Monday, October 29, 2007

When were you born?


I want to discuss with you my recent stint working in the children's department at Booth and Noble.

I don't work in Kids much. Maybe it's the constant smell of fetid old diapers. Maybe it's the general noise level that approaches the sounds of fifteen cats being spanked.

Or maybe it's the fact that I am generally repulsive to children.

Whatever the reason, I have not been in Kids much. That changed today when I made my way into the department to being my first shift in a long time.

I decided to take with me a stack of books that needed to be reshelved. Balancing those books and my PDT, and my phone, and my cup of coffee, was quite a lot to manage.

I was greeted by a woman who asked me if I worked there.

I stared at her, briefly considering my options. I could immediately run for the door, after throwing the stack of books at her face and leave, knowing that this, the beginning of the day, was probably the highlight.

Or, I could summon all the courage I could muster to look her in the face and say, "why yes, I do work here! How did you ever guess?"

She said, "I'm looking for the books that come before The Magic Tree House.

"Ma'am," I say, "The Magic Tree House books are themselves a series. There's no "prequel" like The Hobbit or Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

She looks at me like I just took off my pants and slapped her with a piece of cheesecake.

"I am a Librarian, Sir. I know that there is no "Prequel" to the books."

"Umm...Ok," I reply. "Then what are you looking for?"

"I am looking for a book that is EASIER than this one. For my grandson. He's going into second grade."

First of all, lady, it's almost November. Either he's in second grade or he's not. Or he's homeschooled. In any case, he should be reading more than Magic Treehouse books. Second of all, I don't know your grandson, nor does it appear that I want to. So pick your own books.

What I say is: "Well, ma'am, if you want to browse maybe something will come to you."

Later in the day, the Birthday Guy comes into the department. The Birthday Guy has some sort of savant ability - he will remember your birthday if you tell it to him. For example, if Birthday Guy comes up to "Sandy" and says, "What's your name," and she says "Sandy" and he asks "When's your birthday?" and she says "Feb 23," he will remember that and tell it to her every time he comes into the store.

Not the most amazing of superpowers, but interesting.

Anyway, he is also a creepy pedophile looking guy. So, of course, I'm keeping an eye on him in the Kids Department.

He wanders over to two women who have been sitting and chatting for a couple of hours together.

Let me repeat: there are two women, NOT WATCHING THEIR CHILDREN (who are incidentally making a mess of the Kids department, and I think one of them poo'ed his pants because it TOTALLY smelled like poo back there for HOURS afterwards), are Chatting IN THE KIDS DEPARTMENT on the tiny benches and table, which is kind of like a grown man trying to use a child-sized urinal.

Anyway, this Birthday Guy comes up to the two women and ask them what their names are and when their birthdays are. They are, of course, rather shocked by this. As a pickup it's just a bit creepy. As a "I want to steal your children," it's also just a bit creepy.

They rebuff him and he leaves. He walks over to another woman and asks the same questions. She says, "I don't want to tell you." He then responds with "If you tell me I will remember them for twenty years."

Now, I have to admit, he has never come up to me. Or, to think about it, to anyone like me.

Yes, he only talks to women. Which leads me to suspect that it's not a savant skill, but an amazing attempt to pick up someone. And although it hasn't worked so far...when it does...

That woman will get a birthday treat like none other.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Want My Movie!


Many apologies for the near-month absence of a new blog post from the Internet , but I am ashamed to report that not much of interest has happened at Booth and Noble. The truth of the matter is, it's not people have been getting less annoying, but that they have been coming to the store less frequently than they had before.

I blame it on Ozzie Davis.

But, this is not to say that those that have been making appearances at the local Booth and Noble have not given us Grunts a reason to hold our heads in pain and anguish at the state of the human race.

One such case I call "movie-lady." Movie-lady calls up Booth and Noble and speaks with the person working at the information desk, one of whose responsibilities is the answering of phone:

"Thanks for calling Booth and Noble, how can I help you?"

"Where's my movie?"

A pause follows.

"Excuse me?"

"I want my movie! Where is it?"

Information Desk Working immediately felt that this was a situation that required the expert advice and opinion of one Grunt in particular.


She forwards the call to me, working in the Music and DVD department, and I immediately pick it.

"Thanks for calling movies and music. Can I help you?"

"Where's my movie?"

I immediately decide to go into Computer-Help-Desk-Help mode. "I would be happy to help you with that query this morning. I just need to get some information from you. What's your phone number?"

She gives it to me and I type it into the computer.

Her order comes up. The computer tells me that the movie has shipped from the warehouse and will be in the store in the next few days.

"Ma'am, I see that the movie has shipped from my warehouse and should get to me in the next few days. I'd be happy to call you as soon as it got here."

"What name is it under?" she asks, violently and with an exaggerated sense of importance.

I check. "Vic Harris," I respond.

"My name is Em Harris!" she snaps back.

"Well, as long as you give us your name when you get here, we'll give you your movie."

"What happens," she asks, "if Vic Harris comes in and wants to pick up the movie?"

"Do you know a Vic Harris?" I ask her.


I stop and think about this. "Ma'am, I'm pretty sure that this mythical Vic Harris won't come in and arbitrarily ask at the counter if we are holding Leprechaun 2. Besides, he probably doesn't even like horror movies."

She responds: "You know, I asked that someone change my name on this order, and they never did!"

I respond: "Actually, it's impossible to change an order once it's been placed, but if you order again, we can certainly use Em Harris instead of Vic."

"Good," she spits venomously back. "I don't want to be known as Vic Harris. Do I sound Hispanic to you?"

I stop and think. Is there anything I can say to this woman to ease her pain? To make her feel better about her sad life that for three full days she's been sitting at home wondering when Leprechaun 2 would come? To complete her one and true life goal?

I respond: "Oh, apologies. Usted película no está aquí, pero el Duende 2 son la mejor película hecha acerca de Duendes malos.