I firmly believe that the purchasing department of any retail store is an excellent place to score the best mind-altering drugs on the market. This is the only rationale I have been able to come up with to explain/ justify the mind-boggling number and sheer strangeness of the various non-book items I have been forced to deal with as a bookseller. One of my co-workers loves to save the craziest stuff for me to see what level disdainful look/ whimpering noise I will make when I see this stuff. (Or how I can spin it to make it dirty. I have some theories about the more adult direction the company I currently work for is heading.) My disdain and whimpering hit dangerous levels when the weird stuff comes with the ability to make noise. Noises that I am forced to hear over and over and over again during my already interminable days in BookWorld.
Over the years I have seen stuffed birds that chirped, a 40-Year-Old Virgin doll that shouted lines from the movies, and a stuffed rooster that both crowed and walked around. Currently I share a store with incredibly loud screaming stuffed slingshot monkeys. Try as I might I cannot fathom how these monkeys are supposed to tie in to the whole “bookstore” thing we're trying to accomplish. In fact they make it really hard to remember the alphabet, or who wrote Cry The Beloved Country, because the blinding rage takes over all my functioning brain cells, and I think the pitch and decibel of these toys does something to my central nervous system. It also makes it make it really hard to maintain control over my all-consuming desire to slap someone.
This is one of those situations in which I would love to enact some retail worker justice. I feel some sort of punishment should be meted out to those who break the following rules:
BookWench's Retail Rules for Noisy Crap
- If you are over 10 and insist on making it make noise just to see how annoyed the staff becomes. If you notice how annoyed the staff are becoming and continue to do it and have the audacity to laugh your punishment becomes more severe.
- If you/ your child make it make noise more than three times.
- If you/ your child press more than one of the offending items at once, creating a symphony of auditory horror better suited to Dante's inferno.
The Punishments - you have two choices:
a) buy the offending noisy thing at a 300% markup to pay for the psychological care (aka booze) for affected staff members
b) be locked in a small space with a multitude of the noisy things going off non-stop for 2 minutes. Possibly while also being forced to listen to some great easy listening hits of the 70's. Or Celine Dion.
So parents – watch/ manage your children. (The punishment falls to you for anyone under 10 violating the rules.) Retail shoppers – use your power of dirty looks to shame people. And if any of you ever meet anyone who works in the purchasing department for a bookstore kick them in the goods for me. (Then steal their happy pills and mail them to me.)