Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Early bird gets the worm and all that...

Customer comes in with a piece of paper. (This was Christmas Eve)

Customer: I need this book for my wife.
Me: I'm sorry sir. We are sold out of that title. We expect to have some more in by the second week of January.
Customer: But I need this book.
Me: I'm afraid we don't have any more. I can try to recommend another book that she might like, or you could get her a gift certificate.
Customer: NO. I need THIS book. I've looked everywhere today.
Me: Sir, I'm sorry. It was a surprise to everyone that it became as popular as it did so quickly. The publisher is out of stock until January.
Customer: She's gonna know.
Me: Sorry?
Customer: My wife's gonna know I waited too late to get her gift...

He seemed so frightened I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. He was trying to shop for a Specific thing on Christmas EVE. Sympathy lost.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Am I on candid camera?

Customer: Do you have and he gives me a title.
Me: Yes.
Customer: Oh. How about and he gives me another title.
Me: Yes.
Customer: Oh. How about and he gives me a third title.
Me: Yes.
Customer: In stock?
Me: Yes.... Would you like me to grab them for you?
Customer: Oh. Umm... No.

and he practicly RAN out of the store. Anyone care to hazard a guess? Anyone?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whoa Nelly

A Phone Conversation

Me: ____________ Books. ____________ speaking.
Customer: I'm looking for a book.
Me: Okay.
Customer: I'm looking for a particular book.
Me: Okay.
Customer: If you don't have it in stock can you get it for Christmas?
Me: If we don't have it I wouldn't guaranty it arriving for Christmas at this point. It might make it it but it might not.
Customer: Fine. I'll order it someplace else.
Me: Don't you want me to see if we have it here in stock already?

The Customer has already hung up.

Patience is a virtue right?

Friday, December 11, 2009

If only they were practical jokes....

A phone conversation

Me: Hello _____________ Books. ___________ speaking.
Customer: Hello. Is this ______________ Books?
Me: Yes.
Customer: Is there anyone there I can speak to?
Me: Ummmm You can speak to me........


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Not the only one

Customer: If I saw a book on a website can you order it in for me?
Me: We can take a look and see, we usually can. What site was it on?
Customer: The yoga site.
Me: Okay, do you know the site address or what the name of the site was?
Customer: The yoga site.
Me: Okay.

So I try a search for "the yoga site" thinking this is the name of the actual site.

Me: Okay is this the site?

I have www.yogasite.com up on the screen.

Customer: No. The Yoga site.
Me: Okay.

So I try www.theyogasite.com - It doesn't exist.

So I try a search for "the yoga site" again leave the search list up.

Me: I'm sorry I can't seem to find The Yoga Site.
Customer: It's the first one on the list on my computer.
Me: Well take a look at the search list here, maybe you can see what site it is.

The customer looks

Customer: It's the first one on my computer.
Me: Okay but I'm not sure what site it is and it's not coming up in my search I guess. You'll have to check at home and find out what the site address is. You can just give us a call with it.
Customer: It's The Yoga Site - why is it so hard for you to find. I shouldn't have to go back home to look it up you should have it here.

Seriously? At what point does trying to provide extra service become not worth it?

Friday, November 27, 2009

You Do That!

Customer: I'm looking for A Dance with Dragons in paperback
Me: I'm afraid that book hasn't been released yet at all. It's not even out in Hardcover yet.
Customer: Yes it is. It came out last year.
Me: I'm sorry but maybe we're not talking about the same book. The one I'm thinking of is the new one in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin.
Customer: Yes. That's the one. I've been waiting for it forever and it's suppose to be out in paperback now.
Me: I'm sorry, as far as we've been told they were hoping to have it out in hardcover this fall but it's still not done.
Customer: Well you obviously don't know what you're talking about, I'll go find it somewhere else.

And good luck with that. According to Mr. Martin's personal website he's till not finished writing the darn thing.
Please also see Mr. Neil Gaiman's journal entry:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are we talking about the same place?

Customer: You you have any books on Dr. Oz?
Me: Are you looking for a biography of Dr. Oz or the books BY him?
Customer: I'm looking for the book that was on Oprah.
Me: Alright, Dr. Oz's books are over here.
Customer: I didn't know you carried books here.
Me: Ummm Okay...?
Customer: Oh, and look you even have different kinds of books.
Me: Ummm Yes...?
Customer: Have you ever had tofu?
Me: Huh?
Customer: Do you sell cheese?
Me: Well, ummm, here are the Dr. Oz books, let me know if you need help finding anything else.

Completely random encounter there.... The store IS called ___________ BOOKS - Why is it so difficult for people to tell what we sell here?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Head starting to Hurt

Customer: Do you sell these books?
Me: Yes.
Customer: They're all for sale?
Me: Yes.
Customer: Wow. I didn't know you sold the books.
Me: We sell books, that's what makes us a book store.
Customer: I thought they were just to look at.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

we hold things but not forever.....

Customer: I ordered some books that are suppose to be in.
Me: Okay, and the name?

I look up the order and find out they came in in August.

