Wednesday, 1 June 2011

weird things customers say in bookshops #2



[Due to the forthcoming book release of 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops', I've removed some of the 'Weird Things...' quotes from this blog. 


You can still find some here and here, and you can find all the information on the book over here]. 


Thank you. xx

76 comments:

  1. Lol, hilarious! Can't believe these can possibly be true but I really, really hope they are.

    Btw found this blog thanks to a retweet by Nicola Morgan, and will definitely be subscribing via RSS from now on. Thanks for making me giggle!

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  2. Hi there - they are indeed true! I don't know if that's good or bad ;)

    Thanks for subscribing x

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  3. I can't believe you didn't wait in the Post Office queue for that customer. What, did they have brown eyes or something?

    Nice list.

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  4. What can I say, Neil? I'm a bitch.

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  5. I have brown eyes. *bats eyelashes*

    Very trustworthy though. *bats eyelashes and crosses fingers behind back*

    If I ever visit your bookshop, I like milky tea.

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  6. Well? Do you have any old porn magazines? *shudder*

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  7. Awesome! Do you still have any of those pamphlets on recognising the devil within yourself? They might come in handy sometime :)

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  8. Thanks for the laugh- brilliant! Here's another for you- overheard in Smith's shortly after Colin Firth hit the small screen in his wet shirt. An elderly couple looking at a big display of Pride and Prejudice- "Ooooh just look at that dear, they've got the book of the film out really quickly this time!"

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  9. Do you have Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds (Expurgated; the one without the gannet).

    :^{)>

    Your work life is clearly a Monty Python sketch.

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  10. I love all that. Thanks for a lots of laughter this evening. Just hoping you at least are real????

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  11. OMG that is a very funny collection of anecdotes but also very worrying that there are SO MANY nutters out there!!!

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  12. I'd like to apologize on behalf of all the bibliophiles in America, thank you.

    -The Gneech

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  13. Found this via the William Gibson on Twitter. As a former bookseller (with a partner who is still a bookseller!) all of this rings true.

    Especially the bit about supermarkets.

    Especially.

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  14. The Gneech - we have many many lovely American buyers, don't worry :)

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  15. Next time some ba(r)stard insults your short A's, point out that Shakespeare was a Midlander and probably sounded like Ozzy Osbourne.

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  16. WOW. Those are ones I haven't heard yet. I look forward(?) to someday having such a monumental collection of customer weirdness. So far I think the weirdest things have been people asking me if they can "take books out" (as at a public library), and then there was that fellow who thought I would want to buy one of the sheepskins he was peddling.

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  17. I was a receptionist at a veterinarian's office and I often had the oddest conversations with clients. The world is full of...colorful people. LOL.
    Thanks for this. It made me laugh. I must also commend your patience. I don't know if I could keep a straight face through some of these :D

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  18. So it isn't just the shop I work at, then? People say these things everywhere? I'm not sure if I should feel better or worse about that.

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  19. Still laughing. I love these. Did you give the Satanic pamphlets to the man in search of old porn magazines?

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  20. What a treat. I am, of course, wondering if you found that devil inside you or not? I am from the South-West so we don't have devils - we call yours the 'Barcodes'.

    Thank you,

    Blue-Eyes

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  21. Hilarious! So grateful for you sharing. I found you via a retweet from Neil Gaiman!

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  22. this is awesome!

    *subscribes*

    btw, Neil Gaiman brought me here.

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  23. Fantastic, one really wonders how these sort of people are wired...If at all. Found this because Neil Gaiman tweeted it.

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  24. Flix - was it 'The Unicorn Girl' by Caroline Glyn?

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  25. I shudder for humanity in general. Oh can I have a cup of tea?

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  26. Customer: Hi! I'd like to buy a book for my great grand niece twice removed on my step-son's cousin's side!

    Me: Ok, what kind of books does she like?

    Customer: Oh, I don't know. I've never actually met her. But her birthday's coming up and I'd like to send her something.

    Me: How old is she going to be?

    Customer: 5 or 6.

    Me: Would you like something that she can read herself or that her parents can read to her.

    Customer: I don't know if she reads yet. What are the popular new books for parents to read?

    Me: *examples*

    Customer: Well, if they're REALLY popular, then her parents may already have gotten them for her...

    Me: >_<

    I work in the kid's department of a chain bookstore. I love the books. And the children. It's the adults...

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  27. Neil Gaiman actually tweeted about this post, so that's why I'm here.

    Great stuff...I work with the public as well, but as a healthcare professional, so I know these kinds of questions and/or situations all too well.

