Work Log


This is a record of the 10 worst customers I ever had. They are ranked from least horrible to most horrible. Also see the 10 most willfully ignorant customers, as the worst customers are often not the ignorant customers since they're sometimes being very shrewdly rude. Enjoy!



Oh man. EVIL evil lady.

She was one of those dime-a-dozen people who comes up to the desk with no clue of the author or title of the book, but a somewhat vague idea of "what it's about." When you see as many books as I do, yes, what some of them are about does end up sticking, but not all of it. I don't have a "what it's about" search, I have to have some keyword. This lady told me that it was about the nine miners who were in the accident earlier this year, and she told me to try "coal miners" in my computer. I got a bunch of books on like the history of coal mining, nothing recent.

Well, I have to tell you. I have seen a billion customers do this: When they've hit what seems to be a dead end, they begin repeating themselves. They ALWAYS do this, and I could see this lady was no exception because she started back where she'd begun, saying, "Well, I don't know anything else about it, but it is about the miners--" and at the same time as she had begun to repeat herself in the endless parrot cycle, I was asking her if she had any suggestions for other keywords to plug in. Apparently it pushed her bitch button that I didn't stop talking when she started (even though she was repeating herself), so she raised her voice and continued, saying, "And it's about the miners, if you'd JUST LET ME FINISH, THANK YOU." I'm not sure how to describe the sound I made, but it was a wordless indignant squawk that basically said "How rude." I was quite uncool with being treated that way, but regardless of that (and the fact that she was now looking slightly abashed), I civilly told her that there were two books in the social science/current events section, either one of which could be the one she wanted since they were both on the subject. I took her over there, and then she made her apology, "I'm sorry I was grumpy back there, it's been a long day." I didn't say it was okay. Because it wasn't. There's no excuse for treating me like crap just because you're frustrated that you didn't bring enough information to make finding your book easy. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but I felt like my hair was on fire for like the next two hours. I don't think anyone but Mr. Wise has ever been quite that openly rude to me.



Today I was at the register doing a break, and I got into it with a couple women customers. See, we have all these marked down "final clearance" items from Christmas, primarily boxed Christmas cards, and the signs all say "up to 75% off." Of course, the company decided to cause grief to customer and employee alike by making the "up to" really small. I tried to explain to the lady that we'd gone through and marked all the items with a special price gun to show their old price and their new price, and that everything wasn't exactly 75% off its original price. She was like, "Then they shouldn't be under a sign that says they are! I know what 75% is, and that's not it!" I explained again that the price gun thing was supposed to clear up that confusion, but she was hearing none of it, saying, "Oh here we go AGAIN." (Dunno what she meant by that, but when the women started talking among themselves I got the idea that this same sort of thing had happened just recently at an Eckerd's on sale items. Guess what, y'all? It's a clue that you should start reading ALL the words on the signs.) In any case, after I finished ringing her up and told her her receipt was in the bag, she just grabbed it from me and said, "You're welcome," very pointedly, and the women walked out. For some reason this didn't upset me very much, even though being treated as if I am unreasonable or rude usually bothers me a lot. I just didn't care today.



A lady came up to the register and announced she wanted five hundred dollars' worth of gift certificates. In tens. Then she found it necessary to inform me that that would be fifty gift certificates, in case I was incompetent. Now, we don't HAVE ten dollar gift certificates, so I told her we'd have to make them, and that I was going to call the manager to get her to get me some of the blank ones, if there were any in the back. I was on the phone to the manager explaining the situation when the lady said, "Never mind!" and began to walk away. When I looked at her, she said, "I'm going to MEDIA PLAY. THEY'LL be more cooperative." And then she left. Uh. I wish I hadn't been on the phone then so I could have asked her exactly WHAT it was about my behavior that was uncooperative, but go figure. Whatever.



I walked up to the customer service desk this morning to see a woman holding a little sample cup from our café, and greeted her and asked what she needed. "I'm looking for this book and I don't know what it's called," she said, and right there I'm like, oh, fuggin' great. She went on to say that it was a book of poems written by Chinese women and it was like a really old book . . . "I think it was called Blue Moon, Crescent Moon, something like that."

Hmm. Didn't ring any bells, and our computer really isn't set up to operate on input such as "vague ideas regarding the ethnicity of the authors, age of the book, and the word 'moon' maybe in the title." It's keyword-operated. Maybe if I had something more like a Google search engine or something, I would have been able to do something with that, but she had pretty much given me no information I could use.

So, I explained to her that if we didn't know author or title, all we could really do is go to the poetry section and see if she could recognize it--not that there's any guarantee we carry it. She kind of made an "oh yeah?" face and said, "Well, THAT'S funny, because I came into a bookstore in Tampa with this same information, and they went crazy on the computer and were able to find the book and bring it to me."

I tried to think of a good way to explain to her about how we really need keywords and that her suggested titles would undoubtedly bring up a ridiculous number of hits, and I got as far as saying, "Well, just knowing that 'moon' is in the title--" when she cut me off with, "OKAY, I'm not going to waste my time." And walked away. Uh-huh. I said, "All right!" after her, but I really wish I'd said "That makes two of us!"

So, in just a couple sentences this woman managed to bring my competence into question and insult me on top of it. I have to say this: As soon as you come into a bookstore and you have no title and no author, YOU'RE WRONG. If you are ill-prepared to ask for what you want, consider yourself lucky if anyone can help you. This was the bookstore equivalent of going into a grocery store and saying to the clerk, "I had this really good food the other day. I ate it with eggs. I don't know what it's called or what it really looks like, but I remember the taste and it complemented the eggs perfectly. Where do you have stuff like that?" or going into a clothing store and saying, "This model was wearing a really nice shirt in a catalog. I don't remember who the designer of the shirt was or what it looks like, but I do know it was a red shirt and had buttons. Can you show me where to look?"

So maybe the store she went to has a better system for looking stuff up--that is, IF she ever went to a bookstore about this in the first place. What strikes me as odd is that she claimed to have already been to another bookstore "with this same information," and while I can understand why she might not have bought the book right then, WHY WOULD SHE HAVE NOT TAKEN NOTE OF THE TITLE OR AUTHOR? You've gone into a bookstore TWICE with no specific information? Once I can understand, provided you are understanding about it if no one can help you. But twice? TWICE she has shopped for the book and didn't bother to get the title when she had a chance?

And perhaps if she WAS given the book by a B&N employee, it's very possible that the person was just knowledgeable in that area, also--people don't take that into account. Poetry geek? Sure. I'm the kids' book geek--someone wanders in and says "Yeah it's this book for children where the kid finds a dog in front of a supermarket?" I give them Because of Winn-Dixie. "Um, I don't know who wrote it or what it's called, but it's blue with a dragon on the cover?" I give them Eragon (and choke down some bile while I do it). Point is, most other employees probably wouldn't have been able to answer those. You happened to get the one who can take that vague information and get a hit in their brain. Once you EXPECT it without being PREPARED, YOU ARE WRONG. Because let's just say running a search on "Crescent Moon" brought up the delightful number of 19234 hits, and considering we know it's "something like that," we're not even warm yet. All I can say to this lady now that I've gathered my wits a bit is this: Don't you DARE blame your lack of preparation on the incompetence of others. Oh yeah, and eat my ass.



My manager was doing an institutional sale on the spare computer. Those take ten freakin' years and the customer she was doing it for wasn't at the register because, well, it takes a long time to compute it. Anyway. So the regular cashier who would normally have been operating the primary register was not standing right there; she was putting away some books close by. Therefore, when this customer decided it was time to check out, it only makes sense that she went to my manager's register; she had no way of knowing that wasn't the place she needed to be.

Upon seeing that this lady wanted to check out, my manager greeted the lady and told her she would page someone to help her. With that the woman took the newspaper she had been about to buy and THREW IT AT MY MANAGER.

"YOUR LACK OF PEOPLE IS NOT MY PROBLEM!" she hollered, and stomped out of the store.

When my manager told me about the incident I was kind of surprised; that is the second time in like a month she's had something thrown at her. "No one has ever thrown anything at me," I said.

"That's because you are small and blonde," my manager replied.


I never knew that my cute pigtails protected me from customer attacks. Maybe no one's ever attacked me because they would feel like they were committing child abuse.

[c'mon I dare ya!]

That's right, I DARE you to throw a book at me!



I was helping a customer back in Fantasy when I heard from across the store, "HEL-LOOOOO! HEL-LOOOOO!!!" Oh great, a bitch at Customer Service, I thought. It's understandably one of my pet peeves when people decide that my possessing a name tag indicates that I should not be treated like a human being. So immediately upon realizing that there was a bitch at the desk, my mood turned sour, and I'm sure it showed on my face as I approached with my arms crossed. I meant to make sure she understood that she was not behaving properly. I don't care who you think you are. You don't yell for help in the middle of a bookstore with a "get your ass over here, slave" mentality. You just don't. (Not to mention I had just been there a moment ago helping this other customer before we had to take a walk to Fantasy, so I knew she hadn't been there very long.) I stepped up to the desk.

"Um, HI," I said, "I'm SORRY but I was helping another customer." (Note that I did not say "I'm sorry" like oh can I please kiss the skin off your ass. I said "I'm sorry" like excuse me for livin', bitch. It wasn't very nice.)

The lady gave me a pursed look and said, "You know what? That's why I don't shop here. The customer service here is terrible." Then she turned her frumpy little bunched-up-sweater self around and marched away.

"Ohh-kay!" I called after her, obviously fairly flippant.

"The employees' attitudes here stink!" she called over her shoulder, and I replied, "Woo-hoo!"

As you can see my dedication to great customer service is astounding.

So, one could say I brought this behavior on myself. You mean I brought a bitchy attitude on myself by not letting this lady act like a child in public? All righty then! See, now I understand that we, the employees, are supposed to kiss people's butts so that they'll keep coming back. But the way I see it is, a) That lady didn't need to be screaming in my store and acting like our customer service is bad because no one was standing at the desk for a moment and b) I'm not paid enough to take crap like that from people. If she had not been stomping off like that I would have told her she should talk to my manager about me, because he loves that kind of shit (and probably would have let her know in a not-so-subtle way that there being no one waiting at the desk is in fact company POLICY--no one is supposed to just live there, they're supposed to be doing projects!--and probably would have been able to calm her down). But some people get up in the morning determined to have a bad day, and that's what they get. Believe it or not, that incident didn't in any way affect my mood. It gave me a fun story to tell, and now I get to put her on my site and make her FAMOUS! Hooray!



