The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #33

Sometimes we call people to let them know their books have come in.

Me: *rings number*
Man, in Dutch: “Yes?”
Me, in Dutch: “This is Bookshop [Name], I’m calling to let you know that the book you ordered-”
Man, in English: “Speak English!”
Me, switching to English: “Oh, I’m sorry. This is Bookshop [Name]. I’m calling to let you know that the book you ordered has come in, so you can come by to pick it up.”
Man: “What?”
Me, more slowly: “Your book, Life Advanced, has come in. You can come by our shop to pick it up.”
Man: “You are where?”
Me, wondering how he has not remembered visiting us when he ordered the book: “We’re opposite city hall.”
Man: “City hall, which department are you in?”
Me: “No, we’re Bookshop [Name], opposite city hall.”
Man: “What?”
Me, more slowly and a little louder: “Bookshop [Name], on [Street], opposite city hall.”

This went on for a while. Firstly, rude, dude. Whatever happened to “Could you please…”? Secondly, Life Advanced is a textbook for an advanced level English language course. This was the second time in as many weeks that someone spoke to me on the phone in this manner; it may have been the same guy twice, but I can’t be sure. Either way, what the hell are they doing taking an advanced English course if they’re at this level?

And thirdly, what is up with people who keep answering their phones with just “Yes” or “Hello”? You’d think they’d have enough confusing conversations to reconsider this strategy…

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #30

A while ago an author was in our shop to present her new book. It was a party, kind of, organised by us and the publisher. She signed the book for people who were there at the time, and also signed some extra copies for our shop. Her signature is basically just her name with a small flourish, nothing ‘fancy’ or illegible.

About a week later, a couple comes in looking for that specific book. So I show them where it is, and tell them she was here recently and signed some of the books. The guy takes the signed book I hand him, looks at the signature on the first page, then looks at me suspiciously and says: “And she signed this herself?”

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #20

Guy comes in, about my age, asking if I would please gift wrap this nice wooden box he’s bought somewhere else. Strange request, but it happens sometimes, and I almost never refuse if there’s enough time, because we place high value on customer service.

So I’m gift wrapping this box, and he starts to comment on how I seem to be doing it wrong and how I’m supposed to be doing it.

Now, I gift wrap practically everything. I gift wrap the book vouchers. Sometimes I even gift wrap a postcard. I know how to gift wrap (rectangular things, ahem). That’s not the point.

Hello, I’m doing you a favour…? Where does he get the temerity to complain? If he wants it gift wrapped some other way, perhaps he should buy a roll of paper and do it himself. Bloody hell.

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #18

Man comes in to pick up a language book he’s ordered. While I’m looking for the book, he says some things in a language I can’t understand. Seeing as it’s a book used to learn Dutch, I assume he must be trying to tell me something but doesn’t know the words in Dutch. When I say “Sorry, what did you say?”, he doesn’t respond. Never mind. I find the book, we move to the till. He still keeps saying things in this foreign language, so by now I figure he’s talking to himself. Happens, whatever.

Suddenly, I notice that tucked in his brightly coloured scarf is a brightly coloured phone.

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #17

Man asks me about a management book concerning sales. I tell him we don’t have many books on the subject, give him the one book off the shelf I can find, and ask if perhaps he’d like me to check if I can order anything. He says yes, please, so I move over to the computer and enter a search.

At this point, the man moves some books off a low table, sits down on said table and starts examining the book I’ve just given him.

About two feet away from him, there’s a four-legged stool.

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #11

Man wants to buy a 2015 planner/diary, which since it’s already 2015 we’re selling with a 30% discount. The cash register shows the price as considerably lower than the one on the sticker, so I assume one of my colleagues has already changed the price in the system. Because it is quite busy and there are several people waiting in line, I decide not to waste time re-doing the math, and instead tell the man the diary costs €16,90. That may have been a mistake on my part, but his reaction was just childish.

Man: “That’s not right. It should be around €14. When I was in school they still taught you how to count.”

I’m sure when he was in school they also taught you how to be successfully snotty and condescending.

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #10

Man walks up, looking quite normal though perhaps slightly disinterested, and puts a book on the counter. While I scan the sticker he gets out a gift card for €25, but doesn’t hand it to me yet.
Me: “That’ll be €27,25 please.”
Man, looking angry: “I don’t think so.”
Me, slightly confused, checking the sticker: “No, really, it says €27,25.”
Man hands me the gift card: “What about this thing?”
Me, calmly: “Yes, that takes care of €25, but the price is €27,25 which means I still need €2,25.”
Man, raising his voice: “Then why do you keep saying €27,25?!”
Me, making a good attempt at not showing my irritation and instead being perfectly clear: “Because that is the price of the book. Your gift card is for €25, so I still need €2,25. I was merely trying to explain that the gift card does not cover the total sum.”
Man pays the remaining sum by pin.
Me: “Would you like a bag?”
Man mumbles something long and unintelligible which I ultimately take to mean no, so I offer him a small paper bag instead.
Man: “No, I want a bag.”
I’m by now trying very hard not to shout at him for being either deliberately obtuse or deliberately annoying, but I manage to remain polite. I offer him a receipt, I wish him a good day, and he leaves.

Five minutes later he comes back, saying he wants to return his book because he is dissatisfied with the service he received from me. I’m ready to smack him in the face with a sledgehammer, but I help him, politely, apologising, giving him his money back, with another receipt and everything.

I swear, the next time he comes back and behaves like a perfect jackass again, I’m going to ask him to leave and never come back. Very politely.

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #9

Man on the phone: *asks me to hold a calendar for him until he can come to pick it up in two weeks*
Me: “Absolutely, no problem. What is your name?”
Man: *gives me his name*
Me: “Right. We’ll hold it for you until you come by, then.”
Man: “And who have I spoken to?”

Now… I may be a little paranoid, but it seems to me that the only logical reason to ask that question is if you expect to come to the shop in two weeks to discover that your stuff is not actually there, and you want to be properly prepared so you have someone to blame. I wish people would just accept the fact that I know how to do my job, dammit.

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #2

Yes, by all means, sir. Throw your massive, dirty, old plastic bag on the counter after returning a book without a receipt, and then walk away without so much as a thank you. Why not? No problem at all. We do have a trashcan, you need only have asked. Perhaps next time you’d like to see the inside?