Working in a bookstore has its advantages. We tend to get a higher caliber of customer than your average store, and yet. And yet. The last time I wrote about my job, I had three stories to tell, and they all happened in one day. Nothing untoward has happened since then, but twice today I had to clench my teeth to keep my jaw from hitting the counter. And so, then, here it goes. I'll reiterate what I said a few days after my last day of doozies. (Yeah, click that link.)
I'm going to omit certain irrelevant information here, just because.
This morning I dealt with a customer who wanted to know if we had any ****** Lewis books. I asked, "Is that L-E-W-I-S?" and the customer said "Well, yes, of course, unless he spells his name some weird way." (By this time I saw that we had no ****** Lewis books, and was trying ****** Louis.) I did an Amazon search, because that's the easiest way for us to get information on any one book. We can then get the ISBN or EAN for the book and plug it into our distributor's website.
I found the author and book the customer was looking for, and plugged the ISBN into our system, just to make sure we didn't have it in stock. We didn't, so I kindly suggested that we could order the book for him. He wanted two books from this author, and I found both on our distributor's site.
I asked for the customer's name and phone number, giving my usual spiel, "We'll call you when the books come in." The guy gave me his name, but said, "I prefer that you don't call me. I'll stop in to check." He left the counter, and I proceeded to place his special order.
A minute later he came back and asked me, "Are you sure I didn't confuse you with the books I wanted to order?" I showed him my monitor, pointed out each title, and said, "No, this is what you asked for!" He thanked me and left. I called out a similar thank you, and once he was out the door, said to my manager, "Thanks for the vote of confidence." My manager said "Seriously." (I'm so glad he has my back.)
It's funny. Yeah, this is a retail job, but each retail job has Things You Come To Know. So if you're working in X clothing store, you get to know your products and the distribution system. The same goes for a bookstore. And I was flabbergasted that this guy thought I might not be capable of placing an order for the books he wants.
And my hair isn't even blonde anymore.
The second happening (and I should probably make this another entry), was the picking-up of a special order. A semi-local, horse farm-owning woman who's hard of hearing ordered a book which was released this past Tuesday (I'm writing this on Thursday, two days after the release of said book). When she was in our store last week, it took her about two minutes of convincing to realize that we didn't have the book she wanted, because it hadn't been released yet. She decided to place a special order for it, which was fine. She gave me her name, and said that it should be in our system, since she'd ordered from us before. This was true, but she was in the system last name first, so rather than being listed as Bertha Ballcrusher, she was Ballcrusher Bertha.
I placed the order and modified her file so that it conformed to the first name/last name system we use. I'm going to call her Ballcrusher Bertha, though.
Today Ballcrusher Bertha called the store in order to inquire how much the book she'd ordered cost, sales tax and all. She wanted to write a check for the full amount, because her son was going to come to the store with said check and pick up the book. I rang up the book, gave Ballcrusher the total, repeated it just to be sure, and then canceled the sale.
A couple of hours later, a middle-aged man entered the store. At first I thought he was with a woman who was walking slowly with a cane, but as soon as he could get around her, he did, and he made a beeline for the counter.
At that point I knew who he was, so I was reaching for his mother's special order while he was asking for it. I brought the book to the register, and noticed that he was looking at the check his mother had written. He asked me "What's the list for this book?"
I was thinking, "Nice use of lingo there, dude," but I said, "Thirty dollars."
He replied "You sell this book at list price," as if it were a crime.
I answered, "Yes, we do. We can't do it any other way, sir."
He acquiesced, since he had a check from his mother for the full amount, $31.80, but I feel sure he was going to give her shit for not buying the book from W*lM*rt, where she could have paid the wholesale price.
Then I asked if he'd like a bag, and he said yes, but when I brought it up from underneath the counter, he said, "Don't you have anything smaller?" I said, "I have something thinner," and showed him the flimsy bag we sometimes use if a book is large or lightweight. Ballbuster Bertha's son then refused all bags and left.
I rolled my eyes, and then I bitched about him to Allan on Gmail chat:
me: Jackass just came to pick up the book for his deaf mother, and when he saw the book, he asked for the list price. I told him "Thirty dollars," and he said, kind of incredulously, "You sell it at list." I said, "We can't do it any other way."
Yeah, so there you go. I'm totally Judgy McJudgerson. But Ballcrusher Bertha gets points for buying her books from our store, even if she is totally deaf and very hard to deal with.
It's funny how the strange stories happen on the same day. I hadn't felt the need to tell a bookstore story since that time back in November, because I had three episodes of weirdness in one day. Today I had two episodes. And either I haven't been paying attention, or this was the first day since November that there were customers who exceeded the norm.
Although, if you really think about it, it was a couple of male chauvinist customers. The one wasn't sure I could handle the order he placed, and the other wasn't sure his mother was sane for buying a book at our store when she clearly could have bought it at W*lM*rt.