Jerks & Irks XIX: The Question is WHY Do I Work Here?

Ever since I posted Tiny Little Man Wants an Eraser, followers have been clamoring for a new “annoying bookstore people post.” For those of you new to JJE, I recently acquired a part-time job at a local Bargain Book Warehouse. You would think an aspiring author would love working at a bookstore, even if she’s more than partial to her Kindle Fire. In a way, I do like working there. On shifts where I get to work alone I pull a tiny notebook out of my purse and work on my latest chapter or my novel’s prequel. Occasionally, I’m interrupted by customers. Oh well, that’s the nature of a job, isn’t? But it’s not their constant pestering that I find fault with. Not really, anyway. It’s their ultimate annoyingness, such as their affinity for asking me if I work there. Yes, it’s true we don’t wear uniforms. But when I’m doing certain things around the store I really feel like common sense should knock on their skulls from inside their brains to alert them to the situational fricking clues. Here are a few examples:

1. When I’m unlocking the front door to the store. I feel like the fact that I have a KEY really says it all, but maybe that’s just me.

2. When I’m behind the counter. Seriously?

3. When I’m restocking shelves. Since I’ve started working there it has become clear to me that no one in the history of bookstores seems to put things back that they’ve changed their mind about purchasing. They might put it near the correct area, but they never search for a book’s brothers and sisters to put it back. So why is it when you see me staring at a shelf, mumbling the title of one of the books in my arms over and over again like a mantra, do you ask me if I work there?

4. When I’m sitting on the floor indian style, with a pricing gun and a stack of books. No, I don’t work here. I’m staging a coup. These books should be even cheaper. Penny Pinchers Unite!

5. When I’m actually in the stockroom. No I don’t work here. I just know they’re hoarding copies of Snooki’s book back here and I’m gonna prove it!

6. When I’m entering or exiting the door to the office that is clearly marked “Employees Only.” Maybe they can’t read. Maybe they’re just here to buy picture books.

7. When I’m straightening the stacks. No, I don’t work here. I have OCD. Next I’m going to take issue with the dust.

8. When I’m hanging a sign. Again, part of the coup staging. Nothing to see here, folks.

9. When I’m walking through the store with a hand truck. I know there are carts, I just prefer my own shopping methods, such as precariously stacking books a fricking dolly.

10. When I actually ask someone, “Can I help you?” Granted, this one is a rare occurrence. Rare, as in I hardly ever ask anyone if they need help. I’m busy writing, remember? But no, I don’t work here. I’m just a good Samaritan and instead of volunteering at the local soup kitchen I help dork-tards find discounted Bulgarian cookbooks.

If you’re like me, you wondering WHY. Why do I work in place where I’m bombarded by people I want to shoot up in a spree killing scene in one of my novels. Well, besides the abundance of blog material, I need to pay my editor (when I formally choose one) and my cover artist, who I just hired last week. So, that’s what I focus on while I stare at these people in disbelief. If you have any other coping mechanisms for me, I’m all ears.

25 thoughts on “Jerks & Irks XIX: The Question is WHY Do I Work Here?

  1. hahaha I worked in a bookstore for years so a lot of these brought on some nostalgia! Believe me when I say that it really could be a hell of a lot worse! 😉

  2. Love this post! I owned a bookstore for several years and I bet I could match you point for point on how ridiculous it is that some people are actually allowed to roam freely about the city, let alone enter a retail business where literacy is recommended. Common sense doesn’t factor in, obviously. Thanks for this!

  3. I used to do some deep breathing. Seriously, it sounds ridiculous, but I would go to where people couldn’t see me and do some nice deep yoga breaths.

    But, seriously people act like they lose their ability to think in stores. Suddenly, their brain is nonexistent and you must fill it with knowledge or smack them across the face.

  4. I used to think I’d like working in a bookstore, but then I realized as a writer, I have way too many opinions about what people SHOULD be reading. And then, as soon as someone asked for Snooki’s latest “novel,” I’d have to kill them right there in the store, which would be bad for business.

  5. If you’ve never listened to Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” routine you definitely need to! It’s all about people asking irrelevant/obvious questions (like “You leaving?” when someone is walking to the door with keys in his hand)

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