Having worked in two bookstores and frequented many, I know a thing or two about the type of people that you’ll find in book shops. Odds are, you know them, too. So, sit down, prop your feet up, and pretend that the looming threats of e-readers and Amazon aren’t threatening the entire print-book industry as I introduce you to the “5 People You Meet in a Bookstore”:
1. Manga Merv – People may disagree with me on this, but if you read entire books (sometimes multiple) without paying for them before you leave the shop, you’re a thief, Hamburgler. That means you, Manga Merv. Authors and illustrators worked hard on all that Manga and you sit there and read it as casually as you would the shampoo bottle while sitting on the toilet when you’ve forgotten your phone. Seriously, guys, go to any bookstore and stay for more than thirty minutes and you’ll definitely see at least two Manga readers sprawled out in the middle of the freaking Manga/Graphic Novel aisle with about 98.6% of the Manga inventory encircling them, elbow-deep into “Full Metal Alchemist” or something. I don’t know what the Manga jam is these days. I don’t keep up with it, but trust me. This is a one-thousand percent certifiable fact. Isn’t there a Wayne’s World 2 quote about it, “Sell mass-market Manga and they will come”? Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes, but if you spent any marked amount of time in a bookstore and didn’t come across a middle-to-high school-aged teen that refuses to speak or acknowledge your existence, but has the balls to sit cross-legged in the middle of the aisle that several people are trying to get down, I would lick a dried piece of Double Bubble on the bottom of your shoe. Bonus points if you catch one of the guys sneaking off with a particularly raunchy one to the restroom. Barf.
2. Pretentious Pete – You may not realize it, but you already know Pete. He usually brings a date or an unassuming friend with him along for the trip and hustles, knees-to-chest, to the Poetry/Philosophy/Art/Germanic Literature section. Don’t expect him to pick up a copy of Milk and Honey. No, he’s much too refined for that. Instead, expect him to make his way over to the literature section and pick out Infinite Jest, lecturing his date on it as he pretends to have read it. You’ll see them walk over to the Starbucks inside the shop and hear him explain to her that he’s only okay with going to this Starbucks instead of a local shop because “they have cold brew now” and there’s not a “local shop” nearby and he’s “gotta have it now” because “like, coffee is life”. Pete goes home and watches Hitch to unwind, but tells his friends he’s watching The Life Aquatic and drinking kombucha.
3. Eye-Roller Renee – Renee has been running around all day, meeting for lunch dates and manicures, and has settled in at home just to find out that Little Johnny didn’t tell her about the book that he has to have for school tomorrow. She pulls up to the shop in a huff, cuts the line to demand a copy of Lord of the Flies (which she has somehow never heard of), and argues with the clerk that they clearly don’t understand what book she’s talking about because there’s no way they’re sold out. The clerk (we’ll call her Becky) offers to look in the stockroom for Renee to see if there are a couple copies that haven’t been sold with the fifty others picked up in the assignment rush. Becky is elated to find that there’s a stray copy in the back because she loves helping her customers. When Renee sees her, she tells her – arms-crossed – that it took entirely too long and that Becky should respect the time of others. Becky rings her up and Renee croaks at the price of the book ($9.99! Can you believe it?! Hardly worth it!). She snatches the book from Becky without so much as a “thank you” and clips out of the store, already on her cell.
4. Leave-it Laura – Laura has been at the shop since noon. She strikes up a conversation with the store attendants and brags to her friends at home that she’s very familiar with them. She heads upstairs, her tie-dye skirt billowing behind her, and asks for help finding approximately eighteen titles. She looks at them all and calls out to anyone within ear shot of her, customers and employees. “Have you read this?” “A raccoon that acts like a dog?” “A sunny day” “I’m verrrrry interested in the inner-workings of 18th century ants that have been exposed to blackberry jam” “Harry Potter? Never heard of ‘im! Tell me more!” Laura finally vacates the premises at 6 p.m. and the employees spend the next four hours finding all eighteen of the books she asked for tucked into various, incorrect sections. Laura returns the next morning at noon.
5. Go Away Greg – There’s just something about a bookstore that brings out the pervs and stalkers of the community. For example, Greg will come in to buy some porn magazines and tell the cashier that she reminds him of one of the girls inside the pages. Greg will find unnecessary reasons to touch the female attendant that is helping him find the “Health” section. Greg will tell jokes about how stupid women are to the female worker that’s helping him look-up a title. Greg will tell the brunette attendant that she’s pulling off the “sexy librarian thing” because, yeah, the attendant totally isn’t working there because she enjoys books and information and she’s definitely not wearing her glasses because her eyes are tired at the end of a long day. And Greg definitely thinks that all of the female workers are coming onto him when they give him the information that he asked for, so he should definitely ask them what time they get off and where they live. 🙄 Greg is awful. Don’t be Greg.
There ya have it, friends and foes; “5 People You Meet in a Bookstore”. There are a ton more, but these are what I’ll start with. Let me know if you want to see Part Two! Are you any of these types? Is there a type I missed that you’ve noticed? Let me know in the comments and, as always, follow and share! 🦔