Sunday, February 13, 2005

Grumpy Old Men and Other Misfits of the Bookstore

Yesterday was one of the craziest days I've had at work in a long time. And when I say crazy I am of course referring to the customers. I work for Borders out here in DeKalb but it's not the first Borders I've worked for not even the first book store I've worked for and boy howdy I can tell you with a great deal of certainty we are a destination point for the craziest mother fuckers on the planet. Not my present store necessarily but bookstores overall, like the customer who wanted me to call websters and find out why the dictionary was not available on audio or the crazy one-legged man who used to stalk me from his hospital bed. This however is not their tale.

So yesterday started off fun. First thing I help a much older gentleman find a book. When I put it in his hands and he has the opportunity to look through it, it doesn't seem to be what he had expected but decides very grumpily to buy it anyways. As we are walking in the direction of the registers, he continues to grumble about the price for what's ended up being a very thin book. In the interest of customer service I tell him our return policy, that if he buys it and changes his mind he can return it with the receipt as long as it's in saleable condition within 30 days. He stops, looks at me as though I am insane and instantly gets pissed.

"You mean I can return this? You let people return books? That's no way to run a business! Hell half the books in this place have probably been read and returned!" the crazy old man says very loudly.

"Well sir we do rely on the honesty of our customers." is the only thing I can think to say having never even considered this aspect of our returns policy would put someone off.

"You can't run a business like that!" he says again then walks off.


Weird customer #2 I only overheard as he was being checked out at our registers. Also old and grouchy and loud this man complained to his cashier,

"99% of the books in this store are for women! And there all full of psycho-babble! Tell your manager I'm never shopping here again!" said the crazy old man with the white hair.

People are crazy.

Customer #3 who we'll call super manga boy since it seems derogatory enough is this crazy 20-something guy who comes in and has absolutely no idea how to relate and/or deal with people. He's the kinda guy who gives comic book fans a bad name. He's the only person I've ever dealt with how threatened to sue our distributors because his special order, Stepmother Sin an anime video about a kid who has a sexual relationship with his yes you guessed it stepmother, didn't come in as quickly as he would like. Well he came in yesterday to pick up another of his special orders another anime video about a busty android with a heart of gold and got mad at one of our sales staff cause she couldn't find something he wanted to order in our computer and when he gets mad, he yells.

I guess every cloud has a silver lining though there were these two old biker guys who came in to ask if any of the William Powell Thin Man movies were on DVD. Imagine that a scary biker dude who thinks William Powell is the man! We even have the same favorite Powell movie, Libeled Lady with Merna Loy and Spencer Tracy. It was a nice caper to a horrible day.

So in conclusion is you want to study the misfits of society, work retail.


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