24 April 2014

Real Encounter or Punk'd? You Decide...

JLaw is shocked and appalled.  I think I am, too.    
Okay, y'all.  I had a conversation with a customer today that belongs in the hall of fame.  Or else I was punk'd.  I'm not sure which, but maybe you can help me decide. Please keep in mind that for the entire length of the conversation I was surrounded by small children and their parents because I was working in the kids section during a school break week.

Man: Yeah, hi, can you tell me if you have any New Age books? I've been reading a lot of New Age books recently and I'd like to see what you have.

Me: Well, we have a very limited selection in store, and it might not be worth a trip to the store just for browsing what we have in stock.  Is there a particular author or title you might be interested in?

Man: You know, my mom started reading these books and passed them on to me.  It's a funny thing to think of your mom as reading books like that.  It surprised me what she was open to.

Me: Yes, well, reading can definitely expand one's horizons. Did you have a particular book in mind?

Man: My mom and I recently moved in together.  I don't have any certain title or anything, but the books that she's given me and that I've started reading are books that you could say opened up my mind about politics.  And lovemaking.  Yeah. I see the world differently now.

Me: (Assuming a *very* professional tone) I see. Well, I'd say we probably don't have the books on hand that you might be looking for, but I could always check our warehouse to see what could be ordered in for you.  Or you know, if you're open to to second hand books, there's an excellent store called Troubadour that is in the next town over.  I've not been there for a while, but the last time I was in, they had an extensive New Age section.

Man: Yeah, that might work.  You know, one of the things that really impressed me about these New Age books was how supportive and welcoming they are.  Like, what they say about lovemaking. They're very open about that. Like, it doesn't matter what society says.  A relationship is between two consenting adults, and if it's mutually loving, then nothing else matters... LONG PAUSE ...



Me: (Feeling *distinctly* uncomfortable now). Um, yes. The consenting part is quite essential and...

Man:...CONTINUING PREVIOUS THOUGHT...and so my mom and I are thinking of exploring our relationship...


Me: Cutting in, politely but EVER so firmly: Sir, as I said, I'd be very happy to order in a particular book if you're interested, but I'm afraid I must go.  You can call us or use our website for placing orders.

Man: Thank you for being so, um kind. I really appreciate it.

Me: You're welcome sir, and you have a good day. Bye now.

What just happened to me?  The man's voice was ringing with sincere desperation.  Or  desperate sincerity, I'm not sure which.  One of my coworkers who used to work at a big box store thinks that this was just some guy getting his rocks off.  I'm not so sure. And just which "NewAge" books are sanctioning incest these days? Gah, I just don't know what to think. I guess it's better for me to have treated it as real, even if it had been fake, than to treat it as fake with the off chance that it could have been a real customer. All I can say is that I deserved an adult beverage after responding to such a conversation in a consummately (er, bad choice of words?) professional manner. In front of children.  Without giving the game away to any customers in the store who happened to be listening to my end of the conversation.


16 comments:

  1. I see it as a wise guy prank; an updated version of the old Dear Abby stunt where people - usually teens - wrote fake but heartfelt sounding deeply troubled letters filled with graphic detail. The goal was to get the letter published with an answer but the notion that someone was reading the letter was almost as hilarious. So the thirteen year olds say:)
    Loved the gifs!

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    1. Maybe you're right. It did feel pretty real, though. He was so damn awkward in the conversation, with so many pauses and stammers.

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  2. Punk'd, hon. Definitely punk'd. Precisely why I love you and your blog. Belle

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    1. Miss you, babe! And yeah, maybe you're right about that.

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  3. Good job being polite, ma'am. I have no idea whether it was real or not, but I'm super-gullible.

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    1. I'm super-gullible, too. And darn it, it felt so real. But who knows?

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    2. Ditto to that. It would be hard for me not to think that it was real. And also, I can imagine your face and it was priceless, I'm sure.

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  4. Oh my...bless you for keeping a kind, professional tone and not losing it on the phone! I'm sending a virtual drink your way after that day!

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    1. THanks--I'm definitely up for any and all virtual drinks after that encounter.

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  5. EW, gross! My vote is Truth or Dare or some kind of hazing or something -- the hesitancy was definitely creep-o acting! Hope you can shake it off!

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    1. And see, I just attributed the hesitations as legit signs that a man was in distress about the direction his life was taking. :)

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  6. Ahahahaa wow. I'm thinking it was probably fake. Though good job staying professional. I especially like your part of "Um, yes. The consenting part is quite essential". Good stuff

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    1. All of you who are voting fake are probably right. I just can't let go how authentic it felt. Or maybe that was just my authentic discomfort!

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  7. I read this open-mouthed.
    2 comments : Firstly - I admire your composure. Secondly - thank goodness this was a telephone call and he wasn't there in person!

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    1. Oh my goodness. I don't think anybody would have come in to the bookshop to have *that* kind of conversation. But maybe that's just another case of deluding myself? :)

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  8. I think it was a bunch of kids playing around, a dare, or bet, to see if you would take the bait. I have to say, you have more patience than I Emily, I would have hung up on him as soon as he started to go off topic!

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Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)