Nice Going!

, , , , , | Right | December 6, 2018

(It’s my first week in the children’s room of the public library and I’m alone at the desk. An older woman approaches. Note that making book recommendations is a pretty standard part of the job.)

Customer: “I’m looking for some nice books.”

Me: “Okay, sure. Are you looking for any specific books?”

Customer: “No, just some nice books.”

Me: “Okay. How old is the kiddo they’re for?”

Customer: “He’s in kindergarten.”

Me: *leading the way back to the picture books* “Is there anything he’s read that he’s really liked?”

Customer: “I don’t think so. I wanted to find him some nice books.”

Me: “Okay.” *begins pulling a few of my favorites* “How about one of these?”

Customer: *looks them over carefully* “No, not these. I wanted some nice books.”

Me: *a little surprised* “I’m sorry. Can you tell me a little bit more about what you’re looking for?”

Customer: “Nice books. Books with nice pictures.”

Me: *pulling some with award-winning illustrators* “Something like these?”

Customer: *looks them over carefully* “No, nice books. Where do you keep your nice books?”

Me: “I’m so sorry, but I don’t understand. Tell me more about what you’re looking for.”

Customer: “Books with nice pictures, that teach a lesson to children.”

Me: *pulling some fables and other books with morals* “How about some these?”

Customer: *looks over each one* “No, nice books. You should have separate section for your nice books!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I just don’t understand. Can you tell me any nice books that you’ve already read?”

Customer: “No, I don’t know. Just nice books. You must have some nice books here…”

Me: *giving up* “I’m so sorry. Please have a look around; maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for. “

(She left without checking anything out. When I relayed the story to my coworker, he showed me where we had the “nice” books: books from a publisher that cater to a specific conservative, religious group. It turns out the woman was right, sort of; too bad I had no idea what she was talking about!)

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