Wow. I was on the phone at the customer service counter, trying to help a woman who wanted to order three books and put one book on hold, so I had to locate each book on the computer and get all her information. Near the beginning of my call with the woman, another woman walked up to the customer service desk and looked pointedly at me. I nodded at her and indicated the phone just to let her know I was taking an order. Then the other line began to ring, so I put the nice lady on the phone on hold and answered it. It was a call for a manager, so I paged the manager and went back to the call. Then the phone rang again, and I did the same thing, except this time it was a woman wanting a book, so I told her I'd help her in a second because I was with another customer. The in-store lady was still standing there looking at me. I decided I had too much to do so I called for backup, but no one came to help. I kept helping the woman on the phone, and when the order was finished and I was going to go get the one book off the shelf for her, I put her on hold, picked up the other line and told the lady I hadn't forgotten about her but I was still helping someone else, and to please wait. Then I said I'd be right back to the lady waiting there, and got the book from the Christian Living section and put it on hold for the first woman on the phone. I told the lady on the phone that it was ready for her to get it, and finally hung up with her. Finally I got to help the lady in the store. She was about to have a shit fit!

First of all she had asked her question at checkout and was disappointed that they couldn't help her with customer service questions there due to lack of a computer. Then she told me she'd been through all the books in the Caribbean section that covered cruises, and none of them had itemized comparative Caribbean cruises, which is what she wanted. I told her it would not really be possible for me to find that information just in the computer, and if there was no book that had it she might have to get that information from like a travel agent, and that was when she started to look really fried. I looked at the phone and the light had stopped blinking, so I kind of said to myself, "Oh, the other line hung up," and she goes, "Well *I* would have too, after waiting FIFTEEN MINUTES to ask about a book!" I was thinking, oh yeah, fifteen minutes . . . no, I don't think so. Anyway, I told her I would type in Caribbean Cruises and see what happened in the computer, and see if I could tell her anything that looking on the shelves didn't. I came up with only a couple books, two of which were in the store. She exploded and told me that there had been at least five over there that covered Caribbean Cruises, and if I couldn't even find the ones in the store I was doing something wrong. She started shaking her head like I had to be completely incompetent, and she was like, "They're right there IN THE STORE and you can't even find THOSE," and so I tried to explain to her that a keyword search on "Caribbean Cruises" wouldn't necessarily bring up every book with that information in it, but that if I put in just "cruises," I would get too many results . . . but somewhere before I got to say anything particularly informative, she just shook her head and said, "No, no, never mind . . . I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT!!!" and she left in a huff.

And, as a bonus, I found out later she CALLED HOME OFFICE ABOUT ME and mentioned me by name, saying I was inattentive and made her stand at the customer service counter for "half an hour" without acknowledging her. I hope they know at Home Office that most people who would call Home Office to bitch about bad customer service would not stand to wait *five* minutes for help, much less "half an hour." Who stands at a desk for thirty minutes? I guess she waited half an hour just like the woman on the phone waited fifteen minutes (translation: Four or five). And I didn't acknowledge her WITH WORDS at first, because I was ON THE PHONE--I'd be willing to bet that if she was the one on the phone with me, she'd be annoyed if I stopped talking to her to help someone else. It's not my fault I was too busy to help her at the exact moment she showed up, or that my backup didn't come. It really irks me that she filed a complaint on me when I did my best to help her.



'Tis the season!

I was helping out at the register and this guy came up and put down his stuff to ring up. He opened up asking me to tell him the release date on an upcoming book. I told him I didn't happen to know that information (you ask that stuff at Customer Service, of course), and he replied, "Well that's okay, I'll just call your CORPORATE OFFICE then." I didn't know what corporate office had to do with anything, but he wasn't really saying it like he was threatening me, so I thought maybe he thought "corporate office" is where you call to find out things like release dates. So I told him, "Okay, or you can always just call our customer service line," I gave him the number, "and they can help you with any question you have." He responded, "No, I'm going to call your corporate office. And I'll tell them that you guys DIDN'T KNOW." Ahh, so it WAS a threat and an attempt to shame me. But yes, it gets worse.

I just shrugged that off and asked him if he had a discount card. He did: One of our "gold" ones, which means he's a pretty frequent shopper. I mean, I see those maybe once in a month if that. Anyway, he kinda threw it down at me and I scanned it, undaunted, and began ringing up his stuff. He asked me what day it was and said, "Is it the fourth?" I told him it was the second, and wondered why he didn't just look at his newspaper, but whatever. Then he began to say something about how he doesn't like the attitude around this place, everyone's just gotten SO rude. One of my co-workers was standing at the next register and he heard the guy talking about how we just don't know what we're doing here, and he stepped over and said, "Was there something you needed us to help you find?" "NO," the guy snapped back, and then continued to talk about how he used to work retail and this place has such an ATTITUDE and the girl in the café just kind of handed him his stuff and said "here," and he just doesn't know what the world's coming to. I replied, "Well, I do apologize for that, sir." But I'm sure he could tell I didn't really mean that, because at this point I just wanted him to shut up, he was out of line and he'd insulted me already so I didn't particularly think he deserved my best behavior, especially since it's not like I'm the one he's talking about. Or so I thought!

He just looked at me and said, "YOU don't even CARE, do you." I looked back at him and said, "You know, I'm just not even sure what you're referring to." (My co-worker was still standing there overhearing this.) He replied, "You SEE, that's exactly the kind of attitude I'm talking about! You know, I think I WILL just go to the other store," and he stepped back from the bagged purchases I'd put on the counter. "Okay, you're packing up then?" I said, to confirm, and he said, "YES, I am PACKING UP, WHAT is your manager's name?" I told him my manager's name (in a tone of voice that absolutely had no air of repentance to it), and I think he wrote it down, and then he left.

Afterwards my co-worker was like, "MAN, that customer was so UGLY to you, I haven't seen someone get that ugly in a long time," and asked me some questions about what was provoking him. We had a good laugh about how that guy might call my manager to talk about how rude I am, and how we're sure he'll believe THAT, since I'm so RUDE normally (plus I have a co-worker's eyewitness account that I behaved in an exemplary fashion).

I think mostly the whole thing started because he had this ridiculous belief that we should just happen to know release dates, and thinks we're incompetent if we don't know, oh, EVERY BOOK THAT COMES OUT, and then he's dealing with some flippant little cashier who refuses to freak out at his dissatisfaction. I think when he mentioned my corporate office I was supposed to quake in fear and then latch my lips onto his buns, and I absolutely didn't do that. (I don't stand for customer rudeness. I'm not paid enough for the customer to always be right, dammit!) The story got around the store and all my co-workers kept coming up to me and telling me how I'm soooo rude. I leaned on one of my co-workers' shoulders and she goes, "Oh, RUDE people aren't allowed to lean on me." Heh.



Here's the doozy of the day, the week, and maybe the lifetime.

It started off normally enough. This woman with two young girls was wandering around the kids' section, and I overheard her yelling at her kids in this really sort of asinine way (like "who talks to a kid like that??" way). Then I overheard her wondering aloud if we had the Leap Frog videos, and she told one of her kids she'd find someone and ask. She rounded the corner and found me stocking, and said, "Do you work here?"

I said I did, and she goes, "You DO??" I stood up, showed her my apron, and cheerfully said "Yup!" I told her maybe the apron had been hiding under my jacket but I do indeed work there. Since I had overheard her question I knew what she'd be asking, but went ahead and let her ask anyway. "Do you carry videos of Leap Frog series?" I told her we don't do videos at this store. "How about music?" she asked, and I told her we didn't sell music either. Then she started rambling about how she wanted a DVD of something and didn't we have "anything like that?" I told her we didn't sell software, music, or videos--just books. I clarified that sometimes in the back of a book there'd be a CD or a DVD but that we don't have a section for them and very few of them are kids' books. "And you don't have anything like [I'm just spelling it like she said it] Readums?" I didn't know what that was so I assumed it was probably some software or educational aid that I didn't know about. "Well is there someone here who KNOWS more about the children's books?" she asked. I gave her a sideways look and told her I was the specialist for the section. What, we don't carry something so she assumes I must just not know where it is? She asked me again if I didn't have DVDs or CDs in a book, and I reiterated that we don't have videos but then I volunteered that we DO have a section that's JUST books on tape or CD. She asked me to take her there and I did. Then I pointed out that they weren't books WITH CDs, just the CDs themselves, and just left her to browse.

I was already annoyed about that whole interaction but it was nothing major, really. It became something major when she came back. She came up to the desk and addressed me, holding a Winnie-the-Pooh CD.

"I just wanted you to know," she said, "that you have a WHOLE SECTION back there of CDs, and you didn't know." A little surprised, I reiterated that she'd asked for DVDs, not CDs, and she said, "NO, this is what I was asking for. And you didn't even know you had this entire section. You don't know what you have in your store." I told her I did in fact know what was in the store and that I'd been the Kids' specialist for nearly FIVE YEARS.

"Well you need to LEARN what's in your store!"

I shook my head again and said she had asked for DVDs, and then CDs with a book, but never did she ask for books on CD. At this point she was slowly walking away from the desk with this righteous expression, and she called more insanity at me: "No, it's just sad, you just don't know what books you have. How embarrassing for you that you don't know."

At this point two other customers and THREE associates at Customer Service were standing there staring at her wondering what the HELL was going on. I had a surprised smile on my face for most of this but at that point I just laughed and shook my head and said, "No, no, that's wrong. You asked me for DVDs, not CDs." Besides, I took her to CDs when I figured out that might be what she wanted even if she wasn't saying it right; how did she think my competence should be called into question because we had a miscommunication?

"I'm a teacher," she said loudly, still walking away with her kids trailing behind her, "and I'm going to let your manager know about this."

I just laughed and said "OHHH kay! Yeah, this is bizarre" and let her go. She stormed off.

At that point one of my co-workers came up to me and was like "OH my God, how did you refrain from leaping over the desk and killing her?" I laughed again and shook my head and went back over to the stocking I'd been doing.

Before I'd even been able to put anything on the shelf, I heard myself paged to the office, so I went. In the office were two of my managers and four of my co-workers, all in a buzz over what had just happened (some having witnessed it and some trying to get the story from those who had seen it). I guess they wanted to hear it from me. I just kinda pranced in there and was like "What?" I told the story as best I could and warned my managers that she was planning to "tell the manager" about me, so one of them was probably going to get called to the register. While we were discussing this, one manager got paged, and though she said it was probably just a return, I said it was probably that lady wanting to talk to a manager (the timing was about right), so up went one of my managers and two other associates followed her so they could overhear what the evil lady was going to say. I hung out in Kids' for a moment and then I got curious about whether it really was the evil lady or what so I snuck up behind them and hid in the Bible section.

The woman was indeed going off on me. I overheard her telling the manager that I had been very rude to her and acted like it was a big problem to answer questions, and that I obviously wasn't very happy here and didn't want to be at this store if I acted like that. I overheard my manager tell her that apparently I had been under the impression that she'd been asking for DVDs (which we didn't have), and the lady barked "NO. Well, yes, but I asked for both!" The lady reiterated that she was a teacher and that I had been very unhelpful and that she had been in a hurry because she had her children with her, et cetera, and then I guess she needed to go foist bitchiness off on someone else because she left quickly after buying her stuff.

