Scotland, Books & Customer Service Flashbacks

diary of a bookseller

The Diary of a Bookseller

By: Shaun Bythell

Grade: B

A year in the life of a second-hand bookseller in a small Scottish Town. Shaun Bythell owns The Book Shop- the second largest 2nd hand bookstore. So it fulfills two dreams of mine. Owning a bookstore and living in Scotland.

But also provided great memories of customer service which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I can laugh about them now πŸ™‚

The stories of his customers well, I recognized all of them. I don’t think you need to sell books (I didn’t.) People are all the same and I laughed out loud in some places and shook my head in others. There’s the…

You can discount this right?

At least Bythell owns the bookstore. You have no idea how many people would ask me that and I just sold gift certificates and gave directions like I owned the place or could make those decisions.

The know it alls.

“I was here last week. The store was here a week ago. Are you telling me its closed down in that time? How long have you worked here?”

Aren’t you a mind reader?

“I saw these red boots in a Β window over the summer at one of your stores (there’s over 200 hundred stores at the place I worked.) I don’t remember the store but it wasn’t only a shoe store or maybe it was… Where was that?”

The scammers.

Perhaps the most annoying of them all. You give them what they want when you can just to make them happy. But I always wanted to say like, “I know the deal here. I know you’re full of it.”

The just plain rude.

Needs no explanation.

I think the only type of customer he didn’t get was the dreadedΒ flirts…

Some people need to understand that smiling at people is one of the top tenants of customer service. I have to do it. I don’t want your number I’m not going to give you mine and it’s not really impressive that you can guess my name even if you say you aren’t looking at my name tag.

And as good as I tell myself I am, as much as I say I learned working the other side, I also am the girl that has stood in a bookstore trying to decide what books I wanted to buy while loudly exclaiming I can get them all on Amazon and still pay less.

I’m going to knock that off.

I also thought his back and forth with his employee Nikki was very funny but she would not have last anywhere else.

So it was a walk down customer service memory lane. Strange thing though? As much as it could suck I loved the job. It was fun. Interesting. I meet so many people and I forced myself to get over my anxiety and do it. I kind of miss it- especially at Christmas time because let me tell you there is no power like escorting Santa through a packed mall.

I was going to say be nice to people who are working retail this holiday season but really we should all strive to do that with everyone. But maybe just try a little harder πŸ™‚ Remember its not the employees fault that you don’t have a gift for your wife at 6pm on Christmas Eve. Christmas does not come out of the blue!

Recommend: Yes.Β But keep in mind you may only find it interesting if you are into book selling, Scotland, book towns or customer service.


26 thoughts on “Scotland, Books & Customer Service Flashbacks

    1. I wish I worked in a bookstore dream job πŸ™‚ I schlepped gift certificates as a concierge at South Coast Plaza in Cali. But customers try the same stuff everywhere for anything apparently!

  1. Oh gosh I bet this would bring back some customer service memories for me too! I always assumed that bookshop customers would be nicer/cleaner/less creepy but maybe not! 😊

  2. This sounds like the book for me, I’ve always dreamed about owning my own bookshop while everyone around me moaned about how dangerous and financially unstable that is, so maybe this will be the book to put me off of it forever by reminding me that I’d have to deal with the worst people on earth: costumers.

    1. Actually there’s a place in the same town called The Open Book you can rent and run a book shop for a week or two. It’s through Airbnb. So you can live your dream without any of the risk (save the vacation money!) Last I understand there’s like a two or three year waiting list so I have plenty of time to save for airfare! You should look into it πŸ™‚

      1. That’s such a great idea, and I could just spend the days reading and talking about books with costumers while ignoring the business side of things without any fears of the consequences haha

  3. Oh, customer service stories… The horror! πŸ˜€ I love to think bookish people are different, but i guess it’s just wishful thinking.

  4. Ahh the days of working retail. I miss it and I don’t at the same time. My funniest moment (although not at the time) was having a lady tell me off for not folding the silk dressing gown she bought nicely enough before putting it in the bag. Lady, have you ever tried folding a silk ANYTHING?!

    1. There’s a place to do it actually through AirBnB called The Open Book in Scotland. I’m honestly considering it mainly because there’s a waiting list long enough for me to save the money πŸ™‚

  5. Oh, this sounds lovely, I wanna read it, I’ve always wanted to work in a book store. One of my favorites to go, although it is a new one, is Waterstone. 5 floors of all the books you could want! We also have a great library in Romania called Carousel Carturesti, you should google it, it looks amazing

  6. Omg LOOOOOOOL. The customers are spot on! If you mention Amazon to any bookseller, they can easily lose so many customers, it’s actually quite terrifying. The flirts are annoying, but I think you can also call for security or back-up if it’s getting too much to have them escorted out in certain places. Loved this!

    1. Yeah our security was very good and mostly people would just leave. But there would be some that were so obnoxious like hey man, she smiled at me first! I could never believe the gall in some cases!

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