Did Charles Dickens ever write anything fun?: the strange things customers say

Since I bought my Sony e–reader I spend less time in bookshops than I used to. After reading Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell I think I should go more often. Here is a selection from the book:

CUSTOMER: Hi, I just wanted to ask: did Anne Frank ever write a sequel?

BOOKSELLER: ……..

CUSTOMER: I really enjoyed her first book.

BOOKSELLER: Her diary?

CUSTOMER: Yes, the diary.

BOOKSELLER: Her diary wasn’t fictional.

CUSTOMER: Really?

BOOKSELLER: Yes… She really dies at the end – that’s why the diary finishes. She was taken to a concentration camp.

CUSTOMER: Oh… that’s terrible.

BOOKSELLER: Yes, it was awful –

CUSTOMER: I mean, it’s such a shame, you know? She was such a good writer.

______

CUSTOMER (holding up a copy of a Harry Potter book): This doesn’t have anything weird in it… does it?

BOOKSELLER: You mean, like, werewolves?

CUSTOMER: No (whispers) – gays.

BOOKSELLER: . . . right.

______

(A child is playing with a book on the floor and rips it)

CHILD’S MOTHER: Oh, Stephen (she tuts in a non-serious way). Do be careful. (She takes the book off the child and puts it back on the shelf)

BOOKSELLER: Excuse me?

CHILD’S MOTHER: Yes?

BOOKSELLER: Your son just ripped the head off the tiger who came to tea.

CHILD’S MOTHER: I know. Children, ey?

BOOKSELLER: Yes, but we can’t sell that book now. It’s damaged.

CHILD’S MOTHER: Well I don’t know what you expect me to do about it.

______

CUSTOMER: Do you have any Robin Hood stories where he doesn’t steal from the rich? My husband’s called Robin and I’d like to buy him a copy for his birthday, but he’s a banker, so …

______

CUSTOMER: Do you have Agatha Christie’s Death in Denial?

______

CUSTOMER: Who wrote the Bible? I can’t remember.

CUSTOMER’S FRIEND: Jesus.

______

CUSTOMER: Do you have any books signed by Margaret Atwood?

BOOKSELLER: We have many Margaret Atwood books, but I’m afraid we don’t have any signed copies.

CUSTOMER: I’m looking for a birthday present for my wife. I know she’s really love a signed copy. You couldn’t fake a signature could you?

______

CUSTOMER: Do you have an LGBT fiction section?

BOOKSELLER: We don’t have a specific section, but we do have LGBT literature – Sarah Waters, Ali Smith, Jeanette Winterson, Christopher Isherwood etc. Which author were you looking for?

CUSTOMER: Don’t worry, I’ll have a look through the fiction section – thanks for your help.

OTHER CUSTOMER: Sorry, did I hear you right? Did you just say that all the homosexual books are in with the normal fiction.

BOOKSELLER: All our fiction is one section.

(Other Customer looks suspiciously at the book she’s holding and slides it back on the shelf)

______

CUSTOMER: These books are really stupid, aren’t they?

BOOKSELLER: Which ones?

CUSTOMER: You know, the ones where animals like cats and mice are best friends.

BOOKSELLER: I suppose they’re not very realistic, but then that’s fiction.

CUSTOMER: They’re more than unrealistic; they’re really stupid.

BOOKSELLER: Well, writers use that kind of thing to teach kids about accepting people different to themselves, you know?

CUSTOMER: Yeah, well, books shouldn’t pretend that different people get on like that and that everything is ‘la de da’ and wonderful, should they? Kids should learn that life’s a bitch, and the sooner the better.

______

Do you have any books in this shade of green, to match the wrapping paper I bought?

______

So . . . this Kindle. Are the books on that paperback or hardback?

______

CUSTOMER: Do you have this children’s book I’ve heard about? It’s supposed to be very good. It’s called ‘Lionel Richie and the Wardrobe.’

______

CUSTOMER: My children are just climbing your bookshelves. That’s ok, isn’t it? They won’t topple over, will they?

(Customer is reading a book from the shelf, pauses and folds the top of one of the pages over, then puts it back on the shelf)

BOOKSELLER: Excuse me, what are you doing?

CUSTOMER: I was just reading the first chapter of this book, but I’m going to be late meeting a friend for lunch. So, I’m just marking it and I’ll finish reading it when I stop by tomorrow.

______

CUSTOMER: I’m just going to nip to the supermarket to do the weekly shop. I’m going to leave my sons here, is that ok? They’re three and five. They’re no bother.

______

CUSTOMER (holding up a copy of Ulysses): Why is this book so long? Isn’t it supposed to be set in one day only? How can this many pages of things happen to one person in one day? I mean, I get up, have breakfast, go to work, come home… sometimes I might go out for a drink, and that’s it! And, I mean, that doesn’t fill a book, does it?

