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The Customer is Always Right Paperback – June 18, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The author and his friend Brian are the primary players, respectively employed at a movie and game shop. Much of the story takes place inside the strange subculture that builds among disenchanted employees of any mass retail setting. Anyone who's ever been part of it will recognize it. Breaks are your time to gather at the Orange Julius to swap war stories while gawking at the all-female, all-attractive, not-remotely-attainable JCPenney Girls. You do your best to give each other the morale boost you need to survive, and sometimes you've got to engage in some high-octane shenanigans to stave off ennui.
The dialogue is light and punchy for the most part. The episodes of screwball banter with Brian were a highlight of the book. I'd describe the exchanges as a little Daria and Jane with a smidgen of Dante and Randall, atop a heaping helping of the author's signature snark. Very funny stuff - it's plenty sarcastic enough to be cathartic, but never quite crosses over to mean-spiritedness. There is plenty to like and little to be offended by.
The main story is only about 80 pages, which makes for an easy read. Filling out the rest of the book are three bonus chapters of Alex and Brian's further adventures at their new job at a grocery store, and two more previewing an upcoming sequel about the Lovecraftian nightmare horror that is Black Friday. If a shudder didn't go down your spine at those two words - congratulations, you never had to do this for a living.
TCIAR is easy to relate to, for as much as things have changed in the last five years, they apparently didn't change at all in the twenty years before that. But as the author says, observing people at their absolute worst somehow has a redeeming feeling to it.
At a little over 100 pages, The Customer is Always Right should hold the attention of those with ADD, especially those born back in the 1900s.
Anyone who has ever worked in retail can appreciate the seemingly endless day that Alex and Brian were forced to endure in this satirical comedy. This story predominantly follows Alex, an employee at a local mall in Pennsylvania. Accompanied by his best friend, Brian, and sprinkled with the antics of the Orange Julius slinger. This trio compares stories of working in one of the most underappreciated environments, dealing with the mundane corporate structure, rude/idiotic customers and the lure of the ever present angles at J.C. Penny.
This is witty and sarcastic novel that giving you a true look at the idiocy of American shoppers. It is chock full of humor and has everything from finding your identity to duels for control over the universe.
A must read for anyone who has ever worked in retail, and remember don't tick off the Big Shaggy Ostrich.