Jun 28, 2013
Updates 16 A
nightmare about to happen. A woman from a Disney cruise ship came in and
said she was trying to promote local businesses. She was going to do a
treasure hunt and wanted to tell people they would have to find the
first word on a certain page in a book and write it in their "passports"
she would give them a big clue as to the title. (Pirates of the
Caribbean, of course). Then when they had completed all their clues, the
first ones back would get prizes and all would get a free
16 A nightmare about to happen. A woman from a Disney cruise ship came
in and said she was trying to promote local businesses. She was going to
do a treasure hunt and wanted to tell people they would have to find
the first word on a certain page in a book and write it in their
"passports" she would give them a big clue as to the title. (Pirates of
the Caribbean, of course). Then when they had completed all their clues,
the first ones back would get prizes and all would get a free Caribbean
buffet in the cruise ship dock.
I said that will destroy a lot
of books people looking for it, that if you want them to rush back to be
first they aren't going to spend time looking at the books and maybe
buy them. A cruise ship did this once before. All books of the title
were stolen by someone who didn't want the other teams to be able to
find the answers. Other books were rifled through, dropped on the floor,
kids whined and put their snacks and drinks down on books, it was
terrible. And my local customers stayed away as the road was closed and
they couldn't drive down.
Nevertheless the fucking government
here has decided to close the road the day the ship is in this week to
allow it to happen. I have been promised no more than 25 people at a
time in my little tiny shop. I'm in despair.
girl came for an interview. She was nicely dressed, a bit shy and kept
her eyes downcast, but looked me full in the face when answering
questions. She sat pulled up very close to the cash desk so I couldn't
see beneath her waist. She seemed a very nice girl. Only looking for
something until college starts in Jan. but that's ok. I got up and as I
did I saw she had her phone on her knees and was swiping through it and
I said I don't think you really want this job.
She protested she did, she needed the money. I said so why are you on
your phone the whole time. She said she wasn't. I said I saw you. She
got up and walked out slamming the door and cursing me. Lucky escape I
14. Two people from the French cruise ship
just walked in (didn't close door. Born in a barn). The guy asked me if I
spoke French and then asked me in English if I knew where he could buy
cigarettes. I told him a supermarket. He said no, no, people said here. I
said I don't sell cigarettes. So he produced a little pack of cigarette
tips. I said I don't know who sells those. Then he made a motion of
rolling cigarettes and smoking. I said, you want to buy joints, weed?
Yes, he said, nodding vigorously. Wha!!!! That's a $1,000 fine here.
said i don't know where you get that. He said he was told here. (I
wonder who did that to me?) and when I said definitely not. He started
to curse, Merde etc. and they walked out, slamming the door on the way.
A woman came in asking for a small telephone book. I thought she meant
an A-Z type for your handbag and showed her one. No, she said she wanted
a small telephone directory. Like the Island phone book, I suggested.
Yes, she confirmed, but small. I said that they only came in one size.
So she said how was she supposed to carry that around?I said maybe she
should speak to the telephone company. In an exaggeratedly slow
patronising voice, she said, why would I speak to the telephone company
when it is a book I want? I gave up and wandered away at that point. We
weren't using the same operating system.
12. A lady came in and
bought What to Expect When You're Expecting. I put it in a plastic bag.
She said that she wanted a paper bag or something that would cover it so
the title didn't show through. So I wrapped the book in some black
tissue paper. She picked out a gold bow and stuck that on the paper and
said no-one would guess what book it was now as she didn't want her
workmates to know she was pregnant yet. Wha???? You have this five and a
half month (she told me) bump on your front and you think they haven't
11. Today two old people came in from the cruise ship
(cruise shippers are easily identifiable compared to the usual tourists
and charter guests by the clothes they wear). They had walked down from
the cruise ship dock which is about 1/2 mile away at least. They said
that my sign said that I had a cafe and internet. Yes, I said, it's
upstairs. They said they couldn't make it upstairs, could I bring them
down a coffee and could they just check their email on my laptop. I
explained that upstairs was now a roti palace, not a coffee shop. They
asked where the nearest coffee shop was. I said there was a bakery just
up the road. They didn't want to go there because they were hot and
tired and I had airconditioning. The man then said (get ready for this):
if I give you a couple of bucks to go and get us two old people some
coffees and we'll watch your store for you and just check our email (on
one of my computers I presume) while your gone.
didn't like being told nope, no way, not going to happen, this is a
bookshop, I sell books, I don't fetch coffees, I don't leave my business
in strangers's hands, I don't lend my computers...
I tried to
stay polite, but the old man just got rude and nasty. He told me that in
American people would have rushed to help old people like them, that he
was a veteran and that meant something there and that's why America was
GREAT apart from that (n word here) Obama. But that's what you got when
you came to these islands run by (n word in the plural here). Gee....
left. The old woman was giving me apologetic looks for her husband. She
looked really, really embarrassed. But she never said a word.
it didn't quite happen like that. He was a lot ruder and nastier and
went red like he was going to have a heart attack.
