Note: This post is written in jest. I love everybody in the bookstore (they’re in a bookstore, what’s not to love?). But there are always a few people, you know who they are, occasionally, make you want to hit them with a copy of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.
1) The sweaty guy standing at the New Paperbacks table blocking the one book you want, who appears to be reading the entire section in one sitting and eyeballs you as though you’re invading his personal space.
2) The couple with six children, including two in strollers, whose children run around the bookstore screaming like their hair is on fire and swatting themselves over the head with 700 page books like SHANTARAM.
3) The teenagers who sit down three deep in the aisle reading Manga and graphic novels, thereby preventing anyone from passing through or fleeing in the event of a fire or giant lobster attack.
4) The girls who pick up every chick lit novel on the table and talk about how much the characters remind them of their own lives.
5) The guy in the magazine section reading Maxim (or FHM or Stuff or Playboy) who flips to every pictorial, openly ogles the girly photos for ten minutes, then puts it back on the shelf and moves on.
6) The store clerk with the weird wheezy breathing who’s only restocking, but seems to be following you around the store like Darth Vader.
7) The book snobs who watch you browse, waiting to see what you pick up so they can scoff and shake their head as though you’re an idiot to even think about reading it.
8) The people who sit in the coffee bar hogging an entire table even though they finished their latté half an hour ago and show no interest in that single copy of Architectural Digest.
9) People who tenderly rub the jacket of every single book on the shelf, either because the embossing makes them tingle or they simply must leave traces of their DNA on every conceivable surface.
10) The smarmy college kid in the Classic Literature section giving anyone within earshot a lecture about what Walden really meant to Thoreau (which he cribbed from SparkNotes).
11) The woman on the checkout line who picks up the little “Bonzai Tree in a Box” impulse gifts, considers them for half an hour (without letting you cut in line), then adds four of them to her basket.
12) The checkout people who whisper “next customer in line” at a frequency lower than dog whistles, then glare at customers who can’t hear them.
13) The guy who knocks over a huge stack of books then scoots away before anyone notices (or so he thinks).
14) The elderly couple that picks up new hardcovers and voices their disbelief at how expensive books have gotten since THE GRAPES OF WRATH was first published.
15) The guy chewing gum loudly who takes a book off the shelf, flips through it, then puts it back in the wrong place.
16) Old ladies who appear to be leaving the store, but just stand motionless in the doorway and prevent anybody else from coming in or leaving and look like they might faint (or hit you with an umbrella) if you ask them to move.
17) The beret-wearing guy in the music section who seems to be having some sort of seizure as he listens to the Black Eyed Peas on those gigantic headphones plugged into the wall.
18) People who ask the clerk, “Do you have that book by that guy that just came out?”
19) People who stand in the humor section and read the books to each other while giggling like they just farted in a crowded movie theater.
20) People who sit in the comfy leather chairs in the history section and look like they haven’t moved since before the 19th Century European History shelf was built.