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128 pages, Hardcover
First published April 18, 2013
1. Fluorescent speedos?
I had an Italian guy in, from a cruise ship I think, wearing fluorescent speedos underneath his huge hairy belly, leather thong sandals and a man bag dangling from his wrist. Oh and mirror sunglasses. No he wasn't wearing a medallion, but he should have been, it would have completed the look. He wouldn't wear this in the streets of his home town, why do it to mine? Actually a better question would be, why was he was out dressed like that at all? (It looks like he has a load of toilet paper wrapped around both his meat and two veg. as well.)
The other 'review' of Weird Things Customers say in Bookshops got too full, so this is a new one of weird things customers say or do in my bookshop. Or wear for that matter.
“Child: Mummy, who was Hitler?
Child: Yeah. Who was he?
Mother: Erm, he was a very bad man from a long time ago.
Child: Oh. How bad?
Mother: He was like...he was like Voldemort.
Child: Oh! That’s really, really bad.
Child: (Pause) So, did Harry Potter kill hitler, too?”
“Customer (to her friend): What about this book? (Holds up a copy of The Hobbit).
Customer: No. I don’t want to read that. It’ll spoil the film.”
“Customer: I can’t afford a gym membership. Would you mind if I came in here three of four times a week? I’d like to use your larger books to do some weight-lifting.”
CUSTOMER: You know, I go to this book club thing, but I really hate reading.
BOOKSELLER: So … why do you go to the book club?
CUSTOMER: I don’t know, really. (Pause). To make things easier, I bought a book called How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.
CUSTOMER: Yeah. (Pause). I didn’t read it.
(Elderly female customer is looking at the chart) CUSTOMER: I can’t believe everybody’s reading this Fifty Shades …
BOOKSELLER: I know. I take it it isn’t your cup of tea, then?
CUSTOMER: Oh, no dear; been there, done that – no need to read about it!
CUSTOMER: Hello! I’m searching for a book. I’m not sure of the publishing house, but it’s really great and I just have to read it again.
BOOKSELLER: Sure. What was the title of the book?
CUSTOMER: Well, the thing is, I don’t really remember …
BOOKSELLER: OK, then how about the author? Maybe we can search for their work and find the one you’re looking for?
CUSTOMER: I don’t know his name.
BOOKSELLER: … Right.
CUSTOMER: But he was definitely European.
BOOKSELLER: … Ok.
CUSTOMER: And it was non-fiction. Some kind of study. Probably.
CUSTOMER (looking expectantly at the bookseller): Come on, you must know the book I mean!
CUSTOMER: Do you have that book by that guy, the one whose brother is on the radio and has a moustache? I think it’s blue.
BOOKSELLER (jokingly): The moustache?
CUSTOMER (seriously): No. The book.
CUSTOMER: I’d like to buy a book for my wife.
BOOKSELLER: Sure, what sort of book?
CUSTOMER: I don’t know. Something ... pink? Women like pink stuff, right?
CUSTOMER: There are several things I look for in a good book.
BOOKSELLER: Oh? What are those?
CUSTOMER: A murder – preferably of a handsome young man – a helicopter ride, a small dog, a parrot, a suicide, cigars, moustaches, love letters and animals that have escaped from the zoo.
CUSTOMER: Why aren’t you writing these things down?
BOOKSELLER: Sorry (grabs a pen).
CUSTOMER: Good. Let’s not forget the mysterious crop circles in the fields. Then there’s the heroine – preferably a redhead from a country house in Wales, who collects fossils in her spare time. Her grandmother should be alive, but only just, and on the weekends she should ride wild horses on the beach. The heroine, that is, not the grandmother.
BOOKSELLER: ... Right.
CUSTOMER: Any books spring to mind?
BOOKSELLER: No ... It sounds like you should probably write this book yourself, considering you have such specific tastes.
CUSTOMER: You know, I rather hoped you might say that. (He pulls a notebook out of his pocket.) I’ve been outlining the story. Would you like to read it?
CUSTOMER: (holding up a paperback) If I buy this book, can I transfer it onto my friend’s Kindle?
BOOKSELLER: ... No.
CUSTOMER: Oh. How do they put physical books on a Kindle, then? Is it like that part in the film of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Mike Teavee wants to become part of television, and he flies over everyone’s heads in tiny little pieces?
CUSTOMER: Oh, you’re there! Thank goodness.
BOOKSELLER: How can I help?
CUSTOMER: I’m making a chicken pie from handwritten instructions, and I can’t read my own handwriting.
BOOKSELLER: … Right.
CUSTOMER: Could you check the recipe for me?
Bookseller: … How?
CUSTOMER: Oh! I copied it out of one of the books on the top shelf of your cookery section when I was in last week. I write a new one down whenever I come in – no point in buying the whole book when I can just do that. I was in a hurry last time so my writing’s a mess!
CUSTOMER: I need to know what happens after I add the stock. Could you have a look? It’s the big black book, with gold lettering on the spine.
BOOKSELLER: I’m afraid I sold that book earlier today.
CUSTOMER: What? But … but I need it! Why didn’t you stop them taking it?
CUSTOMER: I want to get my girlfriend a book for her birthday but I don’t know if she already has it.
CUSTOMER: Could you find out for me?
BOOKSELLER: … How?
CUSTOMER: Well, maybe you could call her and say that you’re doing a survey or something?
CUSTOMER: You know, just lie and gain her trust and find out everything you can.
CUSTOMER: Do you have the Stephen King book that comes out next week?
BOOKSELLER: … No.
CUSTOMER: Do you have a copy of Bella Swan’s favourite book? You know, from Twilight?
(Bookseller sighs and pulls a copy of Wuthering Heights off the shelf)
CUSTOMER: Do you have the one with the cover that looks like Twilight?
BOOKSELLER: No. This is an antiquarian bookshop, so this is an old edition of the book.
CUSTOMER: But it’s still the one with that girl Cathy and the dangerous guy, right?
BOOKSELLER: Yes, it’s still the story by Emily Bronte.
CUSTOMER: Right. Do you think they’ll make it into a film?
BOOKSELLER: They’ve made several films of it. The one where Ralph Fiennes plays Heathcliff is very good.
CUSTOMER: What? Voldemort plays Heathcliff?
BOOKSELLER: Well . . .
CUSTOMER: But that’s Edward’s role.
BOOKSELLER: Wuthering Heights was written well before both Harry Potter and Twilight.
CUSTOMER: Yeah, but Voldemort killed Cedric, who’s played by Robert Pattinson, and now Voldemort’s playing Edward’s role in Wuthering Heights, because Edward’s character is Heathcliff. I think that Emily Bronte’s trying to say something about vampires.
BOOKSELLER: . . . that’s £8.
CUSTOMER: For what?
BOOKSELLER: For the book.
CUSTOMER: Oh, no, it’s OK, I’m going to go and try and find the Voldemort DVD version.