You. heinous. bitch.
With that brief statement, I officially declare war against the bookstore at the College of DuPage (COD) in Glen Ellyn, IL.
I am taking a class starting tomorrow at UCLA (the University Closest to the Lombard Area) for my job. It should be a fun class (CSS and advanced HTML) and I look forward to taking it.
However, being a day away (well, a few days away at the time this incident actually occurred), I figured it's probably a good time to buy my book. So I looked on eFollett.com (Cod State's online presence) and found that my book is Patrick Carey's New Perspectives on HTML and XHTML, Comprehensive. eFollett had it listed for $67.50 new and $51.00 used.
Being the bargain shopper I am, I immediately went to Amazon.com, among others, to comparison shop. I'm sorry, but textbooks are a ridiculous amount of money that I don't believe for one second they warrant. So, any deal I can find on textbooks, I intend to take. If it's a book for personal reading, yeah, I'll buy from an independent book seller if at all possible. But textbooks are just painful in their pricing scheme. And I use the word "scheme" intentionally.
This is where I ran into a problem. eFollett said that my class required the 4th edition. Amazon didn't have theirs labeled as a 4th edition. In fact, Amazon only had a single edition available and it wasn't exactly easy to determine what the edition number was (a problem I have constantly with Amazon and they really need to work on it).
So I called Fish U's bookstore directly and asked if they could provide me with the ISBN number. The guy who answered said that he is not allowed to give ISBNs out over the phone. I completely understand why and half expected him to say this. They don't do it because they want you to buy from them and don't want to facilitate your comparison shopping whatsoever. He said I would have to come into the store to check it out myself.
I asked if I could speak to a manager. He huffed and then got the Divine Miss A.
DMA: Can I help you?
me: Hi, how are you today? [the requisite butter up]
me: DMA, I was wondering if you can help me out. I need a book for a class I'm taking in the fall. It's for my job and they are paying for it so they want to make sure that I am getting the best deal possible. They want to see a comparison of book prices from different stores before I can buy the book [blatant lie; but it served its purpose].
DMA: Well, we don't usually do that.
me: I completely understand, but I'm in a bind here. I plan to buy from you guys, but I need to justify it to the powers that be. Plus there's a discrepancy on the eFollett site. It says 4th edition and no other Web sites have a 4th edition available. I want to make sure I'm getting the right book.
DMA: What book is it?
me: Carey's New Perspectives on HTML/XHTML.
DMA: Hold on and I'll check.
So far, so good. She was pretty nice to me and I hope I was nice back. I even broke out the sugary sweet voice for her. C'mon! No one can resist Sugary Sweet Kapgar (tm) - I'm magically delicious.
Then DMA got back on the phone. This was when the beast reared its ugly head.
DMA: I need to get something straight with you... we are not supposed to do this.
me: I know and I under...
DMA: AND I EXPECT YOU TO BUY YOUR BOOK FROM US AND NOT SOME OTHER ONLINE STORE!
me: I realize that and I plan to but...
DMA: SO I'M MAKING THIS ONE-TIME EXCEPTION FOR YOU!
me: Thank you, I apprecia...
DMA: The number is 0-6-wu-nih
me: That was 0-6-1-9?
DMA: 2-6-7-4-7-x. I expect to see you HERE.
me: Uh, tha...
me: ...nk you.
Why, thank you for doing me this favor? I think?
My God. I realize that they don't want to lose business and that online e-tailers are probably taking a big chunk out of their earnings, but christamighty, do you need to be such a bitch to your customers? You could've said the same thing that the first guy did and I would've accepted it. I wasn't pushing the issue (well, other than by asking to speak to you, I suppose).
But to explode at me like that was completely uncalled for and thoroughly unprofessional. It was literally night and day when I was put on hold. Enzo Ferrari would be envious of how quick her zero-to-bitch time was.
For the record, I am buying it from COD. There is only about a six dollar difference from one bookstore to the next and having to deal with waiting for it to be shipped and risking it not arriving on time (which is pretty damn likely) makes the few dollars' savings not entirely great. You can't fault me for wanting to look, though, right?
Oh, I would also like to say that I worked in a bookstore before. Actually, it was COD's bookstore back in the mid-90s during a couple semester breaks from college. And we were more than willing to give out book information over the phone then to people who were clearly asking for it to compare prices at other bricks-and-mortar bookstores. And COD was even willing to cheat a bit by sending me out to scope out competing bookstores and their prices. These facts make their hardline on this issue that much more hypocritical.