can’t find it listed anywhere, so I need you to give me the phone number.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry to tell you this, but the number isn’t working because that store no longer exists. You can’t find it listed for the same reason.”

Caller: “I was there last week!”

Me: “I… don’t think that’s possible. There isn’t even a bookstore in that mall anymore.”

Caller: “Oh, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Get me the number or get me someone else who can!”

Me: “Ma’am, I actually used to work at that location. It closed down, so I transferred to this store three years ago. Is there something I can help you find, other than the number for the Short Hills store?”

Caller: “You know, the employees at the Short Hills store are going to be VERY upset that you’re saying this about them! I’m going to drive over there right now and tell them all about this!”

(One hour later, my coworker answers the phone.)

Coworker: “Thank you for calling—”


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The Girl Who Cross-Shopped The Employee’s Best

| OR, USA | Right | July 24, 2012

(A customer walks into the bookstore and begins looking around.)

Me: “Hello! Is there anything I can help you find today?”

Customer: “Yes, there is this book that I heard about on the radio that I want to read.  I can’t remember the title, though.”

Me: “Alright, do you know who the author is?”

Customer: “No, but I’m pretty sure that he was from Norway, and it came out really recently.”

Me: “Okay, I can’t think of any books by Norwegian authors that are big right now, but I can try to see what we have. I’ll go ask my boss if she can think of anything.”

Me: *to my boss* “Do you know of any books by Norwegian authors that came out recently?”

Boss: “No. Do they know anything else about it?”

Me: “I’m not sure, but I will ask.”

(I walk back to the customer.)

Me: “Neither of us can think of anything by a Norwegian author that came out recently. Can you think of anything else about the book? If we don’t have it in stock, I can special order it for you.”

Customer: “I think it was a mystery.”

(On a hunch, I walk out to our new book display and pick up “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Swedish author Stieg Larsson.)

Me: “It wouldn’t happen to be this, would it?  This book came out very recently in hard cover and is very popular right now.”

Customer: “That’s it!”

Me: “Excellent! That book is actually part of a series.  We have the first one right over here if you are interested.”

(I walk over and grab the first book and hold it out to her.)

Customer:The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Okay, that looks good!”

(I continue holding the book out for her, but she doesn’t take it.)

Me: “If this is all, I can ring it up for you right now, or I can set it aside for you while you browse.”

Customer: *happily* “Oh, no, I’m not going to buy it. Now that I know what the book is, I am going to go home and buy it on my Kindle!” *turns and leaves without another word*

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A Faustian Barbie

| USA | Working | July 23, 2012

(I am a manager at a bookstore. This happens between a senior employee who’s worked for me for several years and a new hire hired by one of the other managers. I ask the employee to show the new hire how we re-shelve the books so that she can do it on her own in the future. Note: both women are on the petite side; the senior employee is particularly thin due to illness a few years ago.)

Senior Employee: *explaining to the new hire* “So, when books are left out or people decide at the counter they don’t want them we sort them onto these carts. It makes it easier to put them back so we’re not running all over trying to find their location.”

New Hire: *examines her nails* “Whatever. When’s my lunch?”

Senior Employee: “One, you just got here. Two, I don’t know. Three, I need you to pay attention, please.”

New Hire: “Whatever, fatty.”

(A nearby customer speaks up.)

Customer: *incredulously* “Did you just call her fat?!”

New Hire: *to the customer* “What’re you gonna do about it, loser? You waste your time reading books. I’m hot! I can get a man whenever I want, so I don’t need to read!”

Senior Employee: “Okay, sweetie… reality check. You work in a bookstore. I’m trying to show you how to do your job. Take this cart; we need to head to general fiction.”

(There are two general fiction carts, which the senior employee usually re-shelves by herself. The new hire takes the other cart but is clearly more interested in one of the male customers.)

New Hire: “Oh my God, that guy is so hot! He so wants me; I know it!”

Senior Employee: “Well, when you’re done doing your job for the day, if he’s still here, you can bother him then.”

New Hire: “You’re just jealous.”

Senior Employee: *sarcastically* “Oh, yes… so jealous of your attitude, your lack of awareness of how to treat other people, and horribly envious of your huge, undeserved ego.”

New Hire: “Just because you can use words I don’t know doesn’t make you better than me!”

Senior Employee: “I never said it did, dear. This section is all alphabetical. Please start re-shelving books, but make sure you put them in the right spot. I’m going to work on this cart. Let me know if you need any help.”

New Hire: *takes out her cell phone and starts texting* “Oh, h*** no! I’ll just watch you do it and I’ll figure it out next time. Besides, it won’t matter if these books aren’t on the shelf. Only losers read!”

(At this point the male customer the new hire was ogling speaks to the employee.)

Male Customer: “Hey I’m looking for a copy of Faust. Can you tell me where it is?”

Senior Employee: “von Goethe’s Faust, Marlowe, or the Murnau silent flick?”

New Hire: “Ugh, none of those people have anything to do with Faust! It’s a segment on a kid’s TV show with a dog!”

Male Customer: “Riiiiiight…” *to the employee* “von Goethe’s ‘Faust’. I have to read it for a college course in literature. Have you read it?”

Senior Employee: “I have! I know right where it is, too.” *starts to take the male customer to a copy of Faust*

New Hire: “I’M PRETTIER! MEN SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN ME!” *kicks over both carts of books*

(I fired her immediately.)

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| Livingston, NJ, USA | Working | July 22, 2012

(I’ve recently been promoted to a manager, but I’m friends with one of my coworkers, who is a supervisor. This entire exchange happens through text message.)

Coworker: “OMG, you’re missing out. Joe is doing handstands and it turns out Dave knows all the dance moves to ‘Bad Romance.'”

Me: “Haha, that’s awesome! Sorry I’m missing it.”

Coworker: “You should come by! Katie and I are trying to make paper planes and it’s not working well.”

Me: “Maybe I’ll swing by after dinner! You guys going to be around for a while?”

Coworker: “Yeah. We’re all closing!”

Me: “Wait. Are you guys supposed to be working right now? Are you doing all this in the store?!”

(Several minutes pass before my coworker replies.)

Coworker: “Nevermind. All is good.”

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