The Haitian Mambo. I had a customer come in yesterday, tall,
light-skinned black, clothed head to toe in white. She said, "Have you
got any books on the Orishas or Ifa." I said no but that I did have a
wonderful biography of Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn.
said, "I am a Mambo" (a voodoo priestess). She said she wanted some
how-to books on Yoruba practice, but not anything on Cuban Santeria
which wasn't as authentic. I tried to look like I was really
knowledgeable (I knew what she was talking about but not much more) and
she then tried to get me to actually stock and sell voodoo books and
guaranteed me a market. The island, like most of the Caribbean is deeply
Christian (and equally deeply into Obeah, but that is mostly for
getting money and putting curses on people), but Voodoo! Wow. Some years
ago the government banned the import of dolls from Jamaica or Haiti and
we all knew it was the voodoo dolls being banned, but to actually talk
to a Mambo.
So she's coming in Thursday with a booklist for me
to get for her. That should be interesting. I love customers like this.
This is going to be fun.
9. I received this today
from a local author that wants me to promote his book which is about
pirates in the Caribbean. Among other things.
"If a signing is
combined with a talk about UFOs in the Carib (which I can handle), it
might gain attention. The Carib really is a hot bed of sightings and I
can cite a Brit Ministry of Defence researcher who has written recent
books and a hearing held by the House of Lords in the 1970s.
This is among the factual material in my book."
Would you go to a book-signing like this?
There is an 'interesting' discussion on point 9 on BookLikes. There seem to be a lot of Goodreads expats who have completely lost the plot :-D
A teenager, about 16, came in the shop and picked up a whole pile of
cookbooks worth over $200. She went to the counter and said she didn't
know which one she wanted but she would like to rent them for the
weekend, take them home and read them and then she could decide which
one she wanted to buy.
After much conversation it emerged that
the girl who attended the American school, fees $1600 per month, had to
do a school project involving recipes and thought that renting them -
she offered $5 or $10 for the whole pile - would be the cheapest.
was explained to her that we only sold new books unless they were rare
Caribbeana, so if she took them home, they would no longer be new. She
said she would be careful and wouldn't tell anyone!
I said to her
that she should go to the library. She didn't know there was one on the
island (she was born here, but is white American and a lot of those
families don't mix at all with local society). So we directed her to the
library. She said she really didn't want to have to go up 'there'. She
didn't know if her mother would like it, she said, because you never
know 'who' would be there. (Meaning that I as a white person would
understand that and sympathise with her attitudes towards locals and
help her out. Me! Lol. Nah!)
So, twisting her hair, looking
fliratious she asked if we would mind if she came in for a couple of
days and went through the books and if she could photocopy any of the
recipes and pictures she needed.
No. Absolutely not. She was not a happy camper leaving.
7. Man comes into the shop and orders the hardback edition of Machiavelli's The Prince. Clerk asks him for a deposit. He gives her $10. She asks him his name to give him a receipt.
"Bond, James Bond." Clerk who is very young and West Indian does not think this is anything but his real name.
writes a receipt for him and asks him for his cell or email to contact
him when the book arrives. He gives her his cell no. She gives him the
He says, "I was only joking about my name being James
Bond, my real name is Tom Jones." So she crosses out James Bond on the
receipt and writes Tom Jones.
Customer goes to the door and then turns round and says, "Do you know who James Bond is? Or Tom Jones?"
Clerk is very confused and says, "Is this a trick question?"
he says, and leaves. Clerk skypes me and I say well try his cell number
and see if you get a name back. She tries. No such number.
he's buying Machiavelli and given us a possibly false name and a
non-existent phone number. Presumably he will come into the shop next
week to ask for his book. But what on earth did he do it for?
Lady goes into my bookshop with a $16.99 book and asks the clerk for
the money back on it because her mother-in-law bought it for her son's
first birthday and he already has it. Clerk says she has no record of
the book being sold to the MIL. In fact she doesn't know who the MIL is.
Lady says that she must do, that she is a regular customer of ours and
that's why she bought the book from us, knowing that if the child
already had it we would refund her.
Clerk phones me. I tell her
that I know the MIL quite well. That she has NEVER been in my bookshop
in all the years I've had it and that she is a snotty, lying bitch who
probaby bought it cheap on Amazon and is passing it off as ours.
phone the lady, a lawyer, who wants to return the book. I say I have
searched our records and we haven't sold this particular title for over a
year and that her MIL, who I said as far as I am aware has never been
in the bookshop, must be mistaken and must have bought it elsewhere on
the island (she didn't, no-one else sells it.
Lady gives me a
mouthful. I must be the one mistaken because if her MIL says that she
bought it there, then I just wasn't in the shop and my clerk must be
inefficient or a liar, possibly didn't write the book down and kept the
money for herself, yadayadayada.
