Last sunday, there was a man sitting in the cafe with a nice-looking rectangle-style (Yeah, so I’m not up on my business person terminology. Sue me.) leather briefcase. This would not be unusual if the man hadn’t been both greasy and creepy. A closer examination revealed the contents of his briefcase:

  • cigarettes
  • cigarette lighter
  • two (2) volumes of an encyclopedia set.

     First – we don’t sell encyclopedias. So this greasy creepy guy was presumably visiting his local B&N in order to a.) smoke and b.) read his encyclopedias. It was reminiscent of a youngster ‘playing grown-up.’ Well, the briefcase and encyclopedias part, at least.

     Anyways, the same guy comes back in on the following Saturday and is asking about books on bombs and explosives. He generally makes it known that he is the resident ‘bomb guy’ to all the staff. This in addition to being creepy and greasy. Anyway, after firmly reenforcing his “I love explosives” rep, he leaves his briefcase sitting on a table and leaves. So everyone who is working thinks it’s a bomb. I was not working on this day or I would have chuckled heartily and said: “Wait! It is only cigarettes and encyclopedias!”

     I wasn’t working, though, so the police were called and after what I would imagine was some very unintelligent police-level-risk-taking, they decide “Well fuck! let’s just open the case!” and the store blows up.

     Just Kidding!

     Actually the case was empty. But the police were called and they did open the case, only to find it empty. Apparently his encyclopedias and cigarettes are too valuable to leave behind when psychologically toying with bookstore employees. So the next day is Sunday. I am working. I have not yet heard the ‘bomb threat’ story. He approaches the information kiosk.

Him: (pointing at nothing in particular) That’s mine.

Me: (pointing at a book) This?

Him: No.

Me: (pointing at different book) This?

Him: (Annoyed) No. (Dramatically making “air quotes”) The briefcase.

Me: Oh. (Hands him briefcase)

     So anyways, I think I disappointed him. He was trying to be all dramatic and ominous and play his ‘ha ha you pissant, you thought it was a bomb’ card, but I was totally oblivious to the whole ordeal at that point. Looking back, I kind of wish I could take the briefcase back and let him get it from a more informed employee. After all his planning and hard work, I had to come along and ruin the payoff.

     Oh yeah, there’s also the B&N pervert. This guy writes the typical bathroom graffitti:

Be here 12:30.
I give good blowjobs.

     But he actually shows up, and creepily follows any unsuspecting male customer who happens to have to piss at 12:30 into the bathroom.

     Did I mention he drilled a hole in the partition between two of the stalls so he could ‘peep?’

     The maintenance people put a bolt through the hole, with metal plates on either side, to which he responded in permanent marker: “Was this really necessary?”

     On the same day that I handed over the bombless briefcase, the rudest woman in the world came in. She is waiting at the info kiosk with her grade-school-aged daughter, who is remarkably polite considering her breeding. I will now revert to my preferred ‘screenplay’ recounting style:

Her: (Extremely pissed off) I just don’t understand you people! You leave to show people where a book is and then you’re so slow to come back!

Me: (Dumbfounded)… Well actually I haven’t been gone for more than a minute.. (My coworker walks up behind me) … and neither has she.

Her: (Insanely pissed off) Well whatever! I need ‘Call of the WIld’ by Jack London.

Me: (Thinking) You’re standing less than a foot away from a shelf that says ‘fiction, alphabetical by author’ and you can’t find Jack London? (speaking) O.K. it’ll be right this way.

     Apparently she didn’t hear me. She just stared at me in a “I hate everyone and I will destroy them by being rude until they die from it” sort of way. So I went to the section and grabbed the two different editions of ‘Call of the WIld’ that were in fiction. Meanwhile, she has remained at the information kiosk, raving like a madwoman about how I walked off in the middle of helping her because *I* was rude! My coworker is trying to convince her that I went to get her book.

     I arrive with the books. My coworker says, “See I told you he was helping you.” which only pisses her off more. She takes the two volumes from me. The first contains both ‘The Call of the Wild’ and ‘Whitefang.’

     “Did you ask me if I wanted more than one story in the book? No, you didn’t ask me that.”

     She looks at the second version. It’s annotated.

     “Did I ask for an annotated version? No I did not. These are way too thick. I want a thinner version.”

     At this point I’m pretty well pissed, primarily because this woman is going out of her way to be rude to me. Barely resisting the urge to point out that she didn’t specify that she did not want an anthology or annotated version, I take her to the children’s classics section and show her versions that are ‘thinner’ because they don’t contain ‘white fang’ or annotations. She wants a blue cover. There are three versions with a blue cover. She wants the thinnest version with a blue cover. She gets it.

     I ended up showing her at least 6 versions of Call of the Wild, and do you know what she did on her way out? She complained to my manager that I was inefficient. If I’d had a brick, I would have gleefully embedded it in her skull.

     Also: If you are buying something somewhere and your total is 19 dollars and something cents, you are not obligated to say “That was a good year.” No, really. You can stop. Especially if you’re old.

     Today a woman set off the security alarm thing on the way in. This happens ALL THE TIME. I don’t know why, I just know that it does. Most people just shrug it off, and probably pack their coats with books, knowing full well that we’ll wave them through when the alarm goes off on their departure. This woman however, was determined to find out what the hell was setting it off.

So she emptied her pockets and walked back through. Beep.

She set down her bag and walked through. Beep.

She set down her purse and walked through. Beep.

She took off her coat and walked through. Beep.

She took off her belt and walked through. Beep.

     Finally, a female coworker asked if it could be a new article of clothing. Suddenly, the woman realized she was wearing a relatively new bra.

     So she went into the bathroom, took off her bra, put it in her bag, and walked through. No beep.