Tuesday, August 15, 2006

That bookstore job

I love it. I really do. But on nights like tonight, I wonder if I'm not really cut out to be in a customer service job.

We've been incredibly busy for the last two (almost three) weeks. Busy like Christmas. Schools are starting now, and everyone who procrastinated and didn't do his/her summer reading is rushing to get the book. Teachers are handing out new reading assignments. And none of the teachers actually give us a heads up so that we can order additional copies.

Tonight I was besieged with customers who wanted me to get books for them with almost no information. Here are three of the most extreme requests (with a little extra rudeness thrown in for good measure):

#1: A book from on the high school reading list that has "My" in the title. The customer -- the student's mother -- scoffed at my first guess (My Antonia). I started offering others (Bless Me, Ultima; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; Black Like Me). My customer got angry that I couldn't come up with the title immediately. "I have places to go!" While the mom was on her tirade about how useless I was, the student came up and immediately picked up my first choice (My Antonia) and said, "Hey, that's it." The mom paid and left, with no apology to me for her rudeness.

#2: A customer called and asked for "a book that was on one of your displays with M&Ms on the cover." She couldn't remember if it was a hardcover or a paperback, on which display she saw it, or anything about the title or author. While I was looking for that elusive book

(Aside/digression): Another customer came to the desk to use the phone. She didn't ask anyone if it was okay. She just picked up the phone and hung up on my customer. I was walking into the area when I saw her and I yelled, "NO!" She jumped, and I said, "You just hung up on my customer." She giggled and said, "Oh, you scared me. I thought something was wrong."

#3: A book with "ruby" in the title. I came up with several titles, but none were what she wanted and she walked off in a huff.

I am usually pretty good at figuring out what someone needs. I've been working with books for years, so I have a pretty broad knowledge base. But I'm not clairvoyant.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Oh girl, you know you have my sympathies. I still love to tell folks about the time someone called the store and said, "I'm looking for a book." Then, proud as punch, I say, "And you know what my friend Karen told 'em? She said, 'Well, you called the right place. We have loads of them!'"

Hang in there... it's too early to be Torquemada. LOL