The Biography Of A Cheapskate

, , , | Right | September 19, 2017

(I work at a local bookstore that is part of an independent chain. Because we do not make as much of a profit as our competitors, we cannot heavily discount the prices of our books. I receive a phone call from a customer.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Bookstore]. This is [Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, hi. I was wondering if you had the new biography of Napoleon. I believe it’s called, Napoleon: A Life?

(I find the book on our new biography table, and it is quite the tome. I bring it to the counter and return to the phone.)

Me: “You’re in luck. We do have it. Would you like us to hold it for you?”

Customer: “How much does it cost?”

Me: “Looks to be forty-five dollars, sir.”

Customer: “Wow.”

Me: “I know, it’s a bit pricey, but it’s a big hardcover book, and I’ve heard it’s very good.”

Customer: “…do you happen to do any trade-ins at your store?”

Me: *not initially understanding the question* “Sir, the only trade-in we’ve done is a textbook trade-in, which we stopped doing months ago.”

Customer: “So, I couldn’t just come in and exchange another book for the Napoleon book?”

Me: “…No, sir. We don’t do anything like that.”

Customer: “Aw, man. Not even for a Complete Works of Shakespeare? It’s brand new!”

Me: “…I’m sorry, sir. You’ll just have to buy the book.”

(The customer proceeded to use the common argument that our competitors were selling the book for cheaper, and I reminded him that it was his choice to buy a cheaper book or support a local store. I hung up, shaking my head, wondering just how he thought he could get away with bartering books, especially when we have plenty of Shakespeare. The “Complete Works” book he had was probably nowhere near as expensive as the Napoleon book!)

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