This Christmas seems particularly GRRsome to me. Not sure why, perhaps it always does. At work on Saturday my irritation felt like a nagging toothache. I don't think it showed though - at least, not to the customers.
I work on the first floor and am often puzzled by how many people are surprised to hear the book they want is on a different floor above.
"You have another floor?"
"Yes, we have five floors in all."
"On the next floor?"
"How do I get there?"
"We have stairs," I gesture with a sweep of my arm. "Or a lift just here."
"For god's sakes."
So many people so cross that there are more floors. The coffee shop on the third floor? Tsk. Reference on fourth? Tut. How do they cope in department stores?
Then there are the people who ask "Where can I find so and so?" I look it up on the computer and confirm that we have a copy, or several.
"On the next floor up, on the left. You can ask the assistant at the counter and they will show you."
And I watch them head down the stairs and out of the shop.
A man handed his book to me to scan and it set off our alarm. Deactivating the tag requires me to rub the book over the desktop where the machine beneath does its duty.
"Don't rub my book."
"I'm sorry ..."
I sympathised, I like my books pristine too. The book doesn't get damaged though. He paid the £9.99 with a £10 Waterstone's gift card. I told him he had one penny left on the card and handed it to him.
"Where's my penny?"
I repeated that it was on his card.
"Don't you dare try to cheat me out of my penny. I know my rights. Where's my one pence? I DEMAND my money."
A regular customer comes in. I haven't seen him for a while. He travels for over an hour on the bus to visit us but he's ill, and his illness has worsened. He's not sure he'll be able to keep coming. Then another man tells me about the disease that is killing him.
My colleague took a phone call from a woman wanting a poetry book that she thought might have a blue cover. Yup, that's totally not a bookshop myth, it's a thing that happens regularly.
A guy asked me for a Kindle Voucher. Erm… nope, not gone be selling one of them.
"That's like asking for a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte in a Costa Coffee," said another customer.
18 hours ago