What makes working at a bookstore interesting is the people who come in. What makes a bookstore more interesting…is labeling the people who come in. Here are a few groups I encounter all the time.
Typically, this breed of customer can be found in the corner of the store. This person will find a place to sit and then live there. They spend hours in the store, mostly coming in during the afternoon and staying until closing time. They start to accumulate clutter, building walls made of books and magazines around them. When a bookseller approaches them to take some of the books away, they are known to hiss and pull the pile closer like some wild animal. They assume since they have sat in the space for more than several minutes, that area no longer belongs to the store but to them. They only leave their territory to fetch more items. When the day is done and the store closes, the bookseller is left to put away all the stuff they pulled off the shelf. And they didn’t buy a thing.
WARNING: Some become feral, hence the hissing. If they refuse to leave, show them Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species” and they begin to transform back into a somewhat civilized human being.
God forbid these people are “unplugged” from their devices. Generally, this breed is between the age of 18 and 25. They usually have the latest, thinnest laptop or netbook in a designer case. They hunt for wall outlets to plug in their computers and have no problem running extension cords between aisles. When no outlet can be found, they panic as if they themselves will run out of batteries and die. In addition to laptops, they are most likely to be found wearing headphones attached to an iPod, next to their iPhone, with their iPad. I never see them eat or drink, strange? I think so.
WARNING: They may actually be robots. Approach with caution or with an “I, Robot” attitude.
Also known as the Illiterates, this group secretly formed to be the bane of all booksellers. They are often heard saying “I don’t remember the title, author, or what it’s about but I saw it on TV. It’s really popular, I think its purple.” Then they stare at the bookseller, awaiting for us to our psychic book powers to reveal the book. They only buy a book every few years when the radio or tv urges them that life is not worth living without reading this mysterious purple book.
WARNING: They are persistent but can be distracted by Oprah’s latest book club pick.
more groups to be revealed…