"From an outsider's perspective, booksellers may appear to have the perfect job," former bookseller Lindsay Mack wrote for an Insider's piece in which "10 bookstore employees reveal their wildest stories--and it proves truth is stranger than fiction." Among the highlights:
"Customers expect us to have every book ever printed and know what they are based on the cover's color."
"It's fine to say, 'If you like this type of book you might really enjoy X author.' However it's important to remember people have different tastes when it comes to reading and even if it is objectively a bad book they might have a reason for wanting to read it. Making a customer feel talked down to or disapproved of for their purchase goes against most stores' policy of making customers happy and want to return."
"If we don't CURRENTLY sell it, you can't return it. My favorite return attempt was a moldy, yellowed Bee-Gees coloring book that had been scribbled in. Mind you, this was in the '90s."
"A customer put her gum in the middle of a new book and put the book back on the shelf. I think that is this year's worst customer of the year for my bookstore."