Observations from Behind the Counter

Josie Leavitt -- March 11th, 2014

I love my job. I think we all know bookselling is fun and makes you feel good about life. After all, connecting people, especially kids, with books is a wonderful, lasting thing to do. There is humor every day. Here’s a snippet of some of the humorous things that can happen at the bookstore.

- The minute someone walks in the door, they forget the title of not only the book they’re looking for, but of every book they’ve ever read. It happens so often that we just anticipate them saying, “I knew the name of the book in the car.” Of course you did. We console them by saying, “No one remembers a book title while in the store.” We offer a sticker and a hug.

- By the 10th minute someone’s in the store and still struggling with the title, we become forensic scientists: What time did you last remember the title? Where were you when you heard it the first time? What NPR program was likely to be on? Who was the host? What time of day was it? Then we pick the most likely source and go to their website to look up their books link.

- Every section is alphabetically arranged. There really is no other way to arrange books, ever.

- We often do know books by their color, but we don’t like to tell people that. Honestly, if it weren’t so hard to do, we’d arrange the store by color and size for April Fool’s and see if it made it easier for folks to find things.

- Kids kiss the pigs on the carpet every day. They bend down and exclaim, “Piggy” and give the rugs a little, or big, kiss. Watching a toddler try and hug a blue carpet runner with a white pig with wings on it is adorable and never ever gets old.

- The question “Would you like a bag?” is not a trap. We’re offering because we want you to have one. We’re not the food co-op. We don’t make you feel shame for wanting to keep your books safe and sound. But this question should not take minutes of decision. A simple yes or no suffices.

- Cardboard cuts hurt. This isn’t inherently funny, but my reaction to the searing pain and depth of the cardboard “paper cut” still amuses me. I’m surprised anew every time.

- Do not try to return a book you had on your lap while eating spaghetti. This has happened far more than I thought possible. While it’s always fun to swirl sauce-covered pasta with a fork and spoon, it’s not the neatest thing, so it’s best to just keep the now sauce-dotted book rather than trying to return it.

-The other day someone brought in a clearly read book and wanted to return it. I asked why and the customer said, “I didn’t like how it ended.”

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