Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Phone Grunt


My apologies. It seems to be the norm in the blogo-net that one must routinely apologize for their late arrivals and missed connections, but to my dear friends I must offer my sincerest sorrys. It has been over a month since my last post.

My excuse, however feeble, is that I actually haven't been at Booth and Noble. I have been instead on a whirlwind adventure, starting from the foothills of the Northeast, traversing the dusty plains of the Midwest, and finally culminating in the moist happiness of the Far East.

But, upon my return to Booth and Noble, I was not disappointed by the tearful horror that greeted me. I took not one, but two phone calls on Sunday from what could only (at best) be described as mutant gorillas who learned how to speak but did not, as such, develop the capacity to reason or form coherent thoughts.

Imagine, if you will, a jungle of talking beasts. But instead of forming thoughts that make sense, these poor animals simply move their lips and emit a form of breath. By pursing their lips and moving their tongue into a number of complicated formations, they can simulate what speech sounds like. But they are as far removed from having an intelligent thought as my bookcase is from being edible.

But I digress. Two phone calls, within minutes of each other. The first begins averagely enough:

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

A pleasant elderly lady's voice peeks through the speaker: "Yes, where are you?"

The briefest of pauses. "...I'm in Booth and Noble."

"No, I mean, where is your store?"

"Oh! We're in the Native American Commons."

"Is that a mall?"

"Well...it's an outdoor shopping area. There's a Booth-Mart, a Booth's, and Booth Chopper, and a Booth Wireless store too."

"Can I get there in my car?"


"How do I get there from Pacey Street?"

"I don't know where Pacey Street is, ma'am."

"Well how do you like that? I thought you'd be able to help."

"Ma'am, we're between Middle Ave, or Route 3 and Booth-Booth Road, which is Route 8. You can't miss us. We're the big building with Booth and Noble written on the side."

"Well, I don't know if you'll see me later. I may not make it."

The phone clicked to a standstill and I breathed a sigh. At least, I thought to myself, this would be the most irritating thing to happen all day.

Then the phone rang again.

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

It was a young woman on the phone. A young woman who sounded like she was speaking to me from another planet. "Yes, I put a book on hold last week and I wanted to check to see if it was still there."

"Ok, well we usually only hold books for three days, but I'll check. What's your name?"



"No, Kayly."



"Ok, I'll check." I check. No name up there.

"What book is it?" I ask, not unreasonably.

"The SAT II Book on Literature."

I look again.

"Sorry, I couldn't find the book up at the cash registers. Why don't I check on the shelf for you?"

"Ok, why don't you?" comes the snarled reply.

I hurried to the shelf like a good little elf. After five minutes of exhaustive searching I turned back to the phone.

"I'm sorry, I can't find it on the shelf. Are you sure you gave the name Kayly?"

"Maybe I gave them a different name."

I sighed. Why should this day be any different?

"What name might you have given them?"


Let me check for you.

It was under "John," of course.

"Yes, we have that. I'll hold it until the end of tomorrow for you."

"Thank you! Good bye."

[dramatic pause.]

Fifteen minutes later...

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

"yeah, you know that book I reserved?"

"who is this?"

"Kayly John. You know that book I reserved?"

"Yes, I do. I looked all over for it, remember?"

"What is it called?"


"What is it called?"

I checked the exact title.

"It's called The SAT II Literature Review Book."

"Ok, thanks."


[dramatic pause.]


"Hi, it's me again."


"Can you tell me the author on that book?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Who wrote it?"

I check for Kayly. I tell her: "Diane Amberson and Jason Anderton"

"Are you sure?"

"Kayly, I'm looking at the book right now."

"Well, I'm looking at it online, and it only says one author."

"I really don't know what to tell you. Would you like me to put the book back on the shelf?"

"No," she says. "I'm planning on coming in to look at it soon."

Think on that, dear reader. Think on that.