The vast majority of my bookstore customers are wonderful people and I love getting to know them a little better each time they come into browse. There are a very few, however, that I am always tempted to send off to shop somewhere else.
Customer #1: Is this a Christian bookstore?
Me: Yes it is.
Customer #1: (frowning) Oh. I didn’t know that.
Me: Our sign says RaphaBooks, Your Neighbourhood Christian Store.
Customer#1: It does? Oh. But do you carry Shakespeare?
Me: No we don’t.
Customer #1: Oh. Well, who does?
Me: You might want to try Chapters.
Customer#1: Could you phone them for me and ask?
Me: You could do that yourself.
Customer #1: Well, I don’t have their phone number.
Me: Neither do I.
Customer #2: Do you carry The Theology of the Four Gospels in History and . . . (I didn’t catch the rest of the title).
Me: No, I don’t believe so.
Customer #2: Why not?
Me: There isn’t a lot of demand for that book.
Customer #2: There should be.
Me: Maybe so.
Customer #2: Do you carry . . . (he proceeded to rattle off another obscure title).
Me: No, we don’t.
Customer #2: (exasperated) Do you have anything?
Me: (looking around) Yes, as a matter of fact. We have about 8,000 books in the store.
Customer #2: Well, nothing I’m looking for.
Me: Sorry about that.
Customer #2: I guess I’ll just take my business elsewhere.
Me: I’m sure another store would appreciate that.
Customer #3: Where are your CDs? I’m looking for Russian church music. Do you have that?
Me: I don’t believe so.
Customer #3: I need it today. It’s a gift for someone.
Customer #3: Could you order it in?
Me: I would need the exact name of the artist and CD title. Then if our supplier has it in stock, I could have it for you by the middle of next week.
Customer #3: I told you, I need it today.
Me: Ma’am, special orders take at least 3 business days to ship.
Customer #3: I’ll order it somewhere else then.
Me: As you wish. (Like another store can get it faster??? Not likely.)
I can’t tell you how many special orders I’ve had this week for people needing that one particular item for a father’s day or graduation gift – and they need it NOW! Nothing like a little forward thinking. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find and order most of those items and I have happy, happy customers. But the ones I’ve mentioned above – well – I’d absolutely love it if they forgot my store even exists!