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Morning people vs afternoon people.

I went to work yesterday for the first time in almost 3 weeks. I worked on my favourite floor, fiction (like, wow Sara, we wouldn’t have guessed that.) In the morning there were books to be shelved, customer orders to be rung through, displays to tidy and lots of customers. The customers were cool: one said how much she liked my necklace, another thanked me for “being lovely”, a professor chatted, lamenting the enormous amount of factual books he has to read, saying how he misses fiction. Time passed pleasantly enough. Then after lunch the weather became muggy and the customers became snappy. A man punched the lift door because it closed before he got there, families dragged screeching children around the store, the staff became niggly, the day dragged hotly on.

My personal pet book shop hate is when a customer will ask for a book, and in the course of our transaction will announce with some kind of pride that it is not for them as they don’t read. This is always said loudly, brightly, as if it is a cool edgy thing that they say. Personally I assume from that point on that they are a moron! I mean, by all means don’t read if you don’t wish to, I think that you’re missing out on one of the most pleasurable things this life offers, but then again I don’t listen to classical music and I know how many people get huge satisfaction from doing just that. The difference is that I don’t feel any need to walk into a classical music shop, approach the assistant and proclaim that I don’t like it.

At the end of the day a man insisted on slowly explaining his favourite stories to me despite me saying that we were closing. When I said that I’d have to hurry him as it was 6 o’ clock he became most disgruntled.

I left the store and waited at the traffic lights outside, men with cans of Tennants lager in their fists faced down drivers as they swarmed arrogantly across the road, daring the cars to move.

I got to the train and sank into my seat, tired, wanting to have some quiet reading time, but 5 children squashed themselves into and onto the luggage rack adjacent to me, and proceeded to fart and make monkey sounds all the way home.

I fantasised about resigning.

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7 responses »

  1. It was when I started my working life and jobs that needed dealing with people that I found out I hated them all. One of the things that I really loved about distributing publicity leafleats is that I didn’t need to talk to the mail box! Although I have to admit there were some nice costumers in the bookshop! Ah, the things we do for money!! šŸ˜‰

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  2. The arsehole to cool ratio probably shows that most people are ok, it’s just that the arses are SO LOUD!

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  3. True, that’s a nice way to put it! TOO LOUD! Don’t you ever meet old highschool profs in the bookshop? They used to browse a lot and it was fun, except for THAT German prof! Grrr! She’d come to me and start speaking in German, all grinning! And I’d be like… “erg… Ich bin sehr gut, danke!” That would be the only thing I could say in that language!

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  4. Actually, the other day I was in Waterstones and couldn’t find a book and I remembered how much you like people asking for advice so I asked the young man behind the counter if he could remind me of the name of the author of The Master and Margarita, so I could find it. He looked at me as if I was talking another language. He’d never heard of it! I’m not a litsnob, but that’s a bit of a poor show for someone in a bookshop, no?Anyway, my boyf manages a sports-merchandice outlet where people tell him to fuck off and he has to chase scary shoplifters. So it could be worse, customer-wise.

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  5. Ah, I remember many mental customers when I worked in a bookshop. We used to get a guy coming in semi-regularly asking about obscure books on Elvis. Odd.Did have some lovely people though. I managed to get a book for someone who needed it mega-urgently and she bought me a bunch of flowers!

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  6. Gosh, nobody has ever bought me flowers, and I pride myself on my ace assistance, humph!

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  7. Kellie, I had no idea who Bulgakov was when I started in bookselling, (but I found out pretty quickly). I hope (for Waterstone’s sake) that he was a new member of staff or a weekend ‘A’ level student rather than a regular full-timer.In fairness though, I have a brilliant children’s bookseller who has been with me for over two years, but I doubt if she’d know who wrote ‘The Master and Margarita’. She’s very bright and well-read, but she’s a specialist and sadly we only sell about one copy of Bulgakov’s masterpiece per year, so it’s probably off her radar.

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