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We all have stories to share about our most hilarious experiences on the clock, and so here is one of my favorite moments that I had while working at a (larger chain) bookstore:
One of the workers, who was usually a pretty serious guy, got onto the PA (public address) system and announced, "There is a car in the parking lot..."
The employees, more attuned than customers to paying attention to the store broadcasts, were waiting to hear the make/model, color, and license plate number of some car with it's lights on.
But that was the end of the message. As it started to set in on each of us, everyone couldn't stop laughing.
There were 5 CDs on shuffle, including a Raffi album that contained "up on the housetop", sung with small children. It has a million verses.
Well... y'all know how quickly you tune Christmas music out... it wasn't until a customer complained that we realized someone had bumped the CD player and "Up on the Housetop" had been playing on repeat for the last 90 minutes!
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The cashier rang the book up and informed the customer of the price with tax. The fellow rummaged through his pockets, only to find he didn't have enough money.
He then set down the bag he had under one arm, unbuckled his belt, dropped his trousers, reached back into his underwear and pulled out a soggy $20 bill and handed it to the cashier- who took the bill between the tips of two fingers and dropped it into the register drawer. As soon as the customer left, he ran (making strange gurgle-screaming sounds) back to the restroom where he washed his hands for the next ten minutes. He returned and informed me that he would continue to work at the register, but refused to take any more "butt-money."
dropped it into the register drawer
Oh, nice for the next person working the register!
At my store, we buy books as well as sell them. People bring in books, leave them with us, then we call the customer up to the buy area to give them an offer. The other day a customer named Skip sold books to us.
"Skip, to the buy area. Skip, please, to the buy area."
Two of the employees from opposite ends of the store (rather large store), not knowing that the other one had the same thing in mind, skipped all the way to the front of the store - about ten feet away from the front of the buy area, they saw each other and doubled over laughing. It was pretty cool.
Me: What's the book?
Customer: 'I Was Told There'd Be Cake.'
Me: I see. So you were told there'd be 'I Was Told There'd Be Cake'?
(It's funnier out loud. Try it!)
My favorite recent moment was from a Cell Phone Chatter. You know, the people who can't put someone on hold long enough to purchase their books. This Chatter walked up to the register with his phone firmly planted to his ear jabbering away and I thought, Oh great, another one of these guys. But I soon realized that this was no ordinary Cell Chatter; this one was talking to his bookie!
"What's the line on Cleavland?" he said. "Okay, give me that one, too. Uh-huh ... thanks, Mike."
And the best part? He was purchasing two gambling magazines!
#3, ewwww. Okay, there's one reason to always use a credit or debit card.
#6, lol, really. I can say with certainty that if that happened in my store, at least two of us would have skipped to the buy area. Let's hear it for co-workers with great senses of humor, eh?
As it turns out, she was looking for a book about the guy who started the business of placing pink flamingos in yards, but for a brief moment it was the strangest question I'd ever been asked.
I've never had any butt-money, but I get damp bra-money sometimes in the summer.
Wait...that's not so much funny as annoying.
(Note: This man was surly from the get-go.) He looked at me like I was a complete idiot, and said, "The one that was working yesterday, Girl!"
I politely explained that we had six different managers on the floor the day before. He grumbled a bit more and said, "All's I know is he was a (explicit language) fairy."
Though several of our employees are openly gay, I looked him directly in the eye and said, "I'm sorry sir, but none of our managers have wings. I'm going to need a more specific description than that."
A woman wanted to return a book she'd bought several months ago. I explained that we usually didn't return books after two weeks, but she asked for a manager anyway. She explained that, while she had purchased the book months ago, she only started reading it that week. It wasn't at all what she needed. It was a health book that was far to dense, technical and difficult to understand; she could even get through the first chapter. The manager was so nonplussed that he gave her the refund...for Breakthrough by Suzanne Somers.
I once got yelled at for refusing to make duplicate keys for a customer.
Sometimes there is no answer that won't sound snotty. My personal favorites are:
Where is the nonfiction? and
How do I get downstairs? (Jump?)
No. I always organize books instead of shopping. And wear a name tag just for fun.
In the same vein, my whole chain of bookstores doesn't have a biography section. There is a memoirs section, and the rest of the biographies are categorized according to what the people are known for... people have a lot of difficulty understanding that. There was one very old lady that got FURIOUS with me that our store lacked a biography section. I told her that corporate kind of controlled which sections we have, and we're trained where to put things, and we cannot have a biography section. She got so angry... she accused me of making this decision, yelled at me for it, and then walked around for the next half hour yelling about it, saying that she would rather pay the full price for books at a place that does have a biography section. She had to be about 85. She had a set of lungs, that woman.
Jan (clipped British accent): "Hallo, I'm calling to see that your wife got her Mahbell Fahn, as I've still got one here."
Puzzled Husband: "Her Moppel Phuun? I dun't understand... I am speakink to you right now on her Moppel Phuun!"
Bookstore Bingo: 13 Of The Most Ridiculous Things Overheard In Bookstores (PHOTOS) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/23/bookstore-bingo-13-of-the_n_656316.html
Doesn't mean I don't get a *little* bit snarky when I answer their question, though. :-p