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"Overheard in a Bookshop"

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Mary Knox Merrill – staff

(Read caption) What kinds of things do booksellers hear their customers say?

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To celebrate Independent Booksellers Week earlier this summer in Britain, the country's booksellers were invited to share some of the funniest things they heard from their customers.

The winner, which comes from Scarthin Books in Cromford, Derbyshire, is a perfect study in frustration for a retailer:

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Customer: Hello. I recently bought a wooden boat and wondered if you had a book that tells me how to go about restoring it?

Bookseller (having recently acquired several boxes of second hand boating books): Actually, we do ... We have one called How to Restore Your Wooden Runabout [Boat] by Don Danenberg.

Customer: Mmmm ... That’s not quite what I was looking for…

My favorites, however, on the list of 12, were Nos. 3, 4, and 6. They run as follows:

3. Said by one elderly lady to her companion as she was browsing the gardening section…
“The first time I was kidnapped…”

5. A customer, on seeing a copy of "Great Expectations":
“Look, they bring books out on all the TV programs now.”

6. “Can you tell me if Anne Frank wrote any other books?”

You can see all twelve examples of unintentional British bookstore customer humor by clicking here. As for a US version – I'm not sure that I want to know!

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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