Sunday, August 28, 2005

Bookstore dos and don'ts

1) Don't come over the weekend if you expect excellent service
2) Don't come during school holidays and expect excellent service
3) Don't let your kids go off like chicken flying from the coup
4) Don't treat the bookstore like a playground.
5) Don't let your kids look through books unattended. They can be quite rough sometimes. I don't want to be the one to tell you, even your little cutesy chubby angel can be a monster at times.
6) Don't step, fold back, throw, take out the dust-jacket, tear, dog-ear or roll the books i.e. don't treat the books like library books
7) Don't open wrapped merchandise and leave it around. Please pass it to any of the staff. They won't scold you but they might give you the eye.
8) Don't cuddle up with boyfriend/girlfriend while browsing for books. You have your house to do that.
9) Don't dating in the bookstore
10) Don't hold any meetings at the bookstore
11) Don't open any merchandise that you bought from another store and starts playing with it.
12) Don't pretend you're treating the books nicely only when the staff are around. Treat the books nicely ALL THE TIME!

Phew!!! I just have to let that out my chest.

I never knew that working in a bookstore during school holidays could be so exhausting. We had busy days before especially on the weekends but this is ridiculous. It's like everyday is a weekend and I wish I can say that in a positive way.

The last rule is my favourite. I've noticed this lots of times. Just as I was walking around picking books up here and there I can see kids with a bunch of books strewn on the floor. The best thing is the parents/guardians are just right there with them. As soon as they see me they will immediately say things like...
"Don't take so many books out"
"Handle the books carefully aa"
"You better put everything back"
But of course, as soon as I'm gone they never do.

Just today I saw a kid about less than 2 years old, stepping on a book while the parent/guardian (two of them) just went on chit-chatting. As soon as they see me they immediately took hold of the child and picked up the book which proved that they did know what the child was doing before they see me.

I've seen babies 'reading' books that are obviously too old for them, unless they are genuises. I've seen kids peeling stickers off from a sticker book that they haven't paid for and sticking them on their legs. And today I found an activity sticker book with all the activities completed.

And another thing. I don't think maids are good watchers when you come to one of these stores. They would just sit there and do nothing. I don't know if it's because they're just lazy or maybe their employers specifically told them not to reprimand their kids if they're doing something wrong. I may be imagining this but I think the maids get a kick watching the staff picking up after them.

I think anyone who ever worked in the retail line will agree with me on this. Gweilos tend to be more civil compared to Asians. I'm not being prejudiced or picky here but it's true, we have to face the facts. If you're wondering why we tend to serve them nicer than anyone else, just observe how they speak to us. And then try to do the same. Of course, I'm not saying that ALL gweilos are nice and ALL Asians are rude but I do notice there is a general difference between the two when it comes to civility.

[from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Ed.]
Civil - adequate in courtesy and politeness. syn polite, courteous, gallant, chivalrous

Please, do be patient with us. I say this on behalf of all the bookstore staff in the world. I swear we are doing the best we can to help you find what you're looking for and keep you happy. Just remember that not all of us are as well-read as you and you cannot expect us to know each and every title we have in store.

And so I survived the school holidays. I'll be off from work the next two days.
I'm planning to meet up with some old friends and go to the Times warehouse sale tomorrow

Next up, Merdeka Day holiday. From what I heard from senior staff it can be quite a nightmare

and of course there's the end-of-year school holiday - one whole month of weekends

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