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A simple Twitter question posed by John Cleese―“What is
your biggest pet peeve?”―inspired Jen Campbell to start a blog
collecting all the ridiculous conversations overheard in her bookstore.
“Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?” “Did Charles
Dickens ever write anything fun?” “I’ve forgotten my glasses, can you
read me the first chapter?” “Excuse me . . . is this book edible?”
Filled with fun and quirky illustrations by the award-winning Brothers
McLeod and featuring contributions from booksellers across the United
States and Canada, as well as the author’s native UK, Weird Things
Customers Say in Bookstores is a celebration of bookstores, large and
small, and of the brilliant booksellers who toil in those literary
fields, as well as the myriad of colorful characters that walk through
the doors everyday.

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Reviews for Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores:

5

Jun 28, 2013

Updates 16 A nightmare about to happen. A woman from a Disney cruise ship came in and said she was trying to promote local businesses. She was going to do a treasure hunt and wanted to tell people they would have to find the first word on a certain page in a book and write it in their "passports" she would give them a big clue as to the title. (Pirates of the Caribbean, of course). Then when they had completed all their clues, the first ones back would get prizes and all would get a free Updates 16 A nightmare about to happen. A woman from a Disney cruise ship came in and said she was trying to promote local businesses. She was going to do a treasure hunt and wanted to tell people they would have to find the first word on a certain page in a book and write it in their "passports" she would give them a big clue as to the title. (Pirates of the Caribbean, of course). Then when they had completed all their clues, the first ones back would get prizes and all would get a free Caribbean buffet in the cruise ship dock.

I said that will destroy a lot of books people looking for it, that if you want them to rush back to be first they aren't going to spend time looking at the books and maybe buy them. A cruise ship did this once before. All books of the title were stolen by someone who didn't want the other teams to be able to find the answers. Other books were rifled through, dropped on the floor, kids whined and put their snacks and drinks down on books, it was terrible. And my local customers stayed away as the road was closed and they couldn't drive down.

Nevertheless the fucking government here has decided to close the road the day the ship is in this week to allow it to happen. I have been promised no more than 25 people at a time in my little tiny shop. I'm in despair.
__________

15. A girl came for an interview. She was nicely dressed, a bit shy and kept her eyes downcast, but looked me full in the face when answering questions. She sat pulled up very close to the cash desk so I couldn't see beneath her waist. She seemed a very nice girl. Only looking for something until college starts in Jan. but that's ok. I got up and as I did I saw she had her phone on her knees and was swiping through it and probably texting.

I said I don't think you really want this job. She protested she did, she needed the money. I said so why are you on your phone the whole time. She said she wasn't. I said I saw you. She got up and walked out slamming the door and cursing me. Lucky escape I had there.
_____

14. Two people from the French cruise ship just walked in (didn't close door. Born in a barn). The guy asked me if I spoke French and then asked me in English if I knew where he could buy cigarettes. I told him a supermarket. He said no, no, people said here. I said I don't sell cigarettes. So he produced a little pack of cigarette tips. I said I don't know who sells those. Then he made a motion of rolling cigarettes and smoking. I said, you want to buy joints, weed? Yes, he said, nodding vigorously. Wha!!!! That's a $1,000 fine here.

i said i don't know where you get that. He said he was told here. (I wonder who did that to me?) and when I said definitely not. He started to curse, Merde etc. and they walked out, slamming the door on the way.

Effing nutters.


***


13. A woman came in asking for a small telephone book. I thought she meant an A-Z type for your handbag and showed her one. No, she said she wanted a small telephone directory. Like the Island phone book, I suggested. Yes, she confirmed, but small. I said that they only came in one size. So she said how was she supposed to carry that around?I said maybe she should speak to the telephone company. In an exaggeratedly slow patronising voice, she said, why would I speak to the telephone company when it is a book I want? I gave up and wandered away at that point. We weren't using the same operating system.

12. A lady came in and bought What to Expect When You're Expecting. I put it in a plastic bag. She said that she wanted a paper bag or something that would cover it so the title didn't show through. So I wrapped the book in some black tissue paper. She picked out a gold bow and stuck that on the paper and said no-one would guess what book it was now as she didn't want her workmates to know she was pregnant yet. Wha???? You have this five and a half month (she told me) bump on your front and you think they haven't guessed?

11. Today two old people came in from the cruise ship (cruise shippers are easily identifiable compared to the usual tourists and charter guests by the clothes they wear). They had walked down from the cruise ship dock which is about 1/2 mile away at least. They said that my sign said that I had a cafe and internet. Yes, I said, it's upstairs. They said they couldn't make it upstairs, could I bring them down a coffee and could they just check their email on my laptop. I explained that upstairs was now a roti palace, not a coffee shop. They asked where the nearest coffee shop was. I said there was a bakery just up the road. They didn't want to go there because they were hot and tired and I had airconditioning. The man then said (get ready for this):

What if I give you a couple of bucks to go and get us two old people some coffees and we'll watch your store for you and just check our email (on one of my computers I presume) while your gone.

What???? They didn't like being told nope, no way, not going to happen, this is a bookshop, I sell books, I don't fetch coffees, I don't leave my business in strangers's hands, I don't lend my computers...

I tried to stay polite, but the old man just got rude and nasty. He told me that in American people would have rushed to help old people like them, that he was a veteran and that meant something there and that's why America was GREAT apart from that (n word here) Obama. But that's what you got when you came to these islands run by (n word in the plural here). Gee....

They left. The old woman was giving me apologetic looks for her husband. She looked really, really embarrassed. But she never said a word.

Actually it didn't quite happen like that. He was a lot ruder and nastier and went red like he was going to have a heart attack.

***

10. The Haitian Mambo. I had a customer come in yesterday, tall, light-skinned black, clothed head to toe in white. She said, "Have you got any books on the Orishas or Ifa." I said no but that I did have a wonderful biography of Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn.

She said, "I am a Mambo" (a voodoo priestess). She said she wanted some how-to books on Yoruba practice, but not anything on Cuban Santeria which wasn't as authentic. I tried to look like I was really knowledgeable (I knew what she was talking about but not much more) and she then tried to get me to actually stock and sell voodoo books and guaranteed me a market. The island, like most of the Caribbean is deeply Christian (and equally deeply into Obeah, but that is mostly for getting money and putting curses on people), but Voodoo! Wow. Some years ago the government banned the import of dolls from Jamaica or Haiti and we all knew it was the voodoo dolls being banned, but to actually talk to a Mambo.

So she's coming in Thursday with a booklist for me to get for her. That should be interesting. I love customers like this. This is going to be fun.

***


9. I received this today from a local author that wants me to promote his book which is about pirates in the Caribbean. Among other things.

"If a signing is combined with a talk about UFOs in the Carib (which I can handle), it might gain attention. The Carib really is a hot bed of sightings and I can cite a Brit Ministry of Defence researcher who has written recent books and a hearing held by the House of Lords in the 1970s.

This is among the factual material in my book."

Would you go to a book-signing like this?

