01 December 2013

'Tis the Season: Surviving Black Friday

For the first time since starting work as a part-time bookseller, I opened on Black Friday.  It was also the first year the store opened at midnight, so I volunteered to work a 12-hour split shift.

Making dollars, yo.  It actually wasn't so bad.  I lived.  And didn't even really have any nasty customers.

Although I did kind of want to punch the ones who came up to the registers, yawned, then commented about how tired they were and how awful it was that I had to work so early in the morning.

And there was the dude who tried to convince me that the hardcover graphic novel he was holding was the same as a paperback box set advertised as 50% off (because "a graphic novel is called a trade in the business" - direct quote) and, therefore, it should also be 50% off.  Uh, no.  It's 3:30 am and I'm tired, not brain-dead, and since I put up the signs on Wednesday night I know exactly what they say.

A customer informed me that our bathroom wasn't "pretty".  It's a bathroom, not a lounge.  Go down the hall for "pretty" bathrooms.

(it was a display of John Green novels, huzzah for enthusiasm on Black Friday)

Exhausted-looking mom: I need the Richard the III book.
Me:  Ehrrrr....are you looking for the play, a historical novel, or a biography.
Exhausted-looking mom: You mean there's more than one?
(Yup.  Definitely.  After some discussion, she disclosed that it was for her son's high-school English class - process of elimination concluded that he was most likely in need of the Shakespeare play.)

Grumpy mom at the register: This book is $7 at Target. (Holds up new Wimpy Kid book)
Me: I'm sorry, we don't price match.
Grumpy mom: Never?
Me: Never.
(She bought the book - I wanted to high five her kid for whining about how he didn't want to walk alllllllllll the way back to Target and he wanted his book noooooowwwwwww)

So many customers bought JJ Abrams S that I wanted to kiss them all and tell them how much of a sensory experience they were getting or giving. (Yeah, OK, that's a little weird, but you understand.)

Customer:  I need an inspirational book for my little niece.  She's 17 and she doesn't really know what she wants to do or if she wants to go to college.  She's pretty quiet.
Me: *thinks that teenagers hate it when adults try and tell them how to plan their lives* Well, we have a self-improvement section...
(after going through section, we conclude that none would really work)
Me (has a brain wave - this was going on, like, hour 10 of work): Would you like to look at a novel? (Explains all about Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl with much enthusiasm - customer looks over the book and thinks this is a great idea.  Score!)

In my favorite encounter of probably the entire weekend (I worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), I helped a mom and her eighth-grade daughter for about thirty minutes.  They were looking for a book to buy that day (car ride) and ideas for later, especially series.  We went through all the YA series - nothing too violent, not too much romance....hmmmmm.  She thought Hunger Games was too scary and Twilight was "gross" (agreed, honey) and she hadn't read more than book 1 in each series; mom thought Divergent would be too scary also (+1 to mom for reading a book ahead of her kid to make an informed decision).  She hadn't read Harry Potter or Rick Riordan - interested, but not really sold on either.  After talking so much with her, it became apparent that she was a really young eighth grade....and she was wearing a GLEE t-shirt.
Me:  Do you...watch GLEE?
Kid:  YES!!!!!  I love GLEE!
Me: Who's your favorite character?
(because I had a feeling...)
Kid:  Kurt!! No, Rachel.  Ok, I like Kurt and Rachel best.
Me:  Did you know that Chris Colfer has started writing a series called Land of Stories?
Kid:  *emits sound in the frequency range of a dog whistle*  NOOOO!!!  HE DID!??!??!
And just like that she had found her book for the day - The Wishing Spell.  I don't think I could have pried it back out of her hands (good thing our scanners at the register can stretch).  Luckily for mom, there's book 2 to purchase for Christmas - I also had them interested in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, Cat Valente's Girl Who series, Wonder, and The One and Only Ivan.

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