Tuesday, October 26, 2004

And Decades of Experience in Being a Complete and Utter BITCH Troll

It's 10:30. I'm tired. I started my day at the pesky day gig at 8 a.m. Now I just want to get Kids reshelved and go home. I'm so not in the mood for difficult customers. But lo, who then drifts into view but Complete and Utter Bitch Troll? Of course, I do not know at first that she is a Complete and Utter Bitch Troll, but I sense that something is awry. For one thing she is, as I say, drifting - wandering slowly through the Kids section, head and limbs slowing waving about - just drifting. There is an air of lackadaisical slackness about her. I do not like to see this at 10:30. Frankly, I do not like to see this in a customer at any time of day. You may not be in a hurry, Ms. Customoron, but I have shit to accomplish, do you hear me? A customer without a sense of urgency is a customer who will drag me down, down, down into a pit of non-productivity. The only thing worse than a customer not in a hurry is a customer incapable of making a decision. I often find myself clicking the FastForward button on an imaginary remote control while slow people with poor verball skills try to articulate precisely what they are looking for or decide what they want. Paradoxically, it is my experience that these slow and indecisive shoppers end up buying nothing, which makes the time-suck all the more frustrating. But I digress.

I ask Drifty if I can help her find something.

Disgruntled Bookseller: Is there something I can help you find, ma'am?
Drifty: Yes. I'm looking for picture books of Dinosaurs for a four-year old.
DB: Let me show you the Dinosaur section.
Drifty: No. I've looked at those, those are nonfiction.

(I glance over. Yes. She has looked at those. I can tell because she has removed half of the dinosaur books from the shelf and strewn them about the floor. The irony of this behavior will become apparent soon, I promise.)

DB: Well, I can't think of any Dinosaur picture books that aren't non-fiction off the top of my head. Let me see what I can find in the database.
Drifty (preparing to morph into Complete and Utter Bitch): Do you have the A to Z book?
DB: A to Z book?
Drifty: Yes. It's a reference book that has childrens books listed by subject, so you can look under D for "dinosaur" and it will tell you what children's books are available.
DB: I'm not familiar with that book.
Drifty/Complete and Utter Bitch: I've seen it here before. I'm sure you have it.
DB: No, ma'am. I don't think so, but I can try to look it up. It's just called "A to Z"?
Complete and Utter Bitch (note that transformation is almost complete): Yes, it's the "A to Z Book". Libraries use it to maintain a children's collection.
DB (still searching in Books in Print and coming up with a couple of hundred books with "A to Z" in the title): Hmmm. Well that sounds like something our buyers might use, but I've never seen it in the store.
Complete and Utter Bitch Troll: You must have it.
DB: Ma'am, I've been a children's bookseller here for over 7 years, and I don't think we've every carried that particular book.
Complete and Utter Bitch Troll: I didn't ask you how long you worked here. I don't care how long you've worked here. That is not the answer you should give me. I've been a children's librarian for much longer than seven years and I know what I'm talking about.
DB: Ma'am, I was simply trying to establish that I'm pretty familiar with our stock and I don't believe we have ever carried that title.
Complete and Utter Bitch Troll: I don't care how long you've worked here. You don't know what you're talking about.

At this point I had several choice responses. I could have said:

a. "Ma'am, I'm sure the books exists as you say, and had you consulted it before leaving the library at which you claim to work perhaps you wouldn't need to ask me, a lowly bookseller, for assistance in choosing a book."

or

b. "Ma'am, I'm sure the books exists as you say, but this is a bookstore where we 'stock merchandise, not a library where we 'maintain collections.'"

or

c. "Ma'am, which library do you work at, because I would like to come there and pull shit off the shelves and dump it on your floors."

or, even

d. "Gee, ma'am, I'm shocked that a children's librarian of your vast years of experience wouldn't know all of the available dinosaur pictures books off the top of her head."

or, finally

e. "Ma'am, you are a complete and utter bitch troll, and if you do not leave right now, my head will explode but not before I stick my foot up your ugly, middle-aged ass. "

However, being the well-trained and customer-service oriented bookseller that I am, I said:

"Ma'am, let me get you another bookseller since I clearly am not going to be able to satisfy your needs."

So I paged the Baby Seal, and let her deal with the old hag.

6 Comments:

Blogger meateater said...

OH MY GOD. That is the wost. There are two things that came to mind while reading your awful story. First of all, WHAT A BITCH. You would think that a peron who needs to ask a bookseller for help would take the word of the person who works there as to what books we carry and do not carry. This is not an isolated incident as you well know. Many, many times people will try to tell me what we do and don't carry, or better yet what we should carry. Right like I have any say as to the merchandise that a huge, multi-million dollar corporation chooses to carry. That being said, I think we all have, in some form or another, experienced a huge bitch troll.
The other thing that is appearent to me was the way you responded to her bitchyness. Do you really think that she diserved to have the baby seal unleashed upon her. I mean really why not just call her a fucking bitch and grag her out of the store by her hair. You know I always thought that you had a mean streak, but really you took it to far this time.

5:59 AM  
Blogger ereshkigal said...

Amazingly, the Baby Seal was able to provide her with satisfactory service! My theory is that the Baby Seal's inability to read social and verbal cues in others made her oblivious to the Bitch Troll's negativity. I plan to keep this in mind and use her the next time I have an asshat customer. Who would have thought that she would prove useful?

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing story, DB! I was just today having a conversation with another bookseller about the things we would like to say.

I will never forget one bookseller who actually said to the customer, 'If I could pull the book out of my ass for you, I would!

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the future, whenever I see a customer coming toward me, I will just hide behind the Baby Seal.

ecban

2:25 PM  
Blogger SauciSquirrel said...

This is the single best post I've ever come across. You are my hero. Don't you just *love* retail?

In admiration,
fellow bookseller (quite possibly for Big Bookstore as well)

4:39 PM  
Blogger Bookseller said...

I work with Tiffany Lynn (who responded to your post here as well) and i just wanted to add in agreement that we probably do all work at the same said Big Bookstore you refer to... damn, if i had a friggin penny for every asshole customer/crazy and unbelievibly true stories aquired just from working there, id seriously be rich...

Fellow Disgruntled Bookseller,
Anthoyla

2:10 AM  

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