Me: It looks like they arrived August 10. We called a number of times but since they were not picked up in over 4weeks they were put back out for sale.
Customer: I thought you would hold them for us.
Me: We did. After 4weeks we have to assume that no one is coming to pick them up.
Customer: But we don't come into town all the time.
Me: It's November. It's been 3 months. We have to have a cut off as to how long we hold things or we'd end up overrun.
Customer: Well we were coming for it.
Me: You could have called us and we could have arranged mailing them or having an extra hold time if we knew you were going to be coming.
Customer: Oh well I didn't know.

What's that saying about common sense not being common?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The gym is down the street...

So this guy comes in this morning and is browsing around for quite awhile so we sort of forgot he was there until these weird groaning sounds start coming from behind the shelves.

You can imagine the looks shot between the staff. Confusion, disgust, amusement, disbelief are a few I know hit my face.

After several of these strange groans, I was nominated to go look.

The guy was stretching. Like he was going to go for a run. And groaning. Loudly. I have no idea why.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Just found stuck under one of the Young Adult shelves:

Several pieces of chewing gum and what appears to be a rather large dried snot booger.

Excuse me while I go throw up a little and then disinfect EVERYTHING.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sometimes its fun actually

(This couple had a very thick accent, perhaps German, I'm not sure)

Customer: What is this Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?
Me: It's Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice re-written as though zombies were a regular part of life when she wrote her books.
Customer: Oh. My daughter likes these Jane Austen take off books.

The customer proceeds up to the sales counter and we ring him in.

Customer: So what is a zombie?
Me: Ummmm... Like in Night of the Living Dead? It's a undead creature.
Customer: Like a vampire?
Me: Sort of, zombies eat brains though and are more mindless shuffling monster types than vampires...

This went on for a while with me trying harder and harder to explain what a zombie is.

This couple was very very nice and their question was obviously due to a language/culture issue and not stupidity or down right meanness. However, it was funny and became more and more so because we had such a hard time trying to explain. Have you ever had to try to explain something that you've just taken for granted that everyone knows and you've never really thought about before? You know what I mean then.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My Apologies

Customer: I'm looking for this book
Me: Okay, let me look it up here... Oh no, I'm afraid it's out of print.
Customer: Okay, I'd like to order it.
Me: It's out of print. That means the publisher isn't printing it anymore. I can't order it. You could try a used bookstore though, they'll probably be able to track down a copy for you.
Customer: I don't want a used one. I want a new one.
Me: They're not making new ones. It's gone out of print. I can't get a new one for you. A used store might be able to find a like new one for you though. The used bookstore in town is very good at finding things.
Customer: Why can't you just order one for me?
Me: It's gone out of print. I can't order one from the publisher which is where we order books from. I'm sorry, they're just not printing more of them.
Customer: But why?
Me: Ummm? I don't know why. Maybe they didn't sell enough to print more...
Customer: But I want it.
Me: Try the used bookstore.

It's like daycare.....
My apologies to the staff of the used bookstore in town he's coming your way...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Weirder and weirder

Customer: Do you have the new Dan Brown book?
Me: Sure. It's right here.
Customer: Oh. I want it in paperback.
Me: It's not available in paperback yet. It only came out in Hardcover a couple of weeks ago...
Customer: Well that's not right. I want it in paperback.
Me: I'm sorry but it's just not available. The publisher has published it as a hardcover and it'll probably be a year or so before it comes out in paper.
Customer: Well that's not acceptable.
Me: I'm afraid there isn't anything we can do about it ma'am. It's the publisher's call when and if a paperback comes out.
Customer: Well I want to speak to the publisher right now.
Me: Ummmm, they're not here...
Customer: Well when will they be in?
Me: They won't. They're never here. We're just a bookstore. The Random House offices are in New York I think....
Customer: Well then why do you have their books?
Me: Huh? That's what bookstores do... we get books from the publishers to people who want to buy them.
Customer: Oh...


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Had to share this one

I had to share this one - this guy obviously feels my pain - from www.notalwaysright.com

Tour Guide | Norway

(I had a job on a boat, taking tourists out to sea so they could take really nice pictures of the midnight sun. One day, one of the tourists came up to me.)

Me: “What do you think of the midnight sun?”

Tourist: “Yeah, it’s really nice, but tell me one thing. On the map of our solar system, where is the midnight sun located?”

Me: “Er…the sun?”

Tourist: “No! I know where the sun is, but where is the midnight sun?”

Me: “The midnight sun and the sun are exactly the same, but when you are as far north as you are now, and since it’s summer, the sun never sets.”

Tourist: “WHAT THE F***?! I’m gonna sue your sorry a** for false advertisement! I didn’t come all the way from the US to watch the sun I have back home! *storms away*

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Customer: I'm looking for a French dictionary.
Me: Okay, were you looking for one that's a French-English dictionary or one that is a regular dictionary just in French?
Customer: I want one to look up French words.
Me: So that you know what the English word is or so that you have a full definition of the word?
Customer: I just want a book to look up French words.
Me: We carry a number of books to look up French words - I'm just trying to find out which type is going to be what you need because they are in different areas.
Customer: I just want a book to look up French words.

