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Wait Until She Asks For “One Thousand And One Nights”

, , , | Right | January 23, 2023

A woman came in looking for a book at my bookstore. That’s what she started with. It was initially like pulling teeth for her to elaborate.

Customer: “I am looking for a book.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Okay, well, you’re in the ballpark… Do you have any idea which book, specifically?”

Customer: “It’s about dogs.”

Me: “Fiction? Non-fiction?”

Customer: “It’s a kid’s book about dalmatians.”

Me: “Ah! Okay, it might be 101 Dalmatians! It’s a popular—”

Customer: “No, no, no! 101 dalmatians is too many! I want the book to be about three dalmatians.”

This stopped me cold. I had to stop and wait for my brain to reboot for a second.

Me: “Um, okay… I can look for a book with that title, but I don’t think there are any books in print about specifically only three.”

Customer: “Well, 101 of them is way too many. Just fix it so the book is only about three or fewer.”

I stopped again.

Me: “You want me to… change the published book so that there are only three dalmatians in it?”

Customer: “YES! That’s exactly what I’m looking for!”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that. If you want the book 101 Dalmatians, I can help you, but literally no one in this or any other bookstore is able to change the story.”

Customer: “I would like to speak to a manager about your unhelpfulness.”

Long story short? After an argument, my manager told her that she could either buy the book as-is or she could shop elsewhere because she was being unreasonable. Yes, he did tell her that to her face. I was gobsmacked by the flying pigs at the time.

After fuming, she finally bought the book and stormed out, complaining about how “101 Dalmatians” was just too many dogs.

When Acronyms Get Biblical

, , , , , , | Right | January 23, 2023

I am in a bookstore, standing in this incredibly small section of manga, trying to find a new series I might like. A guy walks up to me.

Guy: “Whatcha lookin’ for?”

Mind you, this is not an employee, just a big man with a cowboy hat.

Me: “Uh… nothing in particular. Just browsing.”

Guy: “Ah… what is this stuff?”

Me: “Manga.”

I realize that word means nothing to him, so I add:

Me: “It’s kind of like Japanese comic books.”

Guy: “Ah. Like that Sailor Moonie stuff?”

Me: “Uh. Yeah.”

Guy: “Okay. See, the only book I read is the Bible. You know what Bible stands fer?”

Me: “No?”

Guy: “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.”

Me: “Oh.”

Guy: “Yup! Y’all have a good one! God bless!”

Me: *With a total look of bewilderment* “You, too!”

The guy was super nice; I just didn’t know what the eff was going on!

Trust An Editor: Literacy By College Is Not Guaranteed

, , , , , | Related | January 17, 2023

I was watching my niece, who was in either kindergarten or first grade.

Me: “I think one of the most fun times in my life was college. I finally got to meet a lot of other geeks like me.”

Niece: “I don’t want to go to college.”

Me: “Oh, but college is great! Why don’t you want to go?”

Niece: “Because they would force me to learn to read!”

Me: “Trust me; you’ll be reading long before then — and probably loving it, too, going by your genetics.”

Niece: “Oh.”

My niece is now in fourth grade and reading books well above her grade level for fun.

Though come to think of it, I haven’t checked what her thoughts on college are lately.

Lost In No Translation, Part 6

, , , , | Right | January 17, 2023

At a bookshop I frequent, they pride themselves in having a large selection of books in other languages, but obviously, there are limits. One day, as I am browsing, I overhear this conversation.

Customer: “Hi. I’m looking for [YouTuber]’s book but translated into Albanian. Do you have any?”

Bookseller: “I don’t think we have it — or that it exists at all — but I can try to look.”

Customer: “I’m sure it exists. I saw it on [Website], and it said it was available in Albanian.”

Bookseller: “Then I’ll look it up and place an order for it.”

A little later, I go to the till. I see the bookseller furiously typing away and then sighing resignedly.

Bookseller: “I am sorry, madam, but that book isn’t translated into Albanian, or into any language; it’s only in Italian.”

Customer: “How’s that possible? [YouTuber] is popular in Albania, too. They must’ve translated it for sure!”

Bookseller: *Turns the monitor* “You’re free to take a look.”

The customer looks at the screen in icy silence for a long while and then stomps her feet before shuffling out.

Customer: “F****** [YouTuber], not wanting to pay for an Albanian translation…”

Lost In No Translation, Part 5
Lost In No Translation, Part 4
Lost In No Translation, Part 3
Lost In No Translation, Part 2
Lost In No Translation

Dedicated To The Books (And In The Books)

, , , , , , | Working | December 29, 2022

I worked at a bookstore for a while, which I referred to as “selling to support my habit”. While I was employed there, a friend of mine published several cozy mysteries. On the release date for the second one, I brought it up in our pre-opening meeting as something I was going to be trying to hand-sell since I wanted to help my friend out. It hadn’t arrived yet, but I was hopeful that it would show up as we got that morning’s shipment unpacked.

Sure enough, when I checked on it an hour or so into my shift, I saw that it had been received, so I popped down to the basement to grab it and bring it up to the section to show to customers. While I was digging it out, I overheard two managers in their office. [Manager #1] and I loathed each other, but [Manager #2] had hired me in the first place and we got along well.

Manager #1: “I bet [My Name] doesn’t even know that author and just wants an excuse to be obnoxious.”

Manager #2: *Pauses* “You know she basically can’t lie, right?”

Manager #1: “Everybody lies. How else would anything get done?”

Meanwhile, I had found the book I was looking for, flipped it open, and — OOH!

Me: “Hey, [Manager #2]! Look at this! She actually dedicated the book to me and didn’t tell me!”

I showed both managers the dedication page, which clearly had my first and last names, the combination of which is unique.

Manager #2: “Okay, now that is cool. Right, [Manager #1]?”

[Manager #1] turned several interesting colors.

I did in fact manage to hand-sell all six copies we got over the next few days. One customer even asked me to sign the dedication page, which I found odd, but what the heck? Why not?