Tag Archives: Things People Say in Bookshops

It’s a Tie! HUMILIATION CONTEST

embarrassedKaren Spears and I had a grand time reading the entries for the AUTHOR and HOST HUMILIATION contest. All we can say, dear authors and booksellers, is hang in there.

Who knew angst could be so very funny?! Many thanks to all who entered; I’ll be posting  several of the write-ups over the coming weeks.

Just so they’re not on tenterhooks, the dual winners of AUTHOR HUMILIATION are Stephen Friedman of San Raphael, CA, and Suzan Herskowitz of Winchester, VA. Each will be invited to choose a date for spending a week in Wendy’s Writing Cabin, no expenses paid, but the place is free and we comp you a couple of kittens. (Jack and I rescue cats, in case anyone’s wondering.)

We’ll be blogging Stephen and Suzan’s entries this Friday.

Congratulations, Kathy Siress, on winning the HOST HUMILIATION category. We literally spit tea across the keyboard, reading this one.

Seattle, large chain bookstore, 1997.  Celebrity chef, (now deceased) long running PBS show, recently subject of a number of sexual abuse allegations by young boys.  

He showed up to book signing with his (very young) male assistant, and they immediately demanded a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin.  (I was dispatched to the local liquor store.)

Both filled their tall water glasses with gin (STRAIGHT!) and set themselves up at the signing table.

Turnout for this heavily promoted event was very poor – he had been in the news a lot lately. We also had a small but vocal group of protesters outside.

Bookstore manager was embarrassed,so she had all the booksellers take off their name badges, pretend to be customers, and line up for books.  He caught on pretty quickly since we all asked for generic signatures – no names, just “Best Wishes…” etc.  Weirdly, he had his assistant sign all the books too.

long uncomfortable evening for everyone.  and yes, they finished the gin bottle.

 

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Filed under book reviews, bookstore management, humor, publishing, reading, shopsitting, small town USA, writing

Overheard in a Bookstore at Christmastime

Here, in random order, is a list of our favorite customer sayings complied from Christmases past and present (hee hee, get it, present? Oh, never mind):

A woman asks: “Do you have any books about how to be a good husband? Maybe two or three.”

Extended family, browsing, grandmother says to daughter: “Books for the kids? I dunno. Shouldn’t we get them something they’d really like?”

“I’m looking for a book, it’s about a small town, and the people are kinda sweet and backwards.” Against our better judgment, we tried Adriana’s Big Stone Gap series, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, and Jan Karon’s Mitford books. The customer wanted “Winesburg, Ohio.”

Customer points to a shelf: “You had a book somewhere around here last week; it had a red cover, something about a bird, or maybe it was a dog? I thought my sister would like it. I think the title started with ‘A Day’ or maybe it was ‘My Dog’ or ‘The Day.’ You know, something like that.”

After child rips page out of a picture book while mother browses nearby: “I’m not going to pay for that. You shouldn’t have the children’s books lying about where children can reach them.”

“Do y’all sell Christmas presents here?”

Christmas Eve Day, noon: “So the Christmas books are half off now, right?”

Christmas Eve Day, 3 pm, man enters with little girl, takes her straight to children’s room: “That’s right, honey, anything you want. Mommy said we can’t come home until 5.” Closes children’s room door with daughter inside, turns to staff: “Got any coffee?”

Christmas Eve Day, 4 pm: “…and I wouldn’t normally think of shopping at a bookstore for him, but y’all are right near the house and still open.”

Christmas Eve Day, 5 pm: “I need a gift for my mother-in-law. I don’t care what it is. Just make sure it’s big and heavy. And wrap it for me.”

Christmas Eve Day, 5:50 pm: “Excuse me, do you know a lot about books? OK, pick me out something a 14-year-old will like. Quick, I’m in a hurry.”

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized