Intern Bren’s Team Pick:
If you’ve ever thought of opening your own business, this blog may change that. Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops is written by Jen Campbell, a London based writer and the manager of Ripping Yarns bookstore. She amuses herself, and all of us really, by chronicling the oblivious, rude and down right weird things that her patrons say.
How weird, you ask? This weird:
Customer: Hi, do you have any new books?
Me: We’re an antiquarian bookshop – our stock is out of print books.
Customer: So other people have touched them?
Me: Presumably, yes.
Customer: I don’t think I’ll bother, thanks.
(NOTE: I totally had to look up “antiquarian.” I thought it had something to do with aquariums. For the record it means “relating to or dealing with antiques or antiquities, especially rare and old books.” Nothing about the fishes.)
Customer: Do you have brown eyes? *peers over at me*
Me: Yes, I do.
Customer: My mother told me never to trust anyone with brown eyes.
Me: You have brown eyes.
Customer: If one wanted to steal your most expensive book, where would one look?
Here’s one relevant to your interests:
Customer: *holding up a Harry Potter book* This doesn’t have anything weird in it… does it?
Me: You mean, like, werewolves?
Customer: No – gays.
Seems like Cori and/or Kacy from the Real L Word even stopped in:
Customer: Hi, do you have that sperm cookbook?
Customer: That’s a shame; I really wanted to try it. Have you tried it?
Me: I have not.
And there is something super special about a woman who has this much immediate knowledge of Charles Dickens:
Customer: I have The Pickwick Papers, 1st edition. How much will you buy them for?
Me: *examines book* Sorry, this was printed in 1910.
Me: The Pickwick Papers was first printed in 1837; this isn’t a first edition.
Customer: No it was definitely first printed in 1910.
Me: Dickens was dead in 1910.
Customer: I don’t think so. You’re trying to con me.
Me: I promise you, I’m not.
Customer: *glares for a while, then picks the book back up quickly* I’m taking them to the Sotheby’s Auction! *storms out*
And just when you think that Britons must be the craziest people on the planet the Americans one-up everybody:
A customer in America, who ordered a very very old book, then claimed it was in terrible condition [which it wasn’t], sent the book back to us in only a paper bag, with pieces of paper stuck on the pages where there were photographs. The spine was broken, as though she’d put said book on a photocopier, had copied the images and posted it back to us – never intending to keep it in the first place. We reported this to ABE, who gave us the money to repair this book, and refunded her with a warning. We then got several very rude emails with choice phrases such as:
Customer: You will not forget this transaction. Every time an event goes wrong in your life, you will remember karma… I am a prophet and I bring you this message in the name of Jesus.
Amazing. And THEN, a few weeks later, we received an A4 envelope stuffed with pamphlets on how to recognise the devil within ourselves. Awesome.
But I think my favorite is simply:
Customer: Do you have any old porn magazines?
Also there’s has lots of British spellings and references, so I highly recommend reading the entire blog with an English accent.
Sidenote: Once I tried to do a British accent and a friend told me that it sounded like a Confederate soldier had moved to Australia for 2 years and THEN tried to do a SCOTTISH accent. So what I’m saying is maybe your British accent is better than mine. Hey maybe you’re even British. Win/win.