"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Here Comes Wednesday, Retail Wednesday...

This has become extremely therapeutic for me.
As therapeutic as these socks.

Ever since starting these weekly blogs customers just don't annoy me the way they used to. Instead of staying irritated, I end up trying not to smirk as I wait for them to leave so I can scribble everything down before I forget, saying to myself... "oh, this'll make a great blog entry." :)

Now without further ado, on to this week's awards!

Sleeper Award: (when a seemingly normal customer surprises me completely)

I pass two older teenage boys sitting at the book club table in the back of the store. They have a couple of those "movies you have to see before you die" books in front of them and are busily discussing stars such as Audrey Hepburn. I am mildly impressed as usually teenage boys are hanging out in graphic novels or the erotica section making idiots of themselves. These two seemed intelligent.
Notice the word "seemed". Ten minutes later I am helping a customer in the sci-fi section and he is recommending a book to me. (I love it when customers do this, by the way. It's one of the reasons I love working in a book store)
Now, the sci-fi section is in front of the book club table and I'm two rows away from the table, but the shelves are only about 4 1/2 or 5 feet tall, so I can see over them. In the middle of a sentence my attention is drawn away as suddenly one of the teenage boys' heads pops into view. Then his shoulders. Then there is a bounce and he is STANDING ON THE TABLE. Looking around as though he has simply taken a step.
Wow, the floor is further away when I stand up here.

I interrupt my customer and call, "Excuse me! Please get off the table." The boy looks at me and steps down - his face completely emotionless. No grin of mischief, no sheepish look, no nothing. Weird. I don't know why he wanted to get on the table. Ten minutes later the two of them leave still talking about movie stars. Again I say, weird.

Odd Question Award:

Again, two older teenage boys come into the store. They barge right up to the info desk and push in front of the customer I am helping. "When was Alice in Wonderland published? and Lord of the Rings?" I tell them to wait while I help my customer. They get exasperated and stomp off. When I return to the desk after finishing with my customer they have snagged not just one, but two of my co-workers to help them solve this imminently important mystery. One coworker is looking it up in our database, but that only lists the date the edition was published, not when the original copyright was. Another coworker is taking them to the section to look inside the book to find it. (As both a Tolkien and Carroll fan I was rather ashamed inside that I couldn't for the life of me remember either answer. Wonderland was in 1865 and LOTR:FotR in 1954) "So, Alice was written first," they say and stalk from the store. And once again I say Weird.
Ah, yes another one of those age old "which came first" questions.

Captain Obvious Award:

Yesterday a girl approached me and asked, in all seriousness, "Could you please tell me who wrote Dante's Inferno?" Ummmmm.... there is no good way to answer a question like that.

Cutie Patootie Award:
A little boy, about 4 years old, came in with his father. They're in the front of the store and the dad starts to head to the right. The boy grabs his hand and tugs him to the left. "Dad, no," he says. "This way. Come this way. I'm the expert. You follow the expert." SO adorable.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite little kid stories ever. We have these blue stool things in the kid's room. There are 4 of them and they are arched so when you put them together they make a donut shape. There was a little boy - maybe 2 or 3 - sitting in the hole in the middle. He sits down and lolls his head back stretching his arms around the rim. "Hey Mom," he calls. "Look, I'm in a hot tub!" :D

Outright Bizarre Award:

Girl approaches the info desk. "Excuse me. Can I use my library card here?"
Me: ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
"No, I'm sorry you can't."
Girl walks away and then a moment later her mom comes up. "You can't use your library card here?"
Me: "No."
Mother: "Well she was told by the lady at the library that she could use it here."
Me: "I'm not sure why they said that, but you can't."
Mother: "I was standing right there when they told her. Why would they say that?"
Me: (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) "I don't know. You can't use a library card here."
Mother: "Well." and walks away.

Apparently they missed that part that says "@ your LIBRARY"

Most Annoying Award:

I was the only person working the floor and I had to run into the back for a moment. Literally a moment - only gone for about 60 seconds. When I come back to the info desk there is a GROWN MAN sitting, yes SITTING on the desk swinging his feet and WHISTLING!
As soon as he seems me he jumps down and exclaims, "It worked!"
I think, yes, because I would never have come out to help you if it weren't for the fact that you were sitting on the desk.
I look up the book he wants and as I lead him to the section he says, "It was just my whistling. I know it's terrible. You just wanted me to stop."
I grimace a smile and say nothing. What DO customers want you to say during moments like that?
But obnoxious whistling is not.


Falen said...

LMAO!!!! The Library card incident is awesome!
Even though i shouldn't be, i'm still often caught unawares by the stupidity of people

Joan Crawford said...

4 1/2 or 5 feet tall, so I can see over them.


The guy sitting and whistling is creepy and annoying. "Aren't I so irreverent and interesting? I'm a real 'think-outside-the-box' kinda guy!"

Next time just say "You have something in your teeth." and keep walking.

SonshineMusic said...

@Falen: oh yes, it's amazing. Whenever I think I've seen the stupidest thing ever someone tops it. Oh the public.

@Joan: yes, I am tall. And I love it. My Mom and her family are all fairly short, so I'm glad I got my Dad's height.

And I am totally going to do that next time. Wait! Please don't tell me there's going to BE a next time!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Palindrome said...

Yeah, I've had the library question before but at the register. The woman gave me her books to ring up, I scanned and gave her the total. She asked me how long she has to bring them back...uh, the return policy is on the back of the receipt. Then I gave her the total and she looked at me like i was crazy and said, I have to pay for these? Can't I just take them home and read them and bring them back? and I was like, sure. After you pay for them.

I hope there's a special place in hell for people who are stupid and annoying in a retail environment.

Jessica said...

I am so glad you post these stories, that just totally made my day(again)!

Teebore said...

Sleeper award: I've seen our customers do some inappropriate stuff to/with our furniture (sleep in it, eat fried chicken on it, pee on it) but I've never seen a customer jump up on one of the tables.

Odd Question: I hope those kids didn't come out to your store just to find that out. What a waste of a trip. It's called the internet.

Captain Obvious Award: Bwah-ha-ha!

Outright Bizarre Award: That's awesome! That's one of those cases where you wish you could go with the customer back to the library, find the person who "told" her she could use her LIBRARY card at a book STORE and then ask the librarian why said such a thing (if they even did).

Jenn said...

The Captain Obvious award was wonderfully accompanied by the lolcat picture, and was probably one of the funniest things I have heard all week.

I don't serve the public anymore, but I did all through high school and university. Your stories sort of make me miss the public, only because they sometimes offer you gems like this one:)

AchingHope said...

Ahahahahaha... Creepy Whistling Man!

And I had a lady who HAD bought a book, read a book, and wanted to return a book: only the cover was so wrinkled you could barely read the word of the title anymore. Uh, no.

VW: eativent, and event where you eat while venting