By Aaron Wilson
Before joining LifeWay’s communications team, I spent over a decade serving the Church at christian bookstores.
Between praying with customers, outfitting them with biblical resources, and helping people navigate difficult issues along life’s journey, it was refreshing to break up some of the more serious moments with a laugh.
Here are 10 of the more interesting requests I heard as a Christian bookstore manager:
1. “Do you sell plastic flies?”
This children’s leader was teaching the story of the Exodus. I checked our plague section, but we were clean out of pestilence.
2. “Do you provide mammograms?”
Alas, this customer was really trying to determine if we monogrammed Bibles.
3. “Can you help me find the movie, ‘The Shining?’”
This customer was actually looking for the drama titled, “The Shunning.”
Instead of requesting a film about an Amish girl betrothed to the town bishop, this customer asked for a psychological thriller about a homicidal maniac hunting down his family in a vacant hotel.
Turns out a vowel can make a big difference.
4. “Do you sell Bibles with the words of Christ in green?”
I suppose if you really wanted to go green, you could just read your Bible on your phone or tablet.
5. “Do you have a clergy shirt for a size 38″ neck?”
38 inches is the circumference of an average-sized pizza. Determining the Jolly Green Giant wasn’t guest preaching at this man’s church, we landed on the fact this customer actually needed an 18″ collar.
6. “Do you sell the soloist track for MC Hammer’s, ‘Can’t Touch This’?”
I would attend this service just to determine the context for this song being sung in church. Maybe this passage was being preached?
7. “Where are your books containing actual photographs of the characters in the Bible?”
If you squint hard enough at Leonardo’s picture of The Last Supper, you can make out a tiny Delorean parked in the background.
8. “Do you sell a book about end times prophecy that tells me how much toilet paper to stockpile?”
The last thing you want to worry about during Armageddon is having to make a midnight run for extra Angel Soft.
9. “Can I return this Bible? It has an extra book in it called ‘Obadiah.’”
After showing this kind lady that Obadiah was indeed in all of our Bibles, she decided to try out this Old Testament book she had never heard of.
10. Me: “Would you like to receive our coupons via email?”
Customer: “No, I don’t use email. Can you send them to me through Gmail instead?”
Not a problem! We even handle Hotmail and AOL.
Outposts for Ministry
I greatly value the time I worked in Christian retail. After seeing people ministered to in times of need—some expressing faith and repentance for the first time in the aisles of a store—I truly believe Christian bookstores are positioned as outposts for ministry in the local community.
But just like any ministry setting, there’s plenty of room for getting in a good laugh now and then.
What are some humorous encounters you’ve had while doing work for the Lord? Feel free to leave your stories in the comments.
AARON WILSON (@AaronBWilson26) is associate editor for Facts & Trends.