Lost Talents

Leigh and I spent some time wandering around a Border’s tonight. I love doing that, but I’m afraid I may be driving Leigh slowly insane with an obsession of mine. You see, any time I see a book that has either been misplaced by an ignorant employee or discarded by a rude customer, I am compelled to restock that book in its appropriate location. It drives me insane to see books placed in incorrect locations. I’ll see a cookbook in the biography section, or a relationship book that has mysteriously wandered into the mystery section, and before Leigh realizes what’s happening, I grab the book and head off to find its proper home on a shelf.

The worst offenders of misplacing books are the people that are ashamed to be seen in the sexuality section, so they sneak a book they want to look at and take it to a less conspicuous section. That’s why when you’re looking for a book on Photoshop you find Anne Hooper’s guide to sex. Or why your eight year old daughter ends up asking you what “tantric” means when you thought she was looking at Judy Bloom books.

When I worked in a bookstore I was like a walking card catalogue. I knew the proper location of almost every book in our store. I sickens me when the employees don’t know where things are. Watch them stock books in Barnes and Nobles or Borders. They come out with a hand cart filled with books, and they have to look up every other book on the computer so they know where it goes. Pathetic. When shipments came in I would pile as many books into my arms as I could, and immediately take them out and stock them. No computer lookup for me. The other gentleman I worked with was the same way, and if we were working together when a distribution center shipment arrived, we could stock 25-30 boxes of books in a Friday afternoon and still have time to play cards and eat Cookie Co. cookies before we closed.

This may run a little off the topic of this post (as if there was an actual topic to begin with) but people who come in to bookstores to buy adult magazines are really, really funny. Usually the same people come in and buy them every month (why don’t they subscribe? My guess is they have a terrible relationship with their significant other and are hiding their porn). They wander around for a while and pretend to look at other things. They wait until the store is practically empty and then they approach the cash wrap. Usually they’ll have one or two items of subterfuge. Perhaps a GQ or a Forbes. Something they hope will lessen the freaky-can’t-wait-to-masturbate look they always have. They’ll let you ring up their subterfuge items, then say casually, “Uh…I’ll take a Hustler too” as if it’s an afterthought.

So, I guess the moral of this post is that if you go to a bookstore don’t misplace books, because you end up ruining me and Leigh’s browsing time because I end up cleaning up your mess. And if you want a dirty magazine you march right up to the cashwrap and proudly pronounce “I’ll take the latest copy of Penthouse. Ring that up as fast as you can because I have things that need doing!” The cashiers will still talk about you behind your back, but at least you know they’ll be doing so with a bit of awe in their voice.

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