Hmmm... Life for me, as for most of the Christmas celebrating world is just silly at the moment. I work in retail - a book shop - and if I hear one more person say 'I would like to buy a book' - I will lean over the counter and grab them by the throat - of course in a bookshop that is what you are expected to buy - a book!!! Although to be fair so many retail businesses these days 'cross hatch' with other merchandise. To be honest I am wondering where the book business is going to - we seem to be in the race to be the best cut throat-ing, best price-ing, discounting, etc, etc with the rest of the retail world. I understand that everyone likes the best value for their money - me included - but I do make it a point not to harass the poor b****y customer service person. I like many 'behind the counter' people cop the frustrations of the PP (paying public) on a regular basis - most people forget we are the 'foot soldiers' and do not make the rules but simply have to follow orders. I can not help that last month's catalogue had the same book two dollars cheaper or that K-Mart, Woolies, Myer, Discount books or (put your own favorite here) had the same book at 25,30,50% off - nor do I want to hear about it - if they do why don't you go there and purchase it from them.
I know I am getting exceedingly grumpy at people who come in their lunchtime tap their foot and sigh whilst looking pointedly at the watch that they have to stand in a line with all the other foot tapping, sighing watch watching customers. I cannot help that God made a choice not to clone me into at least four others who can answer your questions, answer the phone, gift wrap, listen to how a wonderfully, genius, gifted your offspring, better half, close and/or distant relative is at reading Shakespeare in multiple languages. No I am not psychic or clairvoyant I don't know what your distant cousins third child likes to read... Yes I do gift wrap - but not when you have a line of other customers reaching to Christmas Day behind you. Yes we do have gift vouchers - now called card gift cards starting in price from $10 to $1000 - and yes that does means you can't have one for $9.50.
A customer came into the shop and asked if I would help him choose a book for a child it went something like this...
Are you looking for a boy or a girl? ( Start with the obvious first)
Girl - she's my son's defacto wife's child - not his though...
Let's see (with a scratch of the head) - about six perhaps seven no more than eight... I think...
Do you know what she like to read???
No.. (This is where a bookseller starts with the most likely and works outward)
Were you thinking of a picture book or a chapter book???
Something with words...
Do you know what her reading standard is????
(Customer just looks at me when I ask this question)
Would she like something about fairies perhaps... (Terrrible I know but standard girl question)
Nup - she lives in the country (And that says????)
How about a Girl's Own type adventure book
Nup - she's got brothers..
What about this one? (book on zoo animals)
Nup - she only knows farm animals (child is on a farm)
What about this one? (picture and story to do with farming)
Nup - she lives on a farm wouldn't wanna read about it she just needs to look out the door..
You don't know what she reads??
Nup - was told to get a book...
This conversation went on for the best part of 10 minutes as we walked around the childrens section. I pulled out every type of book that I could think of but the best comment was when I thought of a lovely picture book about the beach..
Here Sir this one is very popular...
He barely glances at it before handing it back...
Couldn't have that one. It's about water - they haven't got none.. There's a drought you know... And she lives in the country...
With that he said he had to go and 'get further instructions' and strode out of the shop leaving me gob smacked.
My work mate who had heard most of it looked around the shop before saying there wasn't a hidden camera was there????
And then onto the next customer... 'I'd like to buy a book for... '
and so this is Christmas...