She says she will tell everyone
not to come to my shop if I have these sort of principles and I'm just
out to make a quick... and no customer service and that she would never
buy a book from me again. That's no loss, until she wanted a 'refund'
for the book, she'd never been in anyway.
I ask her politely to please check with her MIL to be sure where she bought it. Lady puts phone down on me.
saw the MIL in the street a couple of days later and as per usual she
cut style on me, pretended she hadn't seen me. She's been doing this for
ten years now. Bought it in my shop, my arse!
Funny thing is, the lawyer's just been made a partner as she gets on so well with the clients...
(view spoiler)[This is not a review of this funny book. I'm just going to post (view spoiler)[(by request of Xox) (hide spoiler)] the weirds thing customers say in my bookshop. Top one will always be the latest. (hide spoiler)]
Lady who endlessly gets us to research books for her and then never
orders them comes in and sits down on the chair at the cash desk and
pulls out her sticky, iced cake from the cafe up the road and begins to
eat it. She eats a bit and then carefully licks her fingers free of
crumbs before starting to flick through some books on the desk.
ask if I can help her and she says it is so hot outside do I mind if
she justs sits down while she waits for her friend (my place has chill
aircon). I say well you can't eat here, I don't want to attract rats and
insects. She says she will be careful not to drop crumbs. I say I
really don't like eating around books because if they get marked I can't
sell them. She says that's all right she won't touch anything. I don't
know what to say, so I leave her.
Her friend comes in, pulls up a
chair and brings out her own lunch also from the cafe. I say, look I'm
sorry to interrupt you all, but this is a bookshop, I think you should
go back to the cafe and eat your lunch there.
"But it's so hot up there and it's nice and cool here."
"I'm sorry, but I really will have to insist that you not eat in here. It's not a cafe, it's a bookshop."
get up to go, not really in a bad mood. The first one says, would you
mind just photocopying this for me before I go? And if you have an
envelope to put it in...? (her fingers are really greasy).
I say look, really I have a bookshop, not a print shop, not a cafe, I don't sell stationery.
The second lady says, but if you want to keep customers you have to go out of your way for them.
I say I don't think either of you have bought anything here for over a year.
True she says, I have a Kindle now. But come Christmas I might.
am now right at the end of my tether and they sense this and leave
dropping crumbs. Right at the very last minute, the first one crumples
up the foil she had the cake in and says, "Do you have a garbage bin?"
4. "I asked your clerk for four books last week, but I only want one of them now."
fine. Can you tell the clerk which one you want and give her a deposit,
please?" (I am in the office, this is on skype from my shop).
"I found the other books cheaper online. Amazon."
"Yes, I expect you did."
is that it is very expensive to get them from xxxx to the island, I'd
have to use a courier. Would you mind if I had them sent to your post
box in xxxx? Perhaps you could bring them for me when you bring the
books for the shop. I'd be so grateful."
"That is why we charge extra, and it is only $2 per book, because it costs me $55 to go and pick the books up."
"Does that mean you won't bring them for me?"
"I will be happy to if you order them from me."
"But then I won't save any money on Amazon."
me put it this way. You wouldn't ask someone in Publix to go and pick
up stuff from Pueblo for you because Pueblo are cheaper. So why ask me
to pick up stuff from another book retailer for free?"
"Ok, I understand. If you sell them to me at Amazon price I will buy them from you."
It gets very tedious after that....
3. "Do you have any books in Latin?"
"No, what are you looking for?"
"A novel, historical fiction."
"Do you mean something about Latinos?"
"No, a book in Latin, the language."
"I don't know if there are any novels in Latin."
"Oh there are, my friend bought one here."
"What was the title?"
"I don't know. It had a yellow cover."
"I really don't know what it could be, do you think you could ask your friend and phone me and let me know?"
"Yes, I'll come in tomorrow."
"By the way, do you read Latin?"
(That was yesterday, they haven't come back today, yet).
The mind boggles. The only book I've ever had to do with Latin in the shop is X-treme Latin which I liked because of the chapter on using the various Latin words for fuck when furious with major road rage.
Two to start with the first from yesterday and the second this morning.
1. "Do you have Protocols of the Elders?"
"No. You do know it's a fake don't you?"
"Yes, everyone knows that but its got a lot of interesting things to say about the Jews."
"But it's fake!"
"It doesn't mean the stuff about the Jews isn't true."
then asked me if I could get it for him. I said I could and he would
need to pay for it upfront. He said he wanted to look at it first to
make up his own mind if it was true or not before buying it. I said well
I wasn't getting it if he didn't pay for it, then he said,
"The Imam said you wouldn't get it because you are a Jew."
So, just some test? I get weirdos like that all the time.
2. "Do you have internet?" (Cruise ship passenger)
"Yes, it's $5 for 30 mins."
"But I only want to check my email, can't I just do that?
"Well no, sorry, it is a business."
"What about if I buy a book will you let me just check it then?"
"Great, thanks. Can I just check it first?"
Customer leaves cursing.