From August, 2011, Ilia's first post as Bookstore Slave:

Hello all, you can call me Bookstore Slave. 

Now on this day, I was a fellow customer in this store. I had no uniform, no name tag, and a purse over my shoulder. I was carrying a basket of books I was planning to purchase, and stopped frequently to READ the goddamn excerpts on the inside cover.

Custy: Can you tell me where to find [insert obscure book title here]?

Me: Unfortunately I can't. I'm not an employee. You can ask them at the information desk though.

I point out the info desk, which is a whole 15 feet away.  

Custy: I don't want to walk that far! Just tell me where it is!

Me: Lady, I don't work here.

I walk away and select another book that catches my interest.


She follows me down the aisle, yelling and banging her fist on the shelving.

Me: LADY! I don't fucking work here! Ask a goddamn employee!

The woman goes fucking ballistic and a manager arrives at a dead run, probably thinking somebody's getting murdered. 

Custy: Fire this bitch! She swore at me and refuses to help me!

The manager looks at me, looks at the customer and then says: Ma'am, this is not one of our employees.

Custy: This woman was rude to me and I won't stand for it! You fire her right now or I'm calling your corporate office!

Manager to me: You're fired.

The woman strutted off like it was her birthday and I got a coupon for the trouble. To this day I don't know whether she was stupid, or just that goddamn determined to get SOMEBODY fired that day.

--Bookstore Slave


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Bookstore Hell: Rude Discount Rat Mom Encounter


Carolanne 010a

From Trivia Grrl June, 2016

I work in a bookstore. Everyone expect Christmas and Back to School to be busy, but there's another time that can be very stressful as well; World Book Day. It's in March, and every child in England and Ireland gets a voucher for a free book worth £1 or €1.50. A few years ago, we had a group of school children in on the day to meet an author and spend their vouchers. Chaos, but good chaos; the children are enjoying it, we're making a little bit of money on the books, it's all good, right?

Enter Phone Mommy. PM is, naturally, on her phone as she walks up to the counter, cutting off two children who'd been waiting to pay, and dumps an armload of things on the counter. I try to point out the children. She holds up one finger and talks on the phone. I try to serve around her. She shouts at me. Eventually another worker comes to deal with the children, and I start scanning PM through. Two of the books she's buying are on a Buy One, Get One; this is important.

So I finish scanning, I bag her belongings, and I announce the total. She scowls, puts a finger in her ear and keeps talking on the phone. I announce the total again. She turns her back on me. There's a queue of small children behind her, and when one tries to step past her to pay - which I would have allowed, since she didn't seem to be in any hurry - she finally hangs up and looks back at me.

I announce her total for the third time. She throws down three vouchers. Now, they're supposed to be one per transaction, but we're allowed to waive that if we think it's necessary and I want this woman gone. However, while she is buying three applicable books, two of them are the BOGOF and so she's only paying for two books. I apply two vouchers and tell her the new total.

"No, it should be cheaper."

I explain that since she's only paying for two of the books, she can only use two vouchers.

"But I have three vouchers."

Yes, but one of your books is free, and I can't give you money off a total of nothing.

"But it should be cheaper!"

Wash, rinse, repeat. After about ten minutes - and my poor coworker is dealing steadily with small children the whole time - PM finally gathers up her belongings and leaves, still grumbling "But I have three vouchers!" I carefully hide what I'd really like to say and go back to serving touchingly grateful children.

--Trivia Grrl





Monstrous Customers: “WELL I’M A CUSTOMER TOO!”



From April, 2012

Hey RHU-ers! I’ve got a good one for you.

So, I manage a pretty quiet, laid back, local bookstore in a pretty small town. The owner also happens to own a bar down the street, and we frequently have various people coming to talk to him about bar business. Therefore, last Friday towards closing time I didn’t think it was odd that a man came in asking to speak with the owner.

I politely informed him that he was probably not coming back since it was so close to closing time, and that he should be back in on Monday morning if he would like to come back then.

