Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pet Peeves of Working in a Bookstore

For three years I got to work in what many consider a dream job;

...I worked in a bookstore.

Yes, I worked for Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  And yes, it was fun and got to work with some fantastic people, (and thanks to the magic that is Facebook, I able able to stay in contact with many of them.)

Anyhow, there are a 101 funny stories from my time there and they were often the direct result of the absurdity that is the American Consumer.  People are selfish and our retail led culture panders to that selfishness by, well, pretty much giving them whatever they want no matter how badly they act. 

Over the summer, Barnes & Noble's biggest competitor, Borders, filed for bankruptcy. With their stores closing, one employee apparently got to declare what the employees of any solvent retail organization would never dare;  He got to list a number of grievances that the employees had with their customers.  So, without further ado:

Here is a Borders Bookstore's employee' “Things We Never Told You: Ode to a bookstore death”(and you can believe Barnes & Noble employees have a similar list)

++ We hate when a book becomes popular simply because it was turned into a movie.

++ It confused us when we were asked where the non-fiction section is.

++ Nicholas Sparks is not a good writer … if you like him, fine, but facts are facts.

++ We greatly dislike the phrase “Quick question.” It’s never true. And everyone seems to have one.

++ Your summer reading list was our summer reading NIGHTMARE. Also, it’s called summer reading, not three days before school starts reading.

++ It’s true that we lean to the left and think Glenn Beck is an idiot.

++ We always knew when you were intently reading Better Homes and Gardens, it was really a hidden Playboy.

++ Most of the time when you returned books you read them already — and we were onto you.

++ Limit One Coupon did not mean one for every member of your family — this angered us. Also, we did know what coupons were out.

++ It never bothered us when you threatened to shop at Barnes & Noble. We’d rather you do if you’re putting up a stink.

++ “I was just here last week and saw this book there” meant nothing to us. The store changed once a week.

++ When you walked in and immediately said, “I’m looking for a book,” what you really meant to say is, “I would like you to find me a book.” You never looked. It’s fine, it’s our job — but let’s be correct about what’s really happening here.

++ If you don’t know the author, title, or genre, but you do know the color of the cover, we don’t either. How it was our fault that we couldn’t find it we’ll never understand.

To this I would like to add a few I remember from my time at the bookstore:

* Parents that let their kids pull out 20 books and then say, "Come on the attendant will put them away"

* People that would come with a STACK of books that obviously had not been bought there and try to return them

* People that would grab a book off the rack and then come up and say, "I'd like to return this book but I lost the receipt."

* Customers that would come into the coffee shop and have a whole other meal from a different restaurant.

* People that would buy, "Eat, Pray, Love"

* When people would get mad at Christmas because we had run out of "Hanukkah" wrapping paper.  (We only had 1 or 2 rolls every season)

I'm sure I could think of more but this "Ode" pretty much sums it up.


Bob said...

Do you agree re: Nicholas Sparks?

Steve H. said...

I actually have no opinion on Sparks as I have never read him...

Bob said...

Yeah, his stuff is a little cheesey -- well, a lot cheesey, but his one work of non-fiction, that I know of, Three Weeks with My Brother, is pretty good.

Of course cheesey or not, he's laughing all the way to the bank