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21 December 2005 @ 06:58 pm
Work: one of the good days.

Actually, we were well and truly slammed all day. We don’t have enough staff, and what booksellers we do have on the floor are almost all called as backup cashiers (which means they’re there for most of the day). Everyone seems to need help, and lots of it.

“I need fourteen titles looked up.”

“There are other stores that may have that book? Can you call them for me?”

“I need a book on Ghost Dancers for a two year old. No, really. He’s a genius. He’ll be reading it on his own - in Latin, if you have it - and then preparing a multimedia presentation for the family. The little scamp!”

Then there are those folks who want suggestions and proceed to negate everything you offer them. Others, upon being told you don’t have their book/it is out of print/best you can tell, does not exist from the pitifully scanty information they have provided, look at you, silent and unblinking, waiting for that magic moment where you give in and say, “Aw, I was just kidding. It’s right over here. You little scamp!”

Phones were ringing off the hook because the only people who could answer them were up doing backup cashier duty or else helping the four-deep line at the customer service desk because one really can not, after all, tell the people standing right before you, “I’m going to pick up the phone instead of helping you. *nyaaah*”

There were good moments. Lots of them. Hooking up someone with the book they absolutely had to have, finding that rarest of beasts - the Single Copy - in the decaying remains of what was once an orderly and alphabetized set of stacks, FINALLY finding the gods-be-damned frelling Simpsons calender for a very sweet and patient woman, having my say in the “Which Narnia book should I buy first?” debate, getting ‘Airborn’ and ‘Hope Was Here’ back in stock at long last. Good times, all.

About twenty minutes before I was set to leave, D. Flagged me down. “This woman’s daughter loves Tamora Pierce’s books. They want more suggestions and I told her she had to talk to you.” Score! The woman was there with her two daughters; it was the older one that was the fantasy fan. She joined up with us about five minutes later. I started out with just the mom. “She’s an avid reader. I’d like to find some adult Sci Fi/Fantasy,” she told me, “but doesn’t like anything that is too graphic.”

I set to work. After being relieved of my mistaken belief that she did not want to read any more teen fiction (so long as the writing was good, they were all over it) we moved back there where I continued to pile books into Mom’s arms (older daughter was on crutches). At one point I mentioned that a certain writer was Australian. “Oh! That’s where we’re from!” She mentioned she was a writer. “I’m Kathleen Ragan,” she said. “I wrote a book called 'Fearless Girls,' and I have another one coming out next month.”

“Guhhhhh,” I said, “Your name sounds so familiar.” I continued to offer books for their perusal. About five minutes later I burst out, “Kathleen Ragan! I know who you are! I have your book - it’s on the shelf next to my Jane Yolen anthologies!”

“Wow,” she said, smiling, “that’s good company!”

She was the loveliest woman. When we had determined that I was not a complete idiot, and did actually know and own and had read and loved her book, she mentioned the new one again, and told me a little about it. Her daughter piped up, “I think its even better than the first one.”

BookGeek that I am, I had to look it up immediately. Jack Zipes wrote the intro for it; we had a mutual squee over that.
Then came time for them to decide what books to actually buy. “How much are they apiece?” Mom asked. “Twenty?”
“The small paperbacks run about six dollars each.”

Their eyes lit up. They were expecting Aussie prices (which I imagine are similar to New Zealand prices, yes ratesjul?) “If I had to choose from what you have,” I began.

“No, she won’t have to! Not with the prices so much lower than we expected. She’ll just sit down and take a look, and decide what series we want to get the other books in. If you think of anything else, come find us!”
It was after three, so I had to go. Even so, after I punched out I gave Mom two more suggestions. She’s likely going to be coming back into the store (good thing, since I spaced entirely and did not give her any Pratchett). Before I left, she gave me the loveliest compliment and shook my hand. I told her what days I work so she can seek me out, should she so choose.

Lovely. Warm and happy and lovely all round. So: one of the good days.

p.s. Foo? I love this icon. *squish* I am hereby pimping fooish_icons to one and all, because Bunny is mad talented.
Fjordhopper: by <lj user=-(Bunny) - whi" title="Fjordhopper: by -(Bunny) - whi" />fjordhopper on December 22nd, 2005 02:12 am (UTC)
Wow! The fooish icons are awesome! I just went there and picked up 3! Thanks for letting us know what's out there1
Fjordhopper: by lj user=fjordhopper on December 22nd, 2005 02:18 am (UTC)
Hmmm...I was trying to credit fooish_icons and I seem to be messing up, so I will try to use one of her icons again (I changed the comments on it nad it kicked me back to my default) and hopefully I'll keep the icon that I picked!
orangefae on December 22nd, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
Not only great icons- but I have now discovered the art of Stephanie Pui Mun Law- who shall added to my favorites- wowowowow.
Fjordhopper: by lj user=fjordhopper on December 22nd, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't know about her before, either. Her stuff is totally gorgeous!
Kelladyjoust on December 22nd, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)
I completely thought of you when I saw that, and meant to send you the link. *is so very remiss* But you've found it now, so Yay!
the ro-bot.: misc: megasautobot on December 22nd, 2005 07:10 am (UTC)
It's always good when you can make somebody's day like that!

And I know what you mean by "the decaying remains of what was once an orderly and alphabetized set of stacks". x_X
Ratesjul: world booksratesjul on December 22nd, 2005 08:17 am (UTC)
Yes, Aussie prices are much the same as NZ prices (which is why I rant about NZ prices oh so often!)

I am so glad she was in raptures about your ideas. (I remember when you and I were wandering the shelves in that wonderful bookstore!)

*hugs Mari*
Btw, has a certain parcel made an appearance yet?
Kel: snowmanladyjoust on December 24th, 2005 02:16 am (UTC)
It has, indeed! I've been trying to be good. I put it under the tree awaiting The Day. *whimpers*
Ratesjul: Christmas Stamp 04ratesjul on December 25th, 2005 11:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.... It contains/contained Birthday gifties and when-you've-been-cookie-baking gifties as well as the Christmas sort... the outerpackage was openable!
Jaredcrimsontom on December 22nd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)
Ah, I remember the days of bookseller/cashier fun at B&N. Thing is, I'd usually request the Christmas Day shifts as it was double money and I had nothing better to do back then.

Anyway, people don't seen to have changed one bit.....the little scamps! :)