Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

by Jen Campbell

Why You Might Like This Book:
  • Hilarious, sometimes even hysterical. Man, people are weird sometimes.
  • Makes you feel very glad you read.

And Why You Might Not:
  • It's a really slim book, and some of the entries are even duplicates from the first book.
  • A bunch of the entries are dependent on you knowing a bit about literature (e.g. "Do you have The Girl With the Dragon and the Baboon?" is not going to be funny unless you know what the original book was called).

Thoughts: People are weird. Anyone who's worked in customer service knows this. I worked as a cashier in a grocery store for  a while, and conversations like this seem totally believable:
CUSTOMER: I'm looking for a book called Not Your Ordinary Average Day in the Park.
BOOKSELLER: I'm not familiar with that one. Do you know what it's about?
CUSTOMER; It's about a boy with autism, and a dog.
BOOKSELLER: Do you mean The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time?
CUSTOMER: Yes, that's it. I knew it had a title like that.
(pg. 98)
And I've met enough people ignorant of the most surprising things, that quotes like this one also sound authentic:
CUSTOMER: I'm looking for that book ... Romeo and Juliet. It's about a fight between the DiCaprios and another gang. Street stuff.
CUSTOMER'S FRIEND: Yeah. It's the true story of Leonardo DiCaprio.
(pg. 62)
Can't help thinking that last line might have been said in fun, though... I can certainly see myself saying something like that, and someone accidentally taking me seriously. But still, as I said before, it's unfortunately still quite credible that someone would think something like that. There were actually quite a few like the above, in the sense that many people seem to misunderstand the basic definition of the word "fiction". "I wonder what they do teach them at these schools."*

There were quite a few, in fact, that were so ignorant, that I still can't quite get myself to believe someone said them in seriousness. It must be sarcastic, right?
CUSTOMER: You never read about Middle Earth any more, do you? It's like no one cares about The Shire these days. Stuff must still happen there but it's never reported in the news.
CUSTOMER'S FRIEND: They're making new movies, aren't they?
CUSTOMER: Are they?
CUSTOMER'S FRIEND: Yeah, but I think it's like a history. It's not what's happening there now. That's what I heard.
CUSTOMER: So what's happening there now?
CUSTOMER'S FRIEND: I don't know. Let' look it up on Wikipedia when I get home.
CUSTOMER: Good idea.
(pg. 44)
Still really funny, just so oblivious as to be beyond belief.

The main issue I had with this book is that there are several duplicate entries from the first book, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores. I found this rather annoying. If you don't have enough resources, you should wait before making a sequel to something like this. It was a slim enough volume as is, and really didn't seem to have much substance once you took out the duplicates.

But still, and it would do excellently as one of those presents to get people who are difficult to get personalized presents for. Or people who worry all the time about the state of our education. Assuming they're basically literate...

Grade: 3 1/2 stars (4 stars for hilarity, docking 1/2 star for annoying duplication of the first book)

* Said by the Professor somewhere in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

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