______

CUSTOMER: Can you point me to your military history section, please?

BOOKSELLER: I’m afraid we’re such a small shop that we don’t actually have one.

CUSTOMER: WHAT? No war section AT ALL? Have you no respect for the fallen?

BOOKSELLER: I can order in any title you’re after. Or you’ll find a decent selection of war poetry and novels inspired by war.

CUSTOMER (ignoring this): You mean to tell me you have no shelf on weaponry?

BOOKSELLER: I’m afraid not.

CUSTOMER: Are you a pacifist or something?

______

CUSTOMER: It’s amazing, isn’t it, how little we really know about writers’ lives? Especially the old ones.

BOOKSELLER: I guess the lives of writers have changed a lot.

CUSTOMER: Yes. And don’t forget about those women who used to write under male names.

BOOKSELLER: Yes, like George Eliot.

CUSTOMER: I always thought Charles Dickens was probably a woman.

BOOKSELLER: . . . I’m pretty sure Charles Dickens was a man.

CUSTOMER: But who’s to say?

BOOKSELLER: Well, he was pretty prominent in society; lots of people saw him.

CUSTOMER: But maybe that was all a show – maybe that was her brother, whilst Charlene was at home, writing.

BOOKSELLER: . .

______

CUSTOMER: I’m always on night shift at work.

BOOKSELLER (jokingly): Is that why you’re buying so many vampire novels?

CUSTOMER (seriously): You can never be too prepared.

______

CUSTOMER: I’d like to buy your heaviest book, please.

______

You know how they say that if you gave 1,000 monkeys typewriters, then they’d eventually churn out really good writing? Well, do you have any books by those monkeys?

______

Do you have any pop-up books on sex education?

______

CUSTOMER: I’m looking for a book for my son. He’s six.

BOOKSELLER: How about this one – it’s about—

CUSTOMER: Yeah, whatever, I’ll take it.

______

Did Charles Dickens ever write anything fun?

______

CUSTOMER: If I were to, say… meet the love of my life in this bookshop, what section do you think they would be standing in?

______

CUSTOMER: Do you have a section on religion?

BOOKSELLER: Sure, it’s just over here.

CUSTOMER: You’ve got Richard Dawkins’s books on here next to copies of the Bible.

BOOKSELLER: That section is for all kinds of books relating to religion.

CUSTOMER: I hope you know that’s a sin. And you will go to hell.

______

CUSTOMER:  Do you have any security cameras in here?

BOOKSELLER: Yes.

CUSTOMER:  Oh (CUSTOMER slides a book out from inside his jacket and places it back on the shelf).

______

CHILD: Mummy, can we buy this book?

MOTHER: Put that down, Benjamin. We’ve got quite enough books at home!

______

CUSTOMER: Have you read every single book in here?

BOOKSELLER: No, I can’t say I have.

CUSTOMER: Well you’re not very good at your job, are you?

______

Phone rings.

BOOKSELLER: Hello.

CUSTOMER: Hi. I was wondering if you could help me. I’m looking for a book for my niece. She’s six and I’ve no idea what to buy her.

BOOKSELLER: Sure. What kinds of things is she in to?

CUSTOMER: I don’t really know. I don’t see her very often – my sister lives abroad.

BOOKSELLER: OK, what’s her name?

CUSTOMER: Sophie.

BOOKSELLER: Ah, well, have you considered the Dick King Smith Sophie series? There’s even a book called Sophie’s Six.

CUSTOMER: OK, sure, that sounds like a good idea.

BOOKSELLER: Do you want me to double check that we have those in stock? I’m pretty sure we do.

CUSTOMER: No, it’s OK. I’m just going to order them online.

BOOKSELLER: But… we just gave you the recommendation.

CUSTOMER: I know, and I appreciate it. It’s a pain that Amazon don’t have a physical person I can ask about this sort of thing. Still, I can always rely on you guys for advice.

BOOKSELLER: …

______

CUSTOMER: What books could I buy to make guests look at my bookshelf and think: ‘Wow, that guy’s intelligent’?

Advertisements

3 Responses to Did Charles Dickens ever write anything fun?: the strange things customers say

  1. Heen says:

    Welcome back, Martin. ZaragozaTwins loved the Lionel Richie joke. More bookstore mirth in this classic Fry & Laurie skit : http://youtu.be/THbwCeFGN_w

  2. Alberto says:

    Welcome back too! I’ve enjoyed “Jesus, author of the Bible”. Real fun.

  3. molivam42 says:

    Thank very much. I also remember this classic Monty Python sketch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCM2nEBE0RY

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: