After searching with much frustration for a book by P.N. Elrod in my own stores various systems, I figured I'd stop by the B&N on my way home from work. I wrote down the title, author, publisher, ISBN number, everything that I knew a bookseller would need.
I got there around 9:30pm, after my shift. The store was pretty dead so I figured I could get in and out quickly. The info desk at the front was unoccupied, so I stood there waiting. And more waiting. And even more waiting. No one even LOOKED in the direction of the info desk. I saw one or two people go by wearing B&N lanyards but they completely ignored me. That got me a little annoyed.
After about six or seven minutes, I left the info desk and figured I could ask a cashier to page someone to the info desk. Lo and behold, there's no one behind the registers either! "For fuck's sake", I mutter and go back to the info desk. At this point, I don't see any employees milling around, and there's a few customers in the front looking at books.
Finally, after another few minutes, a woman walks over. She looked incredibly unhappy that I had pulled her away from doing something else and didn't even acknowledge me. No "Hello, how are you?" or "Hi, what can I help you find today?". She just fixed me with a look and bitterly asked "Yes?".
Undaunted, I said I was looking for a book and that I had the ISBN number. I pulled out the paper from my pocket and she snatched it out of my hand! No "can I borrow that?" or anything, she just grabbed it from me! It took her a half second to type in the numbers, then said "No, we don't carry that. Barnes & Noble has never carried that and never will." Well, fuck, what's YOUR problem" I wanted to ask, but didn't. Instead of asking if I needed anything else, she just... stared at me. Didn't say anything else besides her snippy "never carry it" line, just stared me down and was silent.
"Uh... thank you?" I said and she turned and left. About this time, another woman had turned up behind me to ask a question, and the woman who had "helped" me still just walked away. After that, I just left. I noticed there was still no one at the registers as I walked by.
I know it was later at night, and the store wasn't too full, but is some actual service too much to ask for? That woman acted like I had kicked her puppy instead of just asking her to look a book up for me. I just don't get it.