(BREATH. Do not Hurt the customer)

Okay, here are the French-English dictionaries let me know if I can help you find anything else.

A few minutes later

Customer: These ones just tell me what the English word is for the French word and the French word for the English word. I need a d-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-y.

If the guy wasn't such a jerk I would have just assumed that since he was looking for books in another language that it was simply a language barrier issue but the 13year girl tone was just too much to be unintentional.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm back - and so are they apparently....

Customer: I'm looking for a book.
Me: Okay......
Customer: It's about an young man and an older man and their relationship and changing your life.
Me: Could it be Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom?
Customer: Is it pink?
Me: ummm... no......
Customer: Then that's not it. It's pink. Where would I look for a book like that?
Me: Pink books about two guys?
Customer: Yeah.
Me: Umm... I'm not sure.... is it fiction or non-fiction?
Customer: Non-fiction.
Me: Okay, non-fiction is though here ( I sweep my arm across half or so of the shelves)
Customer: How hard can it be to find a pink book?
Me: I'm sorry, we don't have anything sorted by the colour of the cover...

Anyone have a pink-books-about-two-guys section in their book shelves? Anyone?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ass out of U and Me

A customer calls the store

Customer: I'd like to return a book I bought.
Me: Okay, do you have the receipt?
Customer: Yeah.
Me: It shouldn't be a problem, as long as it hasn't been more than a week and it's still in sale-able condition.
Customer: Great. I'll see you later.

The customer comes in later that day.

Customer: Hi, I called earlier and you said I could return this.
Me: Sure, I just need your receipt.

He hands me his receipt.

It's for a different store.
Not a different location of our store or something, a COMPLETELY different store.

Me: Sir, this receipt isn't for this store.
Customer: Yeah, I know. I didn't buy it here.
Me: Ummmm, I can't return it here if you didn't buy it here.
Customer: Well you didn't say that when I called.
Me: If you'd mentioned you hadn't purchased the book here I would have told you we couldn't return it. Generally we assume that if you call here asking to return something you bought it here. That's the reason you need a receipt, to show you bought it here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Maybe a little Too Specific

Customer: Where are your biographies?
Me: Over Here. Are you looking for something specific?
Customer: Music bios.
Me: OK they'll be through here.
Customer: I'm really looking for the drug addicted rockers section.
Me: Huh?
Customer: The section with all the the drug addicted musicians....
Me: Ummm... we don't really have a "drug addicted" sub-section in music bios section. Sorry.

HAHAHAHAHA - Okay - sometimes they just make me laugh.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Common Sense not so Common

A customer comes up to the counter with a popular diet book.

Customer: What's your return policy?
Me: 7 days on most things, excluding sale items and things can't be unsealed if they come sealed. Is it a gift?
Customer: No I just want to try it out and see if it works.
Me: Oh. Okay...
Customer: Well if I don't lose weight I should be able to return the book right?
Me: Ummm... Well, as long as the pages are all there and you can read then the book "works". Whether the diet does or not isn't really the book's fault. So no.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Only if you're on acid

Customer: You you have any George Orwell?
Me: Sure, over here in the fiction section.
Customer: No. He's not fiction.
Me: Umm yes he is certainly fiction.

From across the room I hear a coworker say: Yeah all those talking animals are totally non-fiction

I get the books for the customer and he buys them - still quite sure that they're in the wrong place in the store because he only ever buys non-fiction.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I must have been a bad person

Customer: What's the price on this?

Points to a GORGEOUS 3 book hardcover boxed set of ALL of the Calvin and Hobbes ever.

Friend: Oooo if you can't find a price it's free.

I pull it down and look a the price tag and point it out to her

Customer: Oh, well I don't want it if it isn't free.

I must have been a bad person is some past life. What else explains these people?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tweedle DUMB

Customer: WOW yous got a lot of books in here.

Me: We are a bookstore.

Customer: Really? Well yous won't be here long I bet. No ones gonna buy books. No one I knows reads nothin.

Help. Seriously. Help.

Friday, June 5, 2009

You should probably start with sorry

Customer: Where's your health section?

Already she's got rude and uninterested down. Impressive in four words.

Me: Over here. Are you looking for something in particular?

The Customer names the book.

Me: Oh. I'm afraid we are sold out of that title. It's back ordered due to a reprint so can't say when it will be back in stock.

Customer: Oh shit.

She then proceeds to tell he friend this whole story about throwing away her other friend's book and having to replace it.

Customer: Well when will it be in.

Me: I'm not sure. Because it's a reprint I have no information from the publisher as to when to expect it.

Customer: Well is there something wrong with the book?

Me: Huh?

Customer: Is there something WRONG with the book? You said they had to reprint it.

Me: Umm no... they just ran out and had to make more... it happens a lot...

Customer: Really? You actually sell lots of stuff here?

Me: Ummm... yes....I suppose so...

Customer: Well what am I suppose to tell my friend?

