Actual conversations with rude or odd customers at a used book store

the one without the… ? The gannet’s in all the books! it’s a standard British bird!


Alright! Who’s in charge of pulling the birds around here?

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“I did, they sent me here!”

“Did they.”


Thanks for picking up what I was putting down.

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Sure they do, it’s just commonly misspelled as “yay!”



I think the reply, “He’s the author, sort of,” proves it was a rendering of the caller’s actual pronunciation.

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I always enjoy these type of anecdotes, although as a quiet-as-a-churchmouse stealth customer whom the employees don’t even realize is there in the back stacks, some of the weirdest conversations I’ve heard in used bookstores or comic book shops are the employees conversing with each other when they don’t realize or don’t care that others are listening.


That reminds me.

I used to work at RadioShack, and one time, a foreign language speaker conversed openly with their interlocutor about casing the place to try and steal stuff later. I was very fluent in that particular language at the time, and I piped up with “Hey, just be sure to come back after my shift” in their language. They were pretty pissed off that I understood them and left without buying anything. People say the weirdest shit when they think they have privacy.



A Tale of Two Titties by Charles Dikkens with two K’s.

Some past comments in my print business over the years.

Customer: I need to print some business cards, how much?
Me: Are you supplying the artwork?
C: It’s not a masterpiece or anything.

How many do you need?
Just one.

I have a something already printed, can you remove part of the image?

or… (we had a classified ad in a local paper. … press for sale Call 604…etc.
Hello? may I speak with Call? (admittedly an ESL person).

my all time favourite.
after sending out a statement to a Doctor’s office for some printing
which listed the invoice number amount owing date etc…
(the accounting software often put in "over 45 or over 60 etc " ie number of days past due.)

received a letter from said Doctor’s secretary,
stating they didn’t know what the invoice was could we please send a copy of the original
and adding “by the way, Doctor so and so was born in 1965 and is definitely not over 60”


I got a job at a retail place once because I recognized the guy casing the CD rack (remember those?) as he was a former housemate who’d stolen many a CD from me, and my purse, and my passport. I flagged the manager and said she needed to watch him, she said “Oh we know him very well already, but thank you, are you dropping off a resume?” :wink:


I’ve been on both sides of the counter and I don’t find some of this funny. It’s true there are clueless customers who ask dumb questions. Some are really dumb; others are are inarticulate people with sensible thoughts they have difficulty putting into words… In either case, I’m not sure condescending sarcasm is the ideal response. People I’ve worked with behind the counter tend to treat all customers (other than ones they know personally) the way they treat their most difficult customers. As a customer, if I see a clerk treat someone like an idiot–even if that someone IS an idiot–I’ll go elsewhere next time. You don’t need to be a jerk to run an interesting, quirky shop.

Concerning bookstore prices, a friend was once on the opposite end of this scenario. He chose a book clearly marked $18 in the proprietor’s own hand. But when he took the book to the counter, the bookseller said, “That’s not the price…” He then consulted a price guide (this was pre-Internet) and quoted an amount double the marked price.

[phone call]
Are you hiring?
Good! Can I have your company’s name?
I have to tell the Unemployment Department that I am looking for a job.
This is the Unemployment Department. Can I get your name?
* click *

This is not customer service. This is Zen, as practiced through customer service.


Reminds me of this, even though it isn’t about a book:


Like real poems?

A woman wandered into a poetry reading and was bowled over. Disbelieving, she asked the poet: "Is that a real poem or did you just make it up?


This is what smartphones with unlimited data plans are for. You can prove anyone wrong about anything at the drop of a hat without even having to go to the library.


I really enjoy tales of crappy customers, but some of these do seem just like the author is having a chance to practice their sarcasm… this one just seems downright rude:

phone call…

Your Yellow Page ad says you buy medical books.

Yes we do. What do you have?

Well, my Mom died and she was a hypochondriac.

Maybe she was right!

What do you mean?

Nothing. What kind of books did she have?

Sick books. You know, pills, diseases and all that!

Sorry, we only buy healthy books.


Yea. Sorry to hear about your mom.

Are ya, though?

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