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Jul. 5th, 2009

I work part-time at an SF/F specialty store. Once upon a time, in a world before children, I managed it, and I've been there in one capacity or another for a Very Long time.

I did something the other day which, on immediate reflection, surprised me. Three people came into the store; they were in their twenties, two men, and a woman (with very lovely red hair). The young woman asked me for recommendations--and this is the part of the job that I love, and have always loved, because I get to talk about books, and I can do that all day long. Seriously.

So the young woman was thinking about the various recommendations, and one of the young men came up to the counter to buy a book. It was a paperback (which will be relevant in a minute). He paid for the book, then turned to the young woman and said, "It's time to go."

She said, "But I haven't found anything yet."

And he said, "Well, how long does it take?"

So, I leaned over the counter, holding the book for which the customer had paid and I bonked him on the head with it. No, seriously. I bonked a total stranger who had never been in the store before on the head. With his book. Which he had just given me money for. And while I was doing this, I was saying, "Hey! You don't tell someone that they're coming to browse in a bookstore, but they have to leave just because you've found something to read!"

The young woman and the other young man broke out laughing, and the other young man said, "She doesn't even know you and she knows you deserve to be smacked upside the head!"

And then, of course, I realized that I had just hit a total stranger over the head. I think I managed to say "I have younger brothers, sorry >.>."

So... I was relating this with some chagrin to a customer of many years, and he was laughing at me, and at the idea that I was shocked that I had done this. I have never done it before. I mean, not if I don't actually know the customer.

When I pointed this out, he said, "Take a poll of all the people who actually know you and see if any of them are surprised."

So: It is poll time!

Michelle has hit a total stranger on the head with a book that he has just purchased. Not, of course, hard enough to cause any damage to anything other than dignity (hers and his).

You are

not surprised
surprised that Michelle is surprised
afraid to visit the bookstore in the future


( 50 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Jul. 6th, 2009 05:52 am (UTC)
Equivalent situation ... hmm ... so my husband is dithering in the store over the anime DVDs and I've got my DVD purchase in my hand and I'm ready to go ... yes, I might give him some kind of exasperated comment. If we'd been there long enough I'd actually picked something out, we'd probably have been there plenty long enough for *him* to have done it.

But I'd never do it in a bookstore!! The horror!
Jul. 6th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
I answered 'now afraid to go to store' jokingly. I think it was most appropriate. We need more guidance of the young by the more experienced in our culture. And yeah, head-bonking counts.
Jul. 6th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
There's no option for "would pay for security footage thereof." ;)
Jul. 6th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
I don't know you well enough to be surprised or not, but I want a poll option of "really wants to visit the bookstore now."
Jul. 6th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
What Groblek said! I'd /love/ a bookstore where the paid booklovers were secure enough to call on the stupidity. Of course, if I worked there, there would be mocking too.

And yes. Yes, I do have younger siblings...
(no subject) - roseaponi - Jul. 6th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msagara - Jul. 6th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - roseaponi - Jul. 6th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - estara - Jul. 6th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
*loves the story*

I'm not surprised but mainly because it seems like such a natural reaction when faced with something like that. Especially for someone who loves books as you well do.

Now, if you had said you really smacked him upside the head then I would be surprised because that's cruelty to a good book if it had bent the pages or put a dent in the cover.
Jul. 6th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
Now, if you had said you really smacked him upside the head then I would be surprised because that's cruelty to a good book

LOL! Bibliophiles unite!
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
That is awesome. I fully support the bonking.

...and I just realized that I think I may have met you once at said specialty store while you were working. I think you recommended The Name of the Windto me!
Jul. 6th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
...and I just realized that I think I may have met you once at said specialty store while you were working. I think you recommended The Name of the Wind to me!

That would probably have been me, although we've all been recommending it, depending on what the customer has read that they've previously liked or hated -- I really loved that book.
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Just friended you recently . . . but it sounds *almost* like something I would do . . .

I don't think I would have done it to an older person, but a young man, yes. (I'm 30.)
Jul. 6th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
So... maybe it's not that I'm totally insane or impulsive -- it's working in bookstores. *said hopefully*
(no subject) - comrade_cat - Jul. 6th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Swing for the fences. Not only is it wrong in a bookstore to insist that someone else be ready to leave when you are (if you are really together), it's simply inconsiderate of the other person. Take your time, maybe read the book. That's why you just bought it!
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
I only know you on the internet, so I can't say I know you well enough to predict anything you might do.

But I do think more people ought to be willing to gently bonk errant strangers on the head.

Edited at 2009-07-06 03:21 am (UTC)
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Hm. My experience is that my levels of what is Acceptable Rhetorical Violence vary massively across contexts and individuals; in high school all my friends were sports-playing guys (or at least a good deal more athletic than I) and tomboyish girls, and when I got to college I knew some people who were really seriously offended or worried by what I considered casual roughhousing. So, y'know, my gut says that this is fine and that it's silly even to worry about it, my social phobia says back the hell off until you know the person somewhat better, and I don't quite know which is the more rational response.
Jul. 6th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
I think "Acceptable Rhetorical Violence" wins for Term of the Day. :)

I suspect, Michelle, that if it was inappropriate in this person's context, you would be subconsciously aware of this and you wouldn't have done it.
(no subject) - fyrna - Jul. 6th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msagara - Jul. 6th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msagara - Jul. 6th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
This oddly made me think of one of your characters, but I'm torn between that character being Jewel or Yolana. The story was rather amusing, and I wish I could've seen it. xD
Jul. 6th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can totally see any of the Voyani folk (which includes Jay, I suppose) doing exactly that. Except I don't think it would be non-damaging.
Jul. 6th, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
skewed results...
I think the question is skewing the results.

If the person in question was tall, then yes I'd have been surprised you managed to hit him on the head.

If it was left as "Michelle hit a total stranger" then the surprise quotient goes down a ways. A long ways.

And if the question was "Michelle hit someone that she knows", I'd be surprised if -anyone- was surprised.

Jul. 6th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
Re: skewed results...
Books give added inches, thereby nullifying height differential.
I should know. I'm 5'1". But my license says 5'2. Not that anyone would know the difference just to look at me.

Yeah, no surprise here.
I would've done the same thing.
Re: skewed results... - kchew - Jul. 6th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 6th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
I only know you through your LJ, but I am not surprised.

Jul. 6th, 2009 07:43 am (UTC)
You done good. And I'm pretty certain she'll come back.
Jul. 6th, 2009 08:43 am (UTC)
*laughs out loud* What a very very funny story. :)
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