How about she needs to find some smarter people to hang out with?

Trust issues?

Customer: I ordered a book and I want to see if you really ordered it.
Me: okay....
Customer: I thought it would be in by now so maybe you didn't actually order it for me.
Me: Ummm okay, let me get your name.
Customer gives me her info and I look up the order.
Me: It has been ordered for you. I can see here that it has been shipped so we're just waiting for it to arrive.
Customer: So you did order it.
Me: Umm yes. We generally do order things when we say we did....


Saturday, May 30, 2009

also known as school bags.....

Customer: Do you sell book bags?
Me: Ummm We have these reusable bags here and these gift bags, but we don't have book bags per say.
Customer: That's not what I want, I'm looking for book bags like kids use for school.
Me: We don't really sell anything like that. You should try a department store or an office supply store maybe.
Customer: Well you sell books.
Customer: You should sell book bags.
Me: Sorry about that.

What I wanted to say - They're also known as school bags, packsacks, backpacks, rucksacks, knapsacks etc etc etc Maybe since they're also known as school bags you should check the local grade schools - maybe they'll sell you one...

Okay - I'm cranky.

Monday, May 25, 2009


For the 12th time (at least) today.

No the 3rd and 4th books in the Twilight Saga are not out in paperback in North America. Not even at WAL-MART!!! I'm not lying, confused or mistaken. If your "friend" has them they're either from some other country or YOU are lying, confused or mistaken. If you don't believe me; all the power to you, please go look somewhere else.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Okay, I'll just let you browse......

Customer: Do you have technical books?
Me: Sure. What kind were you looking for?
Customer: I don't know - I'll know when I see it.
Me: Okay, but what subject matter? Technical books about welding or machining or woodworking or computers? They're in different areas.
Customer: I'm not sure.
Me: Ummmm okay, well that whole area over here is non-fiction....

I completely get the "something will jump out at me" school of shopping...... But how can you not know if you're looking for a welding book or a book about computers?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

From my friends at Bakka-Phoenix Books


: What I don't like about books is how indiscreet the authors can be. And it's really hard to get in touch with them. Sometimes they're even dead.
Bakka-Phoenix: Okay.
C: I'm a very elaborate thinker, you see: I can think of alternates to the statements they make.
BPB: Indeed.
C: You have a nice selection here. Goodbye.
BPB: Thank you.
(brief pause)
Ben: Okay, that was even more surreal than the last one. I'm afraid to see what's going to walk through the door next.

Martian: Ooo-la ooo-la?
B: Over here, behind the plant, under "W"
M: Blarg.
B: Thank you.

Although this didn't happen to me it could have and I had to share!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My skin actually crawled

Why do people insist on chewing gum with their mouths open? It sounds disgusting, it looks horrible, like a cud chewing cow and it makes it really difficult to understand and to take them seriously.

Customer: GumSmack Where are your best sellers?
Me: Right here (under the large sign that says bestsellers)
Customer: GumSmack then something completely unintelligible.
Me: Pardon me?
Customer: GumSmack Twilight?
Me: Just over here.

Believe it or not this was not a 13 year old girl. This was a woman in her thirties AND her mother!!!!!
UGH. Disgusting.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can I come?

Customer: I'm looking for Bride Wars.
Me: The movie?
Customer: No. The book.
Me: Okay, let me take a look.
I check the computer
Me: I'm sorry but I don't see a book called Bride Wars. What is it about?
Customer: Two best friends who end up with wedding dates on the same day.
Me: That sounds like the movie Bride Wars.
Customer: Well it's suppose to be out as a book.
Me: I'm sorry but I can't find a book with that title but I know that a movie with that name and plot just came out. They have a big poster in the window of the movie place down the street.
Customer: Well it has to be a book if it's a movie.
Me: I wish it worked that way.

I was finally able to convince this person that they should check the movie place. They were really very nice, I just wish I lived in that world too....

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's started already

Customer: Do you have the new Dan Brown book?
Me: The DaVinci Code is the newest one that's out. Where you looking for Angels and Demons? That's the one the new movie is based on.
Customer: No. I want the new one. The Lost Secret.
Me: They've only just released the news of the the release date of the new book. The Lost Symbol will be out Sept 15.
Customer: No (RUDE) The new one is out. It's called The Lost Secret and that's the one I want.
Me: I'm sorry sir. We have no Dan Brown book called The Lost Secret and The Lost Symbol will be out Sept 15.
Customer: You people don't know what you're talking about. I'm going to go find it at W*****t.

And good luck with that. Last I checked they weren't exactly book experts at W*****t. I feel at least a little sorry for whatever poor schmuck he talks to there. I'm sure he'll be just as fun when he's asking for the non-existing book at a discount.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You don't work here do you?

Authors can be just as difficult as customers.
We have one author who insists on coming into the store and rearranging store displays to have her book where she thinks it should be. No consideration for the fact that there might be a reason her book is where we put it to begin with. Like, strangely or not, that's where it sells.
She's struck again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WTF is going on with this Twilight thing!!

