I've been reading notalwaysright.com recently. It's a compendium of transcriptions of often hilarious exchanges between serving staff and customers.
Recently there was Famous Ignoramus:
BOOKSTORE | HOBART, AUSTRALIA
Me: “Hello, sir, how may I help you?”
Customer: “Do you have those books in that series?”
Me: “Which series is that?”
Customer: “You know, the one by that famous author.”
Me: “There are lots of famous authors, sir. Do you know what one of the books was called?
Customer: “I want the third book in the series by that famous author!”
Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but without more information, I don’t know which book you’re after.”
Customer: “This is ridiculous! How could you not know the ones I’m talking about? They’re FAMOUS!”
It reminded me of my own stint working in a bookshop in 1992 when I had a number of almost identical experiences. Going beyond the above basic encounter, my two favorite stories from that time:
- the guy who called up asking for "3 feet of black books". He's decorating his house, has just put shelves up, and now needs to fill 36 inches of this shelving with dark-spined works of literature. We sold him a bunch of remaindered paperbacks.
- the guy in the raincoat who spent a while with his back to us in the Sports section. My colleague Glynn eventually approached him with a friendly "can I help you?"... but regretted it when he saw that the guy was masturbating over a gymnastics book.