There is an 'interesting' discussion on point 9 on BookLikes. There seem to be a lot of Goodreads expats who have completely lost the plot :-D

***

8. A teenager, about 16, came in the shop and picked up a whole pile of cookbooks worth over $200. She went to the counter and said she didn't know which one she wanted but she would like to rent them for the weekend, take them home and read them and then she could decide which one she wanted to buy.

After much conversation it emerged that the girl who attended the American school, fees $1600 per month, had to do a school project involving recipes and thought that renting them - she offered $5 or $10 for the whole pile - would be the cheapest.

It was explained to her that we only sold new books unless they were rare Caribbeana, so if she took them home, they would no longer be new. She said she would be careful and wouldn't tell anyone!

I said to her that she should go to the library. She didn't know there was one on the island (she was born here, but is white American and a lot of those families don't mix at all with local society). So we directed her to the library. She said she really didn't want to have to go up 'there'. She didn't know if her mother would like it, she said, because you never know 'who' would be there. (Meaning that I as a white person would understand that and sympathise with her attitudes towards locals and help her out. Me! Lol. Nah!)

So, twisting her hair, looking fliratious she asked if we would mind if she came in for a couple of days and went through the books and if she could photocopy any of the recipes and pictures she needed.

No. Absolutely not. She was not a happy camper leaving.

***

7. Man comes into the shop and orders the hardback edition of Machiavelli's The Prince. Clerk asks him for a deposit. He gives her $10. She asks him his name to give him a receipt.

"Bond, James Bond." Clerk who is very young and West Indian does not think this is anything but his real name.

She writes a receipt for him and asks him for his cell or email to contact him when the book arrives. He gives her his cell no. She gives him the receipt.

He says, "I was only joking about my name being James Bond, my real name is Tom Jones." So she crosses out James Bond on the receipt and writes Tom Jones.

Customer goes to the door and then turns round and says, "Do you know who James Bond is? Or Tom Jones?"

Clerk is very confused and says, "Is this a trick question?"

Yes, he says, and leaves. Clerk skypes me and I say well try his cell number and see if you get a name back. She tries. No such number.

So he's buying Machiavelli and given us a possibly false name and a non-existent phone number. Presumably he will come into the shop next week to ask for his book. But what on earth did he do it for?

***


6. Lady goes into my bookshop with a $16.99 book and asks the clerk for the money back on it because her mother-in-law bought it for her son's first birthday and he already has it. Clerk says she has no record of the book being sold to the MIL. In fact she doesn't know who the MIL is. Lady says that she must do, that she is a regular customer of ours and that's why she bought the book from us, knowing that if the child already had it we would refund her.

Clerk phones me. I tell her that I know the MIL quite well. That she has NEVER been in my bookshop in all the years I've had it and that she is a snotty, lying bitch who probaby bought it cheap on Amazon and is passing it off as ours.

I phone the lady, a lawyer, who wants to return the book. I say I have searched our records and we haven't sold this particular title for over a year and that her MIL, who I said as far as I am aware has never been in the bookshop, must be mistaken and must have bought it elsewhere on the island (she didn't, no-one else sells it.

Lady gives me a mouthful. I must be the one mistaken because if her MIL says that she bought it there, then I just wasn't in the shop and my clerk must be inefficient or a liar, possibly didn't write the book down and kept the money for herself, yadayadayada.

She says she will tell everyone not to come to my shop if I have these sort of principles and I'm just out to make a quick... and no customer service and that she would never buy a book from me again. That's no loss, until she wanted a 'refund' for the book, she'd never been in anyway.

I ask her politely to please check with her MIL to be sure where she bought it. Lady puts phone down on me.

I saw the MIL in the street a couple of days later and as per usual she cut style on me, pretended she hadn't seen me. She's been doing this for ten years now. Bought it in my shop, my arse!

Funny thing is, the lawyer's just been made a partner as she gets on so well with the clients...

****

(view spoiler)[This is not a review of this funny book. I'm just going to post (view spoiler)[(by request of Xox) (hide spoiler)] the weirds thing customers say in my bookshop. Top one will always be the latest. (hide spoiler)]

5. Lady who endlessly gets us to research books for her and then never orders them comes in and sits down on the chair at the cash desk and pulls out her sticky, iced cake from the cafe up the road and begins to eat it. She eats a bit and then carefully licks her fingers free of crumbs before starting to flick through some books on the desk.

I ask if I can help her and she says it is so hot outside do I mind if she justs sits down while she waits for her friend (my place has chill aircon). I say well you can't eat here, I don't want to attract rats and insects. She says she will be careful not to drop crumbs. I say I really don't like eating around books because if they get marked I can't sell them. She says that's all right she won't touch anything. I don't know what to say, so I leave her.

Her friend comes in, pulls up a chair and brings out her own lunch also from the cafe. I say, look I'm sorry to interrupt you all, but this is a bookshop, I think you should go back to the cafe and eat your lunch there.

"But it's so hot up there and it's nice and cool here."
"I'm sorry, but I really will have to insist that you not eat in here. It's not a cafe, it's a bookshop."

They get up to go, not really in a bad mood. The first one says, would you mind just photocopying this for me before I go? And if you have an envelope to put it in...? (her fingers are really greasy).

I say look, really I have a bookshop, not a print shop, not a cafe, I don't sell stationery.

The second lady says, but if you want to keep customers you have to go out of your way for them.

I say I don't think either of you have bought anything here for over a year.

True she says, I have a Kindle now. But come Christmas I might.

I am now right at the end of my tether and they sense this and leave dropping crumbs. Right at the very last minute, the first one crumples up the foil she had the cake in and says, "Do you have a garbage bin?"

****


4. "I asked your clerk for four books last week, but I only want one of them now."
"That's fine. Can you tell the clerk which one you want and give her a deposit, please?" (I am in the office, this is on skype from my shop).
"I found the other books cheaper online. Amazon."
"Yes, I expect you did."
"Thing is that it is very expensive to get them from xxxx to the island, I'd have to use a courier. Would you mind if I had them sent to your post box in xxxx? Perhaps you could bring them for me when you bring the books for the shop. I'd be so grateful."
"That is why we charge extra, and it is only $2 per book, because it costs me $55 to go and pick the books up."
"Does that mean you won't bring them for me?"
"I will be happy to if you order them from me."
"But then I won't save any money on Amazon."
"Let me put it this way. You wouldn't ask someone in Publix to go and pick up stuff from Pueblo for you because Pueblo are cheaper. So why ask me to pick up stuff from another book retailer for free?"
"Ok, I understand. If you sell them to me at Amazon price I will buy them from you."

It gets very tedious after that....

***

3. "Do you have any books in Latin?"
"No, what are you looking for?"
"A novel, historical fiction."
"Do you mean something about Latinos?"
"No, a book in Latin, the language."
"I don't know if there are any novels in Latin."
"Oh there are, my friend bought one here."
"What was the title?"
"I don't know. It had a yellow cover."
"I really don't know what it could be, do you think you could ask your friend and phone me and let me know?"
"Yes, I'll come in tomorrow."
"By the way, do you read Latin?"
"Not yet."

(That was yesterday, they haven't come back today, yet).

The mind boggles. The only book I've ever had to do with Latin in the shop is X-treme Latin which I liked because of the chapter on using the various Latin words for fuck when furious with major road rage.

