I got an amazing email from Sadie!

“ust have to say first of all, your comic is the highlight of many a day at our store in New Hampshire. Just about the entire staff reads it now, and we are grateful that our misery is shared across the span of stores!

But really, what I have to write about is an experience that myself, a few of my fellow booksellers had at the store today. You usually see horror stories at this time of year, but my tale is about the most patient, calm, understanding and honestly generous customer I think I’ve ever met.

A little background for you first: I’m the bargain lead in my store, one of the few existing in the position left in the company. I’ve been with the Newington store for 14 years now, and I’m the “hole filler” so to speak. I’ve worked every department; I know my stock, and I’m just about OCD as can be with my organization. Most new hires mistake me for a member of management (until they hear a non-workplace-friendly tirade about people being unable to follow Promo and Store List from a PDT!)

So, this being the last day of the Black Friday sale, I was in the habit of pointing that fact out to just about every customer I saw even glancing at the Collectible Edition Leatherbounds. I pointed this out to one customer who proceeded to ask me if I had any more copies of a particular title in stock. Being OCD about my stock, I knew that I had indeed had 8 more copies of said book, which he immediately informed me that he wanted. All of them. Over the course of the next two hours, he picked out at least 10 titles from the collection, and asked me to fetch everything I had in stock for him. Sometime during the customer service experience, I noted that he had a pronounced accent, and finally gave into my curiosity to ask him “Why?”

As it turned out, he is Nigerian, and more than half of the total of his purchase would be sent back to his home country to be donated to schools and reading programs. Of the rest, part he would keep, and part he would gift. (I melted at this point, and told myself that the extra work would be worth it.) Two hours after our initial conversation, after partnering with the MOD, and head cashier, and absconding with another bookseller to ring up what I was carting to the registers, we had everything in the register, to the tune of a whopping $4,872.01.

My coworker, Charlotte, was quite gleeful to tell him that the Membership he was signing up for would save him $487.20; at that point, the 25$ fee seemed a paltry thing to even mention!

Two hours and thirty minutes after my initial interaction with him….

The register crashed.

As Charlotte and I stared at each other about ready to cry, and the manager was on the phone with store support and then sales audit, the customer calmly stated that he’d just go over and have some lunch while we got this all sorted out. I came to learn that he didn’t leave the store, and bought food from the café. At that point, I suggested to the store manager (Lisa, who is amazing!) that we comp his lunch. She agreed with me, and we refunded him his meal, to which he was genuinely shocked. By the time he’d finished, we (Charlotte, myself, and the head cashier Tamsyn) had managed to get the 400+ items rung up again, this time, into two separate transactions. Transaction A went through without a hitch; Transaction B, however, despite being the same size (line item and dollar value-wise) crashed the register, yet again.

We repeated the entire conversation with Store support that had been exchanged no more than thirty minutes earlier. By this time, all of his books were in boxes, waiting to be brought out to his waiting SUV. We had little way of knowing what titles had been paid for, and what hadn’t without going through all the boxes all over again. The customer at this point, we expected to get angry, but he just calmly took it all in, and offered to head to the nearest bank to get cash, if that would help. With a resounding “yes” echoing after him, he departed, while we sorted out the mess we’d made. Remember what I said about being OCD? I have a Store List made of all the Collectible Editions; I keep it for shortlisting purposes, since the Home Office can’t keep me in stock of the titles that sell well in my store. Referring to that, I knew what titles had zeroed out because of Transaction A, and I could reference what I had left in stock to root out what the boxes contained for Transaction B.

We come to find out, from store support, that the register(s) we had been using were not up to date on software. Instead of running the update from 2013, those two registers, that had both crashed in the middle of transactions (or while waiting for confirmation of his credit card swipe) were running software dated from 2008!! Three hours after my initial conversation with this customer, we moved into our music department to take over one of those registers (both of which, were promised by Store Support to be in good working order, and shouldn’t crash on us..) To play it safe, Transaction B turned into Transactions B, C, and D. We put every coupon we could into those three transactions, plus his membership (thank the bookgods!), and I threw in a bag of Godiva just for good measure. We got him loaded into his car, smiling and happy, with no angry explosions of temper, no sour looks or snide remarks. I got a healthy handshake, and a clasped shoulder before he drove off.

I wish every customer could be so nice, and so understanding. I wish everyone could learn a lesson from this one guy, not only about patience, but jeeze, honestly, just about life in general. And not just at this time of year. He gave me hope for humanity. I choose to believe him. We all hear about the terror customers: the ones that make us want to cry or drink, or swear or all of the above. The good ones are still out there; quietly doing their deeds, and going about their ways. We should remember them too!

Brighten your day!”

What an awesome story. There ARE good people out there shopping! Thank you so much for the email, Sadie!