We made an ordering error. A book that a customer desperately needed today for a birthday tomorrow wasn't going to arrive. Action stations! Matthew phoned around and a copy was secured at a certain shop for a mysterious Mr Perutz to collect by 2 o'clock. Armed with some book tokens I ventured off to the Charing Cross Road.
I found my way to the right desk and waited. And waited. And waited some more. You see, there were two members of staff but only one was attending to the queue of 4 customers waiting to be served. The other was merrily chatting away to a publishers rep ordering new titles for august and september, studiously ignoring us wallet clutching punters.
Now, I was under the impression that the reason our bookshop and other bookshops exist is to SELL BOOKS TO CUSTOMERS. FOR MONEY. Apparently this bookseller thinks bookshops exist so she can spend her day chatting amiably to publishers about lovely books and authors. She is by no means alone in this behaviour in the booktrade. Bookshops are a bit notorious for it and it's wrong, wrong, wrong. When are they going to get it through their thick skulls that it's all about THE CUSTOMER, STOOPID!