One of my other co-workers came up and told me that she was "behind me all the way" because she had been in the magazine section actually overhearing my first conversation with the lady (during which she repeatedly asked for DVDs but didn't realize it). I think part of it was that she didn't realize she was saying DVD, or maybe she thinks a DVD is ANY CD and not just particular video kind (because I kept replying to her that we didn't have VIDEOS). Also, when she said "Readums" and I didn't know what it was, maybe that's some school slang from where she's from (apparently she was a teacher in Texas) that actually means books on CD or something. In any case, for some reason she decided to make a sweeping judgment of my ability to run my Kids' section based on us having a miscommunication.

So, it was very amusing for the next half hour, everyone catching everyone else up on what had happened and what the evil lady had said, and people shaking their heads at the very idea that anyone would think I don't know what I'm talking about, and especially that line about how it was so embarrassing for me to not know my section. Guess what? I frequently get compliments on how well I know my shit; got a compliment yesterday in fact. I'm sorry, but it's indisputable that I rule. End of story. And guess what, lady? You just made a scene in an attempt to make me look wrong, and yet the only person who looked out of line was you. HOW EMBARRASSING FOR YOU.

And the worst customer I've ever had is. . . .

Drum roll please. . . .


The "Mr. Wise" Saga!


I overheard a man being rude to our daytime cashier, but I couldn't tell exactly what he was doing, just that he was loudly saying he shouldn't be expected to walk to the customer service counter where they were supposedly holding his book. So after the customer had gone away, I dug up the story on that guy from the cashier herself and the manager who had dealt with him.

Back up to this morning. He called and got my manager as his customer service helper, and proceeded to be belligerent on the phone, to the point where my manager thought he might even be kidding around. He asked about the book he wanted, and bitched about the price, seeming shocked that any book could cost over thirty dollars. After being asked if he wanted to have it held, he said he had to think about it, and hung up, saying he'd call back with further instructions once he'd decided whether he wanted it.

And then, without ever calling the store back or anything else, he waited in the cashier's line and then approached her with "where's my book?"

Keep in mind the cashier didn't ever once speak to this man when he was trying to get his book.

When she told him that any books that were put on hold would be at Customer Service, he got loud (which was why it attracted my attention across the store), and explained exasperatedly that he could not be expected to walk over there to get his book when he'd already waited in this line. When she told him the only way to get it without going over there was to call C/S and ask for the manager to bring it, he agreed that that was what he wanted to do.

Unfortunately, being with another customer stalled the manager, and when he finally was free to deal with the situation, he looked under the man's last name and found a book, but it wasn't the one the man wanted. When the customer relayed the title to the manager through the cashier over the phone, the manager realized that he was talking to the man who'd called that morning. The one who hadn't asked to put the book aside and was now demanding it, acting annoyed that no one had put it aside for him.

So, the manager came up to deal with the customer, as he had sensed by now that he was giving the cashier a hard time. He explained to the man why there was no book on hold for him and said he would have to go to the shelf and find the book. The man's response was to yell at him for wasting his time explaining, and told him to "just go get my book!" At this point, the man has been so ridiculously rude that my manager had lost any interest in providing good customer service to him, so he went and got the book, rung it up, and finished his transaction without saying anything else to him.

Was that the end? No.

The man then chose to lecture my manager again about what a hassle he'd been through and why it was wrong of him to try to explain what was wrong instead of trying to fix the situation. My manager was physically walking away with his back to the customer WHILE he was hollering his tirade. I'm glad I wasn't involved in that one.

I mean, can you imagine being that poor customer? You call a bookstore and complain that the book is too much money, and although you don't call them back to let them know you have decided in favor of buying it anyway, they haven't even bothered to learn your last name by divination and put it on hold for you at the register! And then they have the nerve to try and tell you it's your fault that you never informed them you wanted the book! They should be keeping tabs on your every move, and should have known from the start to put your name on that book and serve it to you on a silver platter with a smile.

I think I'm going to elect that guy president of the Society of People with Misleading Names. (His last name was Wise. Why didn't we know that?)

And then, he returns. . . .


I was going about my business answering a phone call, on my way up to the desk, when I heard shouting. A grumpy man was being positively belligerent to the person trying to help him at Customer Service. The employee was our café manager; she doesn't work bookside, but she knows the customer service desk well enough to look things up and knows the store well enough to find things, she's been here a while. Anyway, apparently the guy was under the impression that he'd called and had two Merck Manuals held (they're medical books, if you don't know), and no one had any memory of the event and no one had put them aside. When I got there, he was bitching at her, saying, "Well if YOU can't help me, you get someone who can!"

When I got up there I was talking to a lady on the phone, and he was like, "Oh, well can YOU help me?" I had put the lady on hold so I could look for her book, and I asked what the problem was. He started going off about how he can't believe we did this to him, he called in and had books held and he gets there and we don't know what he's talking about, and his friend is waiting outside in the hot sun and he has no time to sit here and wait for our incompetent asses to help him. Turned out he was insisting that "Merck" was spelled "Murk," and the café manager said she was pretty sure it was "Merck" because her mom was a nurse and she'd seen the books in her own house. But he had replied, "You just do it my way!" Well, after a couple unsuccessful attempts to find "Murk," she said she was going to do it her way, and found it . . . and endured more bitching from him about why it takes so long to find a stupid book! And it was his misspelling that caused it to take that long in the first place!

So when I got up there he tried to get me to help, but I saw how belligerent he was being and I kind of got in his face, and I said that I was already helping someone on the phone, and had to finish helping HER before I tried to help him. I said I'd try after I was done with my customer. At that point the café manager said she was going to go get the Merck Manuals and took off from the desk. The guy grumbled to himself and then hit the counter and said, "When she comes back you tell her I couldn't wait, and I'll be back tomorrow and y'all BETTER have them." He left. I rolled my eyes.

When she got back holding two Merck Manuals, I told her he left, and asked what name he had said to put them under.

It was Mr. Wise.

Chances are he made a mistake about having them held, since that was the same bullshit that happened that other day. The café manager told me that my unwillingness to help him also pissed him off, and that when the computer came up with his Merck Manual (spelled HER way), he was like, "Oh, BLESSINGS," in a condescending tone like it was her fault or our computer's fault that it had taken that long, not his own insistence that it was spelled "Murk." Why does he keep shopping here if he's never satisfied?

Now on to my own encounters with him, on the phone:


So, he called, and pushed a pet peeve button by giving me a long title and then when he was finished saying it he immediately launched into telling me the second book he was looking for, also with a really long title. I'd rather he at least have the courtesy to ask me if I'm ready for the second one, but why should he worry about how I deal? If he goes too fast for me, he'll have the satisfaction of feeling righteously indignant over my misunderstanding when he has to repeat himself. Anyway, I was on my way to the desk so I could look up his books, and he said, "I have the authors if you need them." I said, "Well, it's usually easier to find something by its title," and he said, "So, that's a no." I was like, "Uh . . . yeah. They seemed like pretty unique titles so I doubt I'll need an author too." And he repeated. "So . . . that's a no, you don't need the authors?" ::sigh:: "That's right." Then I told him he messed me up on the first title when he immediately told me the second, so I asked him to repeat it. He did so, and then did it AGAIN, launched into telling me the second one again so quickly that it almost sounded like he was talking about one book with an EXTRA long title. In any case I type like the wind (if there's, ya know, a COMPUTER in front of me), and I got both in this time. Turned out we were supposed to carry both, so I put him on hold and looked to see if we had any.

We were out of both, goddamn it.

I got back on the phone to tell him the bad news, and he replied, "Well, when does the order come in?" I was a little confused by that--what order?--and I asked him that. "The ORDER, when you get more copies of the books in!" I told him there was no way to tell that, it all depended on when they were bought as to which shipment they'd end up in. He replied, "Well, could I talk to someone who can help me?" I said, "Excuse me?" and he said, "Well, it seems like you just don't know what you're doing--never mind, I'm calling another bookstore," and he just hung up after that. I just kind of chuckled and shrugged, and went to help the next person in my unending line. It was only later that I realized how incredibly CRAPPY that was, to act like we'd have inventory information ready to offer out of our heads if you haven't specifically placed an order for yourself. What a pain in the ass.

On 9/17/03, he returns:

I answered the phone with my usual spiel and the guy replied, "Now I didn't catch all that. What store is this?" I told him, and he said, "Now, my hearing is JUST FINE, but you TALK too fast." Uhm, okay. "Do you have Al Franken's new book, Lying Liars or something?" I replied with the full title: "You mean Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them?" He goes, "WHOA whoa whoa, now slow down, WHAT did you say?" I slowed down my repeat of the title, but he interrupted me, and said, "But do you HAVE it?" I was sick of him acting like I was a voicemail service, so I told him to hold on while I checked. I knew it was one of our bestsellers so I went up there, found it was like number 5, and got back on the phone to tell him we had some. "Well how much is it?" he asked grouchily. I told him the original price and that it was 30% off that because it was a bestseller this week. Then I asked him if he wanted me to find out what the exact amount was, because for that I didn't happen to know (not so good with exact calculations of that sort in my head, you know) and would have to scan it into a register. He just said, "Did you say THIRTY percent?" I agreed, and he made a snotty little sound and said, "I can get it at the competition for FORTY percent," and then he hung up on me without saying anything else. What a jerk.

He returns again: 10/6/03.

This guy must hang up on a lot of people because now he's hung up on me three different times. This one wasn't as bad as the first time he called but it was worse than the second. Here he is.

So he calls me and I answer, and he says he's looking for books of popular songs with the words and the music. So I asked him if he meant piano music, since it varies widely what sort of music accompanies song lyrics. He replied, "Well, I don't know what you mean, but I already told you what I want." Okay. . . . So, I replied, "I am asking if you want the book of songs to be accompanied by piano music." "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, sounding even more grouchy, "but I just want a songbook that has the words and the music." So. I'm not sure why I bothered to keep walking in a circle, but I attempted again: "I'm asking if you want it to be piano music. You said you want words and 'music,' do you want the music to be piano music?" Silence. So I prompted, "Do you understand what I mean?" "No, are you saying that shadow music is another name for piano music?" This time I was the one who paused. Then I said, "I didn't say anything like that." "YES you did, now I need a book with words and music. . . . " "Okay, so you do mean piano music," I said. But that's when he just hung up on me mid-sentence.

I wonder if he ever gets ANYTHING he wants? Because he never makes any sense, can't seem to extrapolate the meaning of a simple sentence, and then tries to blame the confusion on the other party. Like I said before . . . he must hang up on a lot of people.

