Going On A Mission To The Mission District

| San Francisco, CA, USA | Right | February 2, 2017

(Being in San Francisco, our store sometimes gets tourists, seeing as it’s local and family-run rather than a big chain. It’s a very slow day, and a couple walks in, identifiable as tourists from their southern accent.)

Customer: *walks up to me and begins speaking in Spanish, with a VERY heavy Anglophone accent*

Me: “Uhm… You can speak English if you’d like, ma’am.”

Customer: “Oh!” *seems pleasantly surprised* “I was just wondering, do you have any local Bibles?”

Me: “I could show you to our religious section, if you’d like?”

Customer: “No, no, I want a LOCAL Bible. I think the word is similar in Spanish. Your English is very good, by the way.”

Me: *somewhat confused* “Okay, I’ll show you a few from our selection.”

(I leave from behind the counter and take three different versions of the Bible from the shelf, and then come back to the lady.)

Me: *lays Bibles on the table* “Any of these?”

Customer: “No, no, I said LOCAL Bibles. These are in English.” *says something Spanish again*

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish. English is my native language. And I don’t know what you mean by ‘local’ Bibles.”

Customer: *getting upset* “You live in San Francisco; of course you speak Spanish. You don’t have any local Bibles?”

Me: *giving up on arguing with her* “Do you mean a Spanish-language Bible?”

Customer: “No, I mean a LOCAL Bible. We need it for our mission trip.”

(I leave the counter again and this time get a Spanish Bible, which I bring to her.)

Me: “Is this what you’re looking for?”

Customer: “YES! Finally. Gracias.”

(The rest of the transaction went normally, and she left with her husband.)

That’s My Final Answer

, | Denver, CO, USA | Learning | January 26, 2017

(I work at a college bookstore; it’s on campus, of course. We sell textbooks, pens, pencils, etc. It’s finals week.)

Girl: *comes up to me at a register* “Where’s my final?”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Girl: “What room and what time is my final?”

Me: “The bookstore doesn’t know your classes. We don’t have a schedule for final times and classrooms”

Girl: “Why not?”

Me: “That’s your responsibility; you go to class and the professor tells you the time and place. Sometimes it’s over email.”

Girl: “I only went twice!”

Me: “I can’t help you.”

Girl: “Can you call my professor?”

Me: “No, it’s on your syllabus.”

Girl: “It seems like you’re just trying to avoid helping me.”

Me: “It’s not my job to know your finals.”

Golden Years To Make You Feel Golden

| Ottawa, ON, Canada | Romantic | January 24, 2017

(I work at a secondhand bookstore and have an older couple come in. After helping them find a few hardcovers, the man mentions that they have been together for over 42 years.)

Wife: *declaring proudly* “42 and a half.”

(I ring them up, and because I can’t resist, I ask:)

Me: “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the key to staying together for so long? It’s lovely to see.”

(Her husband waits, knowing his wife will respond first.)

Wife: “Let’s see… patience.”

Husband: *joking* “Infinite patience. Especially for changing minds.”

Wife: “A sense of humour is most important to me, someone you can laugh with. He’s very quiet, but he tells the best jokes.”

(They look at one another, smiles on their faces.)

Wife: “And there comes a point, too, when you’ve been with someone for a few years, and that point is, ‘Should we stay together? Are you really the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with?’ And it comes down to a choice, you see. To love someone, with all their little quirks and complexities. And I knew I loved him, and I wanted him in my life. And I chose him.”

Husband: *with a smile* “I’ll always choose her.”

(They grabbed their purchases and left me with a warm feeling for the rest of the day. It’s moments like those that can make you believe love actually exists.)

A Deception For The Books

| Victoria, BC, Canada | Right | January 24, 2017

(I am working in the children’s section of my bookstore. A father and his son, about five or six, come in and start browsing the books. I notice the child walk up to his dad with a rather expensive hardcover dinosaur book he had been reading.)

Child: *whispering* “Dad, I accidentally ripped a page in this book.”

(Sure enough, I look over to see a sizeable tear going half way up one page. The father turns his head and we make awkward eye contact where I give him a pained smile. Before I have the chance to say anything, he turns back to his son.)

Dad: “Well, buddy, that’s too bad, and you have to be more careful with things that aren’t yours. I guess we’re taking this home with us now.”

(Not expecting that level of decency, I am pleasantly surprised. The child, however, is not happy about this.)

Child: “What? No, I don’t want this one. I want another one!”

Dad: *shrugs* “Well, I’m sorry, but do you think any other kid is going to want this book now? We damaged it so we have to buy it.”

(The kid throws a bit of a fit but the father calmly repeats that they have to buy the book. They leave the section shortly after. I am really pleased with the father’s attitude, happy that he intends to pay for the book when many other parents would just cut and run. I tell a few coworkers about the customers and the incident lifts my spirits. However, half an hour later another coworker approaches me.)

Coworker: “Here, I just found this book wedged in the corner of my section behind a bunch of stuff.”

(To my dismay it’s the damaged dinosaur book! I guess either the child got his way in the end, or the father’s speech was all a show to fool me. Either way I was extremely unimpressed! We marked the book down to clearance and still no one wanted to buy it, just as the dad predicted!)

The Specific Lengths People Will Go To For Books

| Germany | Right | January 21, 2017

(I overhear this exchange at my local bookstore:)

Customer: “I would like one metre of books, please.”

Saleslady: “Sorry?”

Customer: “I just got a new wall unit for my living room and it has a one metre shelf for books, so I would like to buy enough books to fill it.”

Saleslady: “No problem. What kind of books would you like?”

Customer: “Blue ones.”

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