Random Hilarity at the Bookstore

Josie Leavitt - September 25, 2015

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This past Sunday had me laughing pretty much all day with customer interactions. The weekends tend to be busier and funnier than the week. The random moments of hilarity came in many forms and they still make me laugh. Often little kids are the most funny and they don’t even know why, and then the slew of truly odd customer requests still has me scratching my head and tittering.

A friend came in with her son, whom I hadn’t met yet. Ethan is a very outgoing, talkative child. I asked him how old he was, so that I could steer him to the right books, and he said, “Fwee. Fwee and fwee quarters.” And he held up three fingers in case I didn’t understand. I was charmed to bits. I love it when kids add the fractions on to their ages. It’s as if they can’t wait for their next birthday to come and to be just a little bit older than they actually are. Ethan then added, apropos of nothing, “I have a small bed that fits me.” I looked at my friend and we both chuckled. Ethan went on to explain that his “big boy bed” was perfect for him. I told him I was happy for him and his new bed and then showed him some pirate books.
Then a woman who had been browsing for quite a long time came up to the counter and asked if we had any art heist books for adults. I quickly thought about what I’d read and could only think of The Art Forger and Headlong. She’d already read The Art Forger and we didn’t have the other book in stock. She lamented this, and I don’t blame her (when you’re on a mission, you’re on a mission), but really, we can’t keep every book in stock. I offered to order it for her and she declined.
Then she asked if we had any fiction about fortunetellers. I scratched my head and wished I’d had more coffee that morning. I was failing this woman and she was not about to let me forget it. I couldn’t think of a thing, not one book came to mind. I quickly got on my Books in Print database and tried to find things. She was not happy with me and actually said, “Do you read?” I bit my tongue and suggested that maybe she talk with my co-worker about different titles. I am often amazed that people assume we know every book published. We don’t. We can’t, it’s impossible. We all try to know as much as we can, but art heists and fortunetellers are not what I gravitate towards. She left with Alice Hoffman’s The Marriage of Opposites but was clearly unhappy about it.
After she left we all took a deep, cleansing breath. I thought we’d had our tough customer request of the day. I was wrong. Shortly after she left a woman came in and asked in all seriousness, “Do you have any adult books that feature a Standard Poodle?”
Um, no. No, I do not.

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