The last week of the holiday season has its own peculiar atmospheric pressure, one that has been building, geometrically, in the hearts and mind of last-minute book buyers. This pressure results in unusual customer proclamations, which range from the amusing to the revealing and then back to the amusing again.
What called this to mind was an unusually memorable question that was asked here on Christmas Eve. A man looked around the store for a bit and then marched up to me.
Customer: “Do you have regular books too? Like James Patterson?”
We had a copy of the book he was looking for, Sixteenth Seduction, and he left happy, with his Patterson gift wrapped and tree ready. And I? I was buoyed by Charles II’s assurance that “God will not damn a man for taking a little unregular pleasure along the way.” Phew!
Here are some other lines heard at ShelfTalker stores in the week before Christmas. These four are from Cynthia at 4 Kids Books & Toys.
“Will my kid understand Wonder if they haven’t seen the movie?”
“We are reading Harry Potter aloud to our four year old. Do you have any other chapter books that are suitable? No, not Charlotte’s Web. The spider dies, doesn’t she?” (Hmmn, as I recall we rather rooted for the spider to die in Harry Potter)
“Do you have any REAL Christmas books? With Jesus in the manager.
“Do you have any books with a good moral? Like Rugrats used to be?” (From Cynthia: some days it’s better if I just wrap.)
And this notable exchange was heard by Leslie at Spellbound.
The other day a little girl of about 6 or 7 was shopping with a big group of extended family, and her aunt joked about something that the girl said wasn’t true.
“Well, in my world it is,” said the aunt.
“We’re not in your world,” the girl said morosely. “We’re in Donald Trump’s world.”
“She’s not a fan, and she’s very outspoken,” her dad told me. “Thanksgiving was… interesting.”
The holidays are also a time when, in all the weariness and camaraderie, fun statements are heard from among staff too. For example, a discussion occurred here during a brief lull on the topic of why customers always mistake the telephone voice of any male staffer for mine, even if we don’t sound alike. Also, why customers are shocked whenever they call and I’m not here, as though I am here every moment the store is open. Elliott announced, “That’s because Kenny is an idea, not a person.”
Noted! In any case, if you heard something memorable at your store please share it in the comments!