The latest installment: 11/30/03.

The guy again. I said my usual spiel on the phone, and he replied, "I didn't understand anything you just said, but what store is this?" Oh God, I said in my head, not YOU again! But it was. I assured him that he was in fact calling the store he thought he was, and he wanted to know whether we carried Peter and the Wolf on audio. When I got to the computer to look it up I wasn't sure whether he had just said "audio" or if he had specified CD, so I asked him, to clarify: "On CD?" "That's what I said," he snapped. Great. I started thinking to myself, now how can I get out of this phone call without him hanging up on me? I knew it, I knew he would hang up in the middle of me talking the second he started to suspect I wasn't going to give him what he wanted. So I decided, hey, I'll just speak as succinctly and clearly as possible, so that whatever it is it isn't my fault. I found that there were no available versions of this CD (considering it's mainly a MUSICAL piece, not a book, that is not surprising), so I told him, "No, I don't have it." "Now what does that mean?" he demanded. "Be more specific, does that mean you don't have it there in the STORE, or can you GET it?" ::sigh:: I'm sure that if I HAD been more specific, he would have demanded that I stop talking so fast and gotten all shirty acting like I was giving him too much information. So, in response to his last question, "can you get it," I just replied, "No." He hung up.

I can recognize this man's voice and style immediately now. I swear to God. If he calls me again, I am going to say something that will require him to begin speaking, and then I AM GOING TO HANG UP ON HIM. I do not give a shit. And considering he is an ornery bastard fuck-knob with his head up his ass, I doubt anyone will blame me if for some reason he succeeds in complaining about me. They'll want to hang up on his ass too.

Another incident: 1/12/04

He wasn't really that much of a bastard this time, but today was when I found out he was actually Mr. Wise--before I had suspected it, but thought maybe it was possible that the phone-call-hanger-upper was a different guy than the ass in the store. Nope! It's all him! Anyway he just asked me how long we would hold the books he ordered, and I told him it was two weeks since the day they came in, and he said, "Well, how am I supposed to know when they came in??" Dude. We called you and left you a message, so it's probably a good assumption that it was THAT day. But you probably hang up on your own answering machine, you ass.


The pajama-wearing fool came in today to pick up his books. He was a bitch to our cashier, demanding "Where's the stuff?" which makes no sense because a) How is she supposed to know what "stuff" he's talking about, and b) HE'S BEEN HERE SO MANY TIMES that he KNOWS where to go, so obviously he's being a jerk on purpose, being deliberately vague so that he can MAKE people give him a non-answer so he can feel justifiably disgusted by our bad service. I hope it's a really rewarding life for you, buddy.


Ahh, he came in again today and picked up the books he'd ordered. After picking them up from the counter he commented "and I guess I have to go to the OTHER place to buy these?" (You know that, man--we've discussed this before. YES, you have to go to CHECKOUT.) Then he whined to our manager that we need to start putting everything at the same desk so he doesn't have to walk more than one place, and then when he got to the register he had out his calculator and legal pad, and told our cashier, "This should come out to $101.04." It didn't. It came out to $101.08. And he claimed that that was our fault! "No," he said, looking at his calculations, "nope, you're wrong. It's $101.04." He paid the controversial four cents, but complained as he did so that everyone does this to him--everyone skims a little off the top, it's how they make money, they think he doesn't notice but he does, and it makes him mad that we take his money that way. She was just like "Yeah whatever, it's right," and let him mumble his asshole self out the door. Oh, and according to our back room girl, he got frustrated with her quick speaking and told her to drop dead. She hung up on him. Good girl. I hope one day he does something worthy of us banning him from the store.

Now he preys on our new blood:


One of our new associates came to me looking sort of shaken, unsure of what to do for a customer who'd rattled her chain. "He called and wanted to know if his books are here, and I can't find them, and I don't know what to do," she explained. "I just told him I'd find out and call him back, I couldn't deal with him yelling at me anymore." She held out the piece of paper with the guy's name on it.

Well, I couldn't help bursting into laughter. Mr. Wise strikes again!!!

Turns out the genius ordered three copies of a book, and he's actually already been in to pick them up (because that, too, was memorable--we KNOW he came and got them). But now he doesn't remember that he's already bought them, because he thinks they should be on hold here still and he wants to come get them again. But he hasn't placed any orders since March, not that we can see anyway. When on the phone with him, our new associate asked him when he placed the order, and he said "I don't know when I did. That's YOUR problem! I trust everything to that infallible computer." She asked him if it could have been anywhere else and he said that he only deals with us so it couldn't have been. (Yeah, sure, Mr. Wise . . . that's why that one time you hung up on me after telling me you could get a book cheaper at another store.)

So like a crowd of us were in the back room discussing what to do with Asshole here, and the new girl was kind of like "well I *have* to call him back, what do I *tell* him?" and our manager's like "screw him, don't call him!" and one of our other associates pointed out that he'd programmed in a message on the guy's last order saying to keep calling him until he got a personal answer, not an answering machine, because . . . get this . . . he doesn't understand our messages. I can so picture that! He gets this message he can't understand because he's hard of hearing and refuses to admit it (the problem is that no one speaks clearly enough, you know), and so he deletes the messages and then yells at us later claiming we never called him. So. Summary: What a dickweed!


Update on the Mr. Wise thing! I asked the manager how the incident with Mr. Wise played out yesterday--if they ever called him back or whatever. She said that she did call him back, and told him he'd already picked up the books he was talking about. (She'd handed him the books herself!) Instead of being a giant dick like usual, guess what he said? "Oh, really? Well. I'm sure they're around here somewhere then. I guess I better clean my house." What? Mr. Wise actually accepted that his problem was HIS FAULT????? No!


We hadn't heard from Mr. Wise in a while so we thought maybe he was dead or something. Nope. A few days ago he called with another one of his usual ridiculous requests. But THIS time . . . he was up against one of our associates who doesn't take no shit from nobody. Observe.

I don't have all the details because by the time I got the story it had faded a bit from memory, but the basics are that Mr. Wise called and asked for a book, and it was one of those titles that several books had, so our associate asked him whether it was a fiction or nonfiction book. After a lengthy pause that necessitated a prompt, Mr. Wise responded with "Well what the fuck do you THINK it is?" And my co-worker responded to THAT by hanging up.

Soon enough he was calling back and protesting the hang-up, but after screwing with his head by putting him on hold and making him wait, my co-worker got back on the phone and told him he'd help him but he isn't gonna take it if he wants to cuss at him. Mr. Wise said "I don't appreciate your attitude, son," and he replied, "I don't appreciate YOU being a crotchety old bastard, sir." Har har har. After my co-worker had some more fun putting him around in circles, he gave up and hung up. And see, no one can get in trouble for talking bad to him because there is this long list of documentation of him being a total ass. Us 1, Mr. Wise 0!


Today one of our newer associates told me the story of meeting Mr. Wise. She had heard my horror stories and the horror stories of others, and then she got this dickwad at the register. He was saying he wanted a discount card and she said she'd put it on the end of his sale but he insisted he wanted to get the card first and THEN purchase his book because then he'd get the discount. She explained to him that getting the book at the same time as the discount card was the same thing and she could do it more easily with one transaction, but he just leaned down on her and barked out his usual stream of horseshit: "This isn't such a difficult thing. If you can't figure out how to do it I'll just leave." She just shrugged and rang him up the way his stubborn ass insisted, and was wondering all the while whether this was the jackass she'd heard about; after all, he was just such a jackass and he fit the description and he was exhibiting the usual behavior that is just about too rude to be true. Finally for the card information she had to ask for his name and he replied, "The name's WISE." Bingo! Jackass jackpot! We all knew there could only be one. . . .


And yes, we have a Mr. Wise sighting for today! (Well, not a *sighting*, per se, since he was only in the store through the telephone wires.) Mr. Wise called the store and talked to my manager, who gave him the bad news that if he ordered a book we don't carry today, it wouldn't be here 'til the nineteenth. Apparently this news upset him and he called her a ton of names. I would have loved to have heard the details of this one, especially since there were customers waiting to be helped while Mr. Wise took out his frustration by calling my manager names as if it was her fault and as if that would help anything. She told me, "I got to talk to everyone's favorite JERK today . . . Mr. Wise!" and then she said "Every time I talk to him I feel like I need to take a shower." Hehehe. I asked her for the details and she just said he called her "every name in the book" because of the situation, and so I asked if she hung up on him. (I've been itching for an excuse to do so!) She said, "NO, I just took his order and told him I'd see him on the nineteenth, and not to wear his pajamas." Somehow I don't think she said that last part, but it is awfully funny.


Over my days off there was a Mr. Wise sighting. (I know! Run and hide!) We again thought he hadn't bothered us in a long time so he must be dead, but there he was again on Friday, alive and kicking . . . and grumping and whining and bitching. And this time he got my manager at the register to ring him up. So she got her Mr. Wise encounter.

So he started his reign of assholishness by butting three women in line. I don't know how my manager ended up taking that off him but she ignored it and asked him if he had a discount card. He said he did but not with him, and barked out his name. She said it would be easier to look for him by phone number and he's all "WHY do you need my PHONE NUMBER?" grilling her about what they were going to use it for. "To look you UP," she explained, and of course it didn't work, probably because whenever he originally signed up for a discount card he said the same thing and wouldn't GIVE it to them to make shit like this easier.

She eventually found him in the system and found he'd expired. He made some crappy comment: "Oh yeah? It expired, like I'm about to expire. Okay, well, renew it." She was shocked at that, usually you have to fight with people like him about expired cards, they act like you're trying to trick them. Mr. Wise wasn't even in his pajamas this time. My manager said she loves dealing with "mean people" because she is so nice back and it takes the wind out of their sails. It apparently worked with Mr. Wise because he stopped trying to run her over with his attitude.


First of all, let's get this out of the way: We had a Mr. Wise sighting. The man is still not dead.

I acted the role of first contact today when he called to ask if we had Jimmy Carter's new book. I recognized his voice right away and decided to see if I could get through a phone call with the man without him hanging up on me (considering the last four times were unsuccessful). He wanted to know if we had it and he wanted to know the price. I gave him all the information about the discount and he asked questions like anyone and pretty much behaved himself, but then he started being a nutsack again and asked me where he should pick the book up.

This man has made it a point to complain about picking up books at a different desk than the one he pays at every single time he comes in. HE KNOWS he has to come to Customer Service to get the book and then go back to the register to pay for it. HE ALREADY KNOWS THAT, but yet he MUST ask because it is part of how he makes his point that he doesn't LIKE how we do things.

