"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How May I Help You?

Somehow, when you work in a bookstore, people come to see you, not as a regular human being, but as some sort of conglomeration of encyclopedia/ computer/ therapist/ confidante/ summarizer/ judge/ magician. I do not know why this is, but it is.
Let me illustrate with some brief, and most importantly REAL scenarios (or based on real scenarios) that I or my coworkers have lived through. Some are funny, some are sad, some are down right WEIRD.

(note: any and all books I may or may not mention are only for illustrative purposes and I am not recommending/reviewing or otherwise supporting any of the said listed books)

Encyclopedia:
Man: (Rushes through store to information desk, gasping for breath.) I have a strange question for you. What is the name of the doctor that works with Beaker, you know, the muppet that just meeps?

Me: (trying not to laugh) I don't really know.

Man: Well can you look it up somewhere?

I find a book in Self Help written by Kermit the Frog and find the name (which is Honeydew, by the way, Bunsen Honeydew). Customer thanks me and races back out of the store without buying ANYTHING.

Computer:
Lady: Excuse me, do you have "Falcon at the Portal"?

Me: Let me just look it up.

Lady: (huffs in exasperation) Well, just tell me where it would be.

Me: I don't know. I'm not familiar with that title. Let me check.

Lady: Well, the author's incredibly popular and sells a lot of books. I'm sure you have them.

Therapist:
Lady: I'm sorry, I'm kind of out of it. My sister died yesterday, so I'm just trying to figure things out.

Confidante
Little Old Lady: Could you please tell me where the books on the Kama Sutra are? My husband is too embarrassed to ask, but we're looking for something to spice things up a little.

Me: TMI!!!

Summarizer:
Teenage Boy: Out of these five books on my summer reading list, which one is shortest, but also interesting so it will keep my attention and what are they all about?

Me: Would you like me to write your paper for you too?

Judge:
Man: I'm looking for books on indoor gardening.

Me: Let me see what the computer says we have. (scroll through several pages) It doesn't look like we have anything in stock.

Man: No, I saw something a couple pages back (points at book on hydroponic marijuana)

Me: (in calm, even, bored tone) Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that was what you were looking for. (Yes, we sell books on this. I just show people to the books, that's all)

Man: (snaps) No comments, please, just show me to the section.

Magician:
Lady: I was in here last April and you had a book on a table in the front of the store that looked really interesting. It had a blue cover and was written by a woman and I think it was $24.95. Do you know the book I'm talking about?


If there is one thing true about my job, it is that I am NEVER bored. Ever.

5 comments:

AchingHope said...

Ahahaha... The wonders of working in retail.

BTW: Have you found that book yet? The one with a blue cover that has the word "Magic" in the title and is about a girl named Marie?

Joan Crawford said...

Bunsen Honeydew! Thank God you told us because as soon as you mentioned it I too was driven mad with it! I can see myself doing exactly what the guy did. This post is awesome! People are so weird, I love it!

Blam said...

I've not only worked in retail but seen (and heard) the kind of stuff you're talking about occur while visiting the bookstore myself. Some thoughts:
Encyclopedia: Well, the sign does say "Information".
Computer: You could've just pointed the lady towards the section where you keep the books that sell a lot and are written by incredibly popular authors.
Confidante, Summarizer: Please tell me you didn't get these two confused.

Blam said...

PS: I've been guilty of asking sales associates at the bookstore to play Magician myself, but at least I know how ridiculous what I don't know is. Just recently I was even been able to help out folks in a similar circumstance; while in the checkout line at Borders, I stepped over to the Information desk when it was clear that a customer was looking for the D'Aulaires' beautiful book of Greek myths but couldn't think of the name and the sales associate wasn't figuring it out. I felt good about that.

SonshineMusic said...

I do have to say that when a customer has no idea what book they are looking for and I figure it out, I do feel like a magician and it usually gives me a bit of a high. (if the customer is not obnoxious and actually realizes that I did just perform magic :P)