Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A pet peeve of mine

I take quite a few phone calls from people looking for a particular book on a particular subject. I enjoy that; it is fun helping match people with the right books. It's a part of my job that is important; it distinguishes us from the competitors.

But, there is a breed of people that seem to be attracted to biblical studies and ancient Near Eastern studies that are a bit odd. I get my share of those calls. Invariably they try to impress me with how much they know. Usually they will claim to know Greek and Hebrew, with a smattering of other languages, be it Coptic, or Aramaic, or Latin. But, they massacre the pronunciation of the words they are throwing at me. So, do they really know it?

Anyway, I don't mind that so much. What I do object to is spending a half-hour on the phone with them, giving them free advice, ISBNs, publishers, etc. Then, they say thank you (usually) and hang up. No order; sometimes a promise of an order. But, when I check out their account in our system (we have caller id), the total spent is about $50.00 for the last 2-3 years. Yet, when they call me they claim to have all these books...

So, finally, my pet peeve: People who take advantage of my knowledge and recommendations and then go shop elsewhere to save a few bucks. I don't mind them buying it elsewhere; that's their choice. What I do object to is that I spent over 1/2 hour giving them free advice. I should send them a bill, like a lawyer does...

I'd like to see them get that kind of personalized information from their discount book seller...

2 comments:

jdarlack said...

Hey! That's what librarians are for. :) Refer them to us. We'll answer the questions for you and buy your books at the same time! What a deal!

I am sorry to hear about that practice, though. One would have a hard time finding folks even in brick-and-mortar book stores with the kind of specialized knowledge found in Winona Lake.

Roger Pearse said...

This happens to us all, and is one of the problems with being a retailer.

Annoying, tho, isn't it? But some customers are simply more trouble than they are worth.