REVIEW: (Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops #1) by Jen Campbell

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My rating: 

This Sunday Times Bestseller is a miscellany of hilarious and peculiar bookshop moments:
'Can books conduct electricity?'
'My children are just climbing your bookshelves: that's ok... isn't it?'

A John Cleese Twitter question ['What is your pet peeve?'], first sparked the 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller's collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor. 

From 'Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?' to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year's weather; and from 'I've forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter' to'Excuse me... is this book edible?'

This full-length collection illustrated by the Brothers McLeod also includes top 'Weird Things' from bookshops around the world.

So I've been working as a customer service rep for almost 5 years already. wow. didn't realize it has been that long. it also says something about my age though... damn. And I would have to say, that I've met (okay not met, more of talked) some interesting people. I've only worked for two contact centers; one of them would be the publishing company I'm currently working for and the other was for an automotive company which I was an employee for three years.

Although I haven't worked for a bookshop, I felt that I could still relate to this book because, seriously, customers sometimes ask and say the weirdest things. I am not joking. And those moments, make working with customer service enjoyable.

I'd love to share a few of them. I don't have much experience with funny scenarios when i started working for the publishing company because... our customer's are mostly in a hurry and it's mostly, just price and availability enquiries, it's very rare that they ask something outside of that... but I have plenty to share from my experience with the automotive company.

Here are a few.

Me: Thank you for calling blah blah Customer Service. This is Sandra. How can I help you?

Customer:Hi! Listen, I have a problem. Can you help?

Me: Depends on what problem it is. Can you tell me what's going on with your car?

Customer: The thing is... my car broke down and I need a new one. I need it to get myself and my wife to work. Do you think you can request that I be provided with a complimentary car? I promise. I swear I'd name my son or daughter after one of your cars in return. It will be some sort of advertisement

Me: ... I'm so sorry to hear about your vehicle, but unfortunately I cannot provide you with a new vehicle. You might want to check with used car dealerships to see if they will have any that will fit your budget.

Customer: Please. I don't usually beg, but I am going to do that now. If naming my first kid's not enough, then how about my second child too... then my third... and all my kids.

Me: Sorry sir. I can't help you. You can try to send us an e-mail, but I can't guarantee you that will work either.

Customer: I want to speak to your manager.

And after my manager and this customer spoke for about half an hour more... He finally gave up and said that he will be contacting the media about how we have treated him unfairly, by not giving him a free car... Sheesh.

And here's another one.

Me: Thank you for calling blah blah Customer Service. This is Sandra. How can I help you?

Customer: I'm hoping you could. You see I'm an inventor and I have a very innovative invention that I want to share with your company.

Me: That's good to hear. We do have a website where you can submit these ideas and inventions.

Customer: Oh. I'm so sorry but I don't have any access to a computer at all. Would it be fine if I tell it to you over the phone and you can give the information I give you to them? I'll tell you all about my invention, but if I find out you stole it I'm going to hunt you down.

Me: ... I'd love to hear what you have invented, but I think it would be best to mail it to us, if you don't have any access to e-mail.

Despite my best efforts to recommend the customer to send it via e-mail or physical mail. He told me all about his plan to make a bubble car. All the specifics, like engineering stuff, which I have no idea what it was or what it was for... So after an hour of talking with him, he finally ended the call and thanked me for listening. I actually ended up really liking the guy. And although he totally wasted my average handling time, he was a smart and interesting guy.

When I said that we deal with all types of people, and I mean all types. Including perverted ones.

Me: Thank you for calling blah blah Customer Service. This is Sandra. How can I help you?

Customer:I can see your underwear!

customer disconnects call.

And me being an extremely paranoid, checked myself it there was anyway people would be able to see my underwear... fucking perverted prank caller!

But there are those that are extremely sweet. *insert me being swooned over*

So this is me working for the publishing company.

Me: Blah blah Customer Service. Sandra speaking.

Customer: Wait. I'm calling Blah Blah Australia right?

Me: Yes. What can I help you with?

Customer: Oh okay. I thought I called the amercian number because don't sound Australian.

Me: You did call the right number. But you're right. I'm not Australian.

Customer: I do love your voice. though I have a thing... for... american girls... and I have a thing for guys with Australian accent sooo... I guess we clicked.

Me: *a 10 second pause.* uhhh thanks I think. *nervous giggle* I'm actually not American either. I'm a Filipina.

Customer: Wow. Nice meeting you.

Me: Likewise. So? How can I help you?

So I assisted Mr. Swoony customer. Turns out he was just asking for a book's price and availability. The good thing was... he left me a good survey!! So thank you Mr Swoony customer!

PS: I did not talk to this customer again. Don't get the wrong idea. And I didn't give him any of my personal details. It's against CS ethics. LOL :D

Anyways... I'm not sure where I'm going with this review.. I did have fun writing it. I really did enjoy this book and see that there's another one like this... And if someone ever thought of making a book based on customer service phone calls... You'll know where to find me.. LOL.



  1. This actually sounds like a fun read. I think I'll add it on my Goodreads. Great review! :)

    1. It was pretty fun! :)
      Let me know how it goes once you read it.
      And what's your GR link again?

    2. Hey! Here's my link:

  2. People do not have enough respect for the customer service/sales industry. I love that there is basically about how silly people can be. Your experiences sound about par for the course though and made me giggle :-)

    1. I have to agree. Sometimes, they hate on us just because we couldn't give them what they want... But there are others that are just too sweet.

      Haha. Thank's Britt! :)


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