The man then starts telling me a story regarding the bar that he wanted to speak to the owner. Apparently, there was a special on the board for $2 beers, but there was also a “deal wheel” that had been spun and landed on 2-4-1 beers. This wheel special negated the special on the board, since you end up getting two beers for $3.25, which is cheaper. He was therefore charged $3.25 for two beers instead of $2.00 for one, and they would not give him a refund… blah blah blah.

Here’s a short version of the ensuing “conversation:”

Seeming not too crazy at the time, he asks if there is another owner of the bar. I tell him there is, his name is so-and-so. Man asks if you spell that with an “e’ or an “a”. Meanwhile, a customer and teacher in town has come up and is patiently waiting at my register to buy a book.

I inform the man that I will ring the customer out quickly and try to find out the spelling of the co-owner’s name. (Keep in mind that I’m a pretty average sized girl in my mid twenties, and the other girl working is just 20 and smaller than me.) And now the fun begins!  

Jason2 026Crazy Man: “WELL I’M A CUSTOMER TOO!”

Me: “Yes, sir, but this man is waiting to buy something. It will take me a few minutes to try to find the correct spelling of the name. Excuse me for a moment.” (I begin walking towards the register.)  



Me: “Listen, I have nothing to do with the bar! I’ve helped you all I could, I run a bookstore not the bar! What do you want from me?!”

Meanwhile, my co-worker who has been sorting books in the basement comes upstairs…  



Me: “You’d better get the fuck out RIGHT NOW!”

Crazy Man: “GO FUCK YOURSELF!”  

Me: “WHY DON’T YOU SCREW OFF!” *turning to customer* “I am so sorry sir, this is crazy! I’ll get you rung out.”

Jason2 032Crazy Man: “I’M A CUSTOMER TOOOO!!!!!!”  

Awesome Customer: “You’d better leave right now buddy. You can’t talk to these girls like this!”


Coworker: “WHY DON’T YOU LEAVE?!”

Awesome Customer: “Listen, I’m a  high school teacher. I put up with shit like this every day with my TEENAGE students. Leave.”  


Me: *finishing transaction and turning to crazy man* “JESUS CHRIST! GET THE HELL OUT BEFORE WE CALL THE COPS!”  

Finally, crazy man begins to leave… while screaming AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS“FUUUUUCK YOU YOU FUCKING SATAN WORSHIPPING ASSHOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I apologize profusely to our customer and thank him for sticking up for us and waiting until the crazy guy left… but holy shit. All over a $1.25 at a different business! Thank god I work at a store where our boss encourages us to stick up for ourselves (cursing people out and all) if we need to. Needless to say, it took me and my co-worker a while to settle down.

Later, I go over to the bar to have a beer, calm down and tell my buddies who work there the whole story. It turns out he had gotten kicked out forever for grabbing a girls ass the same night of the beer special incident. And he had come in the next day, bank statements in hand, to tell everyone involved he “would have their jobs” and dispute the $1.25… turns out he never even had any money in his account to lose. He got laughed out of the bar by the bouncers, who apparently are harder to take your misplaced frustration out on than 2 girls in a book shop.

May all your customers be awesome,

--Your Local Bookwhore


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Bookstore Hell: Customer Vultures Invade Hoarders


BookbitchFrom BookAce, December, 2010:

It's been assholes to the left of me and vultures to the right this week, man. And it's not just me! My sweet-as-sugar co-worker who nobody could hate, he's that nice, has had two different customers scream at him in the last couple days!

By now everyone's heard about Hoarders melting down. My store did not close, afflicting me with a mix of relief and survivor's guilt. The vultures and discount rats began gathering days ago.

Are you closing? Is everything on clearance? Is everything free because you're closing? Why isn’t this on sale? Can I just steal shit since you’re closing anyway? No way will I buy one of those crappy Plus cards or e-readers, you won’t be around in a year.

