Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adventures in Bookselling

I've noticed these "What I Actually Do" memes popping up all over and I simply had to make one that reflected how I feel at The Bookstore some days. Here is an explanation of my picture choices:

What my friends think I do: My close friends have heard enough of my horror stories to know how it really is at my work, but more casual ones may not. General consensus always seems to be that because I work surrounded by books that I must read them all day long. I hear it from customers all the time. "Must be so nice to work here! You get to read all these books." Uh...no.

What my parents think I do: I always have a feeling that my parents think my job is a lot more glamorous than it really is.

What society thinks I do: Aside from reading all day, most of society seems to think I'm there to pick up all the books they've pulled off the shelves and made a fort out of in our cafe. On the plus side, years of lugging stacks of books all over the place will strengthen your arms. Next time you're in a bookstore, check out the "guns" on those booksellers. Oh yeah.

What my boss thinks I do: Most of the people up in the corporate offices have never actually worked in a bookstore. They've never been in the trenches, as it were. "Well, why isn't this getting done?" they ask. Because I've been napping in the Fiction section. Forget the 20 other things I have to do, I'm taking a nap!

What I think I do: Bookstore - The Musical. Dancing and singing among the stacks of books a la Belle from Beauty and the Beast. This is what sometimes goes on in my mind as I'm working. Come on, I can't be the only one who thinks that the world would be a happier place if we all just broke out in spontaneous musical numbers.

What I actually do: It wasn't always this way, but let's face it, at least once a day I make that face. It's usually after seeing the fort of books someone built around a cafe table or dealing with a customer who can't understand why they can't return something they bought 3 years prior or cleaning the bathroom. 

Sometimes, I actually do sell books. My favorite part has always been helping someone find a new book to read. Not just being told a title and taking them to the shelf, but actually suggesting a book or author they may not have heard of. The best part is when they come back and tell you how much they loved the book you recommended. So among the crap (sometimes literally) I have to put up with, there are moments where I still love what I do.     


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