A man stood at the counter, leaning towards me as I searched my computer for a book that he was interested in. I could see him picking at spots on his face, pick pick pick, then he rolled the skin, scab, pus, whatever, between his fingers and dropped it onto the floor.
I gave him A Hard Look, but he carried on. It made it difficult to concentrate.
When I gave him his change I was really careful not to make physical contact.
A woman and a boy asked for help finding a book. I told them that the book they wanted was located on the fourth floor. The woman looked a bit peeved, so I helpfully said I would call up and see if they could send the book down, which they did. Her son had a bookmark in his hand, it was a paper bookmark with a piece of string that attached a Harry Potter emblem to it. The mum said the boy wanted to pay by himself. Sure. I smiled, I took the cash, I offered a bag, I gave the receipt.
He tugged at the plastic doodah.
‘Don’t pull that,’ the mum said. ‘It will come off.’
He pulled again. They walked 2 steps away from the counter. The woman turned and came back, holding out the broken bookmark.
‘This is broken,’ she said. ‘What are you going to do about it?’