The day before the big announcement I asked a man to take one of our free cards. FREE. And he says to me, “I dunno, let’s wait and see how your stock does. HAHAHA.”

Me: …=| “It’s free. It doesn’t matter what our stock does.”

Guy: “I…I know, I was just…”

Me: B|

It wasn't funny then when I was thinking my paycheck was on the line, and it's not funny now after knowing people personally affected here. (He noticed I was not amused and left quietly.)

Then later, an old man came up and slapped a book down. It’s a hardcover, 40% off for Plus members, 30% off for everyone else.

Old man: “I’ll buy this if you give me the 40% off.”

Me: “Are you a Plus member?”

Old man: “I was a member a long time ago.”

(We started up this Plus program last fall. Yeah…a long time ago. Sure.)

Me: “If you’re not a Plus member, it’s 30%.” (Still a good deal, honestly.)

Old man: *long stare*

Me: *GTFO stare*

Old man: “Fine.” *stomps off*

THIS IS NOT A FUCKING FLEA MARKET. And I'm not haggling just because you think we're desperate enough to be pushed around. At least use "please." It's not that hard!

Then today it was time for the usual dicks to gang up. First came generic asshole guy. Throws the greeting card he's buying at me along with his credit card and gives nothing but monosyllabic answers. The guy's pretty high up in police rankings, believe me, I'm sure he's capable of using a full sentence and maybe even "thank you."

Then came Bible thumper guy. After I muttered under my breath about hating the people who put the stickers on books, (because they put two different priced stickers on said book and I was like, "WTF?") the guy goes, "Hey!" He holds the Bible out at me and stares at me long and hard, pointing at it.

Me: *puzzled stare back*

Guy: "It's not good to hate." *walks away*

I wanted to tell him that if everything in the Bible is true, the head dude upstairs surely has a number of more pressing issues with me than my annoyance at the sticker people.

Then not even a half hour later comes condescending change guy.

I'm not good at math. Disorder-level not good. And I'm not ashamed to pull out a calculator when someone pulls the whole, "I have change!" just as I open the till (ignoring that I always wait for them to offer change beforehand...) because I don't want to shortchange them or be shortchanged. This guy has the change once the till is open. I ask my co-worker quickly what the even-dollar value should be because she's a whiz and she gives me the answer. The guy harumphs at me and goes, "That's so simple, you need to ask her for that? And they've got you running the register? Geez."

Then I got so flustered apologizing for my bad math skills that I forgot the answer my co-worker gave me and had to ask her again, my face burning at this point, while the guy huffs and puffs and rolls his eyes.

Thanks a lot, jerkass.

Not long after that came a discount rat, asking what the sale price on everything was. Turns out she thought we were closing. After I corrected her she shut up about things that weren't on sale, but she still kept pulling that move where custies lean over the counter and ask after every item, "That was on sale, right?" ARGH.

Got a three-day weekend though. Gonna head up to the gun range this weekend and use one of those silhouette targets. "What's that bitch? Did I just hear you say 'everything should be free LOL!' because thousands of people losing their jobs is funny? And you don't want a member card? And oh, you're too busy gabbing on your phone about your hook-up last night to thank me after I fetched books for you for an hour, but you're NOT too busy to interrogate me about the price of every item? Well, meet my little friend..."




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Crazy Lady Tales: "You're Stalking me!"




From Bookstore Slave, November, 2011

Bookstore Slave here with a short, but real gem, of a custy in northern California. After ringing a lady up for her books, she looks at the total and flips.

Her: Why is the total so high?

Me: I'm sorry, were they on sale?

Her: No! This book is $6.99 and that one is $7.99! The total should be $14.98!

Me *understanding*: By any chance are you from Oregon?

Her: How did you know that? Have you been stalking me?!

Me: No ma'am. It's just that Oregon is the nearest state that doesn't tack on sales tax. It's merely a logical guess.

Her: Sales tax? What the hell is that nonsense?! You're lying! You've been stalking me haven't you?! HAVEN'T YOU?!

