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These May Be Customers But They Sure Aren't Our Customers

While working the front counter of a Catholic bookstore you get some pretty strange requests from people that make you wonder if they have any idea where they are. For example:

"Do you carry scorecards for bridge?" 

"Ummm..." 

"Do you have postcards of Colorado?"

"Ummmm..." 

"Do you carry books by (insert your favorite heretic / dissident here)?" This one is at least understandable given the state of catechesis in the Church and the rather broad interpretation of "Catholic" by other bookstores. We have tried to cut down on this by posting a "Good Faith Guarantee" on our front door. 

We have also had a customer plunk down a sewing machine case on our counter (chipping the counter) and say he needed to have the machine serviced. Before I could reply he looked around and asked "This isn't a sewing shop, is it?" Our next door neighbor is a Bernina sewing shop and we have frequently had people come in and ask if the sewing shop has moved.

"Do you carry greeting cards?" 

"Yes, we carry cards for baptisms, First Communion, ordinations and a bunch of others."

"Do you have any that aren't religious?"

The winner, however, was a phone call we received when we sent out flyers announcing the grand opening of our expanded store.

"Do you sell furniture?"

"Yes, we carry all kinds of furnishings for churches."

"No, I'm looking for a new coffee table."

"Did you mean to call a Catholic bookstore?"

"Yes, I saw your flyer and  just thought I would check."

People like this make me wonder if:

 Walking into a bank they ask if someone there will dry-clean a suit. Or, when going to Taco Bell if they try to order a porterhouse steak. 

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Gabriel Austin April 21, 2006, 5:59 pm

    You should read a little more Belloc, he who wrote of a dead politician ‘While everyone laughed and slanged, I wept.
    For I had longed to see him hanged”.

  • cinemafia April 21, 2006, 8:04 pm

    I want to give you one of my thoughts, though I don’t know whether it will help you understand more, or confuse you more about the caller looking for furniture. However, there’s a very interesting store in my area has over the last few years simultaneously sold mattresses, religious articles, knick-knacks, incense, swords and knives as well as rented postal boxes and performed a variety of utility payment services. Granted, this is in Southern California and I don’t know where you are located, but these sort of ‘Mom and Pop’, ‘we-sell-or-rent-or-accept-payment-for-anything-you’re-willing-to-part-with-your-cash-for’ type of stores seem to be common in many parts of the U.S.

  • aquinasandmore April 21, 2006, 9:35 pm

    We are in a large city (600,000 +) where I don’t think I have ever seen such a shop. I do, however, know of a store on the east coast that is an upholstery shop / Catholic store.

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