Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The 20 Most Annoying People in a Bookstore

1) The sweaty guy standing at the New Paperbacks table blocking the one book you want, who appears to be reading the entire section in one sitting and eyeballs you as though you’re invading his personal space.

2) The couple with six children, including two in strollers, whose children run around the bookstore screaming like their hair is on fire and swatting themselves over the head with 700 page books like SHANTARAM.

3) The teenagers who sit down three deep in the aisle reading Manga and graphic novels, thereby preventing anyone from passing through or fleeing in case of a fire alarm.

4) The girls who pick up every chick lit novel on the table and talk about how much the characters remind them of their own lives.

5) The guy in the magazine section reading Maxim (or FHM or Stuff or Playboy) who flips to every pictorial, openly ogles the photos for ten minutes, then puts it back on the shelf and moves on.

6) The store clerk with the weird wheezy breathing who’s only restocking, but seems to be following you around the store like Darth Vader wearing a Borders t-shirt.

7) The book snobs who watch you browse, waiting to see what you pick up so they can scoff and shake their head as though you’re an idiot to even think about reading it.

8) The people who sit in the coffee bar hogging an entire table even though they finished their latté half an hour ago and show no interest in that copy of Architectural Digest.

9) People who tenderly rub the jacket of every single book on the shelf, either because the embossing makes them tingle or they simply must leave traces of their DNA on every conceivable surface.

10) The smarmy college kid in the Classic Literature section giving anyone within earshot a lecture about what Walden really meant to Thoreau (which he cribbed from SparkNotes).

11) The woman on the checkout line who picks up the little “Bonzai Tree in a Box” impulse gifts and adds four of them to her basket.

12) The checkout people who whisper "next customer in line" at a frequency lower than dog whistles, then glare at customers who can’t hear them.


13) The guy who knocks over a huge stack of books then scoots away before anyone notices (or so he thinks).

14) The elderly couple that picks up new hardcovers and voices their disbelief at how expensive books have gotten since THE GRAPES OF WRATH was first published.

15) The guy chewing gum loudly who takes a book off the shelf, flips through it, then puts it back in the wrong place.

16) Old ladies who appear to be leaving the store, but just stand motionless in the doorway and prevent anybody else from coming in or leaving and look like they might faint if you ask them to move.

17) The beret-wearing guy in the music section who seems to be having some sort of seizure as he listens to the Black Eyed Peas on those gigantic headphones plugged into the wall.

18) People who ask the clerk, “Do you have that book by that guy that just came out?”

19) People who stand in the humor section and read the books to each other while giggling like they just farted in a crowded movie theater.

20) People who sit in the comfy leather chairs in the history section and look like they haven’t moved since before the 19th Century European History shelf was built.


17 Comments:

Blogger JT Ellison said...

Jason, have you seen a difference in your book store perceptions since you sold your book?
Great list. I've been near every one of these people. In Nashville, no less. Looks like readers may be similar all over.
With that in mind, Naomi Hirahara has a cool post on red & blue states at Murderati.com today.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Absolutely. Every time I walk into a store, I think about where my book might be, what authors I'll be next to on the shelf, wonder how much co-op costs to get onto the big tables, etc...

And I'll check out Naomi's post right now!

12:00 PM  
Blogger December Quinn said...

LOL! I especially like the part about the history section people. I hate them. They stare at me as I browse. And they're usually not even reading history books!!

1:22 PM  
Blogger Brett Battles said...

My favorite is #12. But it applies to more than just bookstores. I hate when that happens!

I love #18, too. I have actually heard this. Too funny.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Bryon Quertermous said...

Sadly at points in my life I've been numbers 1,4,5,8,9,10

2:13 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Bryon, you've been the girl picking up chick-lit novels? Is there something we should know?

2:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Elbaum said...

May I add another?

The guy who works in the coffee shop who finds it necessary to announce louldy enough for the ENTIRE store to hear: Grande Caramel Frappe -- No Whip

2:55 PM  
Blogger Keltybug said...

I love your list. I have 4 kids but we dont let them run around like their hair is on fire.

3:27 PM  
Blogger anne frasier said...

16. whew. the sad thing is that will be me one day.

you might want to add the people who actually FART in bookstores, then quickly move to another section.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Bill, the Wildcat said...

This is hilarious... mainly because it's all so true! My wife used to work at a Barnes & Noble, as did I. Oh, we could probably add quite a few to this list, but we'd probably get in trouble for it. hehe

Oh, and that crack about the parents letting their kids run wild. My wife was the lead bookseller in the children's section for quite a long time. Sadly, you paint a tame version of that scenario.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Laurie said...

Loved your list! It's as true in our Canadian Chapters/Indigo stores as in your Barnes and Nobles. Especially those annoying chick lit girls and guys who raise their eyebrows at you if your perusing the romantic suspense section. I hate those guys! I like to follow them to the Tom Clancy section and snort. Congratulations on your new book, and series coming out. And I'll keep my eyes peeled up here north of the border for CON ED!

1:52 PM  
Blogger Jim Winter said...

"The sweaty guy standing at the New Paperbacks table blocking the one book you want, who appears to be reading the entire section in one sitting and eyeballs you as though you’re invading his personal space."

Hey, hey, HEY! Wait your turn, dammit. I'm almost done with the latest Evanovich.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Jim Winter said...

"The sweaty guy standing at the New Paperbacks table blocking the one book you want, who appears to be reading the entire section in one sitting and eyeballs you as though you’re invading his personal space."

Hey, hey, HEY! Wait your turn, dammit. I'm almost done with the latest Evanovich.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Jim Winter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Saipan Writer said...

Very nice.

Bookstores attract all kinds of people. Including us!

My darling daughter is #3 (teen manga reader, on floor). I am occasionally # 8 (at the coffee bar, waiting) and more often #16 (reading history in leather chair), and (always?) # 9 (running fingers lovingly over the spines of books). I await the day I'm #16 (little old lady who can't move).

The person I dislike the most--in other words, my # 1 most annoying--your # 7 (the scoffing book snobs--and snorters like Laurie!).

See you at the bookstore.

8:38 PM  
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