Customers of the Week - Roundup Part One

Monday, June 8, 2009

The end of an era is quickly approaching...I am leaving the bookstore. However, much like the Mafia and the Marine Corps, you're never really gone when you leave. In fact, one of my co-workers told me "you know we'll call you every weekend to see if you can work, right?" Which is okay. But faced with a crushing load of teaching this summer and periods of outright panic as I try to prepare, I just couldn't stretch myself thin enough to cover everything. Even though working here is hardly "work", in that I mainly talk to people about books and drink coffee, it's still 15 hours of my week that, right now, I need to devote to other things. I'm sad to be leaving, but I'm looking forward to having my weekends back to spend with Lil Blue enjoying all the fun places we bought family passes for and never use.

In honor of my last week of work, I'm devoting this post and the next to a round-up of recent Customers of the Week (in no particular order):

Young Opera Lover: this one just happened yesterday so its fresh in my mind. A young African-American kid (maybe 10 years old) came in to pick up his specially-ordered original cast recording of Carmen Jones. We got to talking when he saw an ad for the local opera company. "I'm so excited that Carmen is coming this summer! I can't wait to see it!" he exclaimed. When I asked him about his interest in opera, he talked about how it was so exciting and how seeing and listening to opera was his favorite thing to do. At a time when arts organizations are seeing revenues in free-fall and aging fans and contributors slowly falling off, the idea that a young child would be so thrilled by what is, let's admit it, an art form that appeals mainly to much older and more Caucasian afiocionados is exciting. I hope that the Cincinnati Opera realizes they have the opportunity to reach *all* people, even the young and non-white. Because if they don't appreciate that opportunity and leverage it for the future, we might not have publicly supported opera for long.

Anti-Twilight Girl: This little girl was about ten years old and asked me for recommendations for new summer reading. After I recommended four books* we got to talking about how she had read the Twilight series and didn't like it. I was instantly intrigued, because she was obviously a good reader, and a young girl who doesn't want to jump into Twilight and become Bella is pretty rare. "Well", she said, "I thought Bella was kind of dumb. She didn't really *do* anything and all she did was whine". Hurray!

Mrs. P: This lady is a very good, regular customer who always purchases an enormous stack of (mostly) literature and non-fiction. She started talking to me and a co-worker last week. As it turns out, she had been a professor in Atlanta during the era of the civil rights movement. She taught literature and was constantly running into trouble with the powers that be (were) at her institution as she attempted to modernize the literature curriculum.

My next post (which will be in August at the rate I'm going lately...) will continue the round-up of the suprising, funny, and intriguing people who come through the doors at an independent bookstore.

* Meet the Austins, The Lightening Thief, The Dark is Rising, Found

UPDATE: How cool is this!! No sooner had I published this post, when a lady came in to look for opera CD's. In the course of our conversation she mentioned that she is the president of the Cincinnati Opera. I told her about the kid who was in yesterday. Luckily we had his name and phone number still around because he had ordered a CD. Long story short, she said she'd make sure that he got a signed poster from Carmen, and got to come back and meet the cast!

Posted by oballard at 10:22 AM  

Oh, I am thrilled, thrilled, thrilled about the opera story and how it will turn out! I LOVE that (and talk about some all around good customer service)!

Also, yeah for the anti-Twilight girl! My sentiments exactly!

I'm trying to persuade my oldest son to dive into The Lightening Thief this summer. As an avid reader myself, I'm attempting him to dive into any book, really!

June 8, 2009 at 1:11 PM  

Such a cool story about the kid who is about to get VIP treatment at the opera. He'll be a fan for life. What a great thing!

June 8, 2009 at 1:38 PM  
GingerB said...

Hey, saw your comment at GGC, and loved your post, I loved Meet The Austins and the whole stinking group of clean cut intellectual Austin damn kids, especially Ring of Endless Light. I can't wait for my daughters to read, I am so excited about feeding them books that it almost raises my blood pressure, what with the waiting and the learning to read parts. And hoo-rah about your day care day so you get a day for you. Cool!

June 10, 2009 at 5:36 PM  
~m said...

That is so cool about the opera boy! He is going to have the pants thrilled off of him!
Love the Austin family...haven't read Twilight yet...

June 10, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
voreblog said...

While you'll be greatly missed at the store (who will completely reorganize the info desk with your vigor?), I'm glad you and Lil Blue will be putting some of those family passes to use.

June 11, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

That is such a cool story. So nore more running into you at JB? That will be sad......

June 23, 2009 at 7:08 AM  

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