People ask for crazy stuff all the time in a bookstore. Usually it’s nutty (and wrong) titles, or descriptions of books by color (always a blue or green cover). Today was different: the customer was coy, but I unearthed her true mission forthwith.
“For New York?”
“Yes, but not the restaurants, and not hotels. It’s the market one.”
After some backing-and-forthing, I figured out that she wanted the shopping edition of Zagat’s.
“Actually,” she admitted, “I only wanted to look up the address of a store.”
Hoo, boy. “OK, how about I just go online and look it up for you?” Splendid.
Turned out to be a little chocolate shop in the neighborhood, and I knew of it, too. She couldn’t remember where it was, but feared it was closed. I wondered that, too, having recently peeked in its darkened window one night.
I found the info, and went the extra mile. “You know what? Let me call them for you,” I said. It rang and rang. No answer, no voicemail, no nuthin’. Not good.
It was a nice thing for me to do. Of course, I did have a hidden agenda, since I wanted to know the fate of the chocolate shop, too. But now a line was forming behind this lady, who wanted to stick around and talk about Chocolates Around the World — a line of people who actually wanted to ask questions about books. You can’t win. Although I may have talked her into bringing me a box of Godiva she didn’t care for.
Balance is power.