"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, April 7, 2010

Freaks, Funnies and Foibles

And you thought I was going to forget about Retail Wednesday, didn't you?

I would never do that to my loyal and ever-growing fan base! (that sounds a bit hyperbolic, doesn't it?)

It's just that I had to go in to work for a couple of hours on my day off, then it was a library run and gathering stuff for my grad school interview tomorrow - and suddenly it's 5:30 and I still haven't written my post.

And boy do I have some goodies for you today!

Upward and onward!

Not Enough Information Award:

A woman asks me if we have any books on Rwanda. I look it up and only find one biography about someone from Rwanda. Take her to it. She is disappointed that we don't have any travel or history books, but thanks me and takes it to look at it. Fifteen minutes she approaches me again.
Woman: I just have one more question.
Me: All right.
Woman: Can you see if you have any books on Ogowazo Shalom?
Me: Do you know how to spell that?
Woman: (does so) [and it's actually spelled Agahozo Shalom]
Me: No, I'm sorry, nothing comes up.
Woman: Oh, well, it's a village in Rwanda.
Me: (if we only have 1 sort of book on Rwanda, what makes you think we would have any books on a village IN Rwanda?!)

(addendum: Okay, so now I Gahooglepediad it (Nods to Blam for the conglomoration) and it's this youth village and I can see why we might have had a book on it, but she was so VAGUE! People, give us more information!)

This is Rwanda

This is Agahozo Shalom Youth Village

Clarification is helpful.

Are You Smarter Than a Nine Year Old? Award:

A young boy approaches me. "Excuse me, do you... oh, never mind, you have a name tag on. You do work here!"

You have now proved yourself smarter than 90% of the adults that shop here!

Phone Freak Award:

A coworker answers the phone. Spends a lo-o-ong time looking up title after title. It becomes apparent that the customer has no idea which book they are looking for. The question they ask to verify that it is or isn't the one? "How many pages is it?"
Because this is the easiest way to tell if it is the book you are looking for.

Strangest Topic Award:

The winner this week asked me for our section (don't you love how it's always an entire section they're looking for?) on photovoltaic systems. I had never heard that term before. But then again, I'm not much into photovo-whatchacallit stuff.
Oh, I see, it has to do with sun and... stuff. Why didn't you say so in the first place!?

Pulling Teeth Award:

Dude: Do you have Earth Science Review books?
Me: Like for the Regents or AP?
Dude: I don't know. I just know what it looks like.
Me: Is it for a test?
Dude: It's for a class. It's yellow.
Me: Is it a textbook? We don't carry many textbooks.
Dude: It's a paperback.
Me: Do you know the title?
Dude: It's yellow.

The Match Game Award:

A woman had a birthday list from her son. She didn't know where to look and asked me to help. He had asked for The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Le Morte d'Arthur and several books of mythology. She is looking at The Iliad and The Odyssey and The Aeneid and turns to me. "Well, which one comes first? Are they in order?" I explain the basic differences between them (that two are written by one author, one is written by another author. They're all different stories, not a series). Nothing too mind-blowing. She looks at me in admiration. "You know all about this stuff, don't you? I should introduce you to my son!"
Ummm.... I think I'm flattered?
I bet Homer never expected this to be used as a compatibility measure.

Caffeine Deficiency Award:

This week we had a minor problem in the cafe and had to open late. There was a large sign posted on the coffee shop door, at the register and on both panes of glass on either side of the register. We also left the lights off.
This is not the sign we had up, but I kinda wish it had been. I need me one of these!

A woman came over to the information desk.
Woman: Excuse me, is there anyone in the cafe?
Me: No, I'm sorry. We'll be opening later today, but I don't have a specific time yet.
Woman: (in venomous tone) well, you should really have a sign up.
Me: There's actually a sign on the door and at the register (Oh my goodness, I can't believe I just said that out loud!)
Perhaps it is more difficult to read if you are in need of your caffeine fix.

