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December 13th, 2006

When careers collide

Normally I love my day job as a used bookseller. In fact, I'll go so far as to say I even like it during the holidays. I love selling books; I love most of the people who buy books; and our store isn't just a dumping ground for 5,000 copies of this year's Da Vinci Code - we might be selling a rare Arkham House edition, or a 1774 book on Robin Hood. So, to recap: I get to sell cool books to cool people, and there are more of both at the holidays. I go home tired but happy.

But this year...is it just me, or is there something nasty in the air? My bookselling job right now is an endless nightmare of stupid questions, screeching children and out-and-out belligerance. Within the last two days, I've:

1) Had a woman scream at me on the phone because the expensive Richard Avedon book she bought was not only signed but inscribed - when I told her it was described that way in the original listing, she replied, "Well, you didn't tell me that on the phone!"

2) Had an ebay customer send an email demanding that we leave positive feedback or he would make sure we were "blacklisted to all India". Needless to say, I neg'ged him so fast the mouse left skidmarks.

3) Had the guy on the other side of the country demanding to know why he hadn't gotten his Media Mail package FOUR DAYS after we shipped it. Of course if we explain the difference between Media Mail and Priority, it's magically our fault for not telling him this upfront (except, of course - we did).

...and there are four or five other ongoing dramas I won't even elaborate here, plus the usual walk-ins who give us lip.

All of this makes career #1 - writing - excessively hard to pursue right now. It's difficult to work up much empathy for fictitious people when there are so many real ones you want to kill.

Bah frigging humbug. I just want to write.