Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And Daddy Calls

Several weeks ago I blogged about Mommy Calls. The other night I answered the phone at the bookstore and got a Daddy call...

"My son has to do a report about Napoleon, so I'm trying to find some books for him about Napoleon for him. Do you have any?"

"How old is your son?", I asked, so that I'd know whether to look in the juvenile biography section, or adult history or biography section.

"He's 16," the man answered.

"Okay, I'm going to look up and see what we might have," I looked in our database and didn't see that we had any books just on Napoleon. I relayed the information to him. "I'm just going to go over to the sections and see what I can find," I said.

"Oh, that's great," he said.

I looked in the French history section and in biography. "I'm not seeing any books in French history or in our biography section that are just on Napoleon," I told him. "We have books about French history that will certainly include Napoleon, but none just on Napoleon. We can order something..."

"Well, no. He kind of needs it right away. I was hoping to pick something up for him today," he said. He sounded disappointed.

"Have you tried the library?", I asked, wondering why the son wasn't calling the bookstore himself.

"Um, well, he lost his library card," the man told me.

"Ah. Well, like I said, we do have some books on French history. He might have to look through them and see if they'd have the information he needs for his report."

"I guess I'll just come in and see what you have," he said. "Thanks for your help."

"Sure," I said. "Have a nice evening."

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Gift for 9/11 (?)

A man with thinning dark hair, very tan, and wearing a white t-shirt with a faded blue collar came up to the register.

"I have a book on hold. It's for my granddaughter."

I got his name and looked on the hold shelf for his book.

"Hmm, I'm not seeing it here. I'll check in the computer and see what I can find there." I ask for his phone number, and look up his order. Sure enough, he's ordered a copy of the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records, which was just released.

"I don't know where your order is, but I'll go get you a copy of the book," I said. I walked over to where the book was displayed and got a copy of the book and brought it back to him. "Here it is," I said. "I'm sorry I couldn't find your order, but I'm glad we have the book for you."

"Yes," he said. "I'm getting this for my granddaughter, I wanted to make sure to give it to her today, on 9/11, so she'll know what day I got it for her."

"Great," I said, not quite getting the connection between 9/11 and the Guinness Book of World Records, but recognizing that somehow it was a connection for him. "Here it is, did you want to look at it first?"

"So this is the one I ordered?", he asked.

"Well, I couldn't find your order, but this is the book that you asked to be put on hold. It's the same book that you ordered." I paused. "Is that the book you wanted?"

He looked behind me. "There it is!", he said. "There's my order!" He pointed to a low shelf, near where the holds were kept.

"You're right, there it is." I picked up his order. "You can have this one," I said, since it didn't have the 20% off sticker on it, and he seemed to want the exact one that he ordered. "Is that all right?"

"Sure. What is that on the one you have?"

"It's a sticker for 20% off the price. You'll still get the discount, even though this one doesn't have the sticker. You still get the reduced price."

"But what is that orange thing on that one?", he pointed to the book I'd put aside.

"That is the sticker. Yours doesn't have the sticker, but you still get the discount."

"Could you gift wrap it? It's for my granddaughter. I really want her to remember that this is the day I bought it for her."

"Sure, I'd be happy to gift wrap it for you. I'll ring up the next people, and then I'll wrap it for you. We have two different kinds of paper, you can choose which one you'd like for your granddaughter," I said.

I finished his transaction and gift-wrapped the book.

"Thanks," he said as he left.

"Sure, have a good day," I said.

A few hours later, my manager called me off the floor. He told me that this same man had called and demanded that I give him a refund. He was furious that I'd sold him a book with bent corners. Yelling on the phone, he told the manager that if I didn't give him a refund when he came in tomorrow, he was going to come in and blow my head off.

Fear washed over me as he told me this.

The man was yelling so loudly, the manager had to hold the phone away from his ear. The manager eventually hung up on him, as he wasn't able to reason with this very upset man. After the call, he spoke with the store manager and the plan was that if this man came into the store, I was to leave the register area immediately and call the manager. He would then call the police.

We stayed alert for the rest of the shift and the next day. I know that I, in particular, was on very high alert.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Little Pink Book of (mostly) Cancer Cartoons

I recently received THE LITTLE PINK BOOK OF (MOSTLY) CANCER CARTOONS from the author, Kate Matthews.

A cancer survivor herself, Matthews used humor to cope with her disease, figuring that humor, anything that gives a cancer patient something to laugh about, matters a lot.

I think she's right. Because I'm not a cancer patient or survivor myself, I felt a bit as though I was looking in on cancer from the outside. While I am familiar with some of the perils wrought by cancer and cancer treatment (nausea, hair loss, pain, mastectomy, reconstruction, etc.), I have not lived through it. Kate has.

Her cartoons express the hardships and trials and pain and fear of cancer, yet the cartoons themselves, in color with simple lines (and I really liked them in color), don't lessen the emotions and struggles they convey. They lighten them. Give them voice. Humor. And, I think, release.

Some of the cartoons aren't cancer specific, one where a wife tells her husband that she won't tell him about her day, if he won't tell her about his. Another one that I really liked showed four different people and their responses to hearing the news about cancer from their friend. Denying it, cutting, topping it with a worse story and the un-comforting. We've all had people respond like this when sharing difficult news!

I've looked at the book several times, reading and rereading the cartoons. I like it more each time I read it.

Several months ago, I had a young woman come into the bookstore asking for something funny about cancer. Her mother had cancer and she was trying to find something that would help her see a little humor in her cancer. At that time I didn't have anything to recommend. Now I do!

The book is available in several different versions, digitally for the Kindle (not for the Nook at this time), a black and white paper version and a color paper version
You can get the book through Kate's facebook page for the book:

Thanks for checking out the blog! You can send us email: 2of3Rs(AT)gmail(DOT)com. You can also "like" our facebook page: NOT the New York Times Book Review.