People often call or visit the bookstore I work at and ask us to make a special order for them. There’s no way we can stock every book people want to buy, but we’re happy to order books for no extra charge. Sometimes when people ask for a book we don’t have and I tell them I could order it for them, they say something like, “Oh, no, I need it today.”

Until recently, I assumed most people who said this were lying. I can’t recall a single instance in my life when I needed a specific book on that past today. If I was looking for a book to read recreationally, any number of books would do and I could wait if I was set on one book. If I needed a book for school or church I definitely did not wait until the day I needed it to look for it. I figured a few of those I-need-it-today people were truthful but poor planners, but I thought the others were just looking for a reason not to place an order, which they don’t need–a simple “no, thanks” would suffice.

I’m starting to think most of these people aren’t lying, though. I think there are a lot of people who really don’t know how bookstores work. They don’t realize we don’t carry every book that’s been published, especially not copies of 20-year-old books that weren’t even hits when they came out. Maybe they usually order from Amazon, but can’t wait 2–5 days for shipping this time or maybe they’re not book people at all or maybe there are more absent-minded people than I thought. Who knows?

Side note: I think there is a discernible difference between speculating and judging. Don’t you?

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3 Responses to “I NEED THIS BOOK TODAY!!!!”

  1. Danny says:

    What kind of books are they usually asking for? I think the only time I’ve actually “needed” a book day of was for school, but I’m assuming they’re not looking for textbooks. There have been times when I’ve wanted a book the day of, mostly because I’ve just been so excited to start reading something I just found out about, and the closest bookstore to my house usually doesn’t have it, even if it’s a huge national release. I still wouldn’t constitute that as a “need it” situation. More like “really really want it.” In those situations I’m glad I have a kindle, and I consider if I want it more right away or if I want it more in a physical format I can loan to friends. Maybe the people calling are kindle junkies, but the books they call about aren’t available in e-book format and they just used to having that instant gratification?

    Or maybe they’re just ridiculous people who have outlandish expectations of you. I’ve experienced this a lot recently and I think that there are several generations of people who don’t have a balanced concept of what normal expectations are to have for other people and for themselves and this leads to people freaking out about little things unnecessarily and making everyone else suffer because they’re in the room, or in your case on the phone.

    You should write more about the book store. When you describe customers it reminds me of the people who always talk at the public forums on Parks and Rec. I like to imagine it’s exactly like that. Do you have any costumers who hate Laura Linny?

    • Kaitlyn says:

      They aren’t looking for textbooks. I’ll start keeping a log.

      Some of the people are like the Parks & Rec folk. It’s kind of scary. Earlier this week I answered a call, and the guy answers my greeting with “Stock check: [Title of book] by [author].” It was just some guy, not even a distributor or something. No hello, no would you mind checking something, nothing. People have started acting like machines! Or, worse, treating others like machines.

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