Spend any amount of time in a bookstore and you’re likely to come across some interesting people. Here’s 5 of the most ridiculous people I’ve noticed meandering around the halls of paperbacks and hardcovers.
5 People You Meet in a Bookstore
1. The Lounger – This person takes “make yourself at home” to new levels. You’ll usually find them on the second floor of the bookstore cuddled up in the corner with their shoes off and their head propped up by a pillow they brought from home. While most loungers travel alone, it’s not uncommon to find small packs of 2-3 loungers taking over an entire section of a bookstore, oftentimes by spreading out around a small fire they’ve made with books from the bargain bin.
It’s best to avoid eye contact with loungers at all times, unless you enjoy dirty looks that say “what are you doing in my bedroom?”
2. The Squatter – This guy uses the bookstore’s cafe as his own personal office. He’s taken over a minimum of 3 separate tables with piles of paper, a computer bag, and his own Keurig machine.
The bookstore cafe only has 2 wall outlets and this guy is using both of them. Try and commandeer one of them for your own purposes and he will have his secretary beat you to a pulp. (Yes, his secretary is taking up 2 tables as well).
3. The Secret Reader – She came into the bookstore with a plan, and 90 minutes later she is still working it to perfection. Her goal: to read the new Michael Pollan book cover to cover without leaving the store. Her method: never stay in one section for more than 15 minutes.
This bookstore nomad dresses in layers to switch up her appearance with each move. She wears glasses and pulls her hair up for the same reason, convincing herself that she is a different person in each section. She sees bookstore employees as the bad guys and will avoid a “May I help you find something?” at all costs.
As you might expect, the Secret Reader’s enemy in the wild is the Lounger. She keeps waiting for the day when the Lounger gets kicked out of the store for excessive reading while she continues to read undetected. That day will never come.
4. The Ogler – This guy is in the magazine section trying to look at Maxim without making it look like he is looking at Maxim. He circles it like a vulture circling a deer carcass in a field, occasionally swooping in for a few bites and then returning to the air in an attempt to make you believe he’s just as interested in the cover story on Kobe Bryant as he is in Jessica Biel’s midriff.
What gave you away, sir? Probably the heavy breathing, the liters of sweat dripping from your uncropped head, and the fact that you’ve picked up that same issue of Maxim four times in the last ten minutes.
5. The Bathroom Reader – He emerges with his head down and a controlled panic to his gait. The decision made sense on the way in to the men’s room, but now he must return to the book section with that novel tucked tightly under his arm like a fullback on a 1-yard dive. You want to sneer in disgust at the bathroom reader, but don’t even try. He will avoid eye contact with you like you are the eye of Sauron.
Was it worth it, bathroom reader? Did that 10 minutes of reading on the john justify the fact that you broke the rules of bookstore etiquette? And at the very least, can you please purchase that fecal-covered copied of Dave Eggers’ latest novel so someone else doesn’t?
I’m sure there’s a bunch of bookstore people I missed, so help me fill in the gaps.