Sunday, October 16, 2005

Do I look like a criminal?

I spent a few fun hours yesterday shopping at a couple UBS and Borders. I went into a new UBS that someone had recommended to me. It was fairly large and very messy but that didn't bother me. I started in the romance section when the clerk approached me and asked if I needed help finding anything. Of course, I assured her I was just browsing and she went away for about 2 minutes. Then she came back and noticed that I was using my PDA. I am a notorious list maker and I keep everything on my PDA. So I was looking through my book list when she 'caught' me. Well, the woman wouldn't leave me alone! She kept coming and going every two minutes asking me questions about it, 'what do I have on my list', 'why do I need a list', etc. I had picked up a book and had tucked it under my arm, then put it back when I changed my mind. She must have noticed it, because when she came back two minutes later she asked why I had put the book down!!! Can you believe this?

Well, she was starting to piss me off. I wandered over to sci/fi, then general fiction, and each time she would find me and start asking me questions and talking about what she liked to read. I was trying to ignore her and giving her vague answers. Then she says 'You must be a book scout' in a very accusatory tone. What the hell is that? I think my PDA was really bugging her too. So I asked her what a book scout was and she gave me some vague answer. Finally, I asked where the women's fiction section was and she directed me to a little corner alcove. I'm browsing there kind of hunched down looking for something on the bottom row when I spot HER again, a couple feet away pretending to look out the window!!!! ARGH!! I can't believe this crap.

She was stalking me! She was acting like I was some kind of shoplifter or something and the PDA thing I could tell was really bothering her. At this point I'm trying to figure out how to gracefully exit the store, but I'm the only customer in there. So I grab a book I spotted on a messy pile (Kenyon, I don't even read Kenyon, maybe someone wants it :), paid and sprinted out the door. Come to find out while I was paying for the book that she was the owner of the store! I guess the books were her babies and she was afraid I was going to steal them.

So someone tell me, what is a book scout??

Damn, that store had potential and I let her chase me out! Well, next time I go back (maybe next year) I'm going to put on my kickass self and stand up to that stalker! I'm such a wimp. All I had to say was "Thank you, but if I need any help I'll come find you" or something like that. Or if that doesn't work, I can be rude. Really, when I get pissed off by a clerk I have been known to embarrass the crap out of my kids.


Misty G said...

Maybe a book scout is someone who owns or works for someone who owns a UBS and goes to other UBS's to get or "scout" for hard to find books....either way, if she's like that with all of her customers I'm suprised she has any at all.

CindyS said...

A book scout? Never heard of it but I think I'm with Misty. Hey, if you have a book in your store worth a mint and you don't know it, your problem.

Nothing will get me to leave a store faster than someone who hovers. It's like 'bitch, please, I'm shopping here!'.

My mom is even worse. We think that there is a taped version in our local Zellers store that would direct security to certain aisles. It would happen three or four times while in the store. A couple of times my mother realized that she was in the aisle they were calling security to and she was the only one there. My mother doesn't shop there anymore. It is so obvious that it got to the point where my husband and I would run to the aisle mentioned to scout out the security - they didn't exist. I mean c'mon, who do they think they are kidding?

As to shop owners of bookstores. There is one UBS that I go to where the lady behind the counter is very friendly. So friendly that a simple run in and check for a book can take an hour. I sometimes think that they are bored (hey, I used to work alone in a store and you'd do anything to break up the monotony) so maybe not take it too personally although being accused of anything would piss me off.

I've also been asked about my lists. I can't be the only person who comes into the store prepared am I?


Tara Marie said...

Misty has it right. I have a friend who owns a UBS and if you have several UBSs in your area this happens, basically checking out the competition and seeing what they stock the most etc.
There is a UBS about an hour away that has treats customers this way, following and asking questions. I never quite understand the reasoning.

Rosario said...

I think book scout could be one of my dream jobs ;-)

ReneeW said...

Yes, I think Misty nailed it. I didn't know there was such a thing. I'm with you Rosario, I want that job, badly :) I'll try going back one more time and see if I can be more assertive now that I have her number.

Jay said...

ill, I wouldn't have bought anything from her. And depending on how annoyed I was I might have even told her that she was the reason she wasn't getting my $4.50.

There was a book sale this weekend and I took the trade list to see if I could find anything off of it and some woman looked at me like I was crazy because I had such a long list. I kind of just laughed it off and made a joke about wanting too many books. It was easier than trying to explain.

Kristie J said...

Now you see - you need an alter-ego, someone to bring out to get all kickassy for you. That is so the kind of thing I would do buy a book I don't really want, just to make a graceful exit. That's why I invented one for myself.

ReneeW said...

Jay - That idea flashed across my mind, but I just couldn't do it.

Kristie - LOL. I manage to bring out my kickass self with clerks when I'm prepared ahead of time for a confrontation (like when I want to return or exchange something) OR when something doesn't ring up on sale when I know it was on sale and I think they're trying to rip me off :)

Megan Frampton said...

I think you should go back and tell her as soon as you get in the store that you don't want to be followed around. Maybe tell her you keep a list, and if she has a problem with you using it, you can shop elsewhere. I'm a wimp too, but can get quite obnoxious when clerks are clearly bugging.

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