Tuesday, December 14, 2004

More Lessons from the School of Obviosity: Holiday Edition

I think I've made it pretty clear how I feel about the customers. While some are intelligent, and some are pleasant, and a rare few are both intelligent and pleasant, many are complete fuckwits or asshats, and all too many are both fuckwits and asshats. The level of fuckwittage and asshattery rises drastically in December for a number of reasons. One of the chief reasons? Christmas shopping brings a deluge of people who would never otherwise step inside a bookstore, satisfying all their reading needs from the aisles of Safeway or the book section at Wal*Mart. Perhaps their children have defied the genetic imperative and requested the complete works of William T. Vollman for Christmas. Whatever the reason, the levels of idiocy and pettiness rise drastically with each day that passes in December.

These are just a few of the things I would have like to have been able to say to customers tonight in response to the various queries and comments I received:

"No. You are not special. If you want to purchase that item you will have to get in line just like everyone else. I am not sympathetic to your request that I let you jump ahead of everyone else because you have just one item. In fact, since you are only buying one measly fucking CD, you should wait even longer. If I had my way, people would get in line for the registers based on the amount of money they are planning to spend and the quality of the merchandise they have selected. Since you're spending 15 bucks on that shitty Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CD, go to the back of the line, asshole."

"I understand that the phone rang for two whole minutes before someone answered. That's because the people who weren't too lazy to get off their big fat asses, put some fucking clothes on, get in their cars, and actually come into the store, were being helped first. If you want to shop in your pajamas from the convenience of your own home, you're going to have to fucking wait for me to pick up the phone."

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do mind ringing up five separate purchases for you because you want to use the 25%-off-one-item coupon for five different items. It clearly says on the coupon that you can use one fucking coupon per day, you cheap piece of shit. READ THE FINE PRINT, ASSHOLE. But what the fuck, I have all day, and I'm sure the people in line behind you have all fucking day. And by spending five extra minutes ringing up your five separate purchases, all the people in line behind you will be extra fucking happy and cheerful when they finally arrive at my register."

Of course, I can't say those things. I can only pin the customer with what I like to think of as my basilisk stare - a sort of half-lidded, dead-eyed look that my friends know means I am thinking, "you are a moron and I wish you would go away." I only wish it actually had the power to turn people to stone.


Blogger meateater said...

Amen and Hallelujah to that. At This time of year there are two kinds of people. Those who become nicer because of the season and those who become complete dickheads because of the season. It is the latter group whom you are refering to and i totally agree those people need to die.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I hate even more the customers who come in looking for non-gift books during the holidays. Perhaps they finally want to do some thing about the irritable bowel syndrome or have finally decided that now is the time to deal with their child's ADD. Either way, they're in the store on their lunch breaks searching for a specific book they were told about by a long ago therapist (not quite knowing the title, of course) and are pissed off about having to wait in line. They're busy people after all. All I want to say to them is, "It's fucking christmas asshole. You've suffered this long. Continue to suffer for two more weeks." That and, of course, "Would you like to receive our email newsletter?"

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First and foremost, I would like to throttle the bookreviewers who -- two weeks before Christmas -- pick some obscure, small press book and declare it to be THE BOOK of the century. THE BOOK you must read if you're human. THE BOOK that will change your life and bring you never ending love, happiness and prosperity. NPR is frequently guilty of such nonsense. Here's how it plays out: Customer "I want that new book about, um..., well it's about... the author's name is something like Thomas. I heard it on NPR." Bookseller "Which NPR show? Diane Rehm? Morning Edition?" Customer "It was a couple days ago." Bookseller "O-kay" (searches databases, asks other booksellers. After 15 minutes narrows search down to book published 8 months ago by small company. We just returned the only copy we had because no one wanted it) Bookseller "We don't have this on hand, I could order a copy for you. It could take 2-6 weeks." Customer "WHAT??!! I need it for Christmas. It was on NPR, why don't you have it??" Bookseller "It's a small publisher, they clearly were not expecting this kind of demand." Customer "I'll get it somewhere else." Yeah --Good luck with that.

11:49 AM  
Blogger ereshkigal said...

At which point we, along with every other store in the universe, order 30 copies of said obscure book. Obscure book arrives two weeks later, by which point the collective memories of the masses have movied on to the next obscure book. Six months later, we send 26 copies back to the warehouse. Until it gets mentioned again in the Washington Post Book Review which likes to throw in the occasional review of a book that's been out for a year or more. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

5:15 PM  
Blogger SauciSquirrel said...

I wish I could say those things too. Alas, much like yourself, I would like to retain my bookselling job for the time being.

Although I once did let my attitude slip further than is normally allowed. It was the night of the release for Harry Potter 5 and we, like many other bookstores nationwide, were open especially late for the occasion.

I am ringing up a mob of customers when this boy of 11 or 12 years old decides that it would be funny to place his hand atop the pile of Harry Potter 5's on my register. All the while, of course, singing "I'm touching it!" over and over again while he repeatedly grabs the cover of the top book on the pile.

My shining moment: "If you touch that book ONE more time I'm going to bite your arm off!" I growled at him. Sure enough, he stopped. :)

I cannot wait until my final two weeks of bookselling; should be quite interesting to see if I can hold my tongue then.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I won't step near Big Bookstore, or Huge Electronics store, or Gigantic Clothiers, or any other mass establishment during the time of any special release in schedule, or observence, or festivity which the automoton majority finds themselves free time to be lemming-ing around. -d

5:08 AM  
Blogger Gerbera Daisy said...

I, too, feel the same way about all those annoying asshole customers. Unfortunately, I would like to hold on to this job for a while so I have to bite my tongue and go on. I did have a bitch of a customer last week and I asked her why she was so mean. Didn't even phase her. She just kept screaming at me. I called a manager. The manager explained our policy the same as I did and the f---ing bitch said oh I didn't know that, she didn't tell me that, etc. I said yes I did and the bitch said no she didn't. I said have a nice day but what I really wanted to say was go f--- yourelf!!!!

8:37 AM  

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