From Reddit: Or just go to the library
From Reddit: Or just go to the library
Ugh...I always feel so bad having to decline the store cards, I apologize profusely to the store associates when they ask.
Usually it's something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, I know you guys have to ask, but I can't open a credit card today."
Especially when you look at APR on the average store credit card. I opened a Victoria Secret card in College with a 29% interest rate! Once I actually was smart enough to realize what that translated into, I cut the card up for good!
Though no one ever really explained the B&N rewards card to me so I always declined.
One day, the geek-chic boy at the counter was commenting on my awesome stack of sci-fi and fantasy novels and kindly explained how it worked, so I signed up right away.
Here's wishing B&N slaves a large group of book-loving nerds eager to sign up!
Looking for a funny summer read with some supernatural retail hell? Look no further! RHUer Jessica Samuels has written a juicy hilarious tale called Being a Vampire in Retail Sucks:
I started working retail a few years ago, and the reason why I started writing this story was because of Retail Hell. I read it and I loved it so much I decided to write my own retail related story.
This story is different since it involves working at a supernatural store, and the main character’s name is Scarlet who is a vampire that works for Derrick’s detective agency. I wrote it because I wanted to see how she would react to the customers, and let me tell you it was a fun journey since at the time it was just a normal store. In the process it evolved into a supernatural retail store, and then add the character solving a case so it had more of a plot besides just retail and the rest is history.
This is the synopsis: Scarlet Summers has been through hell since her last mission left her in the hands of an evil necromancer. She got out thanks to the Moon Wolf pack, but not without a price. When three of the werewolves in the pack go missing, it is up to her to solve the case. In order to do this she has to go undercover at a supernatural retail store called Fiona's Corner and Café to find the missing girls.
It became something more than just a retail story it became a part of a series. I’m proud of it since it totally captures what working with people is really like taking the good in with the bad. I love the way it turned out since it included phones, fitting rooms, and the policies I have hated. I hope people who have worked retail will find the humor in it just like I do!
I'm an on-again, off-again reader of RHU. Started my work life at Wal-mart 11 years ago and have gone through 3 call centers, insurance, and landed in IT (networking specifically); if you must name me then please call me Kit since its a nickname I use online with my friends. I have no story to share about my own work hell, but rather to query the community about something I did about 2 months ago.
I'm a consummate geek. Games specifically- I play board, card, roleplaying, and video games. My Pathfinder group was talking about running a one-off game while our DM was out of the country and I wanted to try a new character for it. Off to the local B&N for the book I need! (The Ultimate Magic book if you're curious).
They had one copy on the shelf. Said copy is damaged, slightly. Not merely cosmetic damage however. The front cover is slightly warped and this is pulling the binding a bit. Real damage that can affect the longevity of the book. But not so severe that I can't get some good use from it. Cover price for the book is $39.99 not counting county, city, and state sales taxes (yes we have all three here).
I hemmed and hawed and finally my roommate said, "Just ask for a discount."
That, quite literally, made me pause. I worked Walmart. Cashier and layaway (before it vanished). I had to deal with price matchers, discount rats, and hagglers. I know that it can suck to be asked for a price reduction that isn't marked. But I wasn't comfortable paying full price for a legitimately damaged book. Neither was I interested in waiting for shipping (even with Amazon Prime I might not get the book in time for the game). Finally, I decided it couldn't hurt to ask, right? I had reason!
So up to the cashier I went. I put the items down, this book separate from the others I was undeniably purchasing. And before the cashier could ring it up I brought up the subject of the damage and asked if a discount could be arranged. I felt bad. Her face and tone of voice went from friendly to a mix of stony and frightened.
I was unsurprised when she had to call the manager and they exchanged words, her recounting the damage and my concerns and then providing the ISBN. Presumably the manager checked their stock (I'd already looked; no other copies).
Finally, she hung up and turned to me, steeling her spine and said "My manager authorized me to offer you 10% off."
I smiled graciously and simply said "I'm not unreasonable and that is wonderful, thank you." And we finished the transaction. I paid the $140 total for 4 books, she bagged all of my items, and I left. Content that I got the book I needed, feeling well that I got a decent discount on the last copy that was damaged.
