Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Psychology...that's p-s-y-c-h-o-l-o-g-y...

I would think that the two requisites for working at the Barnes and Noble information desk would be customer service skills and a rudimentary knowledge of spelling. I discovered today that the job requires neither, as was illustrated to me via the following:
I popped in to the B and N, seeking a few books for classes. They weren’t textbooks, per se, so the bookstore should have had them. I stopped at the info desk to see if that was the case. The woman there, who was middle aged and dressed in pink from head to toe, asked for the title. I said, “Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.” She said, “Whoa whoa, wait a minute. What?” I repeated myself and said that it was a book by Nancy McWilliams. As far as I know, Ms. McWilliams has only written 2 other books, so I was pretty sure that there shouldn’t be much title confusion. I spelled the name of the author for the middle-aged whatsit, whereby she proceeded to tell me the names of the two other book titles written by Nancy. Well, she tried, anyway. Apparently, “Formulation” was a word beyond the scope of her experience.
I don’t expect everyone who crosses my path to know phonics, even if they do work at Barnes and Noble. That’s like asking that everyone you see to have a certain number of arms and legs, or a particular haircolor. It’s unrealistic. HOWEVER, if it turns out that you don’t understand a word I just said, there is a way to clarify. ASK ME. I’ll even write it down or spell it for you, and give a definition. Hell, I’ll use it in a sentence. Do not, by contrast, make me feel stupid for asking if you even have such a book. That is what this woman did. She told me that they don’t normally carry books like that (no books at a bookstore? Nay, the biggest bookstore chain in the country?), and that she couldn’t even pronounce the word. Great. Antagonize me because you can’t spell. Yeah. That’s clearly my problem. Then she made me feel bad for even having her look it up. She looked at me in the way that said, “You’re wasting my time.”
So for those of you who are crass, lacking in refinement and an interest in grammar or spelling, the job as a cabbie may not be your only career path of choice. I sleep better at night knowing that when I go in the bookstore the next day, the books I seek will be filed in no particular order.
Of course, I’m really not sure who is lamer. Middle aged pink lady and her brusque attitude, or me, the uber-nerd. She probably had no idea that hours later her transgression would be scathingly remembered in cyber-eternity. Better for both of us that she probably can’t spell “unique.”


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