Bad Retail Behavior

I was recently part of a discussion about annoying things people do in bookstores. I find these stories horrifying and hilarious at the same time. AND I WANT TO HEAR MORE RIDICULOUS RETAIL REPORTS.

One woman said she worked in the children’s department of a bookstore.

“I had a boy in the department for 20-25 minutes who occasionally called out for his mom, then went back to what he was doing. Turned out, what he was doing was pulling the stickers out of a sticker book.”

She confronted every woman of the ‘right’ age asking if they had a son in the children’s dept. She finally found the mother at the register very far from the children’s department.

“I told her that her son had been looking for her and had been destroying books. I don’t think it was store policy for me to use the term ‘destroying books’ but I was beyond angry.”

If it was me, my words would have melted the paper the store policy was written on. Clearly, some people … such as The Becky … are ill-suited to work in retail.

Another time the store had a couple dump their kids, then go to the restaurant next door. The children were too young to actually tell the bookstore employees where the parents were and after paging throughout the store, someone walked over to the restaurant and found them.

There was also the customer at another bookstore who was offended when the store wanted her to pay for the board book her little darling had chewed on, since it could no longer be sold. She didn’t really want to buy a second copy because they already owned a copy at home.

Nice lessons to teach, eh?

Another bookstore employee said she’d only been working there for two months, but already had all kinds of bizarre requests. Like people who wanted refunds because they didn’t like the book. After they read it.

These must be the same people who think libraries are those places where knitting groups meet or that grocery stores are those places where you’re supposed to yak REALLY LOUDLY on your cell phone about your unfortunate rash. In the cereal aisle. Where I want to be.

Oops. I digress.

Apparently, people bring back books with coffee spills and other stains, and wonder why they can’t get a refund.

Who ARE these people?!

This might be my favorite story, though …

“One of the oddest things that happened at our large independent was when a customer came in to buy a copy of The God Delusion. He was so angry with the fact this book had ever been published that he took his newly procured copy, sat on one of our comfy reading chairs and proceeded to destroy the book. He tore out page after page and shredded them until he was surrounded by quite a pile of debris. When he was done (and he was busy with the project for quite some time), he stuffed all the scraps into his bag and left. I have often wondered whether this gesture of defiance actually made this guy feel any better.”

If he lives near BeckyLand and feels as strongly about video, it might explain the copies of Rocky II, III, IV, and V I saw crushed on a road once.

I can’t recall hating a book so much that I wanted to destroy it, although I did have that run-in in high school with Sinclair Lewis ….

PLEEEEEZE tell me more stories about bad retail behavior. Doesn’t have to be bookstores. If you don’t have retail stories, you could also tell me which book we might find you methodically shredding in a comfy bookstore chair. If you were a whack-job, that is.

0 thoughts on “Bad Retail Behavior

  1. Jessie

    You’re right – that’s definitely the best story about ripping up The God Delusion. It’s too bad he didn’t try and light a fire with the shredded pieces in the parking lot. Then other people would have read it just to see what he was so mad at! He actually BOUGHT a copy of the book in order to destroy it! He doesn’t realize that there are OTHER copies being sold in OTHER stores GLOBALLY? It must have just been a really stressful day for him. Given the chance, I would rip up City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende. Or a chemistry textbook. Well – ANY science textbook!

    People are crazy. Every. Last. One.

    Reply
  2. kb

    hee! look, I’m referenced in your blogpost!

    The guy who came in last week looking for calendars and day planners from 2005cwas a pretty good one. I got that story secondhand, but apparently, he was

    Reply
  3. kb

    arg, it cut me off! anyway: the guy looking for 2005 planners was QUITE annoyed that we didn’t have any in stock. in November 2008.

    i had a young woman come in and ask if we had computers that customers could use to search for books. i said no, sorry, was there something i could help her with?
    she sort of ducked her head and said, very quietly, “dominatrix.”

    Reply
  4. beckycc

    Yet another reason I’d be ill-suited for retail. I would have said, loudly, “What’d you say? You want to learn to be a DOMINATRIX?” Then I’d have commandeered the loudspeaker. “Hey, does anyone know where the SEXUAL DEVIANCY books are? This lady here in the blue sweater is looking for everything we have about being a DOMINATRIX. Anyone? We’re standing right over here near the customer service desk. See us?” Then I’d grab her arm and wave to the multitudes staring at us by then.

    I’d love to know why the guy needed a 2005 planner in 2008. Sometimes I feel like I’m behind in my work, but never quite that far.

    And Jessie … I’m very proud. I wasn’t sure you knew they published chemistry textbooks.

    Reply
  5. Lana

    My daughter works in a large chain bookstore in a big city.

    Anyway, every single day she goes around asking people if they need any help. And several times a week she gets asked out on a date … usually by men a good 20 years older than her. To be fair, most balk when they find out her age and politely back away and hide. But once in a blue moon (or in a red fire moon as is the case in california), she gets a creeper who is, shall we say, persistent.

    Talk about bad retail behavior. What about working a retail job says “I’m available and have the hots for you, just you.” She could always recommend a book or two: “Dating women your age” or “Get over it – you will never be 17 again” or “Delusion and how to medicate for it” : )

    She puts up with it because there is the chance, as she says, that Johnny Depp might be the next one. And for him, age is inconsequential. I’ve taught her well ….

    Reply

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