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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Trying to Remember... Part 1...

A few years ago, there were a couple emails going around that I found utterly delightful. I was working in a bookstore at the time (Gods I miss that discount.) and they were both incredibly appropriate to me at the time. I am going to jot down what I can remember here but I know that I am being far from all inclusive.

The first email, and as I recall this was eerily accurate, was a list of stupid questions people ask in bookstores. These are the ones I remember most clearly because they actually happened to me.

1. Excuse me, where is your information desk? (They are, of course, asking this question at the information desk which has a HUGE sign atop it proclaiming it as such.)

2. How do you get a Library Card? (My hand to whatever god you believe in, it happens. They get inordinately perplexed when you tell them they have to go to the L-I-B-R-A-R-Y.)

3. (Speaking of Libraries...) Uh... Excuse me... Are you allowed to speak here? (I was talking to my boss at a reasonably loud volume at the time.)

4. Hey, y'all got books with pictures of George Washington in 'em? (For those of you who are unsure of this one... Photography wasn't invented until some time after his death. And trust me, he wanted photographs.)

5. Hi, I need a book with photographs of Dinosaurs in it please! (Once again... Photography came later. I offered him books with drawings, paintings and photos of their skeletons. He treated me like I was an idiot for not giving him the right thing. He insisted that his son needed actual photographs of Dinosaurs. Eventually I had to just walk away.)

6. Sir, where is your magazine section? (Asked while shelving magazines along the ENTIRE DAMNED WALL LINED WITH PERIODICALS!)

7. Where do I find that book that's out by Harry Potter? (This was early on and at the time, nobody wanted to believe me when I told them that it was by J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter was part of the title. I swear, people would thrust the books back at me and insist that I had no idea what I was talking about. One person even went so far as to call me an idiot and asked to speak to my manager... And just so everyone knows... There was actually a book, once upon a time, by a gentleman named Harry Potter. It was a title dealing with economics and is no longer in print. I ordered it from an out of print book search twice for particularly dense, asshole customers.)

8. Hey... Do you guys ever sell these books? (No sir! If you can't read it while you are here then you ought to just leave it on the shelf!)

9. Where is your fiction section? (Now, not only did we have a section marked "Fiction and Literature" but there were several prominently marked sections for each genre as well. For my part, I could never resist showing them to the religion section and dropping them off with the Bibles.)

There were probably around twenty or thirty other questions on the list that were each accurate, hysterical and frighteningly true. If anyone knows any others, please let me know. If you know where the complete list can be found please send me a link to it!

Anyway... I hope you have all enjoyed my anecdotes for each question. Next week I will resume racking my brains to see how many inappropriate children's titles I can remember.

I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
-George Carlin-


  1. Harry Potter and the Bibles...ridiculous laughter. I was the lucky witness of such an occurrence at a local bookstore when someone asked the inane question about the information desk we were all standing in front of. I certainly hope I have never been so stupid, or at least hope no one was around to see it.

  2. Hilarious! I always wanted to work in a bookstore. You've shattered that dream. Thank you.

  3. @Melanie - I suspect that, every once in a while, all of us get to take a turn at being a stupid people. My biggest hope is that, whenever it is my turn, I manage to catch it and apologize for being part f the problem.

    @Nik - Sorry to shatter your dreams. If truth be told, I would go back to managing bookstores over slinging coffee any day of the week!