But... was I wrong to ask? Should I have forgone the purchase and left it to another customer to bring up or an employee to take notice of and damage the book out? Or is it ok to (politely) ask for a discount on legitimate damage knowing you may or may not receive the discount and being reasonable on what it may be? (In truth I had expected that IF a discount would be available it would be 5-10%).
One day, a guy ordered a book, and his last name was Studly....
In case nobody's encountered the word before: "Studly" is slang for being attractive; muscular and handsome. The kind of word you'd use if your ego was bigger than the continent of Africa.
Manager (a man himself) looked at that and went, "No. No way. That's gotta be fake."
Me: "Haha seriously? That's the name he gave you for the contact info?"
Manager: "Yes... Yes it is. Okay Ilia, you're always at the registers. Your mission is to find out if that name is real if you can. Ask to see ID if he uses a card or something."
A week later...
Me: "Hey, Studly picked up his book today. It's real. Driver's License and everything...."
Manager: "Oh my god..."
Has anyone else encountered an unusual or funny custy name before?
Could this cause another bookstore to close? I'm sure their business wasn't great before the vote....
From Huff Po:
On June 24, Bec Goodbourn and Kerry Henderson cast ballots in a union election held for the staff of Book Culture, the independent bookstore where they worked in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York. Like the vast majority of the bookstore's workforce, both Henderson and Goodbourn voted in favor of union representation.
By the end of the day, they were both fired.
After letting Goodbourn go in person, her boss, Chris Doeblin, included her on an email in which he explained to the store's management team why she and Henderson had to go.
"It was indicated to me … that two people in our management group voted in the union and effectively undermined the interests of the store. The store always being in opposition to the Union," the email read. "Unfortunately there is no other recourse but to remove these people from our employ effective immediately. Therefor [sic] Bec and Kerry have been fired."
"I was surprised when I saw it in writing," said Goodbourn, 30, a native of Australia who recently moved to the U.S.
Henderson received a personal email from Doeblin.
"I regret to inform you that we cannot continue to employ you," he wrote. "All management has to work together in the best interests of the store and clearly unionization is at odds with that."
The firings of Goodbourn and Henderson led to a strike and protest by Book Culture employees on Wednesday. Among the signs they held up outside the store was one that read, "Rehire The Unlawfully Fired."
The union that won the election, the New York-based Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, the agency that enforces labor law, demanding that the two be re-instated.
Firing an employee for supporting a unionization effort is illegal, as are other retaliatory acts. But Doeblin and the union are at odds over whether Goodbourn and Henderson were actually employees or managers. Under labor law, managers are forbidden from being part of a union, to keep management out of a body meant to represent the rank-and-file workers. Managers, therefore, wouldn't be protected from such a firing.
Doeblin had recently promoted Goodbourn and Henderson to what he says are managerial roles. The two, in turn, claim that their new positions are managerial "in name only."
"We wanted to be considered part of the union; it's a title-versus-practice problem," said Henderson, 22, who just graduated from the New School with a degree in poetry and fiction writing. "I have the title of manager but don't have the same responsibilities as others. I have no power to hire or fire anyone."
If the labor board ultimately determines the two were in fact employees, Doeblin would have run afoul of the law by canning them -- a possibility he readily acknowledges. But Doeblin, who founded the store in 1997 as Labyrinth Books, has gamely defended the firings, even standing alongside protesters outside Book Culture to explain to customers his side of the story.
In an email to HuffPost, Doeblin said that the line between employees and managers in labor law is a "normal, obvious and good thing," and that Goodbourn and Henderson had stepped over it in their support of the union.
"Each of the managers in question accepted a promotion a raise and a new set of responsibilities that necessitates siding with management," he wrote. "[Their] ability to do their job is compromised to an extent that it necessitates firing them. To put it another way, we ask that all of our managers support management and fulfill the directives that they are given."
In a letter to Doeblin, the union's lawyers claimed that two are not really managers and that Doeblin "designated them as such to avoid legal obligations." To "avoid the escalation of this conflict," the union, which represents workers at Macy's, Guitar Center and other retailers, demanded that Doeblin rehire the women and withdraw his challenge to their votes in the union election.
Doeblin has been clear that he feels having a union in the workplace is bad for business, a sentiment that might rankle some of the progressive students and faculty from nearby Columbia University who shop at the store. Much of the store's workers are either recent college grads or working toward their degrees.
