I picked up the phone last night, and what sounded like a middle-aged woman was at the other end. She asked me to look up two books. I asked for the title or author of the first. She replied, “Anything My Little Pony. It’s for my… niece.” I checked the system and told her I saw a graphic novel, and could grab it on the shelf to verify we had it. Then she said the second book she was interested in, was “50 Shades of Gray” by E.L. James. I knew we had a bunch of those. They’re current best-sellers in the trade paperback version. I asked if I should grab these items and put them on hold for her. She said, No… But could I read to her passages from them? I kinda felt something was off with this whole call. I put her on hold and quickly assisted two other customers before grabbing her book and bringing it back to the phone. I kinda knew she didn’t care about the My Little Pony.
I told her I had 50 Shades of Gray in stock. “Should I put it on hold for you?” To which she replied, she wasn’t sure. Could I read some of it to her? I asked her if she wanted me to read her the synopsis on the back? She said it had to be something inside the book so she could see how it was written, because how would she know if it was good? Then she asked me if I’d read it and liked it? (I haven’t, and said I read lots of non-fiction). Then she asked me AGAIN to read a page from it. She said…. “Um, someone told me page 106 is… a good one.” Her voice was kinda weird. I was getting oodgied out. I remained polite as a testament to my patience and good customer service. I found the whole thing mildly amusing and semi-disgusting at the same time.
I knew this was either a prank, or some lady about to get her rocks off on listening to some bookstore employee read passages from 50 Shades of Gray. I told her I was the only one working customer service and had a bunch of customers waiting so, I could put it on hold but didn’t have time to read it. (There really was no one else working customer service). She then asked again, “But how am I supposed to know whether or not it’s good?” To which I replied, “Well, it’s currently a best-seller, and according to the cover, over 70 million copies have been sold internationally…” She finally relented. She didn’t want me to put it on hold, and she didn’t even ask about the My Little Pony book.
My first weird bookstore-employee-customer interaction! But, eww. No wayz am I reading erotica to customers. Yowza. I suppose it would have been even weirder if she was super insistent I read from the My Little Pony book immediately afterwards. That would have also been a “no” from me.