Friday, January 14, 2005


All our staff, including moi, have been complaining about the cranky or wacky customers streaming in our store. Don’t ask me why, but, hell’s bells, some mighty long sticks been stuck up some rear ends. More than a few cute little old ladies waddle up to our info desk and are ready to throw down for any little reason (“book can’t be ordered” “book is out of print” “book is not available in a bilingual Serbo-Croatian/English edition” “book has to be special ordered from Oregon and can’t be here for your step-grandson’s girlfriend’s birthday tomorrow”). We do try to bend over backwards for our customers and we have staffed our store with some really great people who love to give great customer service (we really do) but try keeping your patience while some ninny who has all but called you an idiot as you try to fix what ever issue they have that has nothing to do with the store.

On the wacky side, yesterday I had the “The Lady who Wouldn’t Listen” who asked me to find a book on social anxiety then promptly continued to talk over my questions and ignore my answers that each book that had a zero in the in store quantity line in our data base was not in the store, 5 times. I finally concluded that no matter what I said she ain’t gonna listen so I took her to the psych section and suggested she browse though the textbooks and power walked away from her only to get caught at the register with “The Lady Who Took 15 Minutes of My Life I Will Never See Again To Decide in My cashier Line if a Blank Gift Certificate was better than A One with a Denomination". After getting her out and priding myself for not reaching over the counter and bitch slapping her, another cashier whispers to me “What the Hell? Was SHE retarded?” I made my getaway trying not to laugh.

I don’t usually bitch about our customers. We do get a lot of nice people, some of whom are as passionate about books as we are and practially live in our stores, some of whom use us as a reference library and visit us a few times a year. Today I had a stumper when this woman asked for a book for friends of the family whose middle aged daughter died and she wanted a book where you could record your memories of the deceased. After wracking my memory for 10 minutes, I ordered a book I remembered dimly from about 5 years ago that seemed to be what she wanted (when I find the ISBN, I‘ll write it here). She was so appreciative and so sweet like a lot of our customers. But this week she seemed to be the exception with the cranks and the kooks and the shady characters.