Is anyone out there reading anything else other than Stephenie Meyer's books!?!?!?!!?
I think that's all we've sold today. Really.
I'm glad that people (in particular, young people) are reading. I'm just surprised. I read the first one. It was okay; certainly not the best crafted novel ever but not the worst either. It is, however, a romance novel for teenagers. While reading it I thought "wow, I would have been ALL OVER this when I was 13", often. I'm sure someone's going to say nasty things about me because I'm not on the Twilight-is-the-best-thing-EVER bandwagon, but, I don't get the obsession in the non-teen crowd.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I wonder if I'll hear about this......

Customer: You can't have this book here.
Me: Pardon me?
Customer: You can't have this book.
Me: I don't think I understand you.
Customer: You can't sell this book here.

Customer points to Under the Banner of Heaven

Me: Okay..... why not?
Customer: It's offensive to my religion.
Me: What?
Customer: I find it offensive to my religion.
Me: Okay. Well I suggest you don't purchase it.
Customer: You're not going to remove it from the shelf?
Me: Ummm. No.
Customer: Well I find it offensive.
Me: As I said. Don't buy it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Do I know you?

This is a customer I'm sure I've never seen before.

Customer: I'm looking for a good book
Me: Okay. What kind of thing do you like?
Customer: I like that last one that I read.
Me: Okay. What was that?
Customer: You know, that last one there that I read.
Me: I'm afraid I don't know what the last book you read was.
Customer: It was that one about the people in Africa.
Me: Okay...... was it fiction or a true story?
Customer: It was that last one there that I read.

I never did figure out why he thought I would know what the last book he had read was. We did send him home with a copy of War Child by Emmanual Jal. I hope he likes it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

You're not helping

Customer: Can you order books?
Me: Yes.
Customer: I guess I have to tell you the name of the book.
Me: That's usually helpful yes.
Customer: It's published by Little Brown.
Me: Okay.
Customer: It's like $22.
Me: Okay. Do you know the title?
Customer: It's Blue.
Me: Okay. Do you happen to know the title?
Customer: The author is Wallace I think.
Me: Okay, I can try to search by author for you.
Customer: It's called Infinite Jest.

This was one of those nice enough but clueless exchanges. Why couldn't she just give me the title to begin with?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Good Luck with that

Customer: I'm looking for the new Robert Jordan book.
Me: In the Wheel of Time books?
Customer: Yes. The 12th one.
Me: It's not out yet. They did get someone to finish it but not yet. The 11th is the newest.
Customer: It's suppose to be out.
Me: Ummm, I can check and see if the publisher has a release date for it but it's not available yet.
Customer: Yes it is.
Me: Okay...... Well, we don't have it then.
Customer: Well when will you have it.
Me: When it's published. I don't know when that will be yet.
Customer: It's out now. I want you to order it.
Me: I can't order it. It's not available to order yet. When the publisher sets a publishing date and makes it available to order we will have it in.
Customer: I'm going to write to the author and complain that you don't have it and you're gonna be in trouble.

What???? Really?
This is messed up on so many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the author is dead.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm a little shook up.

I had a man come in just now with a book that he said was given to him for Christmas. He had no receipt and the cover of the book had black marker scribbled all over the pricing. He wanted me to return it. I explained that that wasn't possible.

He then started getting angry.

Customer: I'm not into books and this one looks like crap anyway. It's garbage. So you're not going to give me anything for it?
Me: Sir, I can't. It's all marked up and even if I could buy it from you we can't sell it in that condition. I'm sure the library would be thrilled to take it if you really don't want it.
Customer: If it's got no value then I'm just going to throw it out.
Me: Please don't do that. The library would be so grateful for it.
Customer: No. If you won't give me anything for it it doesn't have any value and it's going in the garbage.

Then he started grabbing handfuls of pages and ripping them out and throwing them down on the counter. Then he just stormed out.

I'm actually still shaking a bit. It was a little scary.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Some days I wonder.......

This was a phone conversation I just had

Customer: Do you have paperback books?
Me: Ummm, yes?
Customer: How much are they?
Me: They range depending on the book.... They go from around $10 up to $60 or more.
Customer: Oh. So they're not all the same?
Me: ummm, no.
Customer: I'm talking about paperbacks here. You know. Paperbacks.
Me: Paperback is pretty broad sir. There are paperbacks in every section of the store. Are you looking for the little fiction pocket sized books?
Customer: Paperbacks. I can't believe you don't know what I am talking about.

Then he hung up on me.

Is it me?

Monday, March 16, 2009

We are not a babysitting service!

Quit leaving your small children in bookstores while you go shopping someplace else. We don't know who they are suppose to leave with or not. It's actually not okay for them to sit with their Doritos and read books while you're off doing whatever it is you're doing. NOT OK. Try the library, they might have programs for this kind of thing.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Give me a break

Customer: I'd like to return this.
The Customer has an audio book box
Me: Okay, do you have your receipt?
Customer: One of the tapes won't play right.
Me: Okay, but do you have your receipt?
Customer: No. I bought it in October.
Me: It's March.
Customer: Yeah well I just got around to it.
Our return policy is 7 days WITH a receipt.
Me: It's been 6 months since you say you bought it and you don't have a receipt. There really isn't anything I can do for you.
At this point there was much grumpiness and repetition......

