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    Foretelling Will Be The Death Of You

    | Detroit, MI, USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid

    (I am managing a small bookstore, and a coworker who is usually very good at guessing what book someone wants based on minimal description comes up for help.)

    Coworker: “There’s a guy on the phone, and I can’t tell what he wants. He says he’s looking for something called The Death of a Toad.”

    Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar.”

    Coworker: “He’s getting annoyed with me because I don’t recognize the title. Can you handle it?”

    (I grab the phone. The customer sounds like a teenage guy, and he’s irritated.)

    Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

    Customer: “I hope so, that other girl was useless. I need Death of a Toad; how hard is that?”

    Me: “I’m sorry she couldn’t help you. I see she’s looked it up in the computer, and we don’t have any records of it in our system. Is it a new book?”

    Customer: “No, it’s a classic or something. I need to read it for school.”

    Me: “Okay. So it’s regular adult fiction, and it’s called Death of a Toad?”

    Customer: “Yeah, why is this so hard to understand?”

    (I do a more general search on the computer system, looking for any book with “toad” in the title, and don’t get any relevant results.)

    Me: “Is it spelled toad, like the animal? And death, like dying? I want to make sure I’m looking up the right search terms.”

    Customer: “Duh, yes! Death, like death, and toad, like frog. Wait… it’s not Death of a Toad; it’s Death of Four Toads.”

    Me: “That doesn’t sound familiar either. Do you have all or part of the author’s name?”

    Customer: “I don’t know, some guy. Look, how hard is this? It’s Death of Four Toads by some Mexican guy or whatever, and it’s a classic! Are you completely stupid? Death. Of. Four. Toads.

    (As he says this, a light bulb finally goes off in my head.)

    Me: “…are you maybe looking for Chronicle of a Death Foretold?”

    Customer: “Yes! Fine! It’s CHRONICLE of the Death of Four Toads! Do. You. Have. It?”

    Me: “Actually, I sold my last copy over the weekend. Have a nice day!”