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Manners.

Not the most exciting of blog headers but there you go.

Yesterday I rang a customer to inform her that the book she had ordered had now arrived and was available for collection. A man answered, I asked to speak to Mrs Whoever, he said “Can I ask who is calling please?” of course he can, I told him I was ringing from the bookshop and he called out;
“There’s some girl from the bookshop for you.”
Some girl! I dunno, not the most offensive thing ever, but I just can’t imagine him calling out that there was some boy on the line had one of my male colleagues called.

That wasn’t the manners bit actually, that was just an observation that we react in the way that we do according to who we are reacting to. Not sure if that makes sense so it’ll just get to the point.
A woman came up to the counter. I was wearing a very vivid pink and purple striped top with a turquoise skull in the middle ( I know! It’s gorge.)
She said “Why the skull?”
I said “Because I like it.” Now I know that wasn’t the friendliest of replies, but there was something about her.
She said “Is it saying danger to all who look at your chest?”
I smiled. I bagged her purchase and took her money.
“I am staring at your breasts.” she said.
Oh!
I was stumped for a response. She was a grey haired lady in her late 50’s/early 60’s. Had she been a bloke I’d have probably been massively pissed off, as it was, I remained speechless as she picked up her bag and left.

A father and daughter came in to pick up the specialist academic book that he had ordered on her behalf. He had paid in advance, as is customary, and it cost £80, which obviously is a lot of money. She had a look at the text book and pondered whether it was really the one she wanted. He explained that the one she requested is out of print so this was the updated one, the 12th edition. She complained that it appeared to have less in it than the one she had seen. He said that even if she found one page of it useful he wanted her to have it. He told her not to worry about the money. She still hesitated.
I understand, it was a lot of money, it was important for her study that she get the right book. I searched on-line for other books, this was the only one on her specialist subject. She wasn’t sure. Fine, she needed to be sure. She spent half an hour deciding. In this half hour she examined page after page of the book whilst hunched over my counter. All other customers had to lift their books over her head to get them to me. I said excuse me, and I’m sorry, and could you? many times, and she just looked at me, all distracted and would move perhaps an inch over, and then turn more pages and repeat that she just wasn’t sure. Her father proudly smiling at me. Sheez. She took the book in the end. No manners at all, just wrapped up in her own cocoon of importance.

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7 responses »

  1. “There’s some girl from the bookshop for you.”My wife, who died a few years back, had very strong views about that. If I had dared use the word “girl” in this way, I would have been in deep trouble. I remember many years ago watching the tennis on the BBC and all the adult female players being referred to as “girls” – nobody called Boris Becker a “boy” once he played in the adult games. She used to get very annoyed at this, and I am well trained.Just as well that book was paid for in advance, and presumably not refundable.I am enjoying your writing. I found you after we both commented on one of Clare Sudbury’s postings.

    Reply
  2. How embarrassing: I have managed to misspell Clare Sudbery’s name. So sorry.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for your comment, how kind of you to say that you are enjoying my blether. Nice to know that you have been well trained! I think that it isn’t merely a sexist issue, but one of status too. I remain convinced, however, that my much younger male colleague wouldn’t have been referred to as boy.

    Reply
  4. I have to say, that sounds like a jolly nice jumper! Some people really just are completely insane.

    Reply
  5. You seem to get weird people in your bookshop.

    Reply
  6. Heheh, I love barmy customer stories. More please!

    Reply
  7. i guess it’s all subjective…n one ever stares at my breasts and i feel a bit dowdy as a result.ma

    Reply

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