Me: Er...

The manager swoops in to the rescue saves my ass, aborts the sale and re-rings her up. Apparently he missed the actual conversation, and was merely responding to a hysterical customer.

Her: Why is the total so high?! The price should be $14.98!

Manager: Ahh, you must be from Oregon. It's beautiful up there.


She bolted from the store, leaving her books behind. You know, I've met other Oregon-ians, and they just go "Ohhhh riiight," whenever I mention sales tax. This lady was the only one to jump to the stalking conclusion first. Interestingly enough, the police never visited or asked for either of us. I can only guess the police were "stalking" her too.

--Bookstore Slave


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Retail Balls Awards: Bookstore Discount Rat Gets Told



From Book Wench, December, 2010:

I've been reading RHU for a while now and I finally had a day that deserved comment.

You can call me 'Book Wench' if you'd like. I work a pretty big book store and we have a lot of regulars. Usually most of our customers are nice, polite, and good to talk to.

Not today. It must be Monday. Or a full moon. Or maybe our first real snow of the year has driven everyone bonkers. Doesn't matter. There is just so much dumb today I don't think I can handle it.

First is a regular who had a couple books he ordered come in recently. He and the family are asking all sorts of questions about different books we have carry, when we're expecting different books, questions about Christmas presents.

I get the lucky task of following this family around for 20 minutes and them not letting me escape! Every time I went to help someone else they would drag me back before I could run away! "Just one more question!" over and over again.

Finally the guy says "Can I just see which books I ordered have come in?"

Of course, I take him to the holds room, find his books and bring them out to him. I swear he DOESN'T EVEN LOOK AT THEM. His eyes are on a display the whole time.

He tells me "Oh, I'm broke right now I can't buy them for a while."

Why did you have me root around in the holds room to not even look at the books?! I could have easily looked up on the computer which of your books had come in!

Of course they leave without spending a dime while I'm left to clean up the mess their little piggies have left around the store while the parents took up my time. Bloodbooks

After that I got the lucky chance of answering the phone to someone who wanted some obscure book that hasn't been in print for 15 years.

I let him know that.

"Can't you order it for me?"

I explain no, once a book is out of print I cannot get it.

"Why not?"

I explain again how out of print means it's not being made anymore. I suggest he check online.

"Can you do that for me?"

NO I CANNOT. I let him know my computer is only able to check my own server and database.

"Oh.... can you check ebay for me?"


"Oh... how about your main competition store?"


Finally he relents and tells me he'll check back in a few days.

I try to explain the chances of that book going back into print are less than ZERO but instead he hangs up on me.


And best of the best?

Two custys who are looking for an art book by a popular local artist for a Christmas gift. I show them exactly what they're after without them knowing the title.

The woman actually doing the shopping is impressed, but her friend doesn't like that I "JUST ASSUMED WHAT MY FRIEND WANTED!!!"

Sure I assumed. Since you said "art book" and "popular local artist" and I only have ONE of those, it was a safe bet.

They see the price is close to $50 and again, the custy buying the book is fine with it, but the friend FLIPS HER SHIT at me.


She demands to know why the cost is so high.

I explain the artist is self published and it's to cover his costs.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH! She rants on and on about the price but I finally realize that I need not convince this woman since SHE isn't the one buying it!

Her friend makes her purchase and I can finally move on to one of our nicest, most polite regulars who has been waiting very patiently for my time.


The non-buying custy has seen we have an original piece of art in the store given to us by the artist whose book her friend just bought.

So instead of waiting for me to finish up with our nice custy she decides the best course of action is to holler across the store:


Frankly I've had enough of this woman's shit and yell back:

"IT'S NOT FOR SALE" in my most Superbitch tone and go back to helping Mr. Nice Custy.

Thankfully that got her to shut her noise and get out of my store.

And Thankfully I only have one month left of this crap until Christmas is over and I can go back to my normal non-Christmas shopper routine at work!

--Book Wench


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