Yet another fun thing in the bookstore is to reshelve and straighten the sexuality section. This is fun because you are guaranteed some good people watching as your presence makes the inevitable teenager or twenty-something in that aisle very uncomfortable. They sometimes immediately set their book down, or turn their body so that you might think that they are just checking out a psychology book from the display across the aisle.
Some people are not bothered by it at all, which is cool, because that is the way they should feel about it. I do not care what they are looking at. Some people are still self-conscious however, which is probably why we find sexuality books all over the store in weird places. Sports, Sci-Fi, Romance, Gardening or in the worst case scenario, the bathrooms. (Gross, eh?)
Tonight, the indivduals just put their book down and took off and when I saw the title I could not help stopping and taking a look at it. It was The Pop-Up Kama Sutra. I am not kidding. This is a genuine pop-up book based off of the classical text, full of hilarious pop-up images complete with pull-tabs. It was so great I had to take it back to the break room to show everyone else. It took fifteen minutes before we could all stop laughing, and we composed ourselves to return to the floor.
Also, in the bookstore vein, you would be surprised how much you learn about your customer’s lives from the books they are buying. And I don’t mean basing it off of stereotypes like reading scifi and romance. Usually you see most of your base customers at least once a week, and you start learning about them by osmosis as you which self-help books they pick up. The diet programs they use, diseases in the family from the health and medical books they buy, education and career plans from business books and study guides, spiritual leanings from the religion section, personal politics from the current affairs section, etc. In some ways it can be quite intimate, especially when you are trying to help them find a tell-tale book.
It is strange, because while you keep professional distance you cannot help developing personal empathy for people, especially when someone with a shaking voice is looking for medical books on disease or grieving, or when someone with glistening eyes is looking for books on abusive relationships. It is quite surreal being aware of these things, empathizing with these people, but at the same time just being professional, friendly and efficient. It is an interesting experience to say the least.