Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why Customer Service Isn't Important...

Beazley Books has a few sidelines like prints, small antiques and custom matting. We train cadaver dogs too but that’s another story. Staying on top of it all has driven me to drink, so when a regular customer came in this morning and saw me sipping my breakfast Guinness and asked, you got another one? That was a little presumptuous so I said, no, and he says, did you grow up in an orphanage or something? Well I grew up with four brothers and that’s a lot like living in an orphanage so that was very perceptive of him. Then a woman called and demanded to speak to the manager and I immediately detected evil (I can do that with small dogs and the elderly). I replied in my best Oxfordian English, this is he, and sure enough, she says that she spoke to a very rude man on the phone yesterday. What did he do now?, I asked, and she said the man was just unspeakably rude (for the record, all I told her yesterday was that I didn’t want to buy her box of Harlequin romances and that she should consider burning them for warmth). Well, I said, the man you spoke to is schizophrenic so you never really know who you’re talking to when you call the store…..he’ll be in this afternoon so why don’t you come in and slap him. She hung up on me, and if you’re thinking that it’s not a good idea to invite angry people to hit you, you might be right.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weird Titles

Here is a list of the weirdest book titles that have come into the store in February:

- The Beggar’s Handbook, A Guide to Successful Panhandling by P. Packet

- Nazis In The Woodpile by Egon Glesinger

- You May Know them As Sea Urchins, Ma’am by Ray Guy

- The Mafia Of A Sicilian Village, A Study In Violent Peasant Entrepreneurs" by Anton Blok

- Surviving in Prison by Harold Long

- Old Wives For New by Graham Phillips

- The Myth Of Ability by John Mighton

- You Die Next, Jill Baby! by Kirby Carr

- Old Age, It’s Cause And Prevention by Sanford Bennett

Anyone have weird titles of their own to share?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Gastro Affair

The holidays are over at last and I think it will be recorded as the Gastro Christmas, not to be confused with anything gastronomical.  My fond memories of Christmas past tend to horrify my daughter, tales of my father forgetting it was Christmas and flying to Bermuda “on business”, my brother buying comic books with the tree money, and five sugar-demented brothers fighting over who got to impale the angel to the top of the tree, only to attach instead a crayon drawing of an unspeakably pornographic winged creature, the nature of which was not discovered by my parents until the tree was taken down a week later.  Some people in the store were so crazy-eyed with stress that they reacted badly to my little jokes, one fellow screaming at me when I suggested that the cookbook he was buying would make him fat. Then there was the Moldavian refuge who passed around his homemade prune-avocado  moonshine and everyone got a rash

We all have our idiosyncrasies, and OK maybe mine are weirder than most, but I can never look at an author’s picture because if I do, I can’t read the book. I can’t help it. Last week I had to stop reading a book I was enjoying when I happened to see the author’s  picture and was reminded of a Marketing VP I once hated and tried to kill at the Christmas party. And who can bear to read Atwood once you’ve heard her chuttering on the radio or enjoy Robertson Davies after seeing that Rasputin picture of him. I liked Mordecai Richler’s work until I met him and discovered he didn’t get the memo about blackheads and nose hairs.  Harlan Coben looks like a smug programmer and Yann Martel like my suicidal Auntie Ophelia. There are exceptions. J.R.R. Tolkien looks like Gandalf so he’s OK and Mark Twain passes muster because he looks like he’s had a few and isn’t quite sure where he is. Anyway, this year I’ve vowed to read more serious fiction so I don’t have to lie so much when someone asks me about a book.