What’s Another Word For Dictionary?

, , , | Right | April 12, 2018

(I work in a bookstore. School is about to start, so we’ve had a lot of people coming in looking for dictionaries for their children. Usually this is not a complicated request, until this lady comes in.)

Lady: “Hi, I’m looking for a dictionary?”

Me: “Of course. They’re just over here.” *starts walking toward dictionaries*

Lady: “So, um… Is a dictionary the same as a thesis?”

Me: “You mean a thesaurus?”

Lady: “Yeah, that.”

Me: *shocked that she has no idea what a thesaurus is, or even what it’s called* “Um, no. Not at all. A dictionary tells you what a word means, and a thesaurus gives you other words that mean the same thing as that word.”

Lady: *still seems really confused* “Oh… Okay… So… Do I need both, then?”

Me: “I… couldn’t say. That’s really up to you.”

Lady: “Well, they only told me to get a dictionary. I thought they were the same thing.”

Me: “We do have packs that come with both, but if they only said to get a dictionary, then that’s probably all you need.”

Lady: “So, I don’t need to get both? But what if she needs it?”

Me: *deciding enough’s enough* “No, you won’t need a thesaurus. Just get the dictionary and you’ll be fine.”

Lady: “Oh, okay. Thank you for your help!”

(I’ve never had so much trouble with what should have been a very quick and simple request! Who on earth doesn’t know the difference between a dictionary and a thesaurus, or what either of them are for? And why did anyone send her to pick them up if she had no idea what she was looking for?)

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