Friday, December 12, 2003

Your Friendly Neighborhood Bookseller



Jesse Crispin at Bookslut points us to a collection of memories, just in time for the holliday season:The trials and tribulations of the Barnes & Noble employee.


Her: (Extremely pissed off) I just don't understand you people! You leave to show people where a book is and then you're so slow to come back!

Me: (Dumbfounded)... Well actually I haven't been gone for more than a minute.. (My coworker walks up behind me) ... and neither has she.

Her: (Insanely pissed off) Well whatever! I need 'Call of the WIld' by Jack London.

Me: (Thinking) You're standing less than a foot away from a shelf that says 'fiction, alphabetical by author' and you can't find Jack London? (speaking) O.K. it'll be right this way.

Apparently she didn't hear me. She just stared at me in a "I hate everyone and I will destroy them by being rude until they die from it" sort of way. So I went to the section and grabbed the two different editions of 'Call of the WIld' that were in fiction. Meanwhile, she has remained at the information kiosk, raving like a madwoman about how I walked off in the middle of helping her because *I* was rude! My coworker is trying to convince her that I went to get her book.

I arrive with the books. My coworker says, "See I told you he was helping you." which only pisses her off more. She takes the two volumes from me. The first contains both 'The Call of the Wild' and 'Whitefang.'

"Did you ask me if I wanted more than one story in the book? No, you didn't ask me that."

She looks at the second version. It's annotated.

"Did I ask for an annotated version? No I did not. These are way too thick. I want a thinner version."

At this point I'm pretty well pissed, primarily because this woman is going out of her way to be rude to me. Barely resisting the urge to point out that she didn't specify that she did not want an anthology or annotated version, I take her to the childrens classics section and show her versions that are 'thinner' because they don't contain 'white fang' or annotations. She wants a blue cover. There are three versions with a blue cover. She wants the thinnest version with a blue cover. She gets it.

I ended up showing her at least 6 versions of Call of the Wild, and do you know what she did on her way out? She complained to my manager that I was inefficient


As a former B&N stooge myself I can attest to the veracity of the author.

It reminds me of the time a woman who was displeased with the luminescence of her quarters demanded I call a manager and open the drawer so I could give her new, shiny quarters. On Christmas Eve.

Other stories are not for the feint of heart, involving magazines in questionable places and customers who divulge far too much information about their sexual orientation or tastes.

An example from my own experience:

The time the men's room was doused in shit. The walls, the floors, the bathroom stalls. The ceiling. Yes, the ceiling. How, you may ask? As near as we can figure, someone took extra strength laxative; at least ten times the recommended dosage, and then proceeded to wait until the dire moment to do a hand-stand. I'll let the physicists out there calculate the force and velocity.

This sort of thing happens in every B&N store on the planet, with a frequency that is alarming and wholly unnatural.

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