Sometimes, it seems when I write about the Bookstore here, all I’m doing is bitching. To base what it’s like to work in a bookstore on my blog must make it seem like a hellish job, where only the strong survive, and where reshelving books is a dangerous task, where booksellers must navigate carefully around bookshelves to avoid being ambushed by idiots, morons, and masterbators.
Really, it’s not always that bad, but I think a common rule about working in retail is that you will, at some point, deal with some of the stupidest people you’ve ever met. And as things stand, they usually seem to be making a fuck load of money than you do. I mean, okay, maybe you’re really a brilliant person with zero social skills, but when you thrust a book in my face and demand “RESHELVE THIS PROPERLY!”, my instinct is not, in fact, to re-shelve it properly — my instinct is to slam it into your face as hard as I can swing it.
In any case, I’ve got some venting to do:
A week from last Saturday night, a well dressed couple walked into the store. They began walking through the store, looking agitated, and began calling out for their daughter. I’ll call her “Sarah.” “Sarah? Sarah, where are you?” Except, they weren’t speaking in a normal volume. They weren’t speaking in a raised volume.
THEY WERE SCREAMING. Like, “OH MY GOD THIS MAN STOLE MY PURSE AND IS TRYING TO RAPE ME HELP!” screaming. Except for their daughter, who, apparently, wasn’t answering her phone. “SARAH? WHERE ARE YOU? SARAH?”
The best part of this was all the customers who came up to me angry that two people I had no control over were walking through the store screaming for their daughter. Seriously, people, if I could’ve stapled their mouths shut, I would’ve.
In any case, they apparently found her, because a minute or two after they went downstairs (screaming), she stormed out of the store, (also screaming, because apparently people in that family don’t understand concepts like “indoor voices”), “Oh my GOD you guys are SO INCONSIDERATE!” while they defended their screaming (by screaming, of course), “BUT FOR ALL WE KNEW YOU WERE IN A CORNER BEING RAPED!” Amusingly enough (not really), one of my coworkers said Sarah’d been reading on a bench near our Art section, and since that’s where all the pervs tend to hang out, well, if someone ever gets raped in our store, it’s going to be there or the Kid’s section.
There’s this lady. She comes in. Her intelligence level is somewhere between Short Bus and “Hey, I’m tapping the screen, why isn’t it doing anything?” Well, gosh, I don’t know — could they keyboard and mouse possible indicate that you must utilize these input devices?
But that was actually some other guy, who tapped the monitor so hard the damn thing nearly toppled back. “Do you get a lot of people who do that?” he asked. “To my knowledge, you’re the closest to actually breaking a monitor.”
Anyway, back to this lady. I’m going to call her Ms. Shortbus, for short.
Back in “the day”, if you wanted something that we didn’t have in stock, we could order it for you. It would be shipped to the store, and you had the option of not buying it if it wasn’t what you wanted. This was abused considerably, and it was expensive, so when the eCommerce site was launched, this practice was extinguished. Back when we could do it, though, this lady would just come right up to the desk and request that we order like half a dozen box sets of assorted TV shows. Then when they came in, she’d decide she didn’t want them, we’d send them back, and she’d decide to reorder them.
I could tell you so many stories about this lady … no, really, I could. Stupid is a word that does not even describe her lack of mental facilities. Like, when she asked if a gift card, which had just been utilized for all of its previously present balance, could be utilized for a future purchase? Um. No.
She came in the other night looking for a movie with a number in the title. Unfortunately, the computer was no help, so she opted to browse the shelf, while I fled the area, lest she come back with some other request. On her way out, she held a DVD up for me to see, “I found it! Malcolm Ten!”
My “WTF” moment was compounded because she’s African-American.
I really don’t know whether I should be pissed at her complete and absolute stupidity, or be impressed that she knows X is the Roman numeral for ten. I think I’ll just be flabbergasted. (Not in a good way).
But lest you think I only mock the customers …
I have the unfortunate habit of opening my mouth, taking my foot (preferably shoed), and pushing it so far down my throat that I can only hope I suffocate to death before recipient of my verbalized stupidity kills me most painfully. So, not long ago, a woman asked me if I could show her where our books on pregnancy were.
Fun (relevant) fact: we have three sections geared towards getting or being pregnant: the first is our actual Pregnancy Section, where books on what to expect when pregnant are — these books are in our Parenting Section, near Kids; the second is our Fertility Section, which is a subsection of our General Health area; the third is our Sex section.
Other fun fact: while Fertility and Sex are located fairly close to each other, Pregnancy is on the far side of the lower level. So as we’re halfway to the Parenting section, I think to ask her, “Just to clarify, are you looking for books on being pregnant, or how to get fertilized?” And I pointed back towards the Health Section, and as I saw her face become mortified, realized she thought I was pointing at the big Sex sign.