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 – #32

Got a phone call at work the other day.

Me: “This is Bookshop [Name], good afternoon. Erika speaking.”
Other end of the line: *is silent*
Me, thinking I may have done that thing where I speak so fast I finish saying hello before the line actually connects: “Bookshop [Name], good afternoon?”
Other end of the line: *is still silent*
Me: “Hello?”
Man, after another long silence: “Hello.”
Me: “This is Bookshop [Name], what can I do for you?”
Man: “Hello.”
Me: “Hello. Who is this?”
Man: “Nobody.”
Me: “I don’t think I can help you, sir. Goodbye.”

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 – #29

People here seem to think that contactless payment is now possible in every shop everywhere. It is not. I regularly have to point out to customers that we, like many other shops, are still ‘old-fashioned’ and they have to stick their pin card in the machine instead of waving it in front of some imaginary WiFi signal reader.

One guy, however, looks at the machine after I’ve pointed this out, and says: “Well, it’s not very clearly indicated, so…”

It’s a regular pin machine. Looks exactly the same as in many other shops. Has an obvious slot at the front where you put your card. And, unlike actual contactless payment machines, it does not have a massive sign saying “Look at this WiFi symbol, contactless payment here!”

Whatever happened to common sense?

The Joys of Working in a Bookshop – #28

Girl comes in looking for a study book. All she has is a note of the title and author’s name on her phone.

…without any use of capitalisation and so severely messed up by autocorrect that it took me a few minutes to figure out that, for instance, the author was called Drumbl and not ‘crumble’.

How hard is it to check your spelling?