***

Two to start with the first from yesterday and the second this morning.

1. "Do you have Protocols of the Elders?"
"No. You do know it's a fake don't you?"
"Yes, everyone knows that but its got a lot of interesting things to say about the Jews."
"But it's fake!"
"It doesn't mean the stuff about the Jews isn't true."

He then asked me if I could get it for him. I said I could and he would need to pay for it upfront. He said he wanted to look at it first to make up his own mind if it was true or not before buying it. I said well I wasn't getting it if he didn't pay for it, then he said,

"The Imam said you wouldn't get it because you are a Jew."

So, just some test? I get weirdos like that all the time.

***

2. "Do you have internet?" (Cruise ship passenger)
"Yes, it's $5 for 30 mins."
"But I only want to check my email, can't I just do that?
"Well no, sorry, it is a business."
"What about if I buy a book will you let me just check it then?"
"Sure."
"Great, thanks. Can I just check it first?"

No.
Customer leaves cursing.

*** ...more
5

May 02, 2012

another fantastic gift from laima.

years ago, i read Overheard at the Bookstore, and since i was new in the bookstore career, i laughed appreciatively. now that i have been employed here for what seems to be more than half of my life, my laughter towards this latest book is fueled by a sort of desperate recognition and tinged with melancholy.

oh, my bookstore sisters and brothers, come to my sweet embrace. i was going to start a section in my writing for my tales from the stacks, but instead, i another fantastic gift from laima.

years ago, i read Overheard at the Bookstore, and since i was new in the bookstore career, i laughed appreciatively. now that i have been employed here for what seems to be more than half of my life, my laughter towards this latest book is fueled by a sort of desperate recognition and tinged with melancholy.

oh, my bookstore sisters and brothers, come to my sweet embrace. i was going to start a section in my writing for my tales from the stacks, but instead, i am going to use this thread. post your stories here, and let the larger world see what we go through. i remember i counted one time - one day i helped 174 people, and 39 said "thank you." we get asked for so many things, and we learn so much about humanity and courtesy and our place in the food chain, don't we??

i believe in the nobility of the trade. i believe in readers' advisory and helping people get the books they want. i don't judge people for their reading choices, and i will always try to get anyone anything they want. that is my nature.

but i am also a fucking human being. treat me accordingly.

i am going to use this review space as a handy manual for "not pissing karen off at her job." and at the end i will share my favorite examples from this book to keep it relevant, but i think this all needs to be said.

"the customer is always right" was never intended to mean "you can have anything you imagine should exist." it is an antiquated expression meant to convey a willingness from a business to provide a service to the customer, and to always strive to defer to their wishes. but some things are just not possible. i cannot get you a book of photographs of angels.i cannot get you a book of houses currently on the market in new york. i cannot get you a copy of dante's inferno in "the original old english."

-oh, yes, i guess barnes and noble wouldn't have something as esoteric as that...

she sneered.
...i wonder if she ever found out it was originally written in italian.

the above things do not exist, for various reasons. you cannot have them.

incidentally- learn your terminology. shakespeare did not write in "old english." he wrote in "early modern english" beowulf is old english. it's old.

"victorian literature" is not "everything written before the twentieth century." just during queen victoria's reign. you got your dickens, you got your brontes, you got your thomas hardy. not jane austen. not virginia woolf.

but i won't make fun of you for not knowing this. i won't make fun of you for mispronouncing "sciascia" or "pessoa." i won't even make fun of you for asking for 1984 by orson welles or "withering heights." i'm not an asshole if you don't treat me like an asshole.

but if you insist, if you ask me "are you sure??," then there is going to be a problem. am i sure that toni morrison didn't write their eyes were watching god?? yes. i am quite sure. see what it says on the book?? "but she wrote one called that, too, right??" no. no she did not.

i understand you are just trying to make yourself feel better about having made a mistake. but don't ask me if i am sure. if i said it, i am sure.

i work on the fourth floor. i know because i work here. when i tell you that cookbooks are on the third floor, and you say "but this is the third floor," and i say "this is the fourth floor," and you say "are you sure??"

how likely is it that i don't know where i am? that i haven't know where i have been since 2001? trust me, i know where i am.

also, "there is no such thing as a stupid question"

no, there is. there definitely is. and i know we as people say things without thinking a lot. we all have knee-jerk verbal responses to things. and maybe i have just been at this game too long, but when someone says to you, "no we don't have that in stock", why why why would you say "at all??" as though we might have a partial copy of something lying around, but you need to realllly want it. i always smile and say, "nope, not even a little bit. but i can order it for you!" cheeky sweetie pie grinning my "no, i don't think you are an idiot" smile. which greg says is not as innocuous a smile as i believe it to be.

don't get all bent out of shape that there isn't a register on the fourth floor. all the registers are on the ground floor, by the exits. how is this an inconvenience? were you planning on moving in? were you never going to leave? just pay when you leave - i don't need to see your eyerolls and your snorting. remember when i left this desk and walked you over to the shelf and handed you the book you wanted? do you think if there was a register full of money back here, i would have done that?? where do you think you are? this is like the 13 year old girl the other day i overheard complaining -"i just left it on the shelf for 20 minutes! who would steal a cellphone??"

welcome to new york.

and all you out of towners who complain, "this barnes and noble is huge, but my barnes and noble has comfy chairs. why don't you have comfy chairs?"
remember where you are. does your squeaky hometown have as large a homeless population as new york city? do you want to be sitting on a plush chair in which a homeless individual has been marinating all day? do you like bedbugs? i'm glad your priorities are "comfy chairs" over "biggest bookstore i have ever seen." enjoy the books - there is a sleepy's down the street if you wanna be comfy.

if you sit on the floor in front of the shelves directly in front of a sign that says "no sitting in front of the books" you lose all leverage for arguing. that is what we sell. you are allowed to stay here all freaking day reading magazines without buying anything if you want, but you are able to do that because we will occasionally sell a book to someone. if people can't get to the books because your fat ass is blocking them, then we have a problem.

just because you have been sitting there for hours reading a book does not make it yours. do not fold over the pages. do not splay it on your lap while you text someone. we intend to sell that to someone, yeah? try not to damage it.

keep your shoes on, you animal.

we do not have outlets.

we do not have a photocopy machine.

we do not lend books.

books take about a year to come out in paperback after the hardcover release. yes - this is not the case in other countries,where they often do not publish a hardcover and go straight to paperback, so if your friend was in england and got a paperback copy of a book, this is irrelevant.we do not make the books here. we do not set the prices. everything is always cheaper online.

if you "saw it on ebay", it doesn't mean it is still in print. ditto for amazon. ditto for if you saw it on our website. do you know what a website is? it is a warehouse, unrestricted by the limitations of shelf-space that affect a terrestrial store. we are not an archive. we keep books in stock that sell, not "every book that has ever been published."

it is totally rude to have asked me for book suggestions, and after i have spent fifteen minutes gathering books to meet your specifications, and have had a prolonged conversation with you about the books and your tastes to then download them onto your kindle right in front of me. not even a damn nook. at least leave the floor, dude.

that about covers my gripes for now. i might add to this later. again - i am not an asshole, but do not just roll up like you are a princess and this is your domain. it is a business. there are rules. and i love rules.

oh - do not call me "hitler" if i tell you you cannot sit on the floor. equating this situation with genocide is culturally insensitive and quite arrogant.

here are some of my golden moments, just off the top of my head. i have probably mentioned a lot of these elsewhere, but you'll live.


