I was just reading the movie rental recommendations thread in the Pit (synopsis: “people who ask for movie recommendations and don’t know what they’re talking about or won’t listen to the response are annoying”), and it got me thinking. I own a bookstore. One of the most enjoyable parts of the job is helping people to find interesting books.
Quite a few of the people who come into my store ask for recommendations, or ask for help finding a particular book. Maybe it’s because people expect employees in indy bookstores to love books. I’d never ask for recommendations in a Barnes & Noble, because it seems that the people working there don’t know much about books. They would be just as happy working in a coffee shop, shoe store, or K-Mart. Few of them appear to be real book lovers: they’re just earning a buck. (is this a fair characterization?)
Every week, I get people looking for “another author who writes like so-and-so” or “a good history of this area” or “that book about Crow Indians with the yellow cover” or “the Anita Blake book that comes after ’ Cerulean Sins.’” Sometimes it’ll be “I want to re-read a classic. What should I pick?” or “Do you have something about the Indian wars from the Indian’s perspective?” or just “What’s the best piece of fiction you’ve read in the last six months?”
I feel a real sense of accomplishment when someone comes in looking for a book and can’t remember the author’s name and has the title completely wrong, and I still find it for them.
Would you enjoy a job where you fielded questions like that? Do you ask questions like that yourself?