What Bookdealers Call their Most Annoying Customers

in from Book Doctor Gwen:
As some of you know, I’m an obsessive-compulsive word collector. Here’s my lastest collection, posted merely for amusement.

What Bookdealers Call their Most Annoying Customers, and Other Useful Terms

credit card neurosis: condition of customer who is afraid to give you cc info over the net; usually they telephone instead. There are many different manifestations of this condition.

customs scammer: overseas customer who asks you to mark the item as a “gift” so they won’t have to pay fees or import duties on it.

demming: sending an email reminder to a customer who keeps promising to send a check but never does.

ditz: customer who uses the query button and thinks they have completed an order for the book.

doofus: customer who emails to ask a question about a specific book, and in doing so, copies your description in their email, and right there in the description is the answer to their question. Example: “You mention few inconsequential dings to covers, how bad are they?” (They’re inconsequential, doofus!)

eyeball killer: someone who types everything in ALL CAPS. (see also screamer)

flake: customer who inquires about priority mail but delays payment for several days, thus negating any time saved by ordering priority mail.

fly-by: customer who emails to ask a question about a book in your inventory but after you reply you never hear from them again. Term coined by Lee Kirk. Another term for this type of customer, which I heard from a guy in the furniture business, is a be-back, because they say they’ll be back but they never come back.

fraudite: a species of scammer, mostly seen on eBay, who claims to have some ridiculously valuable or impossible treasure for sale, such as a copy of Huckleberry Finn printed in 1935 and signed by Mark Twain.

gomer: a scammer who purposefully gives you the wrong country name in his address, hoping you won’t notice. For example, Surulere, Finland (Surulere is in Nigeria). Term comes from medical slang for an especially difficult elderly patient with mental problems, filthy habits, and an inability to communicate.

halfwit: epithet for Half.com. A longstanding slur.

homeward: descriptive of customer, item, and transaction, when the item is purchased by someone who is the author’s son, the publisher’s daughter, the illustrator’s
grand-niece, or any similar relationship. So called because the item is “going home.”

ignoramiana: general term for books pushing ignorant ideas such as crop circles, pyramid power, or UFOs. coined by bookdealer Gary L. Wallin.

jerk: customer who orders Media Mail then complains about the long delivery time. There are many names for this species, most of them far more colorful. See also wheresmybook.

lowball scammer: customer who sees your eBay auction for an item worth, for example, $200, and offers you $80 for it if you’ll end the auction right now. Lowball scammers are sometimes also snipers.

merrick: customer who writes glowing feedback about you but then rates you less than 5 out of 5. (Refers only to Amazon customers.)

paypal scammer: customer who insists on paying via PayPal, even though you don’t list that as an option, but you agree to accept it and ship the book, then the customer puts in a non-delivery claim with PayPal two weeks later. (PayPal routinely honors these customer claims even when the dealer provides proof of delivery.) See also naidoo.

naidoo: customer who pays directly with a credit card but, as above, disputes the charge soon after. In nearly every case, a credit card company will reimburse the customer and debit the merchant, so the naidoo walks away with a free book.

pubtwit: customer who thinks you have a warehouse full of identical new copies of the book they want. So named because some pubtwits address you as if they think you’re the actual publisher.

scanner scammer: customer who pretends to be a prospective buyer, asks you for a scan of your book, then uses the image to try to sell your book on eBay.

screamer: customer who types everything in ALL CAPS. This is considered to be screaming and is an internet no-no.

sharecropper: term used pointedly by one bookdealer [who?] to describe himself and other bookdealers who sell through the large portals, on the grounds that, as their vendors, we store all their inventory and pay them to do so.

sniper: customer who wants your eBay auction but bids nothing until the last 10 seconds of the auction, then bids just one $1 (or one bidding increment) above the current bid. This is an old term. Sniping is seen by many eBayers as extremely unfair behavior.

spaz: customer who promises to send a check, and continues to promise to do so after every polite reminder you email, but you never actually get the check.

sobber: type of scammer who claims to be dirt poor and can only pay, for example, $10 for your $70 book.

swag method: pricing method used when a bookdealer can find no history or other helpful information on the item in hand. An old term based on the acronym “scientific
wild-assed guess.”

wheresmybook: customer who orders Media Mail and two days later begins demanding to know where their item is. Term can refer to both query and customer and should be pronounced as shown, as if it is all one word.

If I have quoted anyone without giving their name, please speak up! Proper credit will be given. If I have left out any terms that you use in your own business, please let me know! and the snottier, the better!

All characters are fictitious and no similarity to real people should be assumed.

Gwen Foss
Book Doctor

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