Skip to main content
Cover for The Customer Is Always Wrong

The Customer Is Always Wrong

The Retail Chronicles

Jeff Martin (Editor)


List Price: 12.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


From mom-and-pop general stores to big-box, strip-mall chains, it is impossible to consider the American experience without thinking about the buying-and-selling retail culture: the sales and the stockrooms, the shift managers, and the clock punchers. The Customer Is Always Wrong is a tragicomic and all-too revealing collection of essays by writers who have done their time behind the counter and lived to tell their tales. Jim DeRogatis, author of Let It Blurt, for example, describes hanging out with Al himself at Al Rocky’s Music Store, while Colson Whitehead explains how three summers at a Long Island ice cream store gave him a lifelong aversion to all things dessert-like. This book not only shines a light on the absurdities of retail culture but finds the delight in it as well.

Soft Skull, 9781933368900, 192pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2008

About the Author

Jeff Martin edited the retail anthology The Customer Is Always Wrong and in 2009 released his fabricated memoir, My Dog Ate My Nobel Prize. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

C. Max Magee created and edits the online magazine The Millions. He has appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition and has written for Poets & Writers, The Morning News, and The Rumpus. He lives in Philadelphia.

Contributors Include: Thomas Allen • Kyle Beachy • John Brandon • Sonya Chung • Elizabeth Crane • Rudolph Delson • Rivka Galchen • David Gates and Jonathan Lethem • Joshua Gaylord • Lauren Groff • Garth Risk Hallberg • Owen King • Benjamin Kunkel • Reif Larsen • Victor LaValle • Emily St. John Mandel • Clancy Martin • Michael Paul Mason • Joe Meno • Ander Monson • Victoria Patterson • Tom Piazza • Marco Roth • Nancy Jo Sales • Katherine Taylor • Deb Olin Unferth