Monday, April 21, 2008

Romestern Times, and the Man-Dominanted World of Books


To be honest, I never know what to expect from a day at Booth and Noble. Will I find that the people that come in for The Last Lecture will be friendly when I tell them that the publisher didn't publish enough copies of the book? Will the stone me? Will the threaten that Oprah herself will open her mouth to devour my soul?

Being a Grunt at Booth and Noble is a lot like walking across hot coals in your bare feet. On the one hand, you will never experience pain like it again in your entire life. On the other hand, you get to experience the thrill of dying again, and again, and again.

Take, for example, my experience yesterday at Booth and Noble. While nothing extraordinarily painful happened yesterday, I found myself slowly dying bit by painful bit as the day wore on.

And, to be honest, I can't even take credit for this first story: it didn't happen to me. In fact, it wouldn't have happened to me if it had happened to me. I'll explain what I mean as I go.

The phone rings and a co-worker answers. She runs through the traditional Booth and Noble greeting: "Thank you for calling your local Booth and Noble. This is Jenny. How can I help you?" [note: the rest of this story comes from Jenny]

The man then replied as if the entire world depended on this one conversation: "ARE YOU THE MANAGER?"

Jenny: "No, I'm not. Is there something I can help you with?"

Man: "No, there's nothing YOU can help me with. I have a major problem and I need to speak to a manager."

Jenny: "Ok, I can connect you. Can you tell me what this is regarding?"

Man: "DON'T YOU DARE! DON'T YOU DARE! This is PERSONAL business. I'm going to report you to your district manager. Do you like your job, MISS ? Because you're not going to have it for much longer."

Jenny: "Alright, I'll connect you to the manager."

Jenny then transfers the call over to the manager. A few minutes later, the manager comes over to Jenny and myself and asks us about the call.

"Was everything ok?" asked Jenny.

"Yes," said the manager. "He just wanted to speak to a man..."

"...ager," I finished. "Yes, but was...?"

"No," said the manager. "He wanted to speak to a man . He didn't think women worked in Bookstores."

I should point out here that not only do women make up the majority of the book workforce in my Booth and Noble, but that they do in most Booth and Nobles across the country. In addition, all of my managers (5) are women, the Booth and Noble cafe manager is a woman, and the district manager is a woman.

We live in enlightened times. But just try telling that to Mr. Man on the phone.

So, just to cheer Jenny up, who was understandably shaken by this encounter with Mr. Sensitive, I showed her a new game. You can play at home as well. It's called "Romestern Times."

You take a Romance Novel (this is the first one to appear when I typed "romance novel cover" into Google Images), and a Western novel (this is the first one when I typed in "Western Novel Cover"). Read a friend the title of one of th books, and then the title of the other.

I guarantee that 75% of the time, you won't be able to tell which is a Romance and which is a Western.

As Romances are geared predominantly towards women and Westerns predominantly towards men, I guess we can see that there probably isn't much of a difference anyway between the sexes.


Cody said...

Hey, what about the music manager? Hmmm?

ahtitan said...

But what was the guys MAJOR problem in the first place?

Booth&Noble said...

Here's the funny thing, ahtitan: he didn't want to leave the message with any woman working. So no one found out what he was concerned about.

ahtitan said...

Perhaps his book on penis enlargement exercises didn't do the trick...