It's not often that I find myself at a loss for words, but just such an experience happened today at Booth and Noble.
See, we have this new book that just came out: YOU! You! has friends: both
YOU!, the first title in the thrill-a-minute series and
You! , which is like the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy.
Well, a woman comes up to me and asks me for the "staying young" version of the book. Now, I'm not a cruel person, but I doubt that this book is that much of a miracle worker. When she said it, I wasn't so much thinking this as I was seeing this. There's only so much a book can do you for you, lady.
Anyway, as I handed her the book, she stopped me.
"What are these?" she asked, pointing to the two other books in the series, which we have helpfully stacked next to the bestseller.
"Those are the other YOU! books, I said.
"Hmm..." She actually audibly said "hmmm" here, too, which was unusual. She went on: "Which do you think I need?"
Now, I may not know what to say in many situation, but I usually come up with something. But what do you say to an old, chubby, close-enough-to-death-to-lick-it woman?
Thankfully, at that moment the phone rang and I was saved from making what could have been the last decision of my life.
Later in the day I was working in the children's department when an older couple came up to me:
"Excuse me, sir, do you work here?"
As any reader of this blog will note, this is probably the most asinine question we get at Booth and Noble. What you really mean to say is, "Can you help me," but people don't want to ask that, so they ask something else.
Anyway, I say I do work there and ask if I can help in any way. She says, with an exasperated voice, "do you HAVE any books not made in China?"
Again, I stop. I didn't know our books were made in China. I immediately open one and - yes it is! In fact, most of our books are actually made in China. How fascinating!
She, however, was not fascinated.
"I refuse to buy or use anything that was made in China," she says to me, with a contemptuous upturned nose.
"That must make shopping difficult," I say, thinking in my head that if she went ten minutes without using a product made in China I would be surprised.
She turns around. "I won't get anything made in China," she repeats. "And my grandson loves Winnie the Pooh. Do you have any non-Chinese Pooh here?"
I'm sorry, but let me repeat that for you.
"Do. You. Have. Any. Non-Chinese. Pooh. Here."
No ma'am, all our Pooh is American made. And proud of it!