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Caution: Don't Feed The Customers....

Customers are strange creatures. The last couple of days have been an exercise in reminding me of this-----

Somewhere along the way, the idea of a bookstore has become synonymous with an information help line (seems plausible as we generally have quite a bit of updated information at our fingertips), though most often, we are used as a library (again very plausible, in most schools and perhaps some homes, children are taught how libraries work well before they understand how to purchase a book). Those of us in the retail end of the book business deal with these things on a daily basis--we've all had the customer who expects us to find the red book he saw promoted on his favorite news program 3 weeks ago that we had on a table near the door 2 weeks prior and why don't we have it waiting for him at customer service already.... *sigh*

But, sometimes there are moments in the day where we pause for a moment and think to ourselves, really? Did he/she just ask that? Most things are completely innocuous, and if they thought about what they were actually asking, we hope the customer would realize how bizarre it sounds from the other side. Though, perhaps not....

First was a man on the phone:

Customer--Can you give me the number to the bookstore?
Me--???  You want the phone number to the bookstore you just called?
Customer-- No, I know there's a bookstore in **name of our shopping center**
Me--Yes sir, that's us.
Customer-- And there's a bookstore right across from you.
Me--You mean **name of our competitor**?
Customer--Yes, but, I don't want their phone number. I want the phone number to the bookstore. You know, the used place where they're doing some construction.
**it dawns on me he's referring to a small, used bookstore, cleverly called The Bookstore, about 5 miles from us, one of those places everybody loves, but, that might shut down before you can turn around**
Me-- Oh, you mean, The Bookstore. I don't even know if that store is still there anymore.
Customer--It's still there. Now, do you have their phone number?
Me--No sir, the only bookstore's number I have is the one you just called.
Customer--Oh, okay, thanks anyway. *phone clicks off*

Sorry, we don't keep random phone numbers about our person--especially those of our competition--we are a bookstore, not "information"--they can be reached by dialing 411 

Then there was the man who stomped his way up to customer service 2 hours before we closed:

Customer--What do you guys do with the books that are left out at night? **he stares me down with the most accusatory glare I've ever received**
Me--The books left out?
Customer--Yeah, I was reading a book the other night and left it on the table, what do you guys do with them?
Me--We shelve them all before we leave the store.
Customer--Uh, I just looked on the shelf and my book isn't there. So where is it?
Me--What's the name of the book?
Customer--**rambles off title of the book**
Me--**pulls book up in computer** Well, it looks like the book might have sold since the other night.
Customer-- Scoffs-- Great, now I HAVE to buy it on my iPad. **stomps away from the customer service desk**

Sorry, what part of bookSTORE do you have a problem understanding. I apologize that the book you were reading here the other night (which we make no qualms about you doing for FREE) was sold between the time you left and the time you came back, but, that's what happens at bookSTORES. If you didn't care enough about the book to buy it in the first place, don't get mad at me when someone who does care enough about it comes along and takes it to its forever home.


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