Christmas in the bookshop, ooh what larks. Trolleys heaving with yet more stock, Dr Who mugs and gizmo’s bleeping and whirring, piles of gift sets to stack somewhere, and customers, blooming hundreds of them.
This was the weekend after the work “Do” so most staff muttered apologies about being shit faced or denied any memory of the event at all. The uber bookish management colleague who transformed herself from nerd to shouty slut in the manner of a filmic librarian taking off her glasses and unpinning her hair was the funniest. She asked if I could remember much and I replied that yes, I am blessed with total recall and then watched her squirm. Not only was she flirtatious to the point of sexual harassment, she was also incredibly rude about some of our colleagues. This coupled with her heckling and dictatorial approach to a Christmas Party has made her the talk of the store. Ho hum.
A woman asked a colleague for a book on camp-fire cookery. My colleague was chuffed to recall just such a book, and quickly plucked “Campfire cookery” from the shelf.
“No,” said the woman “That’s not the sort of thing I’m after.”
A man asked me for suggestions for his eight year old niece. (My bright red top emblazoned with an invitation to ask me to help you choose a perfect present is working a treat.) He wondered if Harry Potter was suitable. I explained that the writing is a bit dense and that eight year old readers could manage the words but would perhaps struggle with the amount per page and the tiny text. I do know a bit about eight year olds as I have two of them myself and have spent a year teaching 2 classes of eight year olds how to read plus of course I have, 7 years experience selling books. I offered him 10 alternative titles which he exclaimed happily about before, yup, buying Harry P and only Harry P. Le sigh.
I did have the perfect customer though who asked for contemporary literary recommendations and bought all that I suggested. Jeez I felt triumphant.
To any of you who are pondering a gift for a friend or lover I must recommend once again Andrew Kaufman’s “All my friends are superheroes”…seriously you can’t go wrong with it.