Hey RHU! I hope you all survived the holiday insanity!
As I’ve said before, customers like to talk to me. And I let them. I can’t help it. It doesn’t help that the writer in me often nags at me not to walk away, lest something interesting should happen in the conversation. Sadly, it rarely does and I’m stuck with a boring old bloodsucker customer.
Just before Christmas one called the store. In our store, the phone is right beside the tills and the only computer that we can look up inventory on.
Me: “Thank you for calling Hoarders, this is BookAce, how may I help you?”
Woman: “Hi BookFace, do you have fitness books?” (Yeah, she got my name wrong. Unfortunately I let it slide because she seemed elderly and there was no reason to argue my name...had I known how long the conversation would go on, I would have corrected her. =/)
Me: “Yes we do!”
Woman: “Can you look up some titles for me?”
I always groan inwardly when customers use plurals over the phone, but it was a slow day and a co-worker was at the till, so I was all, “Okay, sure.”
The first book she wanted was called “Call Me Miss Shapely Legs.” Bit of an odd title, but whatever, I’ve seen odder. Our conversation went like this:
Woman: *gives me the title* “Now BookFace, please repeat that back to me so I know you have it right.”
Me: *repeats it*
Woman: “You’re not speaking directly into the phone. Repeat it again please.”
Me: *repeats it again* (At this point still feeling sympathetic, thinking the woman is hard of hearing.)
Nothing comes up in inventory.
Me: “I’m sorry ma’am, nothing comes up for it.”
Woman: “Really? Nothing? Why is that?”
Me: (Because our computer hates you? I don’t know! I hate this question! I don’t choose what books we list!) “…Because we can’t get it in. It might be an older book, or out of print.”
Woman: “That’s too bad, I can’t believe you can’t get it!”
Me: “I’m sorry.”
Woman: “I think it’s by an author with a last name that starts with C…or K?”
Me: *getting frustrated* “I’d need the author’s whole name. Did you have other books you wanted?”
Woman: “Oh, yes! The next book is We Made Love Now I Have to Kill You.”
I dutifully type this in. As I do, the woman pipes up again,
“BookFace, repeat that back to me so I know you have it right.”
Me: *says it back quietly, as there’s a line of customers standing right there and I feel somewhat embarrassed saying this into the phone – talk about something that can be taken out of context!*
Woman: “I can’t hear you, speak up and repeat it again.”
Me: *repeats it more clearly*
Woman: “I still can’t hear you, BookFace.”
Me: *practically shouts the title into the phone*
Customers at the counter: *all stare at me and snicker*
Me: *blushes miserably*
Lo and behold, this book doesn’t come up either. We go through the ENTIRE “I don’t believe you don’t have it! - Well if it’s old or out of print blah blah blah” conversation again.
She asks me to look up a couple different authors, only one of which actually shows up (and yes, for EVERY author whose name doesn’t come up, I once again get an earful about how shocking it is that we don’t have it.) Finally one author comes up! But as the producer of fitness DVDs, which of course we don’t carry. Add on another five minutes of:
“I see them in the computer, but they’re fitness movies, and we’d have to order them.”
“Oh, I’m so glad you have ____’s books!”
“Ma’am, I told you, we don’t have them.”
“But they’re in the computer!”
“No, the computer is showing that we can ORDER them. And they’re DVDs.”
“Oh, you have her DVDs!”
“NO, I TOLD YOU…”
Then she asks me to look up another book title. This one? “I Have the Strength of 10,000 Muscular Women.” (I nearly asked her if she was just messing with me at this point.) And sure enough, as soon as I start typing…
Woman: “Now BookFace, repeat that title back to me please so I know you have it right.
Me: *gritting my teeth* *repeats it*
Woman: “You’re not speaking into the phone!”
Me: (I’ve had enough of this shit by this point.) “I. HAVE. THE. STRENGTH. OF. TEN. THOUSAND. MUSCULAR. WOMEN. I AM SPEAKING DIRECTLY INTO THE PHONE. NOTHING IS COMING UP IN THE COMPUTER FOR IT. WE DO NOT HAVE IT.”
Customers and co-worker: *staring at me*
Woman: “I can’t believe you don’t have it!”
Me: *nearly starts whimpering*
Cool co-worker: *catches my eye and gives me the sympathetic “WTF kind of idiot customer are you talking to?!” look*
Me: *rolls my eyes and makes a gun hand shape to the head*
Then she started asking me about some fiction books which at least had normal-sounding titles. I finally shut her down when I realized it had been over a half hour and told her someone else needed the computer and that I could no longer look anything up.
And THEN, she says, “Oh…I guess I should just come into the store. I’m coming in an hour.”
Me: *jawdrop* (thinking: YOU’RE COMING HERE IN AN HOUR ANYWAY AND YOU PUT ME THROUGH ALL THIS OVER THE PHONE? WHYYYYYY?) “That…would be best.”
After I hung up my co-worker and a customer both went: “Was that a crank call??”
Me: “I have no idea.” =|
On the bright side, she did apologize to me for taking up my time. I guess that’s something. Still, I was afraid the rest of the day that she would come in and latch onto me and start sucking my will to live away again.
Luckily, she never showed up. I Googled those titles later and nothing came up. Was she insane? Was she a crank caller? Was someone else playing a prank on her by giving her those titles and asking her to call a store for them?
The world may never know...
Stay cool everyone!