Odd Question Award/ Outright Bizarre Award:

This falls between the two categories and I couldn't think up another clever award title.
I get called to the information desk for a customer question. Oh man, these are never good.
There are two women standing at the desk. M is helping them.
Me: Hi, what can I help you with.
M: This pop up book is missing a piece.
Lady: (opens book and jabs at spot) Missing a piece!
M: They wanted to know if we could do some sort of a damaged discount, since it's the last book.
Me: Sure, that's not a problem. I can take 10% off. Or we can order a new one and ship it right to your house for free. (And yes, that was just a shameless plug for our in-stock guarantee)
Lady: It's $30. We can give you $15 cash right now for this one.

No? How about chickens? I give you five fresh chickens right now for this one torn book!

Thanks for stopping by for yet another Retail Wednesday installment! Make sure you check back on Friday for some Super Cool 50+ Followers Contest News! (owls and funny books, you KNOW you want them :)


Jemi Fraser said...

I love these posts! People can be so incredibly self-absorbed and funny! Gotta love it - so where's that yellow book??? :)

arlee bird said...

Love dealing with the public-- you hear all sorts of things.
Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

Lisa said...

You can hardly wait to get to work everyday, can you? :)

Working with the public is quite an experience indeed.

M.R.J. Le Blanc said...

Haha, these were great :) This was probably the best part about working retail.

Jenn said...

So glad you managed to work Retail Wednesday into the A to Z challenge!

I love the episode about the lady who wants to set you up with her son. But honestly, I'd be pretty intrigued by the idea of going on a date with a guy who asks for those particular books for his birthday. :P

Jessica said...

About to head to bed but I had to read retail wednesday! Awesome as always, and even though I knew a couple of the stories already I laughed alot!

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

hahaha. Peeing in my pants!

Rae said...

Dealing with the public can only make us look better and smarter! Fun post!

Falen said...

LMAO! I love the bartering with chickens bit.

also, you should have asked that lady if her son was cute. THAT would have been the correct response

Grammy said...

Ha, Just too funny. I am a retired elementary school librarian, and a lot of the same type of things happened while I was so occupied. The question about how many pages in a book was a favorite of kids coming in looking for a book to do a report on. They didn't want one that would take too long to read. I once had a child ask me if Booker T. Washington was kin to George Washington.

Palindrome said...


Speaking of chickens, the whole family was at a Jamaican club/restaurant a few years back and a man asked my dad how many cows he would have to give him for me.

Dad simply replied, "Alive?" (referring to the cows)

That's love for ya.

Blam said...

so now I Gahooglepediad it (Nods to Blam for the conglomoration)

You're welcome! But isn't it more of a ... Whaddaya call it? ... thing on the foot of the girl who played Queen Amidala... portmanteau?

The winner this week asked me for our section ... on photovoltaic systems.

My local big-box bookstore used to have a café area, but apparently the young-adult segment of the photovoltaic-systems market has, like, tripled over the past 18 months.


"And it has a lot of phone numbers in it."

"You know all about this stuff, don't you? I should introduce you to my son!"

You'll both meet on eta-Harmony sooner or later, anyway.

VW: litin — A peaceful demonstration held by smokers.

Teebore said...

if we only have 1 sort of book on Rwanda, what makes you think we would have any books on a village IN Rwanda?!

I LOVE how customers seem to think there are multiple books (enough to fill a section) on everything (see also: photo-voltaic books).

There are actually lots of subjects without books, people...

You have now proved yourself smarter than 90% of the adults that shop here!

I love it!

Because this is the easiest way to tell if it is the book you are looking for.

They just want to make sure they're getting a good value for their money. ;)

It's $30. We can give you $15 cash right now for this one.

Gah, people do this ALL THE TIME. Just because something is damaged doesn't mean the barter system is back in use.

We sell the books for the price our Corporate Masters tell us to charge. Beyond that, we cannot bargain with you, no matter how alluring your counter offer may be.