Thursday, February 12, 2009

Standards people! Standards!

Dear Barns & Noble and Customer Service Girl,

We have to talk.

There are certain levels of ridiculous that I love and welcome, my latest experience in your store was not the welcomed kind.

I, like any responsible English Major Alum, have been improving my exposure to The Classics post degree so I've been reading Uncle Tom's Cabin online. It just wasn't a pleasurable process so I decided to go get a copy of the actual book. I'm broke and unemployed but I'll still spend $6 on a book.

After looking around for a clearly labeled "Classics" section and finding none (strike 1), I approached the very nice girl at the Customer Service desk to ask for Uncle Tom's Cabin.

You know, just one of the most influential books written in it's century? That short work of fiction that was HIDEOUSLY popular for it's day and accelerated the already eminent Civil War in the name of "freedom" (IE: Slavery)? I couldn't help but notice that this particular individual shared African heritage as well so I thought I'd get a smile at least or a awesome-book nod. But no, do you know what her response was?

"And who's that by?"

You're female, you're Black, you work in a book store and you're asking me who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin??!

Disappointed, disgusted, and resignedly rubbing my eyes,
~Mz. Liz


Nicole said...

How unfortunate. Even I, who always forgets authors, knows it's by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Quixotic Healer said...

Now I have guilt cause I haven't read it....but I still knew who wrote it!!!!

On a side note: I just finished the most lovely book: It's called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

It's the story of how books saved the sanity (and perhaps lives) of a group of Brits during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands.

It's beautiful and touching, and it made me extremely grateful for my wonderful life and my petty (by comparison) problems.

Amanda said...

This should actually be one of the interview questions if you would like to be employed at a book store. You must know the author of significant books.
I'm sure you gave her a good 'are you kidding me' look, right?

Ms. Liz said...

Amanda: I most certainly did. And then I said "Harrie Beecher Stowe" with the slight "Duh" tone to it and still no recognition. Then she asked "and how do you spell that?" and I gave up entirely. It was a sad day and the B&N