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to expect WH Smiths to know this

(25 Posts)
LittleHouseOnTheShelf Sun 01-May-16 13:32:50

Our local branch has a poster advertising the latest Liz Pichon book.
DD was keen to buy it and so went in asking what date the latest in the Tom Gates series was out, however they couldn't tell her without knowing the title. They had been searching under Tom Gates and then told DD that there were no books called Tom Gates.
Luckily our local independent book store were more helpful.

scarlets Sun 01-May-16 13:35:35

I guess they're just generic retail staff rather than people who know plenty about books and authors.

GreaseIsNotTheWord Sun 01-May-16 13:37:18

What the pp said - they sell books but it's not a 'book shop' or a Library.

Now Waterstones - I would expect to know. But not WH Smith, it's just a shop!

WonkoTheSane42 Sun 01-May-16 13:39:02

WH Smith's is a newsagent that sells a few books, not a specialist bookshop. I wouldn't expect the staff to know a huge amount about books. I can't remember the last time I asked a member of staff in shop when the release date for something was - just google it? It's probably what they're going to do, so cut out the middle man.

Pipbin Sun 01-May-16 13:42:25

What an unpleasant attitude.
I hope if your DD ever gets a job in retail she doesn't meet someone like you.

Stylingwax Sun 01-May-16 13:46:09


PurpleCrazyHorse Sun 01-May-16 14:00:20

When I worked in WHSmiths (in the book department) I took it upon myself to follow the latest book trends and especially to spot the posters up in the store. It was however much more of a book/music/stationery store then, not the random store it has become.

RedMapleLeaf Sun 01-May-16 14:07:35

In the eighties I went in to buy a copy of Anne Frank's Diary and was asked who had written it.

Fluffyears Sun 01-May-16 14:09:54

I asked for a particular book in waterstones once just before Christmas. They told me they didn't have any but could order it for me. It was for DP to give to FIL for Christmas so i didn't bother. As I left the store i passed a massive stand with that book on it. There were 100's of copies so dunno why they said they had none confused

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sun 01-May-16 14:10:49

YABU, yes. Agree that if it was a dedicated bookshop, such as Waterstones, you'd be less unreasonable - but WHSmiths is a glorified stationers.

IceMaiden73 Sun 01-May-16 14:11:11

They are not specialists in books and only have the search ability that their system allows

CaptainCrunch Sun 01-May-16 14:13:35

They've never been any great shakes as a bookshop. I remember being more or less told to buy the book I was reading in the shop or get out. Totally different experience from waterstones. I don't know how they're still in business.

BertieBotts Sun 01-May-16 14:17:19

That's not correct. Perhaps their systems have changed, but when I worked at WHSmith (admittedly this would have been over 10 years ago) we had a dedicated computer to look up books by author, title, publisher or ISBN and could tell you what editions we had in stock, publishing dates and order books in specially. I worked in a small store so everyone took turns in different departments and I was trained to use that machine even though I was only Saturday staff.

Later they upgraded to newer tills and we could then check that kind of thing from any till as we could access the intranet. Today with internet access being cheaper and easier there should be no excuse! Perhaps the staff member didn't really pay attention to what they were doing though.

BertieBotts Sun 01-May-16 14:19:42

Oh but I see - your DD was asking about a book by a character name rather than author name or title.

Then I think it's more difficult. Books aren't really categorised in that sort of way. Unless staff have access to the full internet (which I doubt) they'd have no way of finding out anything about that book unless they happened to know about it themselves.

Flisspaps Sun 01-May-16 14:20:11

I'm amazed you've still got a WH Smith! Ours closed years ago!

sizeofalentil Sun 01-May-16 14:23:25

WH Smith sells thousands of things - you can't expect the staff to be experts in everything they sell.

Maybe that particular staff member was an expert in Tippex or something.

limitedperiodonly Sun 01-May-16 14:30:06

I opened this with joy as I love a bit of WH Smith-bashing. But not this time. I have to stand up for the assistant. I've never heard of these people either.

limitedperiodonly Sun 01-May-16 14:31:08

Unless you are having us on, OP wink

LittleHouseOnTheShelf Sun 01-May-16 14:33:32

The store has a massive poster filling the window which advertises the book and you can reserve a copy for a discounted price. We went in to do this and they couldn't tell us when we could collect the book and they couldn't find either the author or the title of the book on the computer.
I can understand them not knowing some obscure author but it is one of the best selling authors for that age group apparently and one that they always feature heavily in their advertising.

MattDillonsPants Sun 01-May-16 14:52:06

Of course YANBU. Ignore the silly posters with their biscuits!

Grammy80 Sun 01-May-16 15:19:54

I worked for them years ago and we were never given any information about release dates, offers etc - my friends that worked there have said that working conditions are even worse now. Even less staff but more things to do.

nancy75 Sun 01-May-16 15:23:23

I have posted this before, I wanted to buy a copy of Peter Pan, the assistant in smiths told me they hadn't made a book of it but the film was available upstairs.

abbsismyhero Sun 01-May-16 15:26:50

well if the poster was in the window didn't anyone just look at the poster? see the title to the book maybe?

they can and do look things up on there tills ours is usually swamped these days so i tend to find the ISBN (?) number online and order it in store i would order it online but it persists in sending me books in spanish

arethereanyleftatall Sun 01-May-16 16:14:23

Really?? You seriously expect a person working in the till, probably for minimum wage or thereabouts, to know about any author that you may know. How silly.

LittleHouseOnTheShelf Sun 01-May-16 16:16:58

I seriously expect them to know when a customer can collect a book that they have ordered rather than being told that you can pay for the book now but not be given a collection date, yes.

The book is out on May 5th, hardly a long time and it's not unrealistic for the store to be expected to know the delivery dates for books that are included on a special offer if you order them before the publication date.

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