Book store – 04.21.13

I suppose it’s too much to ask that people not use our children’s area at work to interview potential nannies, isn’t it.  Because that’s definitely what one couple did for over two hours today, and we were all really cranky about it.  That table and chairs back there?  Not so you can interview twenty-something women about the care and keeping of your children (whom you brought with you and who have been waiting around the store for two hours as well). 

Hold interviews in your living room, for God’s sake; considering that you’re interviewing for a position as not-strictly-necessary as a nanny, I assume you have one.  The paranoia that someone will turn out to be a creeper is not reason enough to monopolize our limited seating space–again, for hours at a time!–in search of someone to hire for your service position.  It’s rude and self-centered, IMO, no better than the people who drop their children off at that same little table and then go get a coffee for an hour.  (In fact, it’s more annoying to me, because no doubt they’re patting themselves on the back for coming up with a clever, low-cost way to run their interviews without ~exposing their children~ to ~potential predators~ in the home.)

What’s so weird to me about some of our customers’ behavior is the fact that the bookshop I work at is literally two blocks away from the library.  This is the kind of thing modern libraries are built for!  There are little community rooms you can use for just that sort of thing, and there’s another community space just inside the lobby of the building.  I know because I’ve been there, guys.  And it would be about ten million times more appropriate for you to conduct your ~nanny~ search from there.  Even from a coffee shop, I could understand, because at least you’re likely to buy some coffee, but ideally, go to the library.  That’s why we have them.

I wonder how well patronized the library in this neighborhood is, simply because I keep getting requests that seem so much better suited to a librarian.  Aside from the rude parents today (and yeah, we were all complaining about them under our breath, especially after the manager spoke to them and they kept on like we were inconveniencing them), there are so many people who just sit in the store and read our books with no intention of actually purchasing them.  And I mean really reading them–sticking multiple bookmarks in them and everything, clearly not giving any kind of a damn about whether they’d be salable in their current condition.  We have several books that look like they belong over at Half-Price Books thanks to people who have no problems with treating them like their own.  And once, I had a little old man ask me to help him interpret a short medical form that contained personal information in it.  (I did assist him, through grace of Google, though I felt weird knowing what procedure(s) he’d had at the dentist that day.)

All of these situations are such that using the library would make a lot more sense.  They don’t care if you read the books!  They want you to use their spaces to meet other members of the community!  They’re here to help you understand things and answer your questions!  And while I’m happy to do the same when the request is reasonable (seriously, that copy of Maimonides doesn’t belong to you, stop folding the cover), the difference is this: It’s not in my job description.  I sell books.  Even if I like books, even if I’m studying to be a librarian, the bottom line of my job is “make my company money.”  If I can recommend good books to others or help them find something they need, that’s awesome, but it’s not actually my job to find out what your dentist did to you this morning.  And it’s definitely not my job to let you hog valuable space (seriously, chairs are at a premium in our bookstore) when you have no intention of buying anything.

This is why we have libraries.  And we literally are two blocks away from one.  It’s pretty much visible from the store parking lot, guys, it’s really not rocket surgery.  But it is annoying when people expect a private company to behave like a public, taxpayer-funded space, especially because actual public, taxpayer-funded spaces like libraries are consistently in danger of losing funding.  You clearly need the library, so please go there and patronize it.

(Forgive me if I sound crabby, internets!  I’m just tired, lol.  It was a long day today, if a pleasant enough one.  I think I’m gonna see about watching The Good Wife and then going to bed.)

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