Right now I am working two jobs, for a total of about 70 paid hours each week. The part time job is at a large chain bookstore in town. I absolutely love it –the people I work with are smart and sarcastic and funny and nerdy, just like me! That and it gives me several stories every shift.
We have electronic sensors for Loss Prevention. Last evening, toward the end of the night, a man walked out, and set off the alarm. He came back in and shouted to me halfway across the front of the store, “I set the alarm off”. Really?
I responded in a half shout, because I was helping a customer, “If you head over this way, I can run your purchase over the thing to deactivate it.” About as professional as one can sound using a stage voice in a bookstore.
He yelled back, “I don’t have anything” raising his hands in the air to show they were empty. “Do you need to come over and check?”
“Well, I’m not going to pat you down, sir” came loudly out of my mouth right before I thought it through. “Have a good evening”, I followed up in a shout, attempting to regain professionalism. The customer I was with just raised his eyebrows in a way that said “Nice.”
Also yesterday, I had a woman come to me wondering if we still had a book. I asked her which one. She pursed her lips, and explained, “Well, it has a black cover, and was somewhere near the door about a year ago.”
I queried, “Do you know the title or author?”
“It had a black cover and was near the door last year.”
“Any idea what it was about?”
“I can’t remember, just that I wanted to get it, and it had a black cover and was up near the door about a year ago.”
Aha, I thought, If you say it three more times and jump around in a circle on one foot, I’ll magically know which one you mean! This type of conversation occurs a lot more than one would think. In fact, they should integrate a book dimension field into their search engine. Then when we’re hired, they should take our hand measurements, and put them in the computer. That way we’d have something to do when a customer knows nothing about the book except that it’s about “that big” (using thumbs and forefingers in Ls to show us). Then we could just type in the computer, “about 10 inches across, and either as tall as from the base of Meghan’s thumb to the tip of her forefinger, or extending into eternity”. We’d be able to help a lot more customers that way.