And Then She Asked If I Wanted to Hear a Funny

A customer asked me the other night if I wanted ‘to hear a funny.’  Being exhausted and not immediately able to translate I asked, “A what?”

“A funny,” she repeated with a bit of an edge to her voice.  When she spoke it was as if through clenched teeth, and her eyes were suddenly attentive and aware of her surroundings.  Anyone who’s worked customer service knows that’s a dangerous state for a customer to be in.  A feral growl would have been the next logical progression of emotion should I have not suddenly understood she meant to tell me a joke.  I found myself afraid.

Reawakened, A Once Upon a Time TaleGiven that we had bonded already over my enjoyment of and her rabid obsession with the show Once Upon a Time, I knew that whether I wanted to hear her ‘funny’ or not, I was going to listen. 

You see, we’d met earlier that night when she brought the new Once Upon a Time book, Reawakened, to the desk and asked what specifically it was about.  Granted, she had the book in her hand and could easily have answered the question herself, but it was a slow night.  I told her it covered the first season. 

This was disappointing news for her until I quoted Wikipedia’s promise that it would give “fans of the show a whole new look at their favorite characters and stories.”  Boy oh boy did her spirits lift at that news.  She was certainly in for a treat, although the customer in line behind her looked slightly terrified. 

This look of terror was not properly interpreted by my Once Upon a Time customer.

“Aren’t you so excited?” she asked the women behind her, “Do you watch Once Upon a Time?  Isn’t it so good?”

It turned out this customer was not excited since not only was she not a fan but had never heard of the show before.  I was sincerely worried for this ignorant customer, scared she may be mauled in a hysterical fan-rage when she innocently responded, “Once Upon a Time?  I’ve never heard of it, is that a TV show or something?” 

I tried to make eye contact with her in an attempt to signal she should back away slowly and not engage the woman further, but thankfully another bookseller came to the desk and helped her, ending the conversation.

We talked about the show a bit more, I confessed sadly that I was a few episodes behind on the current season and begged her forgiveness for this, and showed her the books we had on fairy tales.  After that we parted ways, her to her crazy and I to cleaning up the crap customers had left all over the store.  I thought we were done.  I was wrong.

“Do you want to hear a funny?”

“A what?”

“A funny.”


“If you’re a Russian in the kitchen, what are you in the bathroom?”

“I don’t know.”

“If you’re a Russian in the kitchen, what are you in the bathroom?”

“No, I still have no idea.”

“European.  Get it?”

Maybe it was how late in the night it was; maybe this joke really is funny.  I don’t know, but I laughed.  And not just because I was too scared of her not to.

European.  Yeah lady, yeah I get it.  I see what you did there.

About mattS

Couch potato, burrito aficionado, whiskey sour drinker, handyman, writer of interesting things.

Posted on May 28, 2013, in Books, So You Want To Work In A Bookstore, Things I Come Up With While I'm At Work, TV & Movies and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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