No receipt really is killer for a return. No Receipt no return. It's pretty hard and fast. Then tell me it's been SIX months!?!?!?! Really? Give me a break.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm Not qualified for this

Customer: Do you have Mind Over Mood?
Me: Sure. Right over here.

I show the customer to the right spot and leave her to take a look at the book.

Customer: My therapist recommended this book for me but I don't know if I like it. What book would you recommend?
Me: Ummm... If your therapist recommended this one I would probably suggest it's your best choice.
Customer: But is there a different book you would recommend?
Me: I can tell you what sells well but I'm not in anyway qualified to say one of these books would be better for you....

There is only so far that a bookseller's expertise goes. If your therapist recommends something I say go with it.....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Laugh or Cry?

In my opinion, if you are over the age of 18, there really shouldn't be anyone monitoring your reading choices. I mean, seriously, what you read is up to you.

We had a young lady (well over 18) who asked for a novel for Christmas. Her mother bought it for her. The young lady's grandmother started reading it before it was wrapped (HUH?) and decided that it wasn't appropriate reading and instructed the young lady's mother to return it.

Now family is family, and whatever transpired there I don't know, but the mom comes in to return the book and tells me this story. She had the receipt so no matter how absurd I thought the reason for returning it was I would have done it with a smile. Except - and here is the kicker - Grandma was so rough with the book that there was NO WAY it could be returned.

The young woman got the book from mom along with some advice to just not mention it to grandma.

I'm not sure whether to laugh or shake my head......

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Customer: Do you have Dr.Phil's Relationship rescue?
Me: Sure. It's over here.
Customer: My husband and I are having some trouble. I hope this will help.
Me: Well I hope it works for you.
Customer: Yeah, we're not having sex anymore.
Me: Ummm... Oh.....
Customer: I don't know if we can get things going again but this book was recommended.
Me: So can I ring you through?

There are things I just don't need to know.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There are some young adult novels over here...

I feel I must preface this post with a statement about myself.
I am not a book snob. I know a lot of them. I work with some. I am not one.
I really read just about anything, I believe that there is a time, or place or reader for just about anything. There are times I want something that I can sink my teeth into and will make me think or maybe learn something. There are times I want to be challenged. There are times I just want to be entertained by a fast paced thriller or imaginative fantasy and still other times I want to read something mindless and fluffy that I can just enjoy without guilt.
I am Not going to look down on someone because they like romance novels or D&D books. Hey, they're reading.

However, I admit I had some difficulty figuring out what to recommend to this lady,

Customer: I'm going on vacation and I'm looking for a light read.
Me: Great. A beach read. What kind of books do you like?
Customer: Well I want something that's not too hard to follow. Nothing as hard as Danielle Steel. I like her but they're kind of hard to follow.

This is where I begin to stall for time.
I've read some Danielle Steel; they are light, entertaining, and very very popular. I think of them like fairy tales for grownups. Not a darn thing wrong with them if that's what you have a hankering for. They are NOT however a hard read. What do you recommend without being condescending?

I went with Nicholas Sparks, not because I think he's any easier per say but his novels tend to be shorter and I hoped that might equate to an easier read for this lady.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Still looking for that ESP!

Customer: I'm looking for a book about a guy who gets lost on a mountain.
Me: Okay. Is it a true story?
Customer: I think so.
Me: Is it recent?
Customer: I don't think so. It came out around the same time as that movie about the boat and the big storm.
Me: The Perfect Storm? The one with George Clooney?
Customer: Yeah.

So I check it out and find out that The Perfect Storm came out in 2000.

Me: Okay so it came out in 2000. So the book about the guy lost on a mountain came out around then and it's a true story?
Customer: I think so.
Me: Okay, let me see what I can find.

I whittle the list of over 100 "guy stuck on a mountain" books down to the few between 1999 and 2001. I even try giving her the titles of some of the most popular books from other years.

Customer: None of those are right.
Me: I'm sorry, but there are so many books about people getting suck on mountains. If you can give me any more info about it I might be able to narrow it down some more but with just this info these all fit.
Customer: Well, I thought you could be more helpful.

WHAT? MORE helpful? More helpful than figuring out what movie from nine years ago you are vaguely referring to to find the book that you don't know anything more about then it's a guy stuck on a mountain. More helpful than finding out when that movie was made for you and then spending more than 20 min searching lists for books that match your info in the last nine years?
I'm going home now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No wonder people get frustrated with tourists

Customer: Do you have books with that language they speak in Dominican?
Me: Spanish?
Customer: Do you have books with Spanish words in it?
Me: Ummm.. like a Spanish English dictionary?
Customer: I guess so.
Me: Here they are.
Customer picks one up and looks at it.
Customer: This looks hard.
Me: Ummm, the English word is here, and beside it is the Spanish word and in the other half of the book it's Spanish and then English.
Customer: Well, this doesn't say appendix.
Me: It does in Spanish. That's the point. That's the Spanish word for appendix, beside the English word appendix. Here in the middle are common phrases like "where is the bathroom" and "how much is this" and the Spanish for the same phrase.
Customer: Don't you have an easier one? Like with less words?
Me: I'm afraid they're all pretty much the same. This one is the smallest, and it has the lowest number of words in it. I have some picture dictionaries but they're all pretty big, not really great for packing.

