Tuesday, March 9, 2010

more adventures in bookselling

In the spirit of my previous post, I continue with the latest list of quirky bookselling experiences.

I recently went to customer service to relieve a young bookseller for her 15-minute break. She was on the phone with a customer and online, frantically scrolling up and down on Ticketmaster.

“I’m sorry, I can’t find a phone number,” she kept repeating to the woman, who apparently refused to accept the fact that she would have to call information herself. At least I was there to witness that the bookseller wasn’t online purchasing concert tickets, should she have been questioned.

None of us is immune from these over reaching customer demands. Our store manager told me of a phone call in which a customer refused to be convinced she could not print out her airline boarding passes in the store after accessing them on our free wifi because THERE IS NO PRINTER.

I was on the phone with an elderly man the other day who wanted to order a book sent to his house, but did not want to give me his credit info on the phone, as required.

“I would go to Amazon,” he said, “but there’s none near me.”

While working café register for breaks, I asked a customer what she would like.

“I’ll have a large tai chi.”

With a smile, I suggested a large chai tea instead. She burst out laughing,

Back in my kids department one hectic Saturday, the Thomas Train Table was crowded with tots of varying ages jostling each other. A burly woman yelled across at me, waving closed Thomas cars packages.

“Do you have a scissors to open these?”

“No, ma’am I’m not allowed a scissors in this department, nor am I permitted to open up items until they are purchased. I’m sure they will be glad to open them at the cash register.”

As half a dozen stunned parents watched, she ripped open the packages so her children could play with them at the train table, since she “forgot to bring in her own.”

When she complained about me to a manager, the other customers leapt to my defense.

Oh, then there was the fellow who called asking if anyone had seen his dentures.

Who says life among the books is dull?

To be continued...