So I told him we would hold it at the desk in the middle, and that it was because that's the only place we're allowed to hold books. I thought maybe that'd shut him up. But instead, it caused him to erupt into a stream of protests that he could not understand me, and then a really bitchy-sounding repeat of the question. Hey asshole, it's YOU who didn't understand ME, so why am I getting the question repeated? Dickface.

So then he started rambling about how books cost too much money but that he would make an exception for good old Jimmy Carter because Jimmy Carter is just a wonderful man. Okay! Well, I told him I'd hold the effing book and he could come in whenever. He said it might be four days from now but might be today. Whatever.

I didn't end up seeing him because he came in while I was on break (thank the gods), but I got to hear all the stories. He came in in his pajamas and bitched about his problem with his discount card--apparently it keeps saying his card's expired, and we totally know we renewed it (well, our general manager renewed it), because it's not like we forget when he comes in the store or what he does. So he felt compelled to whine about that for a while, and then he went home and called us again, interrupting my spiel to demand the store manager. Well, we had three store managers there and I figured I didn't want to put it on the "new guy" and I was afraid the general manager would take shit off him that she shouldn't stand for, so I got our hard-ass assistant manager to pick up and deal with his ass.

Weirdly, I think he made a new friend.

She explained that the problem was already being taken care of in response to his temper tantrum at the register earlier, and the two of them had a nice chat about technology's crappiness and how everything invented since the wheel has been nothing but trouble. I think they yakked for about ten minutes. I was trying to listen in because it was really funny, but she didn't get mad or anything, she just knew exactly what to say. Apparently then he asked how old she was and she said she's fifty-one (he's eighty, by the way), and she replied "Oh yeah, I feel awfully old next to all these kids we hire, but next to you, I'm a whippersnapper." Hahaha.

After the conversation was finally over, we all stood around sharing Mr. Wise stories, and the AGM began offering explanations for why he's such an asshat. "He's just an old, crusty, old man who doesn't care what you think of him because he's old." "Say old a few more times," I suggested, and she replied, "Old. Old." She then talked about her own old crustiness helping her understand what he's getting at, and I said I hadn't really seen much crust on her at all. "Then put me back in the toaster!" she replied.

The best by far was hearing a story from another associate who got him on the telephone ordering a book sometime a couple weeks ago. It was called Your Call Is Important To Us: The Truth About Bullshit. While ordering it, she asked him the usual questions that she needed answered to order the book, and at the end of it he said, "THIS is the kind of bullshit I'm talking about, all these questions you ask. The only thing you DIDN'T ask me is HOW MANY TIMES I FUCKED MY WIFE!"

Yeah sure. Jeez.

Oh yeah, and right after we stopped talking about Mr. Wise, we got a customer asking for a new book on the Kennedy assassination, and my AGM had issues typing it in. "It'd help if I could SPELL," she said. in reference to the word "assassination," she said out loud, "ass-ass!" To which I replied, "What a coincidence that we'd be typing that in right after talking about Mr. Wise."

Hardee har.


First and foremost, I must mention the MR. WISE ENCOUNTER of today.

Mr. Wise gave us a call and got one of our seasoned employees who has somehow also never dealt with him before, was his usual grumpy and impatient self on the phone (which caused some miscommunication), and then came to the store. It turned out the book he had wanted to put on hold was a different one from the book that our employee actually put on hold for him; it had a similar title, but I guess he was above repeating himself, so some guesswork was involved in acquiring the right book.

So he came to the store and the customer service gal was busy helping another customer with something that takes a while: A home delivery order. Being that he is Mr. Wise, he walked up to the desk and demanded her attention, which shouldn't have been that big a deal because all he needed her to do is grab a book that was on hold and hand it to him. But being that it was the wrong book, he not only had to lay into her; he seemed to think that she should then abandon the person who was there first and start helping HIM.

I was on the ass end of my lunch break. Several other associates were either stationed at other posts or busy. When I heard that Mr. Wise was in the store, I worried that he either wasn't being helped or might be giving someone a hard time--and I sensed that there might be a story involved, damn I should work for a newspaper--and so I went out and braved the storm (trailed by another associate), approaching the desk only to hear the familiar sound of him chewing someone out.

"Oh, I see, you're blaming ME for this," he shouted.

"I'm not blaming you--"

"YES, you are BLAMING ME."


I stepped up to the desk and said to no one in particular, "Here we are to the rescue," and put myself in the line of fire. "What's going on here?"

"BAD SERVICE!" yelled Mr. Wise.

And then I heard another customer call over, "You know, we would ALL appreciate a little QUIET!"

I guess he'd been at it a while.

Observing that my poor little associate (who, incidentally, is like a nineteen-year-old college sophomore who is quite sweet when she wants to be) was still trying valiantly to help the obvious first person in line WHILE being yelled at for something that obviously wasn't her fault, I asked again what was going on and got the story out of him--apparently someone had put the wrong book on hold for him. "And I TOLD the guy and he put something completely DIFFERENT on hold for me." Yeah all right now we're getting somewhere.

I looked his book up on the computer. The titles were very similar and were shelved in the same section, and thank goodness we had what he wanted or I'm sure I would have gotten to add to the list of expletives the man has used in our store. I told him I'd check and see if it was there, went and got it, returned with it and gave it to him. He seemed pretty calm and accepted that it was what he wanted, then grouched that it was a dollar more than what "the guy" had said it was before he PUT THE WRONG BOOK ON HOLD FOR HIM BECAUSE THESE JOKERS CAN'T LISTEN.

"Everybody's a dummy sometimes," I offered.

Weirdly he seemed to accept that and grabbed the book, but had to add that since he had been quoted a dollar less he was tempted to just tell us to stick this book "where the moon don't shine." Ohhkay. It seemed like he was gonna leave, but then he pointed at his first victim--who was obviously still reeling from the shock--and started telling me that I needed to WATCH her (loudly using her name and putting down her service abilities), just generally being a dick again. As soon as he used her name I just put my arm around her and waited for him to shut up. He made some insinuation that she causes all these problems, after which I said loudly and sarcastically to her, "You RABBLE ROUSER." Heh.

He said, "NO, now this isn't FUNNY."

"I'm not laughing," she spoke up.

"Neither am I," I added, looking at him.

I think he moaned a little more bullshit after that but it was all as he was walking away.

The cashiers told me he walked up to the line of six people and butted them all to walk to the open cash register instead of letting the person who was next go. I guess HE deSERVES it.

Now what's funny is the other customers' reactions. One told us how much of a jerk he thought he was. One woman sort of defended him by saying the guy is in renal failure and it's not his fault how he acts. (The associate who got screamed at had another opinion of that--she said she didn't care WHAT is going on in the person's life, you don't treat other people like that. She said she had half a mind to tell him that and who cares if he's a customer.) Then we had a guy come up and tell us he admired that we didn't punch him, wondering how we stood it and saying that just listening to the guy had made him so angry he was shaking. (Turns out he's the one who yelled for quiet toward the beginning.)

So it was yet another Close Encounter of the Wise Kind.

I'm sure these will continue until I quit or renal failure claims the man. I wonder which it will be?

Or maybe I'll be fired for bad customer service.


The only thing I have to add to the Assholes today was a close encounter of the Wise kind. This one was a phone call and I had to answer it.

Mr. Wise called and did his trademark opening, asking if this was the bookstore I just said it was in my phone-answering spiel. Then he asked about a book whose title brought up six separate volumes of itself instead of just one book, and I had issues explaining that to him because this time he was blaming his hearing problem on a bad phone. But he actually wasn't too much of a dick this time--he did do his usual "WELL, do you HAVE IT?" in the middle of my trying to explain that the book he wanted had multiple volumes, but I actually managed to speak clearly and slowly and simply enough for him to get it through his fat head, at which he expressed surprise and then gave up on the book. Then he told me he was looking for these two books by Piers Anthony, but then it turned out they WEREN'T by Piers Anthony--he apologized for giving me wrong information (gasp) and claimed that Piers Anthony was the name of the fella who recommended them to him. I'm not sure about that one. One of the books was about dirty jokes. He said he didn't want it because it was 20 bucks but that maybe he'd take a look at it next time he was in. He specifically told me he didn't want me to put it on hold, but he's done bullshit like this before and then forgotten that he didn't ask to hold it, so after I hung up with him I went ahead and put a copy of the book on hold. I have dealt with him being a jerk too many times for me to let it happen to someone else when he comes stomping up demanding the book he told me not to hold. But so far he hasn't come in. Oh well.


Ahh yes, and I ended up having to ring up Mr. Wise today. He was not as much of a dickhole as usual, but he was crabby because he was buying a newspaper and our computers don't read the barcodes on some newspapers, so it takes a little longer to do the process to ring them up. (Typing it into a search-for-item search, scrolling down until you find the right one, and then keying in the price to get it to charge for it.) While I was doing it I decided to keep him entertained by lightheartedly whining about the computer, and it worked; he agreed with me about how computers screw everything up and they cause more problems than they solve and he wishes the damn things had never been invented. When the drawer popped, he had paid for a 50˘-plus-tax paper with a $20 bill, so the change was a bit of an ordeal as well, especially considering I didn't have enough pennies open already and had to open a roll. He bitched about that too. First he said "WHAT, you only have SINGLES??" when he saw that I was giving him a lot of singles for change, but when you pay for something that costs less than a dollar with a big bill you are going to get singles. I think he was confused because I used three five-dollar bills instead of one ten and one five because I didn't have any tens right then. I assured him that I was not giving him a fistful of singles, and then when I opened the tube for the pennies he kept barking about how I shouldn't worry about the pennies because it's his TIME, his TIME that's important at his age, not his MONEY. This is rather ironic because he's the one who worked out his purchase plus tax to the penny and then threw a huge fit when our calculation was two cents above his, claiming that that skimming off the top we do is how we make our money. No, Mr. Wise, actually the way we make our money is by BUYING BOOKS AT WHOLESALE PRICES and MARKING THEM UP 40 OR MORE PERCENT TO SELL TO YOU AT RETAIL PRICES, fool. Not by making up little penny hikes here and there to get free money. I got the pennies into the drawer quickly and easily and gave them all to him, but he only took three of the four for some reason and grumbled his crusty ass out of there. What's sad is this was actually a GOOD encounter. Comparatively speaking.

(Dis)Honorable mentions: The runners up!


Let's start with today's big rudie, who was handled by our backup cashier for the day. A man came up to the secondary register, dropped a premium paperback on the desk, tossed a twenty at the cashier, and barked, "TEN dollars for a PAPERBACK? That's ridiculous!"

Allow me to explain. What's "premium paperback" anyway? Well, some weirdo at some corporate office somewhere decided that they would make books that are as tall as a trade paperback, but as wide as a mass-market. I don't know why, but they say it is "easier to read." They end up costing more than a mass-market paperback--the ones that are usually from $5.99 to $7.99--and less than a trade paperback, which usually run from $12 to $15.

