Life with a Myositis Disease

The laughter and tears that come with living with Polymyositis

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Location: fort worth, texas, United States

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Can you help me find.....

I love my job - I really do. And I love my customers, my employees....they provide me with never-ending enjoyment.

And some days, they all just drive me crazy. I would love to blame my occasional pissiness on the prednisone, but I'm afraid I need to be honest and admit to PMS. I was called in early to work by a frantic department manager. My assistant had gone home ill, three other employees had called out, the opening barista was an hour late to open the cafe and the system was down. The computer system going down in a bookstore truly is a panic-causing event when at least a third of the customers' questions begin with the words "I'm not sure of the title, and I don't know who wrote it but it's really popular and has the word _____ in the title". Or, in this case, it was simply "the woman who is the new Martha Stewart....there's a woman with a straw hat on the cover and there was a full-page ad in the NYTimes."

I came in to smooth rough waters, and my first customer asked me my all time favorite question: "Where is your non-fiction section?" This question never fails to amaze me. I always try to respect the fact that ANY bookstore is intimidating to the majority of the population. The sheer number of titles is overwhelming. It is no reflection on level of literacy, intelligence, etc, etc. But from my first day working in a bookstore more than 12 years ago I have always struggled with how to answer this question without sounding snotty. The first response that pops to mind is inevitably "Everywhere fiction is not".

This led to remembering other VERY memorable the gentleman who kept asking for a book called Roger's Treasures. I tried by title, key word....nothing. I finally asked him who the author was, and he responded "you know - ROGER - he wrote it". Frustrated, I asked what the book was about. The response? It's just a book with a bunch of words that mean other words......Ahhhh - Roget's Thesaurus? Success!

When I lived in southern california my frequent customer debate came with some of my latin customers who would come in for Tequila Mockingbird. Nothing would convince them that the book their child's school had assigned was actually To Kill a Mockingbird until I would offer double their money back if I was wrong....that worked until some sadistic author actually WROTE a book called Tequila Mockingbird.

When I lived in Virginia I had a woman come in asking for a "dot book". Confused, I asked her if she wanted a general puzzle book that included dot-to-dots? She looked at me like I was a moron, and her friend spoke up: "No, honey, she wants the DAH-ET books". It finally dawned on me she was asking for diet books. Talk about language barriers! I really did feel like an idiot! LOL

When I lived in Washington, DC I had a very elegantly dressed woman (I'm sure she was some diplomat's wife) come in and ask for the Tale of Pooh. I asked her if she was looking or a particular tale, or just a book of tales. She sneered at me, and spelled out TEE-AY-OH...TAYO OF POOH. Oh, I said, the Tao of Pooh? She rolls her eyes and repeats TAYO of Pooh (obviously this lowly book clerk didn't know how to pronounce tao properly). I resisted the urge to ask her if she would like the Tea of Piglet with it and simply got her the book.

Having lived in several different areas of our great country, I can attest to the fact that the language barrier is alive and well, and has everything to do with accents! :-)

Whew! Sorry for the rant. Today just got to me. I tired out early, which always frustrates me. I wind up limping around the store assuring customers that it is no problem to take them to their book....they are trying to be helpful, but I just know they won't be able to find it easily in that maze.

I'll just go snuggle with Tasha for awhile and hope for the sleeping aids to kick in quick tonight....;-)


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