Monday was Christmas Eve and as usual there was a massive flurry of last-minute shopping. Along with the craziness, there were some desperate requests.
- Someone called up asking for a handbook on Saab repair. Not just a general book, but one for a 1984 car. Now, I know we’re a general bookstore, but really, that’s a little specific. When I mentioned we didn’t have that he wondered if he could order it in time for Christmas. I told him that no one ships on Christmas and he just kept asking if we could order it. I tried repeatedly to explain that everyone was closed and he just muttered, “I have to have it,” and hung up.
- An anxious man came in for a specific Joseph Roth book which we did not have. He left in a huff when we told him we’d have to order it. He called two hours later to see if the book was in. It wasn’t. On the static-filled cell phone call he also decreed that we find three books for three different people. He didn’t want a selection. “Just pick something.”
- Someone called just before closing and asked, “I know you sell books for kids, but do you sell books for children under two?” This one mystified me. I almost wanted to say no, just to tease them, but the caller sounded so harried, I just couldn’t. I asked what they were looking for and they said rather deadpan, “Something for a kid under two.”
- Several dads came in on Christmas Eve day and really didn’t understand how we could be out of a certain book they wanted. As someone who doesn’t save my shopping until the last possible minute, I don’t have a ton of sympathy for people being unpleasant to me because they didn’t plan ahead. I just don’t understand how Christmas can sneak up on people; it’s the same date every year. But I helped them regroup and found similar titles to what they wanted and I know the kids will love the books. And, they can always get the books they really wanted for Valentine’s or Easter, if they remember.