So, our cashier said that the bookstore doesn't set the price, that that was the publisher's price. He replied, "No, I doubt that. I sure hope you're enjoying your profits on that!"

She replied that the bookstore doesn't set the price, showing him that it's printed on the inside cover made by the company. "Well, you're selling them, so YOU take the heat! I won't be shopping HERE again." She persisted in explaining that that book will be the same price anywhere you go, and he said, "No, I'm sure it's cheaper in other places, you guys just enjoy the money you're making off me, I won't be back, I'm SORRY."

She was like "ohhhkay" as he walked out.

Why did he even buy it if it was so outrageous that it was ten bucks? If he was so sure it costs less at places other than our evil bookstore, why did he consent to support our filthy book-marking-up scheme?

What really sucks is if it's available he will probably find the paperback in a mass-market version somewhere else for less, not notice that it's a different version, and imagine himself vindicated. All I can say is in my research into the matter it appears that premium paperbacks get released before there is a mass-market available, so hopefully he won't find any but the premiums. What a dick.


This dude comes up to Customer Service and my manager starts helping him because the other customer service guy is already occupied with someone else. He asks for a book that he says he ordered, and apparently we called and said it was in. Except there was nothing under his name. He got fidgety immediately. "Well a girl called me last night and said it was in."

We had two people calling our customers last night. Both are guys. Both sound like guys on the phone. No girls were doing the calling from our store.

My manager asked him if it was possible he ordered it at the other store and he immediately said no, that he had called US to order it and then we had called HIM and assured him we were the one on Newberry Road. Okay. She checked the employee holds, the section where we keep books that belong to people we can't get a hold of, under the desk, even got me to look in the kids' section to see if someone had SHELVED it by mistake. (This is how I got brought into the mix in the first place.)

I asked the manager if she'd checked to make sure it was this store. She told me the story she'd been through so far, but when I got to the desk, there it was on the screen: His order, placed at the store across town.

"It's at the other store," my manager told him.

"No," the man replied. "I did not call them, I called YOU."

"It's the other store. I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do," she said.

"I did not ORDER it at the other store. I called YOU. And last night the girl SAID it was the one on Newberry Road!"

Err . . . we still didn't have any girl calling folks last night. . . .

"Well, on my computer it says store 397 and that's the other store. It's over there, there's nothing I can do to get it here today."

"I don't CARE what your computer says. Computers mess up sometimes. I came from fifty miles away. . . . "

Et cetera.

Then it got worse.

The customer being helped by the other customer service guy decided to get her little self involved.

"Oh, I'd be mad too," she tossed out. "I'm with you, buddy."

"I can SHOW you what number I called!" he hollered. I wonder why he didn't? I wonder why my manager didn't demand to see it under the polite guise of trying to get this all straightened out?

"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do," my manager repeated. "It's at the other store. You'll have to pick it up there if you want it today."

"You know," the nosey woman butted in again, "the LEAST you could do is tell him you're SORRY for the inconvenience!"

"I DID, I'm SORRY," my manager sputtered back, bewildered. She'd apologized three times by then, not that the lady had bothered to listen before she accused her. Meanwhile the guy was ranting about how he'd come fifty miles and now he has to go across town because of our incompetence, and the woman's telling my manager how she thinks all that poor man wanted to hear was an apology.

Now what you have to understand is there is NO possible way WE could have ordered a book to the other store. True, things have mistakenly been DELIVERED to the wrong store before. But he had to have called the other bookstore and had them put it in their computers, because our computers physically do NOT have the ability to order books to stores other than our own. If we WANT the other store to get a book in for a customer we have to call them and have them put it in their system. It is simply impossible that he called us, yet somehow it ended up processed as an order from their store.

Because, you know, "computers screw up sometimes." The possibility that it screwed up by performing a task it's not programmed to do is so much higher than the possibility of that old man's brain being fallible. No possibility that he could have made a mistake or remembered wrong. Nope, it's our computer, shocking us all with its impossible digital acrobatics. And my manager owed him four apologies since she was responsible for him placing his order at a store he didn't plan to come to.



This guy by all rights deserves to be in the top ten really, but since I had such a ball dealing with him--yes, actually had fun BITCHING HIM OUT--I can't quite put him up there. Especially since he was just insane and very much in his own world with himself at the center of a conspiracy rather than, ya know, out and out rude. Here we go.

A crabby man came in and asked me if we had any of the Unfit for Command book. I've talked about this stupid thing in a previous entry, but let me iron it out: Apparently, not anticipating the demand, the publisher of this book did not print enough copies, leaving several stores largely up the creek when it came to receiving copies. We have yet to see a copy of Unfit for Command. The story is that the publishers or whatever have been rushing to go to second printing already and as of yesterday our update indicated we'd be receiving copies starting on Tuesday, special delivery by UPS. This kind of thing has happened before--you know, with stuff like Harry Potter--and we just deal with it. What else are we supposed to do? The problem is, in the meantime, we're getting narrow-eyed looks from all the elephants, receiving half-serious accusations that we don't have it because we don't want them to get it. This guy I'm about to talk about wasn't half-serious. He was totally serious. I laughed in his face.

"You got any of Unfit for Command?"
[Brief silence.]
"They're telling us we're supposed to get some in starting Tuesday--"
"Well NO, you're not. You know what, you're not GOING to carry the book."
(Seeing where this is going) "Oh yes we are. They didn't print enough, and they're doing the best they can to get them out to us--"
"This happened with RUSH's book too, and I'm tired of it! You're not gonna carry the book because you DON'T WANT US TO READ IT!"
(Laughing) "Uh-huh, RIGHT. No, believe me, we want to make money."
"This happened with Rush's book too, this always happens, and you know what, I am DISGUSTED with your company, I am never going to shop at this dump again!"
"Oh yeah, well, go for it, believe whatever you want, but we don't have any kind of agenda besides MAKING MONEY."
"OH yes you do. This always happens. You managed to get tons of Bill Clinton's book but every time something that's not liberal trash comes in you try to keep it from us, why are you HIDING it from us?"
(More laughing) "Oh yeah right! Hey, you wanna go over there to the politics section and just see how many right-winger books we carry and keep telling me we've got an agenda?"
(Another associate chimes in) "We've got lots of Ann Coulter books over there--"
"YOU DO have an agenda because THAT'S WHAT THE LIBERAL MEDIA DOES and your store always does this!"
(Unabashedly laughing at him with folded arms) "Uh-huh. I don't believe it."
(Customer emits more verbal sewage, vibrating with apparent annoyance at the cute pigtailed girl who would dare deny the liberal bias infecting the world, and leaves.)

I bounced around the desk for a while, giggling about how fun that was, and the customer who had witnessed the interaction indicated that the man had scared her. I told her that that's like the third time this week I've been accused of being a "liberal Nazi" because the publishers of the John Kerry book had bad planning.

I found out later that this dude went up to the register and gave my cashier a hard time too. Now, her interaction sounded remarkably like mine (well, minus her taunting and standing up to him), so I have to wonder which one friggin' came first. Did he go up to her and THEN accost me, or vice versa? In any case he was in her line arguing with her about how we weren't GOING to carry the book because of our liberal piggishness, and kept referring to our carrying of Bill Clinton's autobiography (which he kept referring to as "My Lie" instead of My Life, repeating it several times so everyone in the line could hear how clever he was). He insisted that he'd never be back, which was funny because he went out the "out" door and almost immediately walked back into the "in" door. (Maybe that's when he decided to go harass me. Or maybe he just wanted some coffee. Watch out! It has liberal juice in it!)

Apparently the people in my cashier's line were either disturbed or amused by the jerk, and one of the customers started making fun of him, pointing out that we carried a certain series of cartoon character books and expressing fake annoyance at it. How dare you carry Winnie-the-Pooh books!

Now, one thing I want to know is . . . if this man has been checking with us repeatedly about this book and is now off his rocker pissed that we don't have it yet, exactly how likely is it that we're the only place he's been checking? You wanna bet that he's been ALL over this city asking about it? You bet your sweet socks he has! And you think there's a bookstore in town that has the damn thing? Oh, I bet not. I guess everybody is liberal! My cashier told him some of the same stuff I had, about how maybe if it was a small bookstore they'd cater only to one viewpoint, but we're a chain conglomerate, and beyond that we're based in Alabama, how likely is it that a bookstore like ours is going to have a liberal bias? The only bias, as I've said before, is in what actually gets published. Once it's published, we want to sell it and make money off you, okay? THAT'S our agenda.


Rudest Man Alive at the checkout today. He came up with a slip of paper that displayed a book title and laid it on the counter, asking me to find it for him. I told him I couldn't do that at the checkout and I said I could get someone at the customer service counter to help him. (Notice that I said "I can get someone at Customer Service to help you," I did not just tell him to go over there.) He blew up! "There IS no one at Customer Service!" he yelled. "And EVERY TIME I come in this store there is never anyone at that desk! If it ever happens again I'm not coming in here anymore!" I cut him off and told him I said I would get him someone, that I would CALL them to the desk to meet him, and he said, "Well where ARE they??" and I suggested perhaps they were assisting other customers (duh!), and said again that I would have to call to make sure they knew he was waiting. He started walking away toward the desk and told me, "And HURRY UP!" Whatever. What the fuck did he think he was going to accomplish by yelling at ME? I'm glad it was Pat going to the desk because she can be a rude bitch and she would cut him down if he tried to sass her.


Back at Customer Service I had to take a phone call and this asshole of a man had called at an unfortunate time when I was pretty busy. I was already in the process of checking a price up at the register when he called, so I had to put him on hold to get back to the desk to look up his ISBNs. When I got back there and asked him if he was still holding, first he acted all confused, and said, "Well, I'm waiting for the girl," and so I said, "Well, I'm here," and he replied "I need to have someone look up my ISBN numbers!" So I told him I was READY for them (my hand had kind of been poised over the keypad since I'd gotten to the computer, so grr), and finally he started reciting them. Well, I got the status on one of them and then the other line started ringing. So I told him I had another call and I'd be right back, and then he became frustrated and said something that sounded like "You deal with me!" I said, "Excuse me?" and he said, "You put them on hold and then you deal with me." I replied, "Well that was the plan, that's generally how I handle these situations, I'll be right back." I didn't wait for him to say anything else annoying and just put him on hold. But my lord, that was just over the line. As if I need to be TOLD how I should deal with customers, or like it's some revolutionary concept that customer service people should deal with customers in the order they asked for help. Hello! I know what to do.