"it was a white book, maybe a year and a half ago. i think it was a thriller.the author had great hair..."

i actually spent 25 minutes with this person, because their manner was polite and helpless and they weren't all "you are stupid for not knowing this!!" attitude is everything, i promise you that.

"i want a good historical novel"
i hand her half a yellow sun

"i loved this - it is about biafra, and her writing is incredible"

looking at the author photo

"oh, she's black..." puts it back on the shelf

"yes, she is from africa..."

fuck you, asshole lady.
.................................................

"i need a book for my mom."

"what kinds of books does she read?"

"well, she likes all the classics - twilight, harry potter..."

...........................................

"i just want something fun like the girl with the dragon tattoo."

which i know i shouldn't judge, but can we really call a book about anal rape and the explicit torture of young girls "fun??"

ugh - i cannot even think of any more right now, and i am totally procrastinating doing something more important than griping. but here, here are some of my favorites from the book. for levity!

customer - excuse me, i don't know the title, the author or what the book's about, but i know there were two words in the title...

bookseller - ok, where did you see it?

customer - can't remember - please don't rush me. the two words were "something" and "something."

bookseller - "something" and "something?" that doesn't ring a bell i'm afraid, do you remember what the book looked like?

customer - can't you just search for it?

bookseller - but... i don't have anything to search for.

customer (takes a pen and paper) look, just type this "..." and "..." into the computer. i can't believe you are so stupid.

..............................................
customer (holding up a copy of a harry potter book) this doesn't have anything weird in it... does it??

bookseller - you mean like werewolves?

customer - no (whispers) gays

bookseller - ...right.
..................................................

customer - do you have a book which lists the weather forecast for the next year?
..............................................


customer - do you have dr who and the secrets of the hidden planet of time?

bookseller - i'm not familiar with that one. hang on and i'll check our system for you.

customer - thank you

bookseller - i'm afraid i can't find it on our database, or on the british library catalogue. are you sure you've got the right title?

customer - no, not at all. i don't know that it actually exists.

bookseller - ... what do you mean?

customer - oh, i was just driving to work yesterday and i thought up the title and i thought "now that sounds like the kind of book i'd like to read", you know?

bookseller - hmmm. well, i'm afraid you can't read it, as it hasn't been written.

customer - never mind, never mind - just thought i'd check.

bookseller - we do have lots of dr who novels over here, though, if you'd like to take a look

customer - no, it's ok. i'll go home and have another think and come back again.


there are scores more of hilarious examples, but i have procrastinated for long enough today.

but do feel free to drop your stories here, and i will continue to add to the thread as circumstances/memory occur...

come to my blog! ...more
4

Jun 13, 2018

It’s amazing how little non-readers know about the world of fiction. And it’s amazing how so many people can go their entire lives only having read the books they studied in mandatory education. I just don’t get it. The things these people miss out on.

Some of these people wondered into the bookshops Jen Cambell worked at and asked some rather stupid things.

Some of my personal favourites are:

"Where's your true fiction section?" (Isn't that an oxymoron?)

"Do you have anything written by Jane It’s amazing how little non-readers know about the world of fiction. And it’s amazing how so many people can go their entire lives only having read the books they studied in mandatory education. I just don’t get it. The things these people miss out on.

Some of these people wondered into the bookshops Jen Cambell worked at and asked some rather stupid things.

Some of my personal favourites are:

"Where's your true fiction section?" (Isn't that an oxymoron?)

"Do you have anything written by Jane Eyre?"

-I’ve actually had a similar discussion on here a few years ago with someone. They told me they’ve not read any books by Jane Eyre and probably should soon. I'm pretty sure she actually meant Jane Austen.

And then this one tops the list:

"Hi, I just wanted to ask: did Anne Frank ever write a sequel?”

I don’t think I could deal with that much stupidity! I work at a theatre, and we get some odd requests, but they’re nothing compared to these.

Some people just know nothing about literature and only read trash or niche genres (if at all.) And for us book nerds encountering them can be rather amusing (and frustrating at the same time.)

So this is a funny little book about some very stupid people. Some are rude, some are plain weird and some just don’t have a clue about the world of books. Come see how agonisingly funny they all are! ...more
0

Jul 23, 2017

3rd one finished.. I wanna read all the tiny books today so i don't have to worry about the reading challenges, and just focus on the 2 bigger books :)
4

Jul 16, 2015

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

This was freaking funny, guys, flipping hilarious. It's, very simply, a collection of ridiculous things that customers say in bookshops, but it made me giggle and lol and just, the roflcopter flew while reading this.
4

Aug 05, 2016

This particular book has been on my radar for awhile now, so I was extremely glad to finally having read it.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores is a celebration of bookstores, large and small, and of the brilliant booksellers who toil in those literary fields, as well as the myriad of colorful characters that walk through the doors everyday.

My favorite quotes (and illustrations) taken from the book:


“CUSTOMER (to her friend): What’s this literary criticism section? Is it for books that This particular book has been on my radar for awhile now, so I was extremely glad to finally having read it.

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores is a celebration of bookstores, large and small, and of the brilliant booksellers who toil in those literary fields, as well as the myriad of colorful characters that walk through the doors everyday.

My favorite quotes (and illustrations) taken from the book:


“CUSTOMER (to her friend): What’s this literary criticism section? Is it for books that complain about other books?”



“CUSTOMER: Where are your fictional novels?”



“CUSTOMER: Do you have any pop-up books on sex education?”



“Customer: If my daughter wants to buy books from the teenage section do you need to see some form of ID? It was her thirteenth birthday this weekend. I can show you pictures of the cake. You can count the candles.”



“CUSTOMER: Doesn’t it bother you, being surrounded by books all day? I think I’d be paranoid they were all going to jump off the shelves and kill me.

BOOKSELLER: . . .”



“CUSTOMER: Some of these books are dusty . . . can’t you hoover them?”



“CUSTOMER: Do you have security cameras in here?

BOOKSELLER: Yes.

CUSTOMER: Oh. (customer slides a book out from inside his jacket and places it back on the shelf)”



“CUSTOMER: I’d love to hold a fashion photo shoot in here. We could get models to come in and half bury themselves in books on the floor, or get them to hang from the bookshelves. Do you think your customers would mind?”



“CUSTOMER (holding up a copy of a Harry Potter book): This doesn’t have anything weird in it... does it?

BOOKSELLER: You mean, like, werewolves?

CUSTOMER: No (whispers) - gays.

BOOKSELLER: . . . right.”



“(Customer comes into the shop with her five year old son)

CUSTOMER: Come on, Alfie, take your shoes off.

BOOKSELLER: It’s OK... you don’t have to take your shoes off to come into the bookshop.