Ack! Any suggestions about how to make a dictionary easier to use? Anyone?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Old is not a taste!!

Customer: I'm looking for something for an elderly person.
Me: Okay. What kind of books to they like?
Customer: They're 93.
Me: Okay, but what kind of books to they like to read? Fiction?Non-fiction?
Customer: I don't know - don't you have something general for old people?
Me: Well, you could try one of the chicken soup for the soul type books, they're pretty generic... Or any of these sort of bathroom readers, or gift books - they're pretty good for anyone if you don't know them well.
Customer: Are they good for someone's who's 93?
Me: I don't see why not. They're good for most people.

This one is one I've heard in one form or another a ton of times and it's beginning to annoy me. Just because someone is older doesn't mean they become some cookie cutter "old person". Older people are still people - they have their own interests and preferences.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm beginning to dislike these books

Customer: I want book three in the Twilight series in paperback.
Me: Eclipse isn't out in paper yet.
Customer: No. I want book number three.
Me: In the Twilight series?
Customer: rudely. Yes. In Paperback.
Me: The third book in the Twilight series is called Eclipse and it's not out in paperback yet.
Customer: Yes it is. I saw it.
Me: Well, we can't order it yet in North America.
Customer: Fine, I'll get it somewhere else.

Where do these people "see" these books that aren't out yet? Do they surf websites in other continents just to be difficult?!?

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Little Vague

Customer: I'm looking for a particular word puzzle book.
Me: Okay. What's it called?
Customer: I don't know. It's $9.99.
Me: Okay. I'm afraid that doesn't really help.
Customer: I bought it from (names some bookstore in Toronto).
Me: Okay, I'm afraid that still doesn't help narrow down what book it is.
Customer: It's word puzzles.
Me: There are an awful lot of word puzzle books.
Customer: It's hard word puzzles.

It's been a really long day. I give up.

: Here are the puzzle books. Maybe you'll recognize it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

ACK! Exam Week

I make a conscious effort to remember that I was once one of those loud and sometimes obnoxious teenagers. Generally speaking all of the teens would come into the store are great kids. The problem is not the kids themselves, the problem lays in the fact that at that age it's NEVER one teen that you are dealing with. They travel in Packs. Large Packs. Large, Loud, Annoying packs who have the most asinine things they need to talk about a top volume.

For instance.

"Oh my God. Like look at that cover. It's so like gross."


"I like books like that" -pointing at a children's chapterbook "They're easy."

Why has the "Valley" girl talk not died off? WHY??????

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I might be cranky

Customer: I'm looking for a book about a family that had a tragedy it's fairly new.
Me: Do you know anything more about it? I'm afraid that's not ringing any bells.
Customer: Someone died I think.
Me: A new book about a family where someone dies?
Customer: Yes.
Me: I'm sorry, I really don't know what title you might be looking for. It's just too broad.
Customer: Well, you work in a bookstore. You should know the books that are out.

Now, I was polite and apologetic even to this woman....
How is it my fault that you don't have a CLUE about what it is that you want? I mean, we try to find things for people all day with no information and most of the time we're happy to do it but there is NO reason for you to get nasty if we can't get our ESP working that day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

You have to give me something to work with here...

Customer: I'm looking for a fairy book for my daughter.
Me: Okay. We have LOTS of fairy related books. Were you looking for a story about fairies or more like a guide book for fairies?
Customer: Either one.
Me: Okay, what age group?
Customer: I don't know.
Me: You don't know how old your daughter is?
Customer: It's not for her, she wants it for someone else.
Me: Oh, okay. You don't know how old that person is?
Customer: No.
Me: Is it a child?
Customer: I don't know.
Me: Okay.....Well, I have about 150 books in store that are fairy related. Most of them are children's books, but the couple that are not you might not want to give to a child by mistake.

I take the customer over to where the Children's fairy books are located.

Me: Here are some choices.
Customer: Well how am I suppose to pick from all of these?
Me: Well, usually it helps to know who it's for.
Customer: Well I don't know who it's for.
Me: Okay, how about this one.

I grab a little hard cover book about fairies - where fairies might be found, what they wear etc.

Customer: That's pretty girly don't you think?
Me: ???? Well, it is a book about fairies.