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  28. Customers are customers, regardless of the profession. When I worked in a motel in college, I gave directions to woman to Virginia Beach. She asked, "How will I find the beach when I get there?" Me: "Umm... keep driving 'til you see the ocean, and it's that little sandy strip along the edge..."

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  29. I work in a 'new' bookshop (indie, naturally!) and I've been asked some strange things in my time. An little old woman once stuck her head around the door to ask if we sold council bin bags... thanks for posting these, I've been snortling with laughter and alarming the browsing customers ; )

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  30. These are great, I've worked in a store before and the things people say are just unbelievable sometimes:)

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  31. Hilarious. I work in a used bookstore in Ithaca, NY and rarely a day goes by that I don't get comments like these (which I generally tweet).

    Just yesterday a patron asked if we sold pens. When I asked her why she thought we would she replied "So that people can write in their books!"

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  32. Sadly, these are totally and completely believable to me. College bookstores are no different...the questions are, but just as weird.

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  33. Delightful! So, about that Beatrix Potter dinosaur book... ;) [From another Neil Gaiman follower]

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  34. Found you via Neil Gaiman on Twitter, and very glad to have done so!

    Brilliant stuff :D

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  35. This was truly a good start to my morning. Not that you had to deal with such idiots, but that I got the day started with a smile. Subscribed, from Across the Water.

    Kat

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  36. Do you have a book called Fly Fishing by J.R Hartley?...................

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  37. I had a woman in a bookstore complain to her friend that she couldn't find what she was looking for. I asked what she needed, and she said "something by John Patterson". She then went on to lament "Here are all of the Johns, and it's not anywhere". She was standing in front of a display of John Grisham novels! I explained that they were arranged in alphabetical order by author's last name, and she replied that it was news to her. Her friend commented that she didn't know how there could possibly be that many things to write about and wouldn't it get borring. !!

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  38. I'm a southerner and I do say baath, but I draw the line at plaastic, that's just sounds really stuck up. I don't know many people who say that even in Surrey.

    I work in a library and am glad to say you seem to have encountered more than your fair share of oddballs, although we do have some.

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  39. Rin: If you can't believe these comments, go to www.notalwaysright.com (The Customer is Not Always Right) - an awesome collection from customer comments in every kind of shop.

    Jen: thank you - I came here via Neil Gaiman's tweet. I'm following you on twitter and I'm looking forward to more bookshop adventures! :D

    Bests from Germany,
    Nicole

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  40. can i come work for you? i like to cut photographs out of books. yep, am 10... nah make that 7.

    p.s: awesome!

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  41. Love this! I also work at an indie bookstore, and it's nice to know other booksellers have similar adventures! :)

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  42. I see 25 years and a ocean haven't made much difference. I worked for an independent bookstore with the unfortunate name of The Intimate Bookshop {it first opened in the 1920 when the name had different connotations} in the 80s and had some of the exact same questions. Thanks for the memories and the laughs.

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  43. Well these are certainly gems. Owning a bookshop is a dream of mine, and it's even more awesome that these kind of experiences are had there.
    You have a new follower.

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  44. I got to this post via a link on Neil Gaiman's most recent blog post and... all I can say is "Wow" and start laughing. (:
    Funny.

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  45. What kills me is the "365 Fairy Tale" one...I think I'm searching for the same book! It had classic fairy tales (the good, brutal ones) split into a bit to read each day. I adored it as a child, and the art still haunts my dreams. :)

    I work in customer service for an online marketplace, so I hear much of the same silly customer complaints. Good patience goes a long way, doesn't it?

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  46. i love your delivery. must be those brown eyes ...

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  47. these are hilarious... people are so stupid sometimes. but life we be so *boring* if we were all the same, wouldn't it?
    So i was wondering.. are hazel eyed people trustworthy? I want to know if i should trust myself...

    sent by Maureen Johnson.. she tweeted this :)

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  48. I work in a university library and my favourite question so far is, "so are the books arranged in any order or do you put them on the shelves randomly?".

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  49. Customer comes into the academic bookshop I am working in, wanders around for five minutes seemingly browsing. Eventually walks up to counter...

    "Do you sell eggs?"

    ...

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  50. Also brought here by a tweet from Neil Gaiman. Hilarious!
    And I love brown eyes... :-)

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  51. Reading this reminded me of the book I loved when I was about 4 years old, there was a donkey who had a pelican for a friend and it was set in Greece. Someone once managed to discover that it was called Achilles and was by H E Bates. It's out of print but copies are available for a reasonable price, so I've decided to order one. I hope I won't be disappointed. I might lend it to a colleague if she wants to read it at story time and introduce it to a new generation of small children.

