Recalling my last few interactions with big box book sales clerks:
Sharing a sense of urgency: I earn a concerned glance over the shoulder for not maintaining her own high speed pace as she leads me to where my book might be.
Multitasking to minimize my interruption: He barks questions and instructions to every employee that we pass en route to the bookshelf he wants to show me.
Bearing the cross of service: I interrupt his stacking with a question, so he carries the stack he was holding across the store while leading me to where I need to be.
Idle pleasantries: She asks "Did you find what you were looking for" at the register and I say, "No and it's too late to ask that now."
Someone please tell the clerks it's better to keep quiet than to say:
"I can't tell from this computer if it's in the store or in the warehouse."
"I could swear I saw it in the store last week."
"I know that this is a book we would normally stock."
"It's probably on order."
"Would you like us to order it for you? You can pick it up in a couple of weeks."
Will Rogers said:
Someday, they'll make a milk carton that's as easy to open as a liquor bottle.
Someday, bookstore clerks will be as helpful and knowledgeable as liquor store clerks.