I knew it was going to be a bad day at the very first customer. A short, squat, pallid-looking elderly lady walks in, followed by her even older, shorter, squatier, and more-pallid-looking mother. The proceed to gab and gossip, sounding like a couple of chipmunks. They head over to the Pop Standards section (of course).
Giggle giggle giggle. Gab gab gab. "HEY THIS SONG IS GREAT" one shouts at other when she has the headphones on. No worries ma'am - I'm glad the cashier at the front of the store was able to hear that you liked the song - oh, and he loves your singing too.
Then one of them walks up to me:
"Do you have any Julie Andrews?"
"Yes, she's in pop standards, actually, rather close to where you were standing." I walk with her over to the Pop Standards section and point out the CDs.
The Pop Standards section is almost as far away from the desk where I sit as you can get, by the way.
She wanders around Julie Andrews for a minute, and then walks back to me.
"What about Michael Buble?"
"What about him?"
"Do you have any of his CDs?"
..."Yes, they're in Pop Standards, approximately 10 inches from Julie Andrews."
I walk across the department with her and show them to her. At this point, I usually say something like: "It's easy to find anyone you want, because its organized alphabetically," and they usually are able to find the other people they want.
I say this and walk back to my desk.
Two minutes later:
"Do you have any Frank Sinatra?"
"Frank Sinatra? Do you have any? CDs?"
You mean the most popular singer in the English speaking world? Ol' Blue Eyes? The man constantly sampled, parodied, homaged, revered, feared, sung and possibly loved in the United States?
"Yes, yes we do," I say as I walk AGAIN back to the POP STANDARDS section, shift approxmiately one foot to my right, and point out the ENTIRE SHELF of Frank Sinatra.
The rest of the day I couldn't get the haunting image of this woman -- short, squat and music-happy -- wandering through the seven shelves of Pop Standards searching, hoping against hope, that there might be some CDs of Burt Bacharach somewhere...anywhere...where on earth could he be?