My pre-order of Jen Campbell's Weird things customers say in bookshops was delivered last wednesday :-)
I was so happy I grabbed the book and immediately read it from first page to last.
I see dumb people
What is it all about? Well, it's about weird things customers say in bookshops. Pretty simple description I would tell, but people want to try things before they like them, what's more, buy them. So here's a short review.
This rather thin but trust me, sufficient book is full of questions, demands, comments, observations and other notices of customers who visit various bookshops all over the world, mainly Great Britain. And answers from booksellers.
Many questions are weird, absurd, stupid, odd, annoying, bizzare... some of them are insidious, cheeky or even outrageous... and about half of them are funny. The rest are sad (in a funnny way).
Doubly so, if you have some experience with working with people. Because these "things customers say" are often only so stupid as they speakers are shallow. Special category are mothers... and twice as "special" when they're with their children.
Bookseller's problem is, he/she has to be polite. But, you know... sometimes irony helps... the bookseller.
I guess the customer rarely gets it ;-)
My cynical favorite:
MAN: Hi, I've just self-published my art book. My friends tell me that I'm set to be the new Van Gogh. How many copies of my book would you like to pre-order?
BOOKSELLER: You know, Van Gogh was never appreciated in his lifetime.
MAN: . . .
My write off favorite:
CUSTOMER (peering over): Do you have brown eyes?
BOOKSELLER: Yes, I do.
CUSTOMER: My mother told me never to trust anyone with brown eyes.
BOOKSELLER: . . . You have brown eyes.
CUSTOMER: . . .
My popculture favorite:
CUSTOMER: You know that film, Coraline?
BOOKSELLER: Yes, indeed.
CUSTOMER: My daughter loves it. Are they going to make it into a book?(no wonder Neil Gaiman loves this book ;-)
And my atheist favorite:
CUSTOMER: Do you have a section of religion?
BOOKSELLER: Sure, it's just over there.
CUSTOMER: You've got Richard Dawkins' books on here next to copies of the Bible.
BOOKSELLER: That section is for all kinds of books relating to religion.
CUSTOMER: I hope you know that's a sin. And you will go to hell.
Character of Jen's notes slightly varies according to bookshop she worked for. First chapter is dedicated to Edinburgh bookshop, which is quite common bookshop I assume. Second is Ripping Yarns antiquarian bookshop in London and third chapter was put together from other's booksellers ordeals. These were mainly Jen's blog readers and fans. I would like to sent something and be in the book too - but I'm not a bookseller, "only" librarian with very bad memory for conversations :-)
This book will make you want to work in a bookshop... just to have a chance to hear such silly questions by yourself and find out if it's real and even possible to ask them :-) But I am sure everyone had experienced some mindblowing questions from fellow human creatures at least few times in life.
Why to buy it?
I believe many people who pre-ordered this book knew Jen's blog where she was collecting "weird things customers say in bookshops" on-line.
The book contains many of them which I have read long ago. Hence I didn't actually need it, but I wanted it anyway. So it is definitely a collectible item. If I would like to save money, I could copy-paste the texts and save to my computer then. I did not and Jen currently removed most of them due to release of the book. But this is something what many book(shop) lovers with sense of humor want to own because they don't want to forget about it. And the best way is to have a book.
Something like when you buy Bunny suicides or Simon's cat or Henrik Lange's Classic films and books for people in a hurry. They are lovely and hilarious and you just want to own them in physical form.
I post-it-ed (ouch!:-) many more favorites in the book during reading, but I can't show you all of them. Just for faithful readers of my blog, who know how I "love" the Twilight phenomenon, I have to cite this one:
WOMAN: Hi, where are your copies of Breaking Dawn? I can't see any on the shelf.
BOOKSELLER: Sorry, I think we’ve sold out of the Twilight books; we’re waiting on more.
BOOKSELLER: We should have some in tomorrow.
WOMAN: But I need a copy now. I finished the last one last night.
BOOKSELLER: I’m sorry, I can’t help you.
WOMAN: No, you don’t understand. I’ve taken the whole day off work to read it.
WOMAN: I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! NOW!
WOMAN: Can you call your wholesaler and see if they can deliver this afternoon?
BOOKSELLER: They only ---
WOMAN: And then I can wait here for them.
BOOKSELLER: I’m sorry, they only deliver in the morning.
WOMAN: BUT WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?
BOOKSELLER: . . .we have many other books.
WOMAN (sniffs): Do any of those have Robert Pattinson in them?
Enjoy the rest of them by yourself :-)