"[A]s a business owner it's inherent in the nature of things that a Union is a net problem for a business," Doeblin said in his email. Nonetheless, he added that he plans to deal accordingly with the union, as the overwhelming majority of employees voted in favor of representation: "In practice we have do [sic] and will respectfully deal with our employees' Union and I and our company don't have a problem with that."
According to the union, all but two of the store's employees voted in favor of unionizing.
Like Goodbourn, Henderson said she loves the bookstore. She worked there part-time through much of college and began working full-time after her graduation in May.
"The store is amazing -- there's nothing like it around here," she said.
Her main gripe -- and the reason she supported the union -- was the feeling she could lose her job at any moment.
"We often feel we walk a thin line and any day can be fired," she said.
Goodbourn had only been at Book Culture for a couple of months before she was let go, she said. Without much experience at the store, her support for the union was mostly philosophical. Although union density has declined in both Australia and the U.S. in recent years, organized labor plays a larger role in the economy of her native Australia than it does in America. Nearly 18 percent of Australian workers belonging to a union, compared to just about 11 percent of Americans.
Goodbourn said she believed in collectivism to negotiate working conditions, and she was surprised by management's deep opposition to it.
"Having a union there means you have a third party that can help everyone come together and have a protected space," Goodbourn said. "Your team is a bit more committed if everyone knows their job is secure.
"And obviously," she added, "we've been proven right: The jobs are insecure."
This story was originally posted on August 11, 2010.
Hello! Super longtime reader, first time submitter! I work (as well as a few others on this site, I see) at a store that sells books, and has an e-reader that rhymes with book.
I'm the lead (basically assistant manager) in the music department, which other booksellers refer to as the "red headed bastard stepchild of [storename]", so I guess you can call me the "ginger music bitch." (Yes, I am a redhead.)
The first Tuesday of every month, we have changeover, where every display in the department changes product and prices. I am supposed to get 2 hours before the store opens to start the project. I was actually scheduled to start fifteen minutes before the store opened. Also, scheduled by myself. Fantastic.
So I'm running around trying to get everything set up. I have holes on displays, boxes on the floor, stickers in my hair, (seriously. ugh.) and general disarray everywhere. A guy and his 2 year old son come into the department, and start browsing the criterion collection on bluray, which had just gone to 50% off.
He puts his son down, and the kid proceeds to run around the department, throwing things, knocking things off displays, and at one point, running behind the counter and grabbing me around the legs. Dude laughs. Double ugh.
So he finally comes up to the counter, with a stack of about 8 or 9 blurays. I'm excited, because even with the 50% off, I'm going to make a decent sale.
CUSTY: I have a couple coupons I'd like to use on these, cool?
(We email out several coupons a week, and they can usually be doubled up in transactions.)
Custy pulls of a frigging stack of printed out coupons. He has a "$5 off any DVD or Bluray", "10% off any item", "15% off any item" and "$5 off any purchase of $50 or more". Oh and he has one copy of each coupon for EACH BLURAY. Which are already 50% off.
CUSTY: So if you could just use these on each of these, that would be great."
ME: I don't think I can do that.
CUSTY: Why not? I have all the coupons?
ME: Where did you get all these coupons?
CUSTY: They came in my email. I just printed out enough copies for all the movies I wanted.
ME: I don't think you are supposed to do that.
CUSTY: Why not?
ME: That's not exactly how coupons work.
He proceeds to bitch at me for ten minutes about why he should be able to use all his coupons.
ME: I can go ahead and use ONE of each coupon on this transaction. Do you have your member card?
Two of the coupons are "member exclusive" coupons, meaning you only get them in your email if you give us your email address when you sign up to be a member, which costs $25.
CUSTY: I don't have a membership.
ME: Where did you get these coupons then??
And he continues to yell at me, and let his kid trash my department (more than it was) and as if my day couldn't get any worse... remember the disaster that is my department mid-changeover?
Whats the worst thing that could happen?
That's right. The DISTRICT MANAGER walks into my line of sight. I had a total bridget jones moment, where my brain just went "fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck."
Anyway. Custy ends up buying 1 bluray (with the ONE coupon I allowed him), takes all his coupons, and then leaves. On his way out, he makes sure to tell me that he is just going to come back once a day for the rest of the sale and hit other stores in the area so that he can use all of his coupons.
