Posts Tagged ‘bookstore customers’

Comments overheard in Second Looks Books, Prince Frederick, Maryland, USA.


Customer (uttered with absolute seriousness): “I would like a large print dictionary, but in a very small format.”

Me (wearing my Jim Halpert eyes): Really?! [this is likely the thirty-fifth time or so I’ve fielded this one] Would you now?

About half of them respond, “Yes,” and then make hand gestures approximating an impossibly small book.

When I mention Kindles—and I do, now, in these cases—they typically say they don’t want to pay more than two to three dollars.

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Customer: “Where do you keep your metaphysical books?” [helpful bookshop employee sweeps in and shows her to the bookcase] “And, so . . . this is where the Nora Roberts would be?”

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Customer: “Oh, look, these books are all signed.” [pause] “I wonder who signed them?”

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Customer (pointing back and forth from me to the full-size cutout of Legolas): Is that you?

Me: No, that’s the actor Orlando Bloom.

Customer: [No spark of recognition.]

Me: Playing Legolas . . . in the Lord of the Rings movie: The Two Towers.

Customer: [No spark of recognition.]

Me: From the same titled book by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Customer: [No spark of recognition.]

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Customer (woman with twelve-year-old; this was said to me after I didn’t have the book they were looking for in stock): “I see there’s a bookstore 18 miles away from here, do you know where that is?”

Me: “Well, that could be Bowie, Annapolis, Waldorf, or Wildwood. Do you know the bookstore’s name?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “Do know the general direction you’ll be traveling?”

Customer: “No. I just plug it into the GPS and go.”

Me (because I JUST can’t help myself): “So, you don’t know what direction you traveled to get here?”

Customer: “No.”

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I had a great conversation today with a wonderfully-daft elderly woman, who wanted to get started reading on The Lord of the Rings. We talked about hobbits and dragons and wizards and ents and Legolas, who was standing right next to us the whole time (she was SURE he was a woman). She can’t wait to get started reading. She made my day.

She would never have figured out how to work a Kindle. I’m glad I was here for her.

Oh, dear. Then she grabbed a copy of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and brought to me so I could explain why—according to the book—a woman shouldn’t pursue a man, but instead wait passively for him to pursue her. (She made the best face while reading it.) I told her I thought it depended on the people. She didn’t say, “Damn, right!” aloud, but her look sure did.

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Customer: “Isn’t there a REAL bookstore somewhere around here. I don’t mean like—this!” [motions with hands to encompass my bookstore] “I mean, come on! Really!” Then she asked me why there weren’t bookstores all over the place.

During my explanation, it became clear that she thought books must be a GREAT business opportunity because so many had gone out of business; she didn’t know what an eBook was; and she had never heard of a Kindle. I had to explain what it was several times, and I’m still not sure she got it. She had heard of an iPad, but didn’t know you could read books on it.

Her bookstore litmus test was the presence of a fine selection of books on surfing. I’m not making this up. When I pointed out that not a lot of surfing goes on in Maryland, she said, “What does that matter?”

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Child: [firing back immediately] What about if a weasel was robbing the store?

Parent: [long pause, while attempting to stop top of head from blowing off, then . . . with the flickering of a smile] I don’t know . . . is he armed?

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