I tried a few other titles and finally gave up and left her to "browse"

What the heck are you suppose to do with these people? I mean I am actually trying to help but really, there is only so much I can do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

P vs T

Customer: Do you have that book Tillers of the Earth?
Me: I'm sorry, I don't know that one.
Customer: It's pretty popular.
Me: Could it be Pillars of the Earth? By Ken Follett?
Customer: I'm sure it's Tillers of the Earth.
I check the computer. Sure enough no Tillers of the Earth.
Me: Let me show you Pillars of the Earth maybe it's the one you're looking for.
Customer: Well it's for my dad and I'll have to call him. He's been looking for it EVERYWHERE he said.
Customer calls her dad.
Customer: He's sure it's Tillers of the Earth. It's about someone building a church in old fashion England.
Me: Well, I'm not sure what to tell you. I have a Pillars of the Earth that is about someone building a church and it's very popular but Tillers of the Earth doesn't seem to exist.
Customer: Well I guess we'll just have to keep looking for it.

WHAT? Seriously? You're not going to accept after checking, and I quote, "EVERYWHERE" that maybe you just have the title a little off? You are never going to find the book about the guy building a church in England called Tillers of the Earth I don't care how many places you look.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Customer: Can I look at the books?
Me: Sure.
Customer: The covers. I want to look at the covers.
Me: OK
The customer wanders around looking at books for a minute or two.
Customer: Do you have non fiction?
Me: Yes sir all of these shelves in this area are non-fiction. ( I sort of wave my arm around the area we are standing in)
Customer: So the other side of this shelf is non-fiction?
Me: Yes. All of these shelves are non-fiction.
Customer: So this shelf is non-fiction?
Me: Yes.
Customer walks to another shelf in the same area.
Customer: So this is non fiction too? Just different categories?
Me: Yes.

These people can not possible all be trying to do a Borat can they?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not picky

Customer: You you have that book about a dog?
Me: Do you know the title by any chance?
Customer: No, the library in ( a town about 100 miles away) said there's a year wait for it.
Me: Ummm.. okay. Was is Marley and Me or the Story of Edgar Sawtelle?
Customer: I don't know what the title is.
Me: So if I tell you the titles you're still not going to know if it's the book you want. Do you know anything about what it's about?
Customer: It's about a dog.
Me: There are a few books that are popular about dogs. But If you don't know what what it's called or what it's about it's hard to narrow it down for you. I can just guess and give you one and tell you it's the dog book.
Customer: Ok

Ok? I wish everyone would let me just randomly pick a book and tell them it's what they want. I hope they like The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Some times you can't win

A customer calls and orders a hard to find title. I explain that it will take 2-3 weeks for it to arrive unless there are any problems with supply which sometimes happens with smaller presses.

2 weeks later the customer calls back and tells the staff person who answers that if the book isn't in that day she didn't want it and would order it somewhere else.

The book didn't come in. We canceled the order.

I got to talk to the customer when she called again a week later.

Customer: Is my book in?
Me: I'll look, may I have your name please?

Customer gives me her name - I pull it up - notice that there are notes on her account so I read them.

Me: I see here that you called a week ago and told us that if the book wasn't it that day you didn't want it so it has been canceled.
Customer: That's not what I said.
Me: I'm sorry, that's what the notes here say.
Customer: I said I'd order it somewhere else.
Me: Yes? And it didn't come in so we canceled the order because you were going to order it somewhere else.
Customer: Well I want it now.
Me: Okay, I'll be happy to reorder it for you.
Customer: Well that's not acceptable. I want it now.
Me: I'm afraid that's what we need to do. The order was canceled.
Customer: Your service sucks!

What part sucked? The part where we did what you asked? Or the part where we did what you asked? I don't even know what to say sometimes.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We're a bookstore Sir

Customer: Do you sell CD cases?
Me: No, sorry sir we don't. You could try Grand and Toy.
Customer: Do you sell little animal figures?
Me: Ummm.... no.
Customer: Do you have oil paints?
Me: No. We have books about oil painting, like how to paint that kind of thing...
Customer: What kind of store is this?
Me: Ummm We're a BOOKstore sir. We mostly sell books.

I'm not sure which of us was more confused here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We have all the authors' home numbers....

Customer: Can you order this book?
Customer gives me the book title
Me: Sure.
Customer: Do you have anymore information about it?
Me: Like what?
Customer: Like the author's home phone number?
Me: HUH? No........
Customer: Oh, okay I'll look for it online.
Me: Ok.

That's not the kind of information we can really help with. What would ever make someone think that we would have that?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

And the word of the day is Backordered

Customer: Do you have New Moon in stock?
Me: I'm afraid not. We have a ton on order but they're backordered so I can't say when they'll be here.
Customer: So when will you have more?
Me: I'm not sure. They're backordered. I don't know when they'll be here.
Customer: So like this week?
Me: If I knew I would tell you. I don't know. They are backordered. They will come eventually but I don't know when.
Customer: Well like soon?
Me: I don't know. They're backordered.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Random Word Selection Day

Customer: Do you have the third Whisper book?
Me: I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with that series. I can check.
Customer: The Whisper books - they're really popular.
Me: ?
Customer: The movie just came out.

Another Customer: Do you mean the Twilight books?
Customer: Yeah - the vampire books.

We get the lady her book. And I have to thank the other customer - their esp was obviously working better than mine that morning!