Bookseller on the edge

I try to avoid blogging about work, particularly my part-time job, but sometimes a girl suffers through a night that pushes her to the edge. For those of you who haven't gathered, I work part-time in a bookstore. I chose the gig because I, like so many of you, love books and thought it would make such an interesting second job (if you've got to have one). What I didn't take into account was all of you...the customer*. You have managed to turn what could have been an interesting, fun job into a twisted version of American Gladiator where I continually battle the dim-witted and inconsiderate. This is Custer's final stand, my last ditch effort to give all of you fellow 'booklovers' some advice on the dos and don'ts upon entering a bookstore.

Rules for not getting cut at a bookstore (in no particular order and in no way comprehensive)
  • Do not treat employees like idiots or pieces of shit. 60% of us work full time jobs, many in positions you would kill for.
  • Do not ask where the nonfiction section is. 80% of the store is nonfiction.
  • Knowing that a book is blue or that an author's first name is John is not helpful.
  • Realize you are fallible and probably have early onset Alzheimers. What you swear is the title is generally not the correct title.
  • I am not a librarian, and, while pretty damn handy, I will not do your research paper for you (unless exceptionally hot and nice).
  • Do not pay by check and spend 10 minutes writing it out. There is a line forming behind you. Get a check card and welcome yourself to the 21st century.
  • Do not spell words like 'the' and 'apple' for me. See the first bullet point.
  • Do not get angry when we don't stock books on topics like pacemakers from the 1930s. A bookstore is all about stocking things that should sell. You are one of 2 people on the planet who want that book.
  • Do not assume that because you saw it at our online store we have it in stock. An online store is a huge warehouse that can grab virtually any and everything available. A physical bookstore cannot stock the universe.
  • Do not kid yourself and think that we care if you threaten to shop at a competitor. Please. Honor them with your presence.
  • Do not "make yourself at home". You are in a place of business. It is not ok to sit down, take your shoes off and put your nasty toes in the chair. It is also not ok to pack a lunch, play cards on the floor, etc.
  • Do not destroy property you don't own. Your cheap ass probably won't buy the book, so don't (1) break the spine, (2) set a sweating drink on the cover, (3) use the book as your hard surface for writing, (4) allow your child to "play" with the books...you get the picture.
  • Do not pick up a book (or anything) and then set it down right beside where you got it or even slightly eskew. Why? Whhhhhyyyy? I don't have OCD, but this doesn't make any sense. Are you so dumb that you already forgot where you got it from? Is putting something in a straight pile so much harder than ensuring it's crooked?
  • Do not assume that bookstore and library are synonymous. It is not ok to take a stack of books to the cafe or a random corner and copy information from them. It becomes even less ok when you leave them in a huge pile for me to clean up (you inconsiderate fucker). Along a similar vane, we do not have a copy machine for you to use (we are a bookstore intent on making money...duh), nor do we appreciate you "borrowing" a book for 29 days and then returning it (that's special shout out to all computer sons of bitches).
  • Do not make the assumption that I am a babysitter or will in any way care for your children. I shouldn't have to be the one telling them not to climb on the shelves like monkeys or stopping them from running out the front door. It shouldn't be me telling them that books are not toys and threatening to lock them in jail if they continue to destroy public property. There are horrific people in this world, and it is your job to ensure your child's safety and that they are raised to be proper human beings. If you leave this to me, they will learn words like dumbass and mother fucker.
  • Do not interrupt me while I am helping another customer. You are no more special than they are, so be considerate and wait your turn.
  • Do not touch my computer, mouse or anything else. See bullet on personal property.
  • Do not take nudie magazines and erotic literature into the bathroom. If you can't afford to buy it and take it home, then jack off to your imagination.
  • Do not look at me incredulously if I do not know who wrote an obsure 18th century Russian text or the name of that song with the lyrics 'heart' and 'love' that's always on the radio. You have your interests; I have mine.
  • Do not take your bad mood, personal pettiness, etc. on me. I am not a rug and will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what I think of you. If you think threatening to have me fired has an impact because I expect to be treated like a human is going to do something, see the first bullet point again.
  • Do be considerate and patient. Also, words like please, thank you, and I'm sorry still go a long way.


*It isn't just the customer. The corporate bullshit of a "big box" store like Barnes & Noble will also take the wind out of anyone's sails. However, my day to day dealings with the average joe is so much more frustrating than my battles with the man.