So my mom and I were in a large national chain bookstore tonight, and while I was off checking out the new YA books in stock, I heard my mom ask the clerk where they were shelving Robert Louis Stevenson. We had looked earlier and couldn’t find his novels.
This is what I heard:
Clerk: “Who are you looking for?”
Mom: “Robert Louis Stevenson.”
Clerk: “Oh, I don’t know…let me check the computers….yeah, I don’t see him here.”
Mom: “Really? He’s classic.”
Clerk: “Oh. Um, that’s strange, then. What books has he written?”
At which point I smacked my head against the wall. The sad thing is, this clerk tried really hard. She was a sweet kid. BUT HER BOSS DIDN’T KNOW WHO HE WAS, EITHER. The Scottish genius responsible for stories such as Treasure Island, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Kidnapped – suddenly a complete unknown. What tragedy. I mean, I’m not trying to be a snob, but shouldn’t booksellers actually be well-read and educated about the books they are selling? I’m not expecting a dissertation, but how about simple recognition? How about some appreciation?
Yeah, well. There was a farting toy dog in the children’s section. Playing with it made me feel better. Now I’m irritated again.