Life in the Bookstore

Ah, life in the bookstore. For the most part, it brings joy and pleasure, but there are days when I wonder if all the non-thinking people in the world have collectively agreed to visit me on the same day.

Example #1

Our store moved to a new location on June 1st of this year – a facility previously occupied by an insurance company. They moved across the street, but I venture to guess that they did not inform their clients of the move. Or if they did, those clients didn’t pay attention. So, for the past almost three months, I have had dozens of people marching into my store expecting to see the insurance office and finding books instead. Then, in a pointless effort, they proceed to argue with me when I tell them that I am NOT the insurance company, and some of them even walk through the store as if they don’t believe me. They actually get mad when they find out they have to walk across the street to do their business. Like it’s my fault.

Example #2

Ya gotta love the customers that come in looking for that obscure theology reference book. You know, the one that went out of print in 1967, weighs 47 pounds, and has words in the title no one on the face of the earth can pronounce. First of all, the customer goes into shock when you tell them you don’t have the book in stock, and then you wonder if you need to call 911 when they find out the book is not available anymore. Maybe try eBay, buddy.

Example #3

We sell used books. We give the customers store credit for the used books they bring in and for the most part, this works well. Mostly. I had a little “discussion” with one customer, however, who brought in a big bag of books that were in nearly new condition. Most of them had been purchased at our store. Mrs. Customer felt that since the books had only been read once and since they were in such good condition, she should be able to simply exchange them for new books. After all, couldn’t I just put them back on the shelf and sell them as new? Try to explain to a very nice (but slightly out of touch with reality) woman that if a book is purchased and read, it is not a new book anymore and must be sold as used. She didn’t get it. And then she got a little bit upset with me when I wouldn’t give her full price credit for her books. I finally had to get firm with her and state that I wouldn’t be in business very long if I agreed to exchange every “like new” used book that comes in. She may not be back.

Example #4

Why don’t we carry Happy 73rd Birthday cards? Hmmm, let me see . . . even Hallmark doesn’t.

Example #5

Here’s the question I get from every 3rd customer that comes in: “Do I get I discount on that?” What? You wouldn’t believe the reasons I’ve been given for NEEDING a discount. Other than the usual ones (a pastor, a librarian, a teacher, etc.), I’ve heard some excellent excuses. I have 5 children. (So?) I’m from out of town. (Good for you.) It took me an hour to get here on the bus. (Oh well.) My mother shops here. (Yup, and she asks for a discount too.) I don’t speak good English. (And this qualifies you for a discount how?)

I love my job! Seriously.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Life in the Bookstore

  1. Wendy, I love all of these anecdotes. When I read what you've written, I see you in your store, trying to reason with people who can't be reasoned with. I see how frustrated you must get. And I admire the sense of humor you manage to find anyway (not to mention the beautiful way you write). Thanks for sharing.

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