CUSTOMER: Please don’t encourage him. I’m trying to train him to remember to take his shoes off in the house because we’ve got new carpets. The more he does it, the more he’ll remember.”



“CUSTOMER: Do you have any books signed by Margaret Atwood?

BOOKSELLER: We have many Margaret Atwood books, but I’m afraid we don’t have any signed by Margaret Atwood, no.

CUSTOMER: I’m looking for a birthday present of my wife. I know she’d really love a signed copy. You couldn’t fake a signature could you?”



“CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Atonement? But not the film cover, please. Keira Knightley’s neck makes me want to punch things.”



“CUSTOMER: Where’s your poetry section?

BOOKSELLER: It’s just over here.

CUSTOMER: Great. Do you know who wrote the poem ‘Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too’?

BOOKSELLER: . . .

CUSTOMER: Do they have their own collection?”



“(Customer is reading a book from the shelf, pauses and folds the top of one of the pages over, then puts it back on the shelf)

BOOKSELLER: Excuse me, what are you doing?

CUSTOMER: I was just reading the first chapter of this book, but I’m going to be late meeting a friend for lunch. So, I’m just marking it and I’l finish reading it when I stop by tomorrow.”



“MAN: Hi, I’ve just self-published my art book. My friends tell me that I’m set to be the new Van Gogh. How many copies of my book would you like to pre-order?

BOOKSELLER: You know, Van Gogh was never appreciated in his lifetime.

MAN: . . .”



“CUSTOMER: Do you have any books on star signs?

BOOKSELLER: Yes, our esoteric section is over here.

CUSTOMER: Good, thanks. It’s just I really need to check mine – I have this overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen.”



“CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Jane Eyre?

BOOKSELLER: Actual y, I just sold that this morning, sorry!

CUSTOMER: Oh. Have you read it?

BOOKSELLER: Yes, it’s one of my favourite books.

CUSTOMER: Oh, great (sits down beside bookseller). Could you tell me all about it? I have to write an essay on it by tomorrow.”



“CUSTOMER: Have you read every single book in here?

BOOKSELLER: No, I can’t say I have.

CUSTOMER: Well you’re not very good at your job, are you?”



“CUSTOMER: I’ve always thought I’d like to open up my own bookshop.

BOOKSELLER: Oh, really?

CUSTOMER: Yes, definitely. There’s just something about it, you know? I just think it must be ever so relaxing.”

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores was really hard to put down, I kept thinking, “just this last one and then I’ll go to sleep.” (And I did... after saying that for 20 minutes...)

I can definitely see myself coming back to reread some of the statements on a gray day.

*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*


Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with http://Ko-fi.com/bookspoils


This review and more can be found on my blog. ...more
4

Jan 01, 2020

“Do you have the children’s book I’ve heard about? It’s supposed to be very good. It’s called, “Lionel Richie and the Wardrobe”.

I laughed out loud so many times reading this book.

Some of the questions these bookshop employees were asked were so shocking it made me wonder, not for the first time, how some people manage.

Or as my husband often says to me (out of earshot) of our know-it-all son who is often found loudly proclaiming misinformation, “How does he not fall over more?”
5

May 25, 2013

This was really cool, fast and fun to read. It makes you laugh and smile all the time. And sometimes, it makes you feel a bit sad. When some people were surprised that they have to pay for the book they or their children damaged I was so angry! Guys, wake up! Just because books means nothing to you, doesn't mean that books are nothing!

Every time Twilight was mentioned I felt a bit strange. I'm starting to think, that that book changed a lot of people.

A story that I've witnessed just recently:

A This was really cool, fast and fun to read. It makes you laugh and smile all the time. And sometimes, it makes you feel a bit sad. When some people were surprised that they have to pay for the book they or their children damaged I was so angry! Guys, wake up! Just because books means nothing to you, doesn't mean that books are nothing!

Every time Twilight was mentioned I felt a bit strange. I'm starting to think, that that book changed a lot of people.

A story that I've witnessed just recently:

A lady picked up a book 13 reasons why and then turned to her friend: "Oh, I hate it when they write a book about my favourite series or movie, they never get it right!"
And then her friend agreed with her! ...more
5

Nov 03, 2013

From Faulkner to this. I read everything. Well, almost everything. But lately, I've been enjoying these hilarious little gems. I fell in love with Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops only by looking at the cover (I just confessed I judged a book by its cover, again). I mean, Do you have any books by Jane Eyre? I knew this one was going to be a funny read.

I love humor. It is an essential part of life that helps you bond with people (or avoid people), recover from difficult times, see life From Faulkner to this. I read everything. Well, almost everything. But lately, I've been enjoying these hilarious little gems. I fell in love with Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops only by looking at the cover (I just confessed I judged a book by its cover, again). I mean, Do you have any books by Jane Eyre? I knew this one was going to be a funny read.

I love humor. It is an essential part of life that helps you bond with people (or avoid people), recover from difficult times, see life differently. (And honestly, you have to have a functional brain to be funny. It's an art and I admire those gifted people. Humor is simply not for everybody. It's a bit sad to witness someone trying to be funny when his or her nature is as dry as a bone. It hurts. And if you sort of like said person, you have to pretend it was a witty remark and smile. That hurts even more. You're forcing your muscles to move and form a smile, because you cannot laugh, you just can't. But, when you least expect it, your voice conspires with the little muscles that were forced to work, and this weak, creepy giggling comes out. It is physically and mentally exhausting. ... Well, after the longest parenthesis ever, I should conclude my argumentation.)
As I said, I like reading weird and humorous stuff that makes me forget - for a couple of hours -
about whatever problem I may have. I can think of many awesome writers I would love to have a cup of coffee with. Jen Campbell, bring cake, please.

I laughed from page one. You see, the book starts with a serious problem: you want to buy a book but you don't remember the title and its author. The bookseller can't help you that much. For example, if you're asking about a book and the only information you're able to provide is that you read it in the '60s and the cover was green... Tough, huh?

Besides that one, I found other memorable anecdotes. People (sadly) looking for Anne Frank's sequel, people asking brilliant questions...
CUSTOMER: Do you have any old copies of Dickens?
BOOKSELLER: We’ve got a copy of David Copperfield from 1850 for £100.
CUSTOMER: Why is it so expensive if it’s that old?

...and giving dazzling answers...
CUSTOMER: Who wrote the Bible? I can’t remember.
CUSTOMER’s FRIEND: Jesus.


(imagine that)

…and customers sharing their thoughts:
CUSTOMER: “Doesn’t it bother you, being surrounded by books all day? I think I’d be paranoid they were all going to jump off the shelves and kill me.”
I'm sorry, customer, but where on earth have you been buying your books?

