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sábado, 14 de marzo de 2015

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops - Jen Campbell

Rating: 

29/08/14

Yes. From Faulkner to this. I read everything. Okay, almost everything. But lately, I've been enjoying these little jewels that are freaking hilarious. I fell in love with Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops only by looking at the cover (I just admitted that I judged a book by its cover, again). “Do you have any books by Jane Eyre?”. I just knew this one was going to be a funny read.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

I love humor. It is an essential part of life that helps you to bond with people (or avoid people), to recover from difficult times, to see life differently. (And, honestly, you have to have a functional brain to be funny. It is an art and I admire those gifted people. It is not for everybody. It is a bit sad to witness someone trying to be funny when his or her nature is as dry as a bone. It hurts. And if you kind of like the person, you have to pretend it was a witty comment and fake a smile. That hurts even more. It is like you are forcing your muscles to move and form a smile, because you cannot laugh, you just can't. But, when you least expect it, your voice conspires with the little muscles that were forced to work, and this weak, creepy giggling comes out. It is physically and mentally exhausting. ... ... Well, ending this rant now. I know how GR loves off-topic reviews.) Anyway, I like reading weird and humorous stuff that makes me forget, for a couple of hours, about whatever problem I may have. And there are so many unusual and awesome authors that I would love to have a cup of coffee with. Jen Campbell, bring cake.

I laughed from page one. You see, the book starts with a serious problem: you want to buy a book but you don't remember the title and its author. The bookseller cannot help you that much. However, if your asking about a book and the only information you can give is that you read it in the sixties and the cover was green... Tough, huh?

Besides that one, I found other nice anecdotes. People (sadly) looking for Anne Frank's sequel, people asking smart questions...
CUSTOMER: Do you have any old copies of Dickens?
BOOKSELLER: We’ve got a copy of David Copperfield from 1850 for £100.
CUSTOMER: Why is it so expensive if it’s that old?

...and giving smart answers...
CUSTOMER: Who wrote the Bible? I can’t remember.
CUSTOMER’s FRIEND: Jesus.

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(imagine that)

…and customers sharing their thoughts:
CUSTOMER: “Doesn’t it bother you, being surrounded by books all day? I think I’d be paranoid they were all going to jump off the shelves and kill me.”

I'm sorry, customer, but where the hell have you been buying your books?

I really enjoyed this book. It is nice to see all the fun, weird and sometimes sad things that a bookseller (like any other seller) has to put out with (it is a sad fact that people don't read as much as they should; they ignore so many wonderful things so they ask the most stupid questions ever). Customers can be such rude, disrespectful creatures sometimes. I know that. I talk to clients on daily basis and I also hear some crazy things and people speaking to me in a bad tone are always around. However, as a customer that loves to read, I don't get a very nice treatment all the time, and I don't even ask too stupid questions, at least, not that many. I often arrive after the annoying customer left (the one that says things like “You’re a shop, for Christ’s sake, you’re here to offer me a service.”), and I get all the bad manners and faces because now, the bookseller is cranky and the rest that has nothing to do with it, shall suffer. That is not fair, either. We are all humans, sure, but manners are everything and they go both ways. I went to a certain bookstore a couple of times and I am still waiting for them to answer my “good mornings”. “Yes? No. Yes. $80” (scene ends with the sound of coins on my hand). No desires of going back to that place, I can assure you. And don't get me started on those places that correct your mispronunciations with a sarcastic smile. Hey, they are English or Russian names, it is not like I didn't know how to pronounce “Lopez”.
Nice and rude people, everywhere. That's life.

Anyway, I could go on and on because every one of these peculiar bookshop moments delivers a topic to talk about. But I think I've reached the off-topic limit for today.

I loved the book and I strongly recommend it to those who are looking for some hilarious material, whether you are a customer or a bookseller.
There are several other great anecdotes. Fine, two more samples.

This one is adorable:
CUSTOMER: Do you have this children’s book I've heard about? It’s supposed to be very good. It’s called ‘Lionel Richie and the Wardrobe.’

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Yes, that is how my brain worked.

And this one made me go through all the five stages of grief. I denied it, I just couldn't believe I was reading that. Then, I was angry enough to punch something. Then, bargaining. I was ready to make a deal with that person, not sure what kind of deal. Negotiation with that human being would be pointless. Later, of course, I felt a bit depressed because this situation made me lose faith in humanity. And finally, I accepted it. I accepted it all. Different people with different tastes and we have to respect that... no matter how bad we want to save them.
BOOKSELLER: Hi, can I help you at all?
CUSTOMER: I don’t give a damn about books – they bore me.
BOOKSELLER: I’m not sure you’re in the right place, then.
CUSTOMER: No, I am. I just wanted to ask what specific colour you painted your bookshelves? I love this colour. I mean, the right colour can make books look more appealing, can’t it?
BOOKSELLER: Can it?
CUSTOMER: And the smell of the paint takes away the smell of the books, too. Which is also a plus.

Yeah... Acceptance. I think I lied. I am still working on it.

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