A middle aged couple came to the counter with three books. They were all of the “How to pleasure your woman” variety. I scan and bag as professionally as always. It would be unseemly to allow even a flicker of acknowledgement to cross my face. I want people to feel comfortable buying whatever they want.
Don’t for one moment think that I haven’t noticed though, I notice every single title I sell. And yes, I do judge people on their purchases. It’s wrong, but I do it, and so do all the other book sellers I know.
When we put a Dan Brown in a bag, we pity you for your lack of taste. When the generic thug lite guys come in and buy their books on football hooliganism and gangster porn, we mock. When the spotty, greasy boys buy the 2nd part of some improbable futuristic trilogy we honestly don’t give a shit about it, but will smile politely as you bore away a few of our minutes raving about how great it is.
Please don’t recommend your favourites to me, I don’t care. If you want me to recommend to you I am happy to do so. I am never as pleased as when somebody asks my opinion, which I will always offer truthfully. So yeah, sorry to the guy who was rather surprised by my horror when he attempted to pick good quality fiction for young girls and I made him put back all the ones he had so far chosen. I am sure though that the titles he did purchase will be appreciated more. Just because a cover is pink and has a bit of glitter on does not mean that a girl will love it. Similarly putting a dragon or a football on the cover of a boys book does not guarantee enjoyment or quality.
I feel sorry for everyone who buys a self help book along the lines of “How to win the heart of that twunt.” I feel sad for anyone buying a book about dealing with a disease. I haven’t heard of most sports men and women, so sorry for the blank looks when asked for “…that book on Gary Tillitt, you know?” Nope, I don’t. Oh, he once played football for QPR in the seventies zzzzzzzzz.
I think that most people who buy true crime books are voyeuristic creeps. (Even though in the past I have read one or two and am exempt from the creep accusation, as is anyone I know and like.)
I like all poetry purchases, because I am delighted to see people pay for it. Yeah, keep poetry alive, I don’t judge at all. Although you would get 1,000 bonus points for buying any Les Murray.
I don’t judge music books either, for some reason I think everyone should like anything and that’s cool. But whoo, biography is a mine field.
Anyone who buys Kerry Katona/Fran Cosgrave/Chantelle etc…fuck right off please.
There’s loads more prejudice, but I don’t have the time right now…