My worst customer of the day award goes to: THIS BITCH! HAHA! In all his infinite wisdom, my general manager decided to only put one cash drawer at the register today, and I was on it with a sudden line of about eight people and a woman doing a return at the front of it. I was having some trouble with the return, but nothing major; it was just that the lady had wanted me to put the store credit for her returned book on a gift card she already had, and her gift card had been demagnetized, so it wouldn't allow me to add value, only decrease. This took a while to find out because I had to run it through the machine and set it up and find that out, only to have to activate a whole separate card to give her the store credit. While I was waiting for it to activate, my co-worker came up and wanted to know a price on an item that had a barcode but no price. She had hoped to scan it on my register, but couldn't if it was in the middle of a sale, but apparently she didn't know that you can still perform price lookups on registers without cash in them, so I quickly explained that she could just log on and use the price check feature. It was then that a woman in my line directed her comment at my co-worker: "You know, she has a line of CUSTOMERS here. Maybe she can help YOU a little later." I giggled because that was such an astoundingly rude thing to say, considering the line wouldn't be moving any faster if I just stood there since I was just waiting for the store credit card to activate, but I explained to the lady that she didn't have to worry because I was indeed doing two things at once. Then I started giggling again and so did my co-worker. Wow, what a bitch! If you don't understand the situation, it's really unfair to try to criticize.


Worst Customer of the Day Award: Some lady was in the other cashier's line, I wasn't at the register at this point. Apparently she was about fourth in line and was agitated about that, so she yelled at the cashier, "HEY, how long is it gonna be before you call someone else to help us?" She agreed to call for backup, which was me--she called for me to come to register one. The lady demanded to know which register was register one, and immediately slipped out of her place in line to claim the front spot at what would be my register when I got there. The cashier told her, "Ma'am, you need to keep your place in line," and the lady freaked out and said, "YOU can't tell me where to stand! I'll go elsewhere!" and just left her shit on the counter. I heard the tail end of this as she stomped out, and just calmly took her purchases down and asked for the next person in line. I bet that lady thinks she sure taught us a lesson, making us lose a sale for expecting her to behave like a civil person. Guess what? She was buying chapstick and two magazines, and the line of people waiting to check out was pretty much proof that we were not hurting for business. Surprise! All she earned was a spot on my jerks page.


Some evil lady asked me for "preschool books" but she wanted them to be very cheap and on certain subjects. I asked her for examples and was able to narrow down some baby books about counting and shapes for her. When I handed her the first one, she looked at it, deemed it appropriate, and then looked at the price tag. "NONONO!" she said, "I need it less than this, less less less!" And then she threw the book, like it was burning her hand, onto the top of the row of books, and started moving on. She started talking about how she wanted cheap stuff again, but her ridiculously childish actions there made me feel she did not deserve my assistance in picking anything out, so I grabbed the book she'd thrown, made a point of placing it back where it went, and just walked away without saying anything else to her. She didn't approach me again, but later she figured out that she needed to be looking on the sale tables if she wanted books THAT cheap.


Yesterday we had a One Day Sale. For that we mail out announcements to let everyone know it's happening and what the deal is. So it kinda surprised (and bothered) me when a guy came in this morning, asking about the flyer we'd sent out and asking if he can get that deal today too. I told him that no, the sale was yesterday and that's it, and he was like, "But the postcard SPECIFICALLY SAYS on it that I can take advantage of the savings if I talk to a manager, if the postcard arrived late." I asked when he got it and he said, "Yesterday." Umm, if you got it the day of the sale, that's not "late," that's still enough time to use it. So he insisted that he should be able to get the savings and went out to get it to SHOW me that it says he can get the savings if he talks to a manager, and indeed he did come in and show me the small print. It specifically said "if the postcard arrives after the date of the sale." I pointed that out to him and said I could let him talk to the manager but that if he was trying to invoke a technicality loophole on the card, that same statement denied his right to a discount. I told him it was up to the manager but for some reason he felt he had to prove it to ME too, and kept repeating the part about "taking advantage of the savings." While we were waiting for the manager and he was still talking to me, saying that part over and over, I reminded him that it DID say if it arrives after the date of the sale, and that since today was Sunday and he had it, there was no possible way he received that card after the date of the sale. But for whatever reason, my manager let him have the discount; I'm glad I wasn't the cashier at that point because he probably would have continued to talk about it and probably would have tried to rub it in my face that he WAS entitled to the discount, but I told him from the start it was a manager's discretion. If it was up to me, I wouldn't have let him have it, though, just by virtue of his attitude. (Incidentally, I talked to the cashier who had to ring him up, and she said he mentioned to her that he got it yesterday but just didn't want to come out in the rain. Yeah. The rain sure didn't stop the other hundreds of customers.)


Now I have a jerkoff who's going on my top twenty worst customers list. First offense: Coming in with a paperback book and saying he has no receipt but he wants to return it. And it was in a B. Dalton's bag. Turns out, though, that it was not an entirely unreasonable request; the book was misprinted, repeating a section toward the end instead of printing all the pages it was supposed to. The man seemed really befuddled by this and I could tell he thought he was the only person this had ever happened to, but I told him I see it all the time and that since there was no receipt I would check with the manager to see if we would be allowed to replace it. He told me he wanted to look around and shop while I waited for the permission, so off he went.

I got a manager's permission to exchange for the same book, since we can do that and send back damaged books for a full refund to our store. But when B. Dalton's man came back, he had acquired two books that were not replacements for the damaged one.

I told him that we could only replace it with the same book, and the man threw a hissy for some reason. "Is THAT what he said?" Jeez, no actually he said that he was the one that personally fucked up your book and as a result you're free to eat in our café for free for a year, and have all the free books you want. What do you think he said? "In that case," he said snootily, "I will take my business elsewhere." He said this as he pulled out his discount card and credit card and paid for the new books he was buying.

This situation had me confused as to whether I should laugh or punch the guy's smug face. First off, you can't say you're taking your business elsewhere when returning a book is not business anyone particularly wants. We were going to do him a favor by replacing a damaged copy of a book he might not have (and probably hadn't) gotten at our store. Secondly, what the hell did he want? He DIDN'T want the fucked up book replaced? What was he hoping for? And lastly, you can't threaten someone that you're going to take your business elsewhere when YOU ALREADY DID, as evidenced by the damn B. Dalton's bag you came in holding.


I think, overall, my most annoying customer today was the homeopathy lady. She was a very nice young lady and never said anything rude, but she was expecting too much. See, this lady seemed to think bookstores are libraries. And she wasn't calling for a book; she was calling for information. Unfortunately I was not aware of this when she called, because she asked if I had any books on homeopathy. I told her we did and that I would tell her which ones. It turned out we had three, one of which was an "Idiot's Guide To" book, one was specifically for headaches, and one was a British general book. Well, she wanted to know if there were any listings for practitioners she could call, and organizations that were in charge of the practice. I told her I could glance in the indexes and see if there were any phone numbers, and she thanked me. But then when I mentioned that there were about five listed, she was like, "Okay, let me go ahead and get all of those from you. . . . " Excuse me? She wanted me to read them off to her. And what was worse was, she couldn't hear me very well and continually asked me to repeat myself, having gotten everything I said wrong. When I told her one of them had a website, she asked me if I would go on the website and try to find her some certain information since she didn't have Internet service! I told her our computers don't connect outside our own system (which is true), but I don't think she believed me.

Then she wanted to know if either of the other books had any listings.

One of them didn't have anything, and the other had a couple but they were in Britain. For some reason she wanted those, and then pulled a question out of her butt, "And you said there were some in Russia?" When did I say that? Ohhhkay. Finally I started trying to bring the call to a close because she was just getting ridiculous, and I walked away from the section and back to the desk to see who else was waiting for help. When I was already halfway across the store, she looked at one of her phone numbers and told me she thought she hadn't gotten it right, and told me she wanted me to check it for her. She repeated it to me and I told her I was not by the books anymore and didn't happen to remember. So she said, "Okay, well, I'll need you to read it off to me again, then." AHHH! WHAT? I decided to be nice and went back to the section (though I did tell her that I was having to walk back across the store), and she had it totally wrong. ::sigh:: Finally I got rid of her and she went about her business. I shudder to think what would have happened had we actually had Internet access at our store.


So today, the café guy came up to me and said as his opening line, "What did you DO?" I had no idea what he meant, so he clarified: "There was a lady wanting customer service, and she came up to me and said, 'YOU have to help me, because I don't want to ask THAT lady over there!'" (I was at the register.) I said I had no idea which customer that was and hadn't been rude to anyone, especially not to the point where they shouldn't want me to help them. Not to mention that I can't help anyway if I'm at the register, but hey. So I found out from my manager, who ended up helping her, that the lady was really weird and wanted these evangelical devotional things or something, at which point I postulated that she might have been freaked by my pentacle necklace, which of course signifies that I have sex with Satan. What's especially ironic about the whole thing is that if that was her problem, she didn't avoid the devil's minions that day, because my manager is as Pagan as I am, she just doesn't wear a necklace to advertise it. Too bad! Your devotionals are fouled by filthy heathen hands! Have a good day!


I started my morning with this charming gentleman.

In a condescending voice that he probably reserves for people paid to wait on him, this old guy asked me, "So is that ALL you do here? Take that stuff outta them boxes?" I informed him that no, in fact, that was not all I did; I was in charge of the children's department . . . and conveniently at that point the phone rang, and I said, "And I answer the phone!" and I grabbed it. It was a short call, over which he said, half mumbling, "Well, go get me my book." I figured maybe he was kidding around, so I didn't respond to that, finished the call, and asked him what book he wanted. (He was wrapped up in his own universe for a moment so he had to be prompted again.) "You've got a book on hold for me," he said, "under 'Randy.'" So, I went to look on the shelf and see if there were any books held for Randy, but there were none. When I turned to face him again, obviously empty-handed, he said, "Now, they called me and said it was in!" as if I just must not understand that, and I said, "Well, what is your last name again?" just in case I hadn't heard right. But all of a sudden he wanted me to look under "Griffin." When I found the book there, he GLOATED and said to me (again condescendingly), "See, I even had to tell you where to find it," with this head-shaking business that told me he thought he was infinitely superior to me and that he thought I had no idea how to do my job. This I don't take. I replied, "All I *needed* was your last name." And his response? "Well, it was under 'Randy' last time!" Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. He goes down as customer #1 who thinks I don't know how to do my job despite more than two years of it under my belt. (On his way out he asked our cashier for a date, which appalled her.)


Some lady wanted five twenty-dollar gift certificates. Unfortunately we only have fifteens and twenty-fives, so I told her that we could add five dollars to each of the fifteens and MAKE them twenties, but it would still SAY fifteen on the front of it so it was kinda tacky. I said SOMETIMES they keep blank ones around but I wouldn't bet on it, and asked the lady if she wanted me to call the managers in the back to see if they had any. She asked me to please do that and then if they didn't have them she'd settle for the fifteens with five bucks added.

