Reading & Ranting: Customers Say the Darndest Things


There has been some interest in what owning a store is like so I thought typing up some of the things I hear on a daily basis would be a fun way to start. I’ll avoid typing the really ridiculous/offensive stuff, but if you want to hear that too I’ll do another post!


What is Book? What is Money?

  • “So you sell books?” *looks at shelves* It would seem so.
  • “Wait, so money needs to exchange hands?” Er…*glances about* Yes?
  • “The state taxes bibles?!” Yes…the state taxes everything. 
  • “$10! But that’s so much!” *Looks at stack of five books* Is it? Where are you shopping normally that it makes them seem expensive? Because I need to go immediately. 
  • “Could you give me a discount?” No…technically the whole store is discounted. Other than a few new books, everything in here is 50% off or more. 
  • “What can you do for me?” Er…what? I don’t even know what this means…I can sell you a book, but that’s about it. 
  • “Are these books for sale?” Yes…yes they are. 

I’m Looking for Words

  • “I can’t remember the name. It’s about a bunch of people dying.” Uh…
  • “Something about 500 pages, it can’t have people on the covers, and no violence/sex in it.” So..yeah…that’s impossible. Do you want a wait even that technically has violence and sex in it. I can tape a bunch of kids books together into a stack. 
  • “There is a movie about it.” Well that does narrow it down a bit…
  • “I’m looking for books by *insert author*. I’ve read all of her stuff already.” *looks at section* Yeah I’ve read all of these, do you have any more?” I’m sorry but I can’t magic books into existence…I wish…
  • “It has something do with dolphins I think.” *pulls out every dolphin book I have* Please let one of these be the right one…
  • “The cover has *insert vague description, usually consisting of colors*” There is no way I’m pulling all of those off the shelves…

That’s a Compliment! Right?

  • “You own the store? But you’re so young!” – Er…yes? I’m in my mid-20’s…that’s usually plenty of time to find a job. 
  • “I love your hair! It’s so crazy.” – Um…I’m assuming crazy is good? Or do you mean it looks like it belongs on a crazy person?
  • “It’s so clean and tiny in here!” – Clean is good…tiny is also good? Did you mean tidy? It is tiny though…
  • “What college did you get your diploma?” – Er…what diploma? That means you think I’m intelligent! But now I can see the shock and disappointment when I tell you I don’t have one…I’m not sure how to feel. 

High Expectations, Low Expectations

  • “You’ve read *insert title* right?!” Um no…I’ve never even heard of that. 
  • “Oh, you’re young you don’t read this stuff.” I read everything, even books that are apparently too old for me. 
  • “Who reads this garbage?” *points to fantasy section* clue. *hides fantasy book under the counter*
  • “I want you to recommend me a book that you’ve read.” (I get this often enough that I’m running out of books I’ve read to sell). 

Tell Me Your life

  • *older man picks up Valentine’s Day children’s book* “I’m going to get this for my girlfriend. She’s married.” BAHA! 
  • “When I was in prison…” Ooh…um…don’t tell me this, please. 
  • “You know that guy from the Green Mile? I knew a guy just like him.” Er..magic?

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9 Responses to Reading & Ranting: Customers Say the Darndest Things

  1. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) says:

    OMFG hahahaa I just died. Saying that there’s a movie adaptation totally narrows it down *snorts*

  2. HAHAHAH oh god this is such a funny post that I laughed a few times, especially with the “pulls out every single book on the shelves” and the college diploma!

  3. Bwahahaha…I love this. Anyone who has worked in customer service can appreciate these. Love your job must never ever get boring.

  4. HA ! Too funny. Do you sell books about young people who sell books at more of a discount so I can get this stack of books for 5 dollars. Oh, and the author who was a best seller can’t use the word “the”. It offends me.

  5. fangswandsfairy says:

    Priceless. And it doesn’t matter where you work — if there are people dumb stuff will be said! I used to work at the city clerk’s office.
    People ‘need’ their original birth certificate. um, no you don’t — because then, if you should lose it you’ll have to go and get one of the other three ORIGINALs. Then when you lose those you will never be able to prove you were born here. But it says I need my original. No – it says you need a certified copy with a seal. NOT a photocopy of the original Certified copy.
    People think their birth certificate follows them around. “I need my birth cerificate.” Clerk goes off to look for it… comes back to say we can’t find it. and asks are you sure you were born here in ‘city, state?’Customer replies “Oh no, I was born in ‘state on the other coast. ‘ we moved here when I was 11.” I could go on….

  6. I used to work for a big bookstore chain, back in the day. We got some of these questions, and other doozies. There was the woman who came in asking my husband (then boyfriend, who managed a different store in the same chain) for “the source.” It took a long time to figure out she meant not Michener’s The Source, but a thesaurus. There was the guy who came in to ask where we kept the faucets. He got really insulted when we explained we weren’t a hardware store. It was only later in the day that the penny dropped – he wanted books from Fawcett, a publisher that had been taken over by Ballantine. Oh, and there was the woman who wanted books on exorcism, because she was convinced she was possessed. That one got a little scary, TBH.

    So where is your store, in case I’m ever in the neighborhood? I’d love to drop by – and I promise not to ask any silly questions. 😉

  7. lab1990 says:

    “When I was in prison…” Oh gosh! These are hilarious! Do share more. 🙂 I think it’s great you run your own bookstore in your mid-20s!!!


  8. hahaha! I love this 🙂

  9. I loved this! I am linking it on my Facebook page and am going to link it on my next The Sunday Post. 🙂

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