He actually came back three hours later to buy another one, and make me put three more on hold for him, using names of other people in his family.
What a douche. I'm going on vacation fro a week, so I warned all the managers and other employees about him. I'm really curious if they told him off after a day or two. I hope so.
And in case you want to know what eventually happened, we sent an email around to the whole district about him, and he got severely bitched out by a manager at another store. I think he's actually banned now. :)
Anyway, thanks for letting me vent! love you all!!!
--Ginger Music Bitch
I've never gotten tit or sock money, but I remember one coworker at the bookstore I worked at who did and held the money by the corner like it was radioactive.
The woman couldn't figure out why he was doing it, but the rest of the staff got a laugh out of it.
That is... until he reminded the manager that she had to count down his register at the end of his shift.
--From: Son Of Thrognar
Some have called me opinionated. Some have called me egocentric. Some have called me so full of editorializing that I have to insert witicisms into my witicisms ... side-tracking you from the original thought process so much that you stop to wonder what it is I'm really saying. [Admit it; you've thought this before, haven't you?] Friends/loved ones/family/the boyfriend fiance/random strangers on the street/internet trolls have all called me out on this narcissism.
And they would be correct.
I am opinionated. I believe I have amazing opinions - even when those opinions are only about whether the pizza I'm about to consume is fantastic or merely tasty [see previous articles]. I am one person who isn't usually afraid to voice his opinion and assume that you want to hear it. Even if you don't ... well, you didn't have to read this, did you? [But thank you for doing so, anyway! I luff you!]
It isn't enough that I'm opinionated in general [we went ahead and established this, right?] but I've been constantly consulted and cultivated for my opinion in a particular regard for years: Books.
When I worked at Borders (and ever since), I was regularly asked "Is this a good book?" and "Should I read this?" or "What do you think I need to read?" Is it any wonder I have raging Literary Narcissism? To that end, after Borders closed in 2011 I began posting "Summer Reading Lists" but this year I've decided to kick it up a notch - I'm going to randomly begin posting OPINIONATED STATEMENTS ON WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR PERSONAL LIBRARY because ... well, you should just read these books already.
Whether you're a reader of light-hearted fare or deep and heavily introspective works, I know some great authors and books that belong in your personal library. They range from the brilliant Stacey Ballis, Caprice Crane, Kelly Barnhill, Brian Farrey, Maggie Stiefvater to the absurdly funny Celia Rivenbark, Freeman Hall, Laurie Notaro and Jen Lancaster. And don't forget classics fromJane Austen and Vergil.
"Off the Menu" and "Out to Lunch" Stacey - aside from being a wonderful, lovely and loving person to know - is one of those brilliant authors who can effortlessly weave a fantastically fun story with depth and characters you can't help but both identify with and fall a little in love with. Each of her hit-novels have been a-can't-put-down read which I may or may not have devoured in the course of an evening each. Stacey writes with such depth and passion that you cannot help but be pulled into her wonderful take on modern life in Chicago nor can you help but be pulled into the entwining lives of her broad cast of characters (after you read a few of her novels, you'll notice cameos! SQUEE!) These two most recent additions to her pantheon of awesome are must-buys! The added bonus recipes at the end of her books? ERMEHLERDD! If you have even the barest hint of good taste, you'll order both of these and then demand another helping!
"Confessions of a Hater" and "Family Affair" Caprice is in a class by herself (whether as a staunch friend or writer) and when it comes to injecting poignancy and hilarity into a story she has no peer; having honed her skills between screenplays, television series scripts and several amazing novels she has a distinct and terrific narrative voice which she is able to blend into a myriad of characters and story-levels (she is at home writing for a young adult audience as she is writing adult fiction). Whether you love them or love to hate them, her characters comprise believable true-to-life (and yet sometimes over-the-top) worlds; a feat which assuredly stems from her own background between NYC and LA. Caprice's ability to deftly tell even a painfully awkward story with wit and poise is a never-lauded-enough talent and one you're sure to enjoy! Take it from me.