I really enjoyed this book. It's nice to see all the fun, bizarre and unfortunate things that a bookseller (like any other seller) has to put out with (it is a sad fact that people don't read as much as they should; they ignore so many wonderful things so they ask the most stupid questions). Customers can be disrespectful creatures at times. I know that. I (luckily, used to) talk to clients on daily basis and I also hear some crazy things and people speaking to me in a bad tone are always around. However, as a customer who loves to read, I don't receive a very nice treatment all the time, and I don't even ask too stupid questions, at least, not that many. I often arrive after the annoying customer left (the one who says things like “You’re a shop, for Christ’s sake, you’re here to offer me a service”), and I get all the bad manners and faces because now, the bookseller is cranky and the rest will suffer. Nothing fair about that either.
Good manners go both ways. I went to a certain bookstore a couple of times and I am still waiting for them to answer my “good mornings”. “Yes? No. Yes. $80.” No desires of returning to that place, I can assure you. And don't get me started on those places that correct your mispronunciations with a sarcastic smile. Hey, they are English or Russian names, it's not like I don't know how to pronounce “López”. Nice and rude people, everywhere. The social dichotomy of life.
I could go on and on because every one of these peculiar bookshop moments gives a topic to talk about. But I think I've reached the off-topic limit for today.

I loved the book and I strongly recommend it to those who are looking for some hilarious material, whether you are a customer or a bookseller.
There are several great anecdotes. I can't resist: two more samples.

This one is adorable:
CUSTOMER: Do you have this children’s book I've heard about? It’s supposed to be very good. It’s called ‘Lionel Richie and the Wardrobe.’



The following quote made me go through the five stages of grief. I denied it, I simply couldn't believe what I was reading. Then, I got angry enough to punch something (soft, like a pillow; not furious enough to start breaking my phalanges). Then, bargaining. I was ready to make a deal with that person - not sure what kind of deal. Negotiation with that human being would be probably fruitless. Later, I felt slightly depressed since such situation made me lose a bit of faith in humanity. And finally, I accepted it. I accepted it all. Different people with different tastes and we have to respect that... no matter how bad we want to save them.
BOOKSELLER: Hi, can I help you at all?
CUSTOMER: I don’t give a damn about books – they bore me.
BOOKSELLER: I’m not sure you’re in the right place, then.
CUSTOMER: No, I am. I just wanted to ask what specific colour you painted your bookshelves? I love this colour. I mean, the right colour can make books look more appealing, can’t it?
BOOKSELLER: Can it?
CUSTOMER: And the smell of the paint takes away the smell of the books, too. Which is also a plus.

Acceptance. I think I'm still working on it.





Aug 29, 14 - Oct 29, 17
* Also on my blog.
** Photo credit: Jesus drawing from Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell.
A mix between Lionel Richie and this wardrobe by me.
As for the last picture, no source available anymore. ...more
5

Dec 31, 2016

This was so funny! I want to come across some doozies like these when I'm working in my Uni Library! Just to see if I can keep a straight face, or if I can have an appropriate comeback. There are more books in the series and this is a good thing if I can come across things like these:

Cust: Do you have a book of mother-in-law jokes? I want to give it to my mother-in-law as a joke. But you know, not really a joke at all.

Cust: Do you have a copy of 'Atonement'? But not the film cover, please. This was so funny! I want to come across some doozies like these when I'm working in my Uni Library! Just to see if I can keep a straight face, or if I can have an appropriate comeback. There are more books in the series and this is a good thing if I can come across things like these:

Cust: Do you have a book of mother-in-law jokes? I want to give it to my mother-in-law as a joke. But you know, not really a joke at all.

Cust: Do you have a copy of 'Atonement'? But not the film cover, please. Keira Knightley's neck makes me want to punch things.

Man: Hi, could you recommend a book for me?
Bookseller: Sure. What kind of thing are you looking for?
Man: Well, I was let out of prison this morning, so something not too heavy would be nice.

And the piece de resistance, just cause it's something I'd say (well, kind of):

Cust: I'm looking for a book about this big (indicates size). I've got a space on my bookshelf and I need to fill it. It's really bugging me.
Bookseller: What kind of book would you like?
Cust: I don't care, just as long as it's this exact size. ...more
4

Nov 08, 2015

I haven’t read a non-fiction book in a long time. I’m so happy I picked this one! It’s a fun, fast read complete with comical illustrations.

I used to imagine book selling was the happiest, most relaxing job in the whole wide world. I was terribly wrong! I thought I was already weird but the level of weirdness of a lot of people who go to bookstores is wow, just unbelievable!

Now, I know I can never work at a bookstore. I’m too soft for the job. Lol! This is the perfect stress reliever or I haven’t read a non-fiction book in a long time. I’m so happy I picked this one! It’s a fun, fast read complete with comical illustrations.

I used to imagine book selling was the happiest, most relaxing job in the whole wide world. I was terribly wrong! I thought I was already weird but the level of weirdness of a lot of people who go to bookstores is wow, just unbelievable!

Now, I know I can never work at a bookstore. I’m too soft for the job. Lol! This is the perfect stress reliever or reading slump cure for all kinds of readers.^^

How I picture booksellers’ most common responses to customers:






...more
3

Nov 23, 2017

Cute book. A bunch of weird, but mostly dumb things people say in bookstores. Obviously some of the dumber things were said by non-readers. Example: Customer: Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?

I think this one would work better as a book you pick up here and there and read a page or two. Reading it all at once, it seemed to loose something along the way. I have another book like this, but about travelling, and I pick it up here and there for a laugh.
4

Nov 09, 2015

No, I’ve never worked in a bookstore, but I did work in libraries for over 30 years so I couldn’t resist this collection of the weird things that customers say.

I second Neil Gaiman’s sentiment when he said this regarding Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

So funny. So sad…Read it and sigh.”

Some of the comments made me laugh right out loud, some were really mean-spirited and yes, some were sad and some just left me scratching my head. I focused on the funny, which most are. If you’ve got an No, I’ve never worked in a bookstore, but I did work in libraries for over 30 years so I couldn’t resist this collection of the weird things that customers say.

I second Neil Gaiman’s sentiment when he said this regarding Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

So funny. So sad…Read it and sigh.”

Some of the comments made me laugh right out loud, some were really mean-spirited and yes, some were sad and some just left me scratching my head. I focused on the funny, which most are. If you’ve got an hour or so and work in customer service, I’m certain you’ll find something to make you chuckle.

Some are gems from the author, Jen Campbell; others are those she collected from booksellers everywhere. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Customer: I don’t know why she wants it, but my wife asked for a copy of The Dinosaur Cookbook.
Bookseller: The Dinah Shore Cookbook?
Customer: That must be it; I wondered what she was up to.
Elizabeth Durand, Bookland of Maine, ME

Customer: Do you have that book about those people in that place with the Thing?
Anonymous

Customer [to her friend]: What’s this literary criticism section? Is it for books that complain about other books?

And lastly, this one that fits so well in either a bookstore or a library:

Customer: Have you read every single book in here.
Bookseller: No, I can’t say that I have.
Customer: Well you’re not very good at your job, are you?

There’s a second serving of these. Stay tuned as I hope to read it and report back.
...more
3

May 27, 2014

"Do you have anything written by Jane Eyre?"

This is an actual quotation from Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. The book is mainly a collection of genuine questions recorded by the proprietors of two independent bookshops, plus a few other extras. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are unbelievably cheeky or bordering on criminal. What do you think about a person who goes into a bookshop every morning out of the rain while she waits for her bus. Is that OK? Well, perhaps it is. But if she "Do you have anything written by Jane Eyre?"

