IFAQ II | Page 74 | Newberry


The customers at the 2009 Book fair were, by and large, a happy, eager, intelligent bunch. Most of them knew what they were looking for and either knew where to go or were willing to hunt for it. But we did have a few questions of the unusual kind.  I know that sometimes these things are the product of the excitement of the moment, and I do not BLAME the people who say them.  (I just write it down and go home and snicker about them in my blog.  Anyway, I’M the one who, spotting a bookcase that was starting to tilt, pushed past a customer saying, “Please excuse me, sir, I have to play with my shelf.”) 

I have added my answers in some places.  In other places here I have added what I did not actually say, but should have said, in italics.

Where do I pay?

Down there past the green rope

Oh, at Check-In!


How do you date these books?

Dinner and a show


Can I take a picture of a book and go home and think about whether I want to buy it?

(A lot of people were taking pictures, either as a form of industrial espionage or just because they’d never seen a sign that said “Squirrelling Area” before.)


Is Latin grammar anywhere besides Foreign Language?

(I understand this question. It really means “I’ve just looked there and there’s nothing; PLEASE tell me you put them somewhere else!”


My nominee for most entertaining customer of the weekend.

Is this book worth $50?

No, it’s worth $100, but today is half-price day

Where do you get books like this?

They’re donated all year long by good people in…

No, I mean where do I get them? I don’t want to buy this now, but if I want to buy it later on, who else sells them?

(I had to pause for a moment, but I decided “Well, it’s a fair question…I guess” and I told her about used bookstores and online bookselling. That’s when she floored me with her next question.)

So what’s this book about, anyway?

Ma’am, if you’ll go out to the information desk and ask for Ed, he can give you directions to The Gap. I think we’ll all be happier.

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