Long story short, I called them and they said they didn't have any. So I told the lady that, and asked if I should go ahead and start making the fifteens into twenties . . . and then she changed her mind. She said that she as a customer wanted to file a complaint and that I should tell the manager on her behalf that customers should be able to choose their own gift certificate amounts. Well I for one agree with her, which I told her, and I said I would deliver the message. She told me I should tell the manager also that because he "didn't look hard enough," we'd lost a $100 sale. I said that it didn't have anything to do with looking hard enough, we don't usually have many blank ones, and I told her I would deliver her complaint. Then she told me "No, actually why don't you call the manager up here and I'll tell him. Because I don't believe you're going to tell him."

I told her that I had been planning to call the manager and relay the message as soon as I could, but she said, "Okay then, go ahead, right now while I'm standing here." That's just rude, saying she doesn't trust me to deliver the message. At this point I had begun to think badly of her because she automatically assumed I didn't think her opinion was important. So whatever, I got on the phone and called the back room and I got the general manager. I explain the situation to her.

Her response? "Yeah? Well I don't have time for this BULLSHIT." And she hung up on me.

I love my store.


"Yes, do you know any children's storybooks that have dachshunds in them?"

Err. I didn't happen to know off the top of my head if any of the thousands of storybooks I have in my section happens to have a particular dog breed in the story. I told her so.

I received a miffed sigh and a condescending, "Well, you're no help." Yes, lady, I've read every book in the section and my database brain should know immediately which books have dachshunds in them. Now I could understand her being annoyed if I didn't know which books were about potty training, or books involving a little kid's first day at school, or even dogs in general, but it's not fair to judge me incompetent because I don't know off the top of my head which books have specific breeds in them. I told her we had nonfiction books talking about different dog breeds, but that was about it. I received more condescension and a list of books that did involve dachshunds that her friend had given her, none of which I had ever heard of. (Of course, more evidence that I'm incompetent. . . . )


Some really weird lady wanted a kids' book I hadn't happened to have heard of. She was asking for help from the customer service guy, who was already annoyed with her attitude when he asked me if I knew what book she was talking about, since she had no title and no author but just "couldn't believe" we couldn't find it for her based on her description of what it was about. (She had her hand over her heart for a lot of the interaction, as if it was some kind of shocking experience, that she just could not IMAGINE that we didn't know this book.) She asked if we could do a subject search on all books about kids and dragons, and when we replied it didn't work that way, she insisted that SHE could find it on HER home computer and so we ought to be able to. Then she started quizzing me: "It's a hardback, where are your hardback books for children?" When I informed her that the hardbacks weren't separate, but were mixed in with the kids' books arranged by age group and author, she rephrased her question and asked where I kept all the hardback books for children, to which I responded with the exact same answer I'd already given her. She then demanded to know where the section was for "new" kids' books. We don't have a section like that, and I told her so. She looked at me pointedly and informed me that I was "making" her "go to the competition." When I didn't apologize or do anything, she added, "And I really didn't want to do that." So bring a freakin' title next time, silly. So then she went back to Customer Service, and one of our managers could just see that the C/S guy was about to snap, so he took over. He turned the monitor of the C/S computer around. Then asked the lady, "Okay, what would you like me to type in?" She suggested something. He typed. She watched the screen fill up with a whole lot of nothing. This process was repeated several times until she realized that we really couldn't help her without more information. At that point, she said, "I guess I should go home and get the title." Bingo.


Some bitchy lady saw the sign that says "Our manager will issue you a $10 gift certificate if our cashier does not give you a receipt." She asked to see the manager and claimed the girl in the café last night "didn't know what she was doing" and also forgot to give her her receipt, so she wanted to get the $10 gift certificate. The manager wouldn't give it to her, because it was last night that it supposedly happened. Well, first she said that she had paid with a gift card and couldn't she "look it up on the gift card" whether she had been given a receipt? That made no sense--what, she thinks the gift card number is attached to a video record of her transaction? What the hell? Then she said that her daughter was with her at the time and could verify it. When the manager still said no, the lady fumed and started walking around mumbling to her daughter how she was going to write the company a letter because there was no sign that said you had to point it out at the TIME that it happened. Yeah, sure. . . . "Hey, about three years ago, I was in here buying coffee and, well, I didn't get my receipt . . . where's my free money?" Shut your cakehole. (She also misread a sign and thought she deserved a discount that you don't get without a discount card, which the sign plainly says . . . she just wanted free stuff.)


Bitchy people were annoyed when we sold out of the New York Times in light of the weird terrorist bullshit yesterday. We were sold out by about 10:30, though we got 80 copies. And then some random teacher lady wandered in when it was almost 1:00, and began to bitch out the manager lady because she couldn't get a newspaper. She was like, "Do you REALIZE what happened?" and "I simply cannot believe you are out, you should have a stack THIS HIGH!" Our manager just told her we got 80 copies and that the entire city was out of them, and she supposed they were reprinting but there was no guarantee, and the lady was like, "Well, what are you as a manager going to do about this situation?" There was nothing she COULD do, she explained, but she offered to call a few other stores for the bitch, making it look like a favor to her but really doing it to prove that our shortage wasn't just us being irresponsible; the demand was simply higher than the supply. The lady left in a huff after she could not be satisfied, and then the manager came to me and asked if I overheard. I said yes, because I had been standing in the kids' section, which was right next to Christian Living, where the altercation took place. The manager said at that time, "Yes, we were standing right there in Christian Living, weren't we . . . I think it's 'Christian living' that I didn't KICK her!" HAH. Right on.


A lady brought in the book Olivia and told our cashier that the binding was broken. The cashier called me and told me so, so I ran to the kids' section and got a non-broken Olivia. I came up to give it to her and to take the damaged one to the damage box, but she told me, "No, I don't WANT another one." She explained that she had bought it and then she had found something else for her grandkid or whatever and just had no use for the book. She didn't have a receipt, so I told her that if an item is damaged we would be glad to exchange it for a good version of the same exact item, but can't accept it as a return without a receipt. She was like, "FINE, just KEEP IT THEN!" and left it in the store. Weird.


Oh yes, and I had a regular run-of-the-mill BITCH customer too. I had three people in line at Customer Service and two on the phone, and I was taking great care to help everyone in the order they arrived. This one lady arrived and didn't seem to realize that she was not first in line and kept trying to flag me down while I was on the phone. She finally just yelled, "Can I just get my book?" I assumed she meant one that was just on hold for her, and I could understand her not wanting to wait a long time just for me to hand her a book that was right there, so after I was done talking to one guy on the phone I asked for her last name. She gave it to me and I got her book, and she goes, "I wanna order another one too. How long will THAT take, half an hour?" I just kind of let the world stop as I stared at her and gave her sort of a pitied look, and she looked embarrassed, and then I said, "Unfortunately everyone just decided to come up here at the same time, I guess." And she said, "well isn't there someone else you can get up here?" and I told her I would find out if my manager was available and called her to Customer Service, then went away to help the person who was actually next. It turned out the lady couldn't even wait for the backup to arrive and went and hounded the cashier to do it, and later I heard from the cashier that the lady claimed she'd been waiting at the desk for my help for twenty minutes. Sorry, but bitches like that can't even wait for a minute without FREAKING OUT; there is no way she would have waited twenty, and I watched her walk up there and act impatient right from the first second. Yeah right twenty minutes! BITCH.


A lady barrelled into the customer service desk by herself very early this morning. I followed her and asked her if I could help her, since she just barged into an employees-only area like she thought it was part of the store. She said yes, and that she was looking for a certain book that was on the school reading list. I glanced over where the school reading list books were held and didn't see it, and told her that we were probably out since they just had a book fair. She looked at me and said, "Do not even try to TELL me that you are out of this book. This is the THIRD time I have gone out looking for it. I talked to someone last night and they said . . . " and she just went on like it was MY fault, when I was just reporting what I saw. I don't have to take that, so I just said, "OHHkay," and walked away. I went to the back room and got the manager and told him what was up, and told him to go out there and talk to her. As we were exiting the back room, there she was, like she was about to walk into another employees-only area. But she was holding her book and brightly said, "Found it!" It had a piece of paper on it with a last name; someone had set it aside for her under a different hold pile. Which she'd neglected to mention when she talked to me. But all of a sudden she was just all smiles, like she'd never been a HUGE BITCH, and even told me I had a really nice singing voice when she heard me singing later, and asked me if I sing at church. Ahem.


Grr, I had a rude customer today. I came up to the register to run it while Diana, the cashier for that day, ran to the café to get some tea. And a lady standing in the nature section (right near the register) yelled "ExCUSE me!" in our direction. We didn't know which one of us she was talking to, and so we exchanged a glance, and then I looked at the customer while Diana took off for the café. The lady seemed offended that we weren't both at her disposal, but I just looked at her and said, "Yes?" And she goes, "Um, I need help." And I said, "Okay, what do you need help with?" and she looked exasperated and said, "NO, I need help . . . HERE!" pointing to the ground, showing me she expected me to trot from my position over to her. Well, it wasn't busy, so I decided to humor her and went over to help her. She said, "I HATE screaming across the store!" (Um, it was RIGHT there. . . . ) "Anyway," she said, "I need something on butterfly gardens." I told her I wasn't sure if we had any, at which point she said, "Well do you even know what that is?" and I said that I did indeed and owned a couple of butterfly garden seed packets even. I told her I didn't think that we had any in the store but that her best bet was to check with the lady at Customer Service, since they actually have a COMPUTER they can look stuff up on. She goes, "Is that the lady that just turned her back on me?" talking about Diana, and I said "No, that's the cashier, she just went to get some tea." I told her they could look up what we have and what we could order on the customer service computers, but she just gave me a snooty look and told me she didn't want to bother and was going to go to the MALL instead. I told her "good luck," and she said over her shoulder as she walked away, "I don't NEED luck, I just need the BOOK." Gah! Why do people think they can be rude to me just because I'm on the clock and they're not? ::sigh::


A couple came in to pick up five very large sale-book Bibles they'd placed on hold the day before. They were a bit scuffed-up (which was why they were sale books in the first place), and they requested that I clean them up a bit. I understood that if they were going to give them as gifts they would want them to look nice, so I polished them with this "goof-off" cleaner. It was obvious it'd take me a while so I told them they could do other things and come back, and the man of the couple complained that he wanted the price discounted even more. I got my manager to give them another 20% off the already half-off books. Then I got to work polishing them. It took half an hour. And then when they came back to get them I was on break and they wanted to talk to me anyway. They wouldn't accept "she's on break," so I came out, and they said they didn't like how I'd polished them and they just weren't good enough, and the lady started looking for other Bibles to get while the other customer service gal began to polish them to try to please the man. Well, they decided not to get them at all and bought something else.

See the 10 most willfully ignorant customers ever!


Notebook paper graphic used in the title image: Made by Heather and Warren's Gif Pages.