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  52. Coincidentally, the bookshop in the black and white photo in your post above is the old Joseph’s bookshop on Charing Cross Road, later known as Quinto. Until it moved up the street last year, it was the bookshop where I work, and where the small plays about my customers which I’ve been collecting for a couple of years, http://www.smallplays.com, took place. Bookshop customers are a breed of their own, they’re what make a bookshop such a brilliant place to work.

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  53. omg. I think I love you. Some days I cannot believe the things that customers do and say, and I thought there was something wrong with me. I am SO subscribing to your blog, and thank you!

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  54. Absolutely brilliant! I would have been tempted to sell that person a first class stamp for a couple of quid.

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  55. HAHAHAHA!! Thank you for making my day a tad bit brighter.

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  56. If plastic was supposed to be pronounces 'plarstic' then surely bag would be pronounced 'barg'.

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  57. Reminds me of a customer that walked into our bookshop and asked where the harbour was?

    "You see those boats in the water across the road..."

    Oh and the "Why should I pay £2.50 it has 25p printed on the back?"

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  58. *Hysterical*. And I'm sure all true. I worked in an L.A. bookstore for a few years (and frequented them all over the U.S. & Europe for 45+ years) and I can attest to the bizarre requests you can get in a bookstore.

    By the way, my bookstore was an occult/metaphysical one, and you don't know surreal until you been asked one of these outlandish requests by someone wearing a large, glittering pyramid hat.

    My own favorite bookstore question was: "Can you please tell which of the things in these books are true, and which are false? I really need to know before I buy something if it's true."

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  59. Jesus and karma; now there's the jewish humor. You should see Black Books. It's the ataraxia of all booksellers.

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  60. Oh, I've seen Black Books. Bernard is my hero.

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  61. Love these.

    Although, one google search did lead me to:
    "365 Bedtime Stories : Fairy Tales, Myths, Folktales, Funny Stories, Comforting Stories, Heroic Stories, and More". :P

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  62. Not around in the 80s though, Paul ;) I did find a German one from 1949.

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  63. I shall feel guilty now every time I'm waiting for my bus and decide to pop into a nearby bookshop.

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  64. @Rehan - as long as you don't ask for a cup of tea, and occasionally buy a book, I think it's OK.

    I say "plastic" and not "plarstic". It's pronounced plastic by everyone normal, whether you're from up north or not!

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  65. Wonderful stuff. I spent my career in banking and can't recall even one conversation to match these. Possibly because I'm trying to block out 37 years of misery! ;) @HDKey

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  66. I used to work in Waterstones (other retailers are available) and found that it attracted a lot of very special people. One of my favourites was a phone called that went something like -

    me - 'Hello Waterstones, how can I help?'

    customer 'Hello? Yes I'm trying to cook this chicken'

    me 'okay.. what seems to be the issue'

    customer 'well it says cook it for two hours but i don't know if its fresh or frozen'

    me 'interesting, well i'm not sure i'm best qualified to answer that query'

    customer 'is there someone there that can?'

    me 'well, technically yes, but we don't really specialise in that area'

    long story short.. she'd looked up Waitrose - I imagine this happens a lot when you're impossibly old. Its the W's that get ya.

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  67. Wait, what did Oxfam do to books?

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  68. Oxfam set up book specific charity shops often right next to independent bookshops. They don't have to pay their staff [though they do pay the managers of those bookshops], they get massive tax breaks on business rates and rent and they don't normally take time to price their books properly thus lumping all of literature together. I am not against charities, and general charity shops don't drive bookshops [or clothes shops] out of business, but when an Oxfam bookshop-only-store opens, it's not long before an independent bookstore closes nearby.

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  69. Does 'old porn' involve zimmer frames?

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  70. Those crazy Americans (I am ones, and I apologize profusely for my fellow insane countrywoman).

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  71. Proof positive that my long-held belief is correct. The customer is NOT always right.

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  72. LOVE these. And I had a book of 365 Fairy Tales in the '80s! It was called something like 365 Tales from Aesop, or something... we used to read one a night (surprise surprise) with my parents. It was red(!)

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  73. I wonder if the customer looking for 365 fairy tales was looking for 1001 Arabian Nights. I suppose that the customer could also have been looking for one of the colour fairy books. You know, the Red Fairy Book, the Blue Fairy Book, etc.

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