Customers: Can’t Live without ’em, Can’t Bludgeon Them

I’m here to report on what might be one of the worst customer experiences ever. And I mean “worst” from my store’s perspective. AssholeGentleman walks into the store and asks a friendly bookseller to help him find a book. Friendly bookseller finds the book for then customer who then asks if he can use the computer behind our info desk for a second. He then proceeds to look the book up on Amazon, drops the book on the counter, says he’ll get it from them, walks out. This is a true story that happened this prior weekend.

11 thoughts on “Customers: Can’t Live without ’em, Can’t Bludgeon Them

  1. Pete

    There’s a special corner of Hell for guys like that. Meanwhile, let’s hope his Amazon order arrives seriously damaged in shipment.


  2. vieve

    In the store, I used to try to explain why our prices were generally higher than Amazon, the woeful margins of book stores, and explain why people should buy from us anyway (so many reasons!), but eventually I realized people either get it or they don’t. I still preach the gospel of indies, though — I can’t not.


  3. ed

    Did you get his name? Because I think what bookstores need to do with such cretins is to disseminate a list of customers who have no intention of buying from the bookstores and every intention of buying from Amazon. That way, when he wants to get his mitts on the book sent to him from afar, he won’t be able to. And he’ll then be forced to petition his way back into the booksellers’ graces. And perhaps he’ll then realize the importance and value of bookstores.


  4. Emily Russo Murtagh

    Unbelievable. We had a similar experience a few months ago with a woman who berated a co-worker because we didn’t carry the latest John Grisham (we did, she just didn’t care to look) and then screamed for 15 minutes about how expensive we were and that the only reason she was shopping her was because her friend bought her a gift card. Before they left, they commented on some Obama stuff we had displayed and called him the most disgraceful president in history.

    There are some people you’re just happy to give to Amazon and Ann Coulter.

    Perhaps I shouldn’t equate the two, but whatever…


  5. Scott

    I think the phrase that is most appropriate and immortialized Bernard Black on the BBC show Black Books is “time waster”.


  6. Emily

    Customer comes in yesterday. Customer asks what our return policy is. Bookseller nicely says, 30 days as long as the book is in good condition and you have your receipt. Customer says “Terrific! I’m going to see if I can get it more cheaply at Amazon and that way I can return your copy if I need to!”

    Tact – learn it, love it.


  7. a

    sure this guy is tactless, but really it’s in his interest to go to where to book is cheaper. and frankly, people with iPhones are probably doing the same thing and you just don’t notice as often.
    I am a bookseller who routinely doesn’t buy from my own store with my employee discount because I can get a new book almost as quickly from amazon. I am acting in my own economic interest.


  8. Gavin

    Dear Commenter “a,”
    unless you work at Amazon, you are working direct against your own economic interest. The books you don’t buy from your bookstore are not paying your wages, not paying your store’s overhead, and not paying your local economy. Amazon = WalMart = they don’t care about your town. Talk to your store about getting the equivalent discount or just buy from Amazon and keep shooting yourself in the foot.


  9. Edward R. Knuckles

    There is nothing wrong with competition. Customers take advantage of it when shopping online. You could have offered to negotiate a more equitable pricebased on quality, shipping vs sales tax etc.; instead you ended up with nothing.


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