Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bookstore Peeves...

To go along with my last post, I thought I'd let you in on a few of my bookstore peeves along with actual conversations that have occurred in the course of a working day.

1. Customers who don't clean up after themselves. It's not just books they leave lying around. Honestly, I can handle that and consider it part of my job. No, what bothers me is the used kleenexes, half-drunk cups of latte and soda they litter on the shelves. And don't even get me started on the evilness I've seen inflicted on the store washrooms. I'm sorry ladies, but we're the messier sex in the washroom (at least the public ones). Oh, the things I've seen. Ewwww!!!

And there are those dear parents who bring their kidlets into the Children's Department and think that we're running a nursery. I actually had a lady ask me once if I could watch her child for ten minutes while she took a phone call. Umm...nope. Sorry. Homey don't play dat.

2. Customers who think the store is their personal library. There are some customers who come and spend hours at the bookstore reading, eating, drinking, talking on their cell phone, conducting business and generally mess-making. Now, what really gets me is when at the end of the day, dear customers get indignant about the store closing. "I just have a few more pages left." is available for purchase by the way.

And then, there's this. About once a month, I have a customer come up to me and ask if we have a photocopier. Okay people, it's a bookstore, not a fucking library! Buy the damn thing already.

3. Customers who don't understand stuff. I had a dear customer the other day approach me with: "I see you have a Fiction section. Where is your Non-Fiction section?"

Me: "Well, we have a Fiction section to designate fiction because the rest of the store is non-fiction."

Dear Customer: "No, I want your non-fiction."

Me: "The whole rest of the store is non-fiction. What exactly are you looking for? Science, health, business, biography?"

Dear Customer: "No, I just want the non-fiction section."

At this point, my patience begins to wane and I look around for Ashton to see if I've been punk'd. But no such luck, this is for real.

All in a day's work.

tall penguin


Ged said...

Admit it, work would be humdrum without the customers and their annoying ways.

And don't forget they may be reading your book for free in a store one day...

Vanessa said...

Love your comment ged... too true.

Anya, you and Aaron should get together and share stories. I can't believe some of the stuff that goes on at the Apple store.

tall penguin said...

ged, oh ya, don't get me wrong, I love all my customers, even the annoying ones. Keeps it interesting.

hahaha vanessa. Yes, I'm sure Aaron would have a few stories to tell. Anyone who works so closely with the public usually does. Interesting beings dem humons.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. My brother works at a bookstore so by osmosis I'm on fairly good terms with all of the staff there and fall semi-squarely into category #2 now. If it's hardcover fiction that I'll never read again, I'll take a few hours and read it in one of the comfy chairs with a nice latte, but I always clean up after myself and reshelf the book. I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't. And there are occasions where the store is closing and I have just a few pages, they're very cool about letting me just finish up. But I also really do buy a fair amount of paperback non-fiction pieces. I just finished up last night 'In The Woods' by Tana French (my brother brought that one home) and it was really well-written if you're ever in the mood for a fiction piece that will leave you feeling like you have a massive hangover when you're done.

Ray said...

Sorry anonymous but it bugs me that anyone would sit in a bookstore and read more than a few pages without buying. If you're going to read the whole thing then I should be able to buy it as used. The retailer is entitled to their cut and so is the author. What you are doing is dishonest.

There are places where you can read books without buying them. They are called libraries. At least the author will make something from the library purchase.

Rahul said...

I think the idea of enabling people to come and spend all day, reading, talking, doing business, eating and drinking, etc., is so that there might be a better chance of someone buying something. Perhaps someone will pick up a book they would otherwise not seek, read a bit of it, and like it enough to want to finish it at home. I think the big chain you work for is trying to create an environment where consumers will feel comfortable making indulgence purchases. /rd

Rahul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tall penguin said...

"I think the big chain you work for is trying to create an environment where consumers will feel comfortable making indulgence purchases."

The reality though is that those I was peeving about aren't the buyers. They're readers only. They use the store as a library. They don't buy. That was my point.

Rahul said...

TP: I totally understand your point - it's clear and it's a valuable observation. What I meant to add to it was that maybe the store creates this environment so that there is a better chance overall that some shoppers will buy more, even though they realize that there will also now be those who treat it like a library. So there are more loiterers as well as buyers since they made it acceptable to lounge and eat and drink...?