Sunday, October 16, 2005

Author walks into a bookstore…Ouch!

So forget everything I’ve ever said about my store and good customer service. It’s all been wiped away in seconds. We’ll be lucky if we don’t end up on some author hit list*. Imagine if you will the following scene:

Mr. McFamous Author walks into my store, sporting a heavy brogue and lots of tweed.

(Heads straight to the counter and announces himself.)

Coworker: Hello, can I help you?

Author: I’m Mr. McFamous Author. I’m here to sign my stock.

Coworker: Wonderful, let me get them for you.

Author: You’ve read my books?

Coworker: Oh yeah, I liked them.

Author: Liked them.

Coworker: Sure, I reread them whenever I’m in the mood for a little light reading.

Author (gasping): Light reading?

He leaves soon after, and only signs the two hardbacks we have of his in stock (ignoring the massive amount of his paperbacks that we had in several different places).


My Boss told me this story the other day (the actual incident took place on my day off).

Me: She actually said that?

Boss: Yep.

Me: And you didn’t stop her or cut in?

Boss: It was like watching a car crash. I was just frozen.

Me: Sweet Jesus.

On the bright side, it turns out that my coworker did engage whatever little bit of tact she had.

Coworker: C’mon, it’s true. When did you read him?

Me: Third grade-ish.

Coworker: See. He’s starter fantasy. I don’t see why he was so bent out of shape about it.

Me: Please tell me that you didn’t say that to him.

Coworker: Of course not. I didn’t even tell him what I was really thinking.

Me (choking on my tea): Really thinking?

Coworker: That after the first three books all the characters are the same, just different animals. Read one and you’ve read them all.

And that, kids, is about as tactful as she gets.

*For all I know there could still be an author hit list and we could be on it. If that’s the case, I would just like to say I had absolutely nothing to do with this. Nothing. It was only after making sure that said author did not have a blog that I decided to post this at all.


Kate R said...

sheesh, I bet you use the wrong fork for salad even -- you guys are all bent about the *wrong* person. The one who was supposed to be charming in this situation is Mr. McFamous.

Even big name author types are supposed to suck up to bookstore types. He should have laughed lightly and promised her that she'll love his next one.

Kate R said...

what could he do? threaten not to allow you to sell his books? talk about cutting off his nose to spite his face!

(I was in my twenties before I realized the phrase was "to spite" and not "despite")

Bookseller Chick said...

The boss said that he was very "kiss the ring" (to quote her directly), and if anyone can unknowingly cut someone down with her word choice it's my coworker. We love her to death, but she can be horribly blunt. I couldn't believe that he didn't sign his paperbacks though. I can barely move his hardbacks but his pbs fly off the shelves (in all the various places he's stocked). Very much to spite his own face.