Encounters in a Bookstore #347: Job Requirements

In the past I’ve mentioned that the bookstore where I work is keen on acquiring email addresses. On a recent evening when business was slow, one of the managers took it upon himself to try and enforce company policy.

“You two both did the same things in your last transactions, which need correction.”

We two nodded. “First, you didn’t mention the discount when you asked if they were members. Then, neither of you asked for email addresses.”

The other scolded party, Steven, and I nodded again. Two customers were coming our way.

“Make sure you mention the 10% off. And get emails.”

With the manager standing behind us, we both did exactly as he’d instructed. Neither customer wanted to be a member, nor wanted to give out their personal contact information.

The manager went away. Steven and I went back to the way we always do things. The manager came back some minutes later, right when my next customer approached.

The membership did not interest the pudgy man. Moving on with my script, I asked this guy who was balding but had chosen to keep his floofy sideburns for his email address.

“Hey yeah!” he said, getting excited. “Normally females aren’t so forward, asking for emails. But if you want it, sure!”

Previously I’d been against email-capture because I felt it was an invasion of privacy. Here was a whole new reason.

The man gave me his email address, and remarked again at how forward I am.

“It’s a requirement,” I muttered, possibly dashing the man’s hopes, and all the while wondering if the manager standing behind me was even paying attention to this new and awful situation.

When the transaction was finished and the easily excitable man was away from the register, Steven explained to the manager and I that the guy was actually a burgeoning celebrity, who does very interesting routines late at night on the subways. Steven went to talk to the guy, and confirmed that he was, indeed, this person. The man was tickled to be recognized, and I was off the hook.

The manager did not say anything about the awkwardness that had transpired before him. I asked for no more email addresses that night.

Liz Mathews composes ads for many things science fiction and fantasy. Her writing can be found in magazines, catalogs, newspapers, brochures, and books; and on bookmarks, postcards, cable television commercials, and even doorhangers all across the United States and in some parts of Canada. She lives in Brooklyn but considers the cornfields of Iowa home.