Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not all who wander are lost...

...but I can point out the people who will be on their next vacation.

If you, or anyone you know, is planning a trip to a country where the dominant language spoken is not English take this simple test to determine if that's a smart idea: Go to your local bookstore. Find the travel section without help from a salesclerk. Can't do it - don't go to a foreign country. In fact, rethink leaving the house at all, unless you have a GPS system implanted directly into your brain.

I have helped countless people find the travel section in various bookstores, and I worry for their safety as they attempt to travel the world. In all the stores I've worked at the travel section is very clearly labeled, in English, with a very large sign. In fact, in one store I worked at it took up an ENTIRE FLOOR. (It was a store in a very large city, in a fairly tourist-y area.) If you can't read that sign, or find that floor, or even narrow down which country Paris is in, may I suggest hiring a tour guide to stay with you at all times, or getting some sort of locator implanted in your skin. Perhaps even starting out with an easier vacation, like the local mall. I get concerned that a few of the extreme cases I've helped are still wandering around Italy looking for Barcelona. (Yes, you read that correctly.) I imagine unsupervised trips with these people end up being an extreme version of Jay Leno's Jaywalking segment, or a sad footnote on the Darwin Awards website because they didn't see/ couldn't read the sign that says you cannot walk across the giant traffic circle to get to the Arc de Triomphe.

Last weekend I helped a gentlemen find the travel section while he was standing under the large sign reading “TRAVEL” and leaning on a shelf labeled “European Travel Guides”. I hope all of his loved ones had a chance to say their goodbyes before he left.

And, so you don't think I'm just picking on hapless shoppers I am currently working with someone who thinks Tennessee is near New Mexico, and that Spain is located somewhere near the former Soviet Union. I don't think she should be allowed to leave her house either.

BookWench is currently reading Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn

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