This is an actual quotation from Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops. The book is mainly a collection of genuine questions recorded by the proprietors of two independent bookshops, plus a few other extras. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are unbelievably cheeky or bordering on criminal. What do you think about a person who goes into a bookshop every morning out of the rain while she waits for her bus. Is that OK? Well, perhaps it is. But if she then always reads the same book, turning down the corner of the page so she doesn't lose her place ... Or how about the customer who seemingly innocently asked whether there was a surveillance camera, and on being told that there was, promptly took a book out of his inside jacket pocket and replaced it on the shelves?

Humanity is here warts and all. Some of the customers seem so dim-witted and confused by life in general that it seems remarkable that they ever make it through the day. Others are merely eccentric. Would you ask for a Christmas tree in a bookshop? Or a condom?

There are some quite lengthy exchanges, but the faux pas are perhaps the funniest part of the book. The person who asked for an Agatha Christie novel called "Death in Denial". Or my personal favourite - a customer who had heard of a great children's book, "Lionel Ritchie and the Wardrobe".

Yes, this passes the time nicely. Read it if you have a dose of the 'flu, or want cheering up generally. You may doubt the speed and asperity of the bookshop owners' reactions. Perhaps in some cases they did actually think of their answers later, but they are still very funny. There are no great truths here, but it will probably make you smile once or twice. ...more
3

Nov 12, 2015

People really do say the craziest things in bookstores as you will see after reading this fun-filled work of humor.

A few of my favorites:

"Where is the true fiction section?"

"Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?"

Do you have Fiddler on a Hot Tin Roof?"

"Would you mind if I photocopied this recipe?"

Overall, a good little side-read with some cute illustrations, but expected a bit more bang for my buck(s)!

5

Dec 24, 2012

Things from this book I actually heard while working at a bookstore:

"Where's your true fiction section?"

(To this day I have no idea what the person meant.)

"You must get so much time to read, just sitting here surrounded by books."

(I once had a customer assume I'd read everything in the store. It was a relatively small bookstore rather than one of the big chains, but still -- not cool to be indignant that I haven't read every title we stock.)

"I'm looking for a book for my son. He's only seven but Things from this book I actually heard while working at a bookstore:

"Where's your true fiction section?"

(To this day I have no idea what the person meant.)

"You must get so much time to read, just sitting here surrounded by books."

(I once had a customer assume I'd read everything in the store. It was a relatively small bookstore rather than one of the big chains, but still -- not cool to be indignant that I haven't read every title we stock.)

"I'm looking for a book for my son. He's only seven but he's so advanced; it's like he has the brain of a twenty-year-old. What would you recommend?"

(Proud parents and grandparents always come in looking for books for a child of a certain age -- but said child is, of course, so gifted that he needs something much more intellectual than the idiotic stuff kids his age usually read. Ugh. Don't get me started on the woman who insisted her eight-year-old granddaughter only ever read Shakespeare. I wanted to ask what this little girl thought of the scene where Othello thinks his wife is cheating on him, so he starts talking to her as if he's her pimp.)

Bookseller: Could you put that cigarette out, please?
Man: Why?

(The guy I called out on this one didn't actually question me, and he had the good grace to look sheepish. But he also clearly thought nobody would notice he was smoking in a bloody bookstore if he held his cigarette very discreetly. Apparently bookstore clerks have no sense of smell. But that's okay, because it's not as if we're surrounded by merchandise that's practically begging to catch on fire. Good thing paper doesn't absorb odors, and bookcovers are only improved by the occasional sprinkle of ash!)

Things from this book I wish I'd heard while working at a bookstore:

"Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?"

"I've got a while before my bus. Are you and any of the other customers interested in playing cards?"

Parent speaking to a misbehaving child: "There should be no yelling unless someone is on fire!"
Child: "What if a weasel is robbing the store?"


You don't have to have worked at a bookstore to love this book. But you do need to love books. And you have to blush if you're one of the people who's ever walked into a bookstore looking for a particular book -- but you don't remember the title, or the author, or exactly what the book's about. But you think it might have a blue cover. (This has come up for every bookseller and librarian I've ever met.)

Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to the woman who got mad at me because she couldn't remember the title of the book she wanted or the author's last name, but she did know the author's first name, and why couldn't we alphabetize our books that way for a change? ...more
5

Oct 06, 2012

Dang. Some of the books that are out there are just weird...



But it figures, since the customers that are visiting bookshops are often equally weird. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops proves just that. It contains a collection of the most peculiar and hilarious things customers have said in bookshops from all over the world. I could ramble on about how hilarious (and shocking!) this book is, but I could also pick a few random dialogues, so you get to decide for yourself. Enjoy!

Customer: Dang. Some of the books that are out there are just weird...



But it figures, since the customers that are visiting bookshops are often equally weird. Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops proves just that. It contains a collection of the most peculiar and hilarious things customers have said in bookshops from all over the world. I could ramble on about how hilarious (and shocking!) this book is, but I could also pick a few random dialogues, so you get to decide for yourself. Enjoy!

Customer: I'm looking for a biography to read that's really interesting. Could you recommend one?
Bookseller: Sure. What books have you read and liked?
Customer:Well, I really loved Mein Kampf.
Bookseller:...
Customer:Loved is probably not the right word.
Bookseller:No, probably not.
Customer:Liked, is probably better. Yes, liked. I liked it a lot.
Bookseller:...

Customer:Do you stock Nigella Lawson under 'Sex' or 'Cookery'?
Bookseller:It's a tough call, isn't it?

Customer:Do you have a book on dinosaurs? My grandson's really into them.
Bookseller:Absolutely, we have one over here.
Customer:Does it have every type in here?
Bookseller: I believe it's a very comprehensive collection, yes.
Customer:Great. So, does it have a chapter on dragons?

Customer:Hi, I just wanted to ask: did Anne Frank ever write a sequel?
Bookseller:...
Customer:I really enjoyed her first book.
Bookseller:Her diary?
Customer:Yes, the diary.
Bookseller:Her diary wasn't fictional.
Customer:Really?
Bookseller:Yes...She really dies at the end - that's why the diary finishes. She was taken to a concentration camp.
Customer:Oh...that's terrible.
Bookseller:Yes, it was awful -
Customer:I mean, it's such a shame, you know? She was such a good writer. ...more
4

Dec 11, 2019

THIS WAS SO FUNNY!!!

It’s a good thing customer service exists because the amount of stupid people came out with was bizarre. And there’s no way you could’ve pointed out their stupidity in a polite manner.
How have the booksellers survived? It’s like the customers were asking you to get angry.

You know that saying, that there’s no such thing as a stupid question? Well, we’ve been lied to! This book proves it.

Humans are amazing. I adored this so much! I know it’ll be something I’ll flick through THIS WAS SO FUNNY!!!

It’s a good thing customer service exists because the amount of stupid people came out with was bizarre. And there’s no way you could’ve pointed out their stupidity in a polite manner.
How have the booksellers survived? It’s like the customers were asking you to get angry.

You know that saying, that there’s no such thing as a stupid question? Well, we’ve been lied to! This book proves it.

Humans are amazing. I adored this so much! I know it’ll be something I’ll flick through every now and again to have a giggle. ...more
5

Mar 10, 2014

Reading this just reinforced the notion that approximately 75% of the questions asked in bookstores are ridiculous.

