Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Knight of Ni

Once again I got one of those questions: the ones that make you go “Huh?” while trying to figure out if the person is joking or not. Inevitably they’re not, and you’re left wondering what they expected when they walked into a store that catered to people—all people’s—book needs.

I got asked yesterday why we had so many books that “glorified” witchcraft. I’ve been asked this before. Well, not this exactly. Before it was “Why do you have so many of Satan’s books and not more books on Catholicism?” by a little Chinese Grandma right after she prayed over/saved me in the Religious section.

She was talking about the New Age section. My customer yesterday was talking about the Independent Reader section for children.

“You don’t have any books that show how witches actually are,” she told me.

How witches actually are? Do you mean like Salem Witch Trial EEEEEvil so let’s burn them or dunk them in a pond to see if they float kind of thing?

Should we start holding auditions for a revival of Monty Python and the Holy Grail?

Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she's a witch?
Peasant 3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant 3: ...I got better.
Crowd: [shouts] Burn her anyway!

Or maybe we should just burn all the books we don’t agree with. Yes, that’s it. It will be cathartic and keep us warm in the winter!

Huuuraaah! A solution!

Of course I did not say any of this; instead I just said something about the childhood imagination finding limitless possibilities in the exploration of magic. The customer looked a bit baffled by the whole idea, but not irate (unlike Grandma who had to pray for me again), and it all ended well. She may even return to the bookstore in the future.

And I may let someone else wait on her.

If my brain can remember what she looks like.

Is there such thing as a memory spell?


Anonymous said...

I don't know how you do it, Bookseller Chick. I can't fathom why anyone would feel it's appropriate to walk up to a store owner or clerk and question why certain books are or aren't in the store. Just get the hell out, would probably be my preferred response.

Bookseller Chick said...

They feel it's appropriate because they are in a bookstore and they are the buyer whereas we are the seller. They think that the customer is always right and will always be right. I deal with it because it's not worth the bad karma to yell "Get out." In the end what really keeps me from rolling my eyes is the fact that these people don't see anything wrong in asking this. Their world view says this is bad and their world view must be right, therefore why are we supporting another one? I end up doing a lot of deep breathing while reminding myself we all have different backgrounds.

Then I go bitch to my coworkers.

Anonymous said...

I end up doing a lot of deep breathing while reminding myself we all have different backgrounds.

A healthy approach for anyone in retail!

Any interest in trading links, Bookseller Chick? I interact with several writer-types on my blog The Clarity of Night who would probably enjoy seeing the world from the bookseller's angle.

Bookseller Chick said...

I would love to. I've been meaning to add several more links to my set up, but keep getting distracted (that and I psych myself out of it because I don't know code at all, alas). I've visited your site a couple of times and I've enjoyed your writing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bookseller Chick! I will add you as a link today and do a post supporting your site. Any preference on a specific post you want me to plug?

Bookseller Chick said...

Since I can't even decide between coffee or tea this morning, I'll leave that up to you. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Okay, we're good to go. Hopefully you'll get some new visitors. =D

Bookseller Chick said...

yay! Look for my blog on you (I couldn't fit it in to the one I started this morning) sometime tomorrow.

Terri said...

I followed the link here from Jason's blog and he said to say Hi, so "Hi!"
I've enjoyed the few posts I read here - I can't believe people would question what books you have... it's a book store for heaven's sake!
Your Monty Python quote was the deal-clincher though - I'll be back :-)

Michele said...

Count me in as a new visitor following the thread from Jason's site.


Isn't working with the public fun? (I say that tongue-in-cheek)

I've worked in a few positions where you work with customers and it is amazing how they think we "serve" them, no matter if the request, observation or question is off the top.
I was a bank teller, office manager and a token pusher in a gaming arcade - the things we see/hear or deal with made my hair stand on end sometimes. (figuratively speaking, LOL ) But then, we have great stories to tell after.
Isn't life great?

Bookseller Chick said...

Hello all! Coherence is waaaaay beyond me right now (very long day), but I just wanted to give y'all a big ol' Thanks!

Michelle, I hear you on the retail. Bleh.

Terri, glad you like the quote. I have a friend who routinely tells me that I way as much as a duck, so I'm very familiar with the whole scene.

Bernita said...

This is a totally delightful blog.
Please post often.