TALES FROM A BOOKSTORE PT. 2

Hey! Okay, so if didn’t know I work at a bookstore. Most of the customers are totally awesome. In fact, I have regulars I deal with who are tons of fun. Then again, we get those special snowflakes we have to deal with that try every one’s patience. This is one of those stories.

This story is totally true and, unlike the last post, this actually happened to me. Truly.

The phone rings and I give my bookstore phone spiel. A guy on the other end tells me he needs to return a book. That, in and of itself, is no problem, especially if the customer has a receipt and it’s inside the return window. Yeah, but this isn’t that easy. Remember we’re dealing with a “special” snowflake.

The book happens to be for school. In fact, the book is a textbook. Even bigger fact that this guy has already unwrapped the textbook from it’s protective shrink wrap. Whoops! 

“I’m so sorry,” I say. “Once you take the book out of the wrap it’s non-returnable.”

“Yeah, but you don’t understand,” snowflake says. “It’s not the right book. Once I got into the class and started working in the book I realized it’s not the right one.”

Wait! What?? Oh yeah, he’d already highlighted passages in the book . . .with a yellow highlighter. Then he realized it wasn’t the right book and he wanted to turn it to us and he wanted a full refund.


“So let me get this straight,” I say in the voice I used to use while teaching 5th grade, “you purchased the wrong book, opened it, marked in it and want to return it to us?”

“Right,” he says, “it’s not the right book and I paid over $200.00 for it. I still have the receipt.”

“The receipt isn’t the issue. The issue is you took it out of the packaging and wrote in it. That makes the book non-returnable.”

“But it’s the wrong book,” he says, as if I’m the idiot.

“I’m sorry,” I say, grabbing for patience. “But, you ordered the book and you wrote in it. We can’t take it back.”

He huffs out an exasperated breath. “It was over $200.00 and I can’t use it. I need to get the money back so I can get the right book.”

“I’m sorry,” I say, again, “but we can’t take the book back.”

“Look, let me just talk to a manager. I’m sure once I explain they’ll understand.”

As if I didn’t understand some mysterious something that would make me take this trashed book back. And, because I’m not in charge, I tell him to hold on. I contact the manager on duty and explain what happened. The manager actually hurries across the store so he can look me in the face to find out if I’m joking. Yeah, unfortunately not.

He laughs and takes the phone call and tells the guy on the phone the same exact thing I’ve been saying. Once he hangs up, he looks at me and we both laugh. Because, really what else can we do. 

So, if you order a book for school, take it out of the protective wrap, and write in it I won’t take it back. No matter what. Just letting you know.

See you later! Gwen

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