So I'm at work, and I'm on my own. An irony is that it's easier for me to have a swift cigarette (5mins) (and yes, sorry again) than go to the loo (25 seconds) - having a cigarette means waiting till the shop's empty, then standing outside. I can see people come in, I can hastily fling my smouldering dog-end down the drain in the gutter in front of me (don't worry, full of water), and rush in to be helpful or well-informed or whateverrrr. Going to the loo is another matter, as the loo is out at the back of the shop, which means I have to hope nobody comes in (while I am soundproofed behind two doors) and shoplifts/robs the till. AAAAAAAnyway. So, after 20 minutes of no customers (which is why I have time to write this!) I race out the back, and on my return find a woman standing accusingly at the till.
"There wasn't anybody to serve me!" she says crossly, having been waiting all of 10 seconds.
"I'm sorry," I say, "I'm on my own today. How can I help?"
"Can you tell me where Brookford Road is? "
"I'm afraid not, I don't live round here. Maybe if you ask in the café next door?"
"Don't you have an A to Z?"
"Yes, downstairs in the travel section."
"I don't do stairs." she says crossly, glares at me, heaves a heavy wounded sigh at my unhelpfulness, and leaves before I have a chance to say anything (or even offer to fetch her an A to Z she won't be buying, just cracking the spine and leaving).
Now IS IT JUST ME or is that fairly unreasonable behaviour? We're a bookshop, not a tourist bureau - and while I sort of understand what makes people think that libraries are a place where, to paraphrase Robert Frost, when you go there they have to take you in (untrue and unfair though that is to libraries), where's the logic with bookshops? Is it a backhanded compliment ("You're a temple of intellect and information, so your priorities can't be anything so vulgar as making money")? Or what?? And even if she hoped that I (the person, not the bookseller) might personally know where Brookford Road was, why get grumpy with me for not knowing?
Sorry, not enough coffee.