When the World's Most Opinionated Zip Code and Mine Collide

Like most writers, I'm a bibliophile. And like most bibliophiles, I spend a lot of free time where all things books lie. The place I haunted with the highest frequency was the now-defunct B Dalton in the mall with the Dunkin.

The bookstore wasn't large. It was the size of a shoe store, actually. But it carried most new releases and had a decent Sci-fi/fantasy section. If I wanted a bodice ripper, I could've spent a week in there. And it's location was right next to work - ideal for my lazy ass.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Incident
Disgruntled Cantibridgian

The Story
I needed to preorder and pick up a book. When I got to the store, there was a line. The fact that there was one should've told me to come back another day, but I stood in line anyway.

I was the 3rd in line when you count the customer at the counter, an older black woman who reminded me of a lesser version of my education core professor sophomore year. I'll call her B Lite (even though if you went to college with me, your guess on who this is will be dead on).

While I waited in line, B Lite reamed out the store clerk. According to the woman in front of me, B Lite had been doing this already for five minutes. B Lite didn't like the fact that B Dalton didn't carry a particular nonfiction book when The Coop carries multiple copies. The conversation that went on sounded like this:

Store clerk: We don't have the room to carry this book. You can special order it now and we'll have it for you next week.
B Lite: I don't want it special ordered. I want it available now.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. For two minutes.

Each time the conversation repeated, the store clerk got closer to tears and B Lite became more vocal. The customer in front of me was ready to walk out without buying anything. My patience was growing thin and all I wanted was to put in a preorder for whatever Laurell K. Hamilton book was coming out at that time. I thought I would help this Cantibridgian twit out.

Now would be the time for me to mention how, after going to college in Cambridge and working there for a year afterward, I'd developed a distaste for the mindset of the Cambridge professional. There's a certain air to them. The majority have a superiority complex and/ or way too self-righteous for what's healthy. Yes, there are exceptions and I'm glad that I know a few of them.

Yours truly: This is a small store. A larger Barnes and Noble has more of a selection.(Translation: get it at the goddamned Coop.)

B Lite turned on me, not happy at my interrupting her in mid-rant. At the time, this amused me more than it probably should, but hey - I was in my last week of employment. I could feel a smirk on my face. She didn't like that.

B Lite: This is none of your business. I'm speaking to her. (B Lite points to store clerk.)

Yours truly: As a paying customer, it is my concern. You're hindering my purchase by berating the help.

B Lite (who I found out afterward from the clerk was a doctor of some sort) really started yelling at this point about how I was rude. (I kept my voice level and reasonable the entire time. I even managed to keep swears in my brain where they belong.) B Lite made enough noise that it sounded like a Gregoire family reunion when all my uncles try to talk over one another.

Store clerk: I'll need you lower your voice and please do not speak to my customers like that. Otherwise, I'll have to ask you to leave the store.

B Lite wouldn't listen and continued to rant. The clerk had to repeat herself five times. Finally, she reached for the phone and said, "If you don't leave, I'll have to call security. I'm asking you again, please leave."

B Lite: You didn't ask me to come in here, you don't need to ask me to leave. I'll leave you white people to your bookstore.

What I Learned
I'm not sure if learned anything from this encounter. I do know the high school version of me would've been extremely rude and escalated the confrontation tenfold. I would've harped on the white people comment and baited a woman at least twenty years my senior.

The part that still confuses me is if you know that The Coop carries it, why don't you just go there?

Last.fm hit of the day: Celebrity Skin by Hole