August 30, 2004
A while back I paid a visit to our local bookstore (I live in southern New Jersey) with the intent of checking out the new release Michael Moore Is a Stupid White Man. I looked on the new-release, bestseller, new-non-fiction racks nothing. I wandered around for a while and then headed up to the information desk. The clerk, a thirty-something reject from a Grateful Dead concert, smiles at me. Here's a fairly accurate transcript:
CLERK: How may I help you?
ME: I'm looking for Michael Moore Is a Stupid White Man.
C: (still smiling) You mean Stupid White Men by Michael Moore . . .
M: No. Michael Moore Is a Stupid White Man. It's a new release.
C: We don't have it.
M: Are you sure? It's very popular.
C: (taciturn) Never heard of it. (Looks past me) Can I help the next person, please?
M: Excuse me, but can you check on your computer?
C: (very annoyed) Fine. (Bangs away at the keyboard. Scrolls down the screen at warp speed) No. Doesn't exist.
M: Wait there it is.
C: (extremely annoyed) Oh . . . um . . . Yesss. We only received one copy. It's in the back.
M: Where in the back?
C: (loudly) In the political science section!
I checked out the section. The book was nowhere to be found. I walk back to the desk.
M: Pardon me, but I couldn't find it.
C: (Curses under her breath and slams her pen on the counter. Slams swinging door. Marches to the back of the store)
I could not believe what she did next. She grabs a step ladder and climbs up. The book was lying flat on the top row of books with the spine toward the back so you couldn't see the title. She grabs the book, climbs down, slams it into my chest. Her face is beet red and she screams: "HERE!!! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, YOU FRIGGIN' FACIST!??!"
I was shocked, Mr. Nordlinger. This wasn't a mom-'n'-pop outfit. It's one of the largest booksellers in the Northeast that aren't Barnes & Noble.
So I figured, Okay, time for some Brooklyn diplomacy. I walked up to the counter again.
ME: Excuse me: Do you have Treason by Ann Coulter? In the bestseller section? I couldn't find it . . .
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