A very snooty woman came over to me and said:
“I just want to know why a bookshop of this size does not stock work of such importance as unpronounceable foreign name.”
I said “Hmmm, let me check that out for you. How do you spell unpronounceable foreign name?”
“Well, I don’t know, surely you should?”
“Do you have a title?”
“No, but she was nominated for that big prize last year.”
“Oh I don’t know. This is ridiculous.”
Would you believe that I found the book she was after? I triumphantly presented her with it.
“But it’s in hardback.”
“Yes, it was only published recently, and I don’t have a due date for the paperback.”
“I have read it in paperback.”
“Oh!” I check the computer, “There’s no record of it being available in paperback. Sorry.”
“Oh, this is stupid. Of course it’s in paperback, I read it in paperback.”
A man comes to the counter and asks for a book.
“I’m sorry but we don’t keep that title in stock. I could order it for you?”
“Yeah, go ahead.”
“We do ask for payment in advance.”
“What? WHAT! That’s not good enough. WHAT! You don’t have the book but you want me to pay you for it anyway?”
“Well, we have had to implement the payment in advance rule as so many people ordered books that we wouldn’t usually stock and then didn’t bother to come and buy them. We got stuck with…”
“I can’t believe this. It’s not good enough. How dare you ask me to pay. You can forget it. I won’t buy books here ever again…”
Man exits down the stairs still ranting. The next customer in line gives me a sweet little sympathy smile.
A middle aged man comes over to the counter with his ear clamped to a mobile phone. He hands me a book entitled “Schoolgirl lust.” I scan it, bag it and ask for the money. He says down the phone;
“In a bookshop. Just paying. Yes. Graham Greene.”