There is nothing more fun at Booth and Noble than experiencing the sheer wonderment at the multitudes of people with what could kindly be termed "issues" in the world.
For example, here's your thought for the day. If you are deaf, or just extremely hard of hearing, don't call a bookstore and try to have a conversation. This is not because I find it particularly annoying to talk to you, but because everyone in the store is going to find out your personal business.
I mean, on the one hand, it's pretty damn funny to be a Grunt standing at the information desk screaming at the top of your voice:
"NO, WE DON'T HAVE IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME FOR DUMMIES. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO LOOK UP ANOTHER BOOK? I SAID, DO YOU WANT ME TO LOOK UP ANOTHER BOOK?
"YES, WE DO HAVE A COPY OF WHORE . WOUDL YOU ALSO LIKE ANOTHER URBAN FICTION NOVEL THAT YOU WOULD ENJOY? PERHAPS CANDY LICKER? OR, GIRLS FROM DA HOOD 2?"
"WELL, MAYBE NEXT TIME. I'LL LOOK UP THE NEXT BOOK FOR YOU. WHAT IS IT CALLED? I SAID, WHAT IS IS CALLED?
I SAID, WHAT IS IT CALLED?
"NO, I'M SORRY, WE DON'T HAVE TICKLE HIS PICKLE: THE HANDS ON GUIDE TO PENIS PLEASING ."
I always make sure to be more articulate and to be sure to specify the entire title of a book if I'm on the phone yelling in this manner. Well, it's for the customer's benefit. What if she wanted a different Tickle His Pickle ?
But then there's the more difficult customers: the semi-regulars. Now, the regulars at Booth and Noble aren't always all bad. Some are quite nice and it can be enjoyable to chat with them, especially when they also have the sense to leave you alone to do your job.
But then there are the ones who are only semi-regular. (Perhaps they need IBS for Dummies?). They're the ones who come in and know just enough of our "regular" patter to be annoying, but not enough that we actually care about chatting.
For example, a man comes through my line at the cash registers:
"Hello," I say as he steps up to the counter and puts his books down. Immediately, he snatches them back.
This is a bad sign.
"Aren't you supposed to say, 'How can I be of service?' he sneers."
I felt dirty, like I was just scolded by my pimp.
"I am not required to say that, sir."
"What about, 'How can I assist you?'"
"Nope. I don't have to say anything except, 'Do you want to save 10% with a membership card'."
"What if I need...assistance." He turned his head, coyly.
"We have an extensive self-help section, if that's what you need."
"What if I need your assistance?"
"Well, then I'd be happy to scan your books." And at that I grabbed his books and started to scan them.
There was a slight pause.
"Aren't you going to ask me if I can save 10% with a membership card?"