I have just received my copy of 'The Bookseller' where the cover promotion highlights a book being published in April called 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops'.
Having had my share of misunderstandings and miscommunications in Browsers, this will undoubtedly touch a chord, not least because I wish I'd come up with the idea. I'll have to wait a few months to read the gems but I will use the interim to contemplate and collate my own experiences.
Just the other day a young woman came into the children's bookshop apologetically asking if I had a book called 'Normal is love in a silly shell'. "I've been given this title but it doesn't sound right," she said. Indeed it didn't but I thought perhaps it was a self-help tome and these often have quirky titles. I didn't want to quiz her too much initially as she was obviously quite embarrassed. But I had to ask her to repeat the title three times to be sure I had all the components correct for the search which wasn't offering anything along these lines. Eventually I heard her correctly. And the clue was that she had come into the children's bookshop: she was asking for 'Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell', a picture book by Sue Hendra.
A few days later, my colleague took a telephone query to source a 'Pastoral Bible'. She searched and searched and discovered a Pastoral Bible institute and foundation, and Catholic and Chinese versions, but no one edition to recommend to the customer. She decided to call the customer back to ask for more details. A couple of minutes into the conversation she started laughing - the customer was actually enquiring after a cookery book, 'The Pasta Bible'.