I'M NOT ALONE.
4

Oct 02, 2014

What kind of people do you find in a bookstore? Smart people? Intellectuals? Old ladies? People looking for a bathroom?
Time changes and with time, people. For me, libraries and bookstores are sanctuaries. Great places to breath, talk and recommend books. But I'd never in my life had thought it would be a a place to crack up with weird people and their weird questions.

CUSTOMER: Hi, I just wanted to ask: did Anne Frank ever write a sequel?


CUSTOMER: Yeah, but Voldemort killed Cedric, who’s What kind of people do you find in a bookstore? Smart people? Intellectuals? Old ladies? People looking for a bathroom?
Time changes and with time, people. For me, libraries and bookstores are sanctuaries. Great places to breath, talk and recommend books. But I'd never in my life had thought it would be a a place to crack up with weird people and their weird questions.

CUSTOMER: Hi, I just wanted to ask: did Anne Frank ever write a sequel?


CUSTOMER: Yeah, but Voldemort killed Cedric, who’s played by Robert Pattinson, and now Voldemort’s playing Edward’s role in Wuthering Heights, because Edward’s character is Heathcliff. I think that Emily Bronte’s trying to say something about vampires.


Until this book, working in a bookstore was my idea of volunteer work. Honestly, would you call it a job? Now I suspect those folks deserve more than just a thank you after leaving the bookstore, they deserve a hug. And a raise.

Because what kind of people do you find in a bookstore but weirdos like us? ...more
2

Nov 01, 2018

It Ain't Funny to Make Fun of People
(when Trump can do it for you)


I thought that this book would be cute, and of course the other reason I bought it was because it was about a bookstore. They are so tempting. One movie I loved had Ellen DeGeneres in it, and she worked in a bookstore and found a card or a letter in a book and had to find out who sent it. It was titled, The Love Letter. I know because I just looked it up, so it was a letter and not a card, unless it was a letter in a card.

So I It Ain't Funny to Make Fun of People
(when Trump can do it for you)


I thought that this book would be cute, and of course the other reason I bought it was because it was about a bookstore. They are so tempting. One movie I loved had Ellen DeGeneres in it, and she worked in a bookstore and found a card or a letter in a book and had to find out who sent it. It was titled, The Love Letter. I know because I just looked it up, so it was a letter and not a card, unless it was a letter in a card.

So I bought it and read it on a day when I was tired, on a day when I like light reads. It was okay as far as a light read goes, but I kept thinking of how the author was putting customers down for their ignorance, and that just didn’t sit well with me.

So what if a customer asks if there is a sequel to Anne Frank? Just give them a history lesson. We don’t know all things about books like they think we should know.
Some people just don’t get the education that they need. I would hate to tell you how old I was when I learned about Anne Frank. I was 29, and that is when I began going to college where I learned more about the world.

And the book often went like that, but I liked this one:

Customer: Do you have any second-hand crosswords?
Bookseller: You mean crosswords that have already been filled in?
Customer: Yes. I love crosswords, but they’re ever so difficult.”

That’s true they are, and if reading old crosswords helps a person to learn then why put that down. Still, it is cute because I can see myself doing that. Crosswords are hard. But if you do them enough you catch on. So why not tell the customer to buy Easy Crosswords and tell that person that the answers are in the back, and let them know that if they keep at it, they will get really good at it, maybe in a hundred years, at least, it would take me that long.

My brother and a friend are often correcting my English. Last year I learned that Cheft was Chef. This year I learned how to pronounce Glaucoma with a u. One year I had a little girl laughed at me because instead of saying “wash” I said, “worsh.” I still say worsh. Some things I can learn, some I can’t, but I don’t wish to pick up a book seeing that I have been made fun of. I can do that all by myself. ...more
2

Jan 13, 2013

Too many of them felt as though they were just padding. But I did like the guy who came in looking for the sequel to Anne Frank's Diary.
4

Apr 19, 2017

Customer: If I came to work here, would I get a discount at the liquor store next door?" (Ah, sure.)
***
Customer: Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?" (If only!)
***
I had a very brief career as a bookseller just after college, so reading this book was a fun reminder of some of the weird things customers say. :-) A funny, quick read. (Borrowed from the library, though I should have bought it from a bookstore!)
4

Jan 01, 2015

“I tell you something, you must get some odd requests, working here.”


“Is this book edible?”


A very entertaining collection. My favorite is the one with the Twilight-Wuthering Heights-Harry Potter mix. Hilarious!




Highly recommended!!
2

Jan 21, 2013

From time to time I get emails through that purport to be saying lovely or cute or witty things that children/students/Lawyers/policeman/dogs/raw vegetables etc etc are supposed to have said or written in different situations. They are regularly funny and clever and i enjoy reading them but I as equally regularly read them with a heavy pinch of salt. For every genuinely funny thing that is recorded there are oodles that I cannot believe were ever really said. They are created, made up. This in From time to time I get emails through that purport to be saying lovely or cute or witty things that children/students/Lawyers/policeman/dogs/raw vegetables etc etc are supposed to have said or written in different situations. They are regularly funny and clever and i enjoy reading them but I as equally regularly read them with a heavy pinch of salt. For every genuinely funny thing that is recorded there are oodles that I cannot believe were ever really said. They are created, made up. This in itself does not take away the fun of reading them but it does dampen my enthusiasm a little because it is treating me like a gullible fool or idiot.

This book struck me in much the same way. It is a collection of comments and conversations 'gathered' by booksellers and put into this short book which is perfect for dipping into and smiling over but the vast majority of the entrys have never been said seriously. I do not care what the publishers may claim, I do not believe they are real. Not because people do not say stupid things, I myself do quite often, but because that is the vast majority of these comments.

More often then not, they are being offered to us not as witty and amusing and clever things people have said but just feeding us an opportunity to laugh at people rather than with. To belittle the stupid or the 'ill-educated'.

In small doses it was amusing but if i read it for too long i found myself getting annoyed, not at the inanity of the contributors but at the arrogant superciliousness of the author.

An example of the disingenuousness of the book is on the back cover.

'Do you have this children's book i've heard about? It's supposed to be very good. It's called "Lionel Ritchie and the Wardrobe"

Now I am sorry but nobody ever said that; No they didn't Ms Campbell. That is a clever little joke but nobody ever really said it unless it was heavily tongue in cheek. Your book does not allow for tongue-in-cheek, your book is dismissive and sneery.

There are examples after examples of this and it does tend to annoy after a while. Buy this book, stick it in your loo and read it over the course of months rather than a day or so. That way you will laugh at the wit, smile at the imagination of Ms Campbell and not be so annoyed that she has been a tad dishonest in presenting this as reality. Some, maybe a good many, are genuine but loads of them just did not ring true. People are often stupid but not as stupid as she tries to portray.

Thinking about it further, it smacked a little of some of those antiquarian bookshops one goes into and because you are wearing shorts, sandals and a t shirt they look dismissively down their nose and assume you are looking for some 'naff little paperback' they could not possibly be holding on their intellectual shelves. ...more

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