Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

I fielded a phone call this evening that went like this:

Me: Hi, Brookline Booksmith, how can I help you?

Him: I'm looking for a book. Can you check and see if you have it?

Me: Sure, what are you looking for?

Him: Antigone.

I quickly look it up and say:
Me: It doesn't look like we have it at the moment but...

Him: You don't have Antigone?! What kind of pretentious bookstore are you?

Me: Hmm, well, I don't think we are pretentious... we have a copy of the complete plays of Soph-...

Him: Nah, I'm going to call Barnes & Noble.



Personally, I think we are an extremely unpretentious group of people here at Brookline Booksmith. Usually, if we don't have a book it's because somebody else just bought the last copy, we put one on hold for someone or maybe there's a new edition of the book and we're just waiting for it to come in. We are definitely not, as the Oxford English Dictionary says, attempting to impress anyone by affecting greater importance, talent, culture or merit than is actually possessed.
I'm sad he hung up on me. I was going to tell him that we do carry the complete plays of Sophocles, which includes Antigone, or we could have ordered something and gotten it to him in just a couple of days. And then there are the used books to consider. There were so many options I could have offered him!

Maybe he was having a rotten day and just needed to take it out on someone. I hope he found the book he was looking for. As for me, I've got to go get a bandaid for someone with a scrape.

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