"The Mostly True Story of Jack" and "Iron Hearted Violet" Kelly is one of those rare talents that writes not only beautifully dark tales for adults (her catalogue of short stories for Sci-Fi/Fantasy anthologies is impressive to say the least) but pens layered and rich tales for the middle grade set (which, since I'm recommending them, are also easily enjoyed by the ... um ... not-so-middle-grade set). Her work wends its way between believable reality and heightend fairy tale in such compelling ways that when the story involves a cantankerous princess in a world rife with magic arguing with a dragon ... you don't even pause; you're right there with her entrenched and caught up in the tale one hundred percent.
"The Vengekeep Prophecies" and "With or Without You" What is it with Minnesota? The state seems to produce more fantastic authors than you can shake a stick at (Kelly, Brian, Anne Ursu and more!) and each one stands apart with skill and taste. Brian is able to weave tales on a myriad of levels; his innovative middle grade action/adventure/fantasy trilogy which kicked off with "The Vengekeep Prophecies" is both endearing and hilarious; producing just as many "Aww" moments as not-so-quiet chuckles at the easily connectable first-person narrative. "With or Without You" is a stand-alone award-winning piece of art: think "The Outsiders" crossed with "Rainbow Boys". A heart-wrenching and amazing tale which will break your heart and remind you that you have one at the same time.
"Lament" and "Ballad" Maggie is a demi-local NYT bestelling author (whom I was 2 years behind in college and have met a few times after when she'd shop/sign at my bookstore) whose work spans the YA genre gamut. As popular as her Werewolf series and more recent books are, her first two novels are what I first read and loved. Set in a very-similar-to-where-we-went-to-college town, Maggie's Dark Faerie novels are captivating and vastly enjoyable. To say that I've been pining over a possible third novel in the series for the lastREDACTED years is an understatment.
"Rude Bitches Make Me Tired" and "You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl" Celia is one of those suave, sweet and swearin' Southern ladies you have to read to believe. I had the great fortune to meet her while on vacation two summers ago and she is just as funny and sweet in-person as you could hope. Her humor essay collections range from the poignant to the absurdly hilarious as she takes on everything from Bubbas to Da Hubby with wit and pinache reminiscent of Nora Ephron (yet, even funnier - yes, I said it). You'll find amazing (and amazingly funny) advice in her newest collection, "Rude Bitches Make Me Tired" and if you can keep yourself from snorting in laughter ... well, I'm not sure if we should be friends.
"Retail Hell" and "Return to the Big Fancy" Freeman is a fantastic friend (he pushed me to start this website!) and an entertaining writer whose deliciously devilish humor memoirs about work in the retail world (as compared to his hilarious spoof of "Stuff White People Like" entitled "Stuff That Makes a Gay Heart Weep") are a MUST READ for anyone who has ever worked in retail/customer service or had a friend/loved one/passing acquaintance who has. Despite (in my opinion) never-enough publicity for his second memoir the word has gotten out - and that word? Is "HILARIOUS". Freeman's voice is both uniquely singular and, yet, the perfect everyman. Think "The Grapes of Wrath" but with snark, handbag sharks and caustic wit set in the world of retail ... you won't regret adding these to your library.
"The Potty Mouth at the Table" and "I Love Everybody (and other atrocious lies)" Laurie Notaro is practically a household name in humor; her memoirs and novels each garnering NYTbestseller status and these are two fine examples of why. Whether you're the uncomfortable-singing-in-public-type who lip-syncs along with Christmas Carols so as to not appear rude or the type who just isn't comfortable with anyone touching your shower puff [I'm sorry, but just because I'm marrying you does NOT give you the shower puff touching rights - amiright?] or someone who wants to yell at pretentious Yoga Snobs ... Laurie is the right touch. Judging from the hoarse voice I got reading her out-loud on a road trip to entertain my Mum, everyone should love this potty mouth.
"Bright Lights, Big Ass" and "Twisted Sisters" Jen Lancaster is best known for her debut humor memoir, "Bitter is the New Black", however her follow-up, a collection of humor essays, will probably retain position as my favorite laugh-producer ever. Admittedly, this may have something to do with the fact that I was lucky enough to read it in manuscript form [Jen is not only my literary hero, I'm lucky to call her my friend] and would consider it better than even the most popular David Sedaris collection (blasphemy schmasphemy). Her most recent foray into fiction is a deliciously delightful read (although, I all-too swiftly devoured it #FirstWorldProblems). Ooh, and if you pronounce a certain antagonist/hero character's name you MAY notice a (purposeful) similarity to ... well ... you get the idea.