14 August 2006

Stupid People

Kind of a broad title, isn't it? There are plenty of stupid people in the world. But my purpose today is to rag on two groups of people who annoyed me specifically this week.

I work at a bookstore. Two years ago a new Barnes and Noble was built in my area and I got hired. I spend most of my time in the children's section because that's where I'm comfortable. I know the area like the back of my hand (though the new head of the children's department would probably disagree. She always catches me looking up a book that she knows. It's a bit embarrassing). Working in the children's section, books are often out of order. Mostly because kids pull books off the shelves and look at them, and leave them where they looked at them. Stuffed animals are always on the floor, chairs are always turned upside-down, but that's just part of the business. It makes it fun-trying to hunt down a fiction novel that somehow ended up in the middle of the science fiction section when a parent tries to reshelve something quickly so they can leave.

In all honesty, I would rather parents let their children leave books on the tables. It's not good store etiquette, sure, but it's easier for me to put them back where they belong than to try and find them in the far reaches of the store. The part of the store that eats books like washing machines eat socks.


Last Saturday, a mother and her two children managed to pull 27 books off the shelf. 27! While their mother was looking at this month's enlightening magazines (People, US, Life and Style...Etc. All the ones that are obsessed with the Cruise/Holmes lack of baby), her children managed to do what no two children have ever managed before. Now, normally when kids pull books off shelves and they get left, I can understand. Shopping with children is hard. Parents often just don't notice. But this mother sat for about a half an hour reading through magazines while her kids did this, then left the five or six magazines on the chair and all 27 books on the table and left.

My point here is this: Whatever happened to parents teaching their kids manners in public places? I'm not talking just bookstores. Like I said earlier, I'd rather clean up after them then try to find where all 27 books went. But shouldn't she have made sure that it was only two books? Maybe four? I see parents letting their children boss them around, I see kids yelling and throwing fits when they don't get what they want. I see so many displays of bad manners everywhere I shop that it's starting to tick me off. I hear of parents letting their kids decide when they go to bed. Three year olds deciding on a bedtime? Ten year olds with cell phones? I guess this is my non-sequitur way of saying that our 'free thinking' society has gone mad. Traditional family units are out of date and values that were once considered essential are completely gone. I don't have time to go into a huge lecture about every flaw of American society right now-so I'll just settle for my original point. I'm not sure if I ever got there, but I was intending to point out that parents should take more interest in the upbringing of their children.

"And now for something completely different."

I spent most of my time at the bookstore last Saturday shelving books. It's not uncommon for me to stop and take a quick second to read the synopsis. Sometimes it's out of curiosity because the book looks mildly interesting, and sometimes it's because I wonder how certain books got published in the first place. Maybe I was reading more covers than normal, but I must have seen at least five books where a reviewer had compared a science fiction/fantasy type book to Harry Potter or used JK Rowling to praise the book. I'm only annoyed with one of these. Jo can review the books she likes-I trust her judgment.

What bothers me are the people who compare their books to Harry Potter by shoving a review on the back that says something like "read this while waiting for Potter" or "better than Harry Potter" or "the Harry Potter for grown ups!". It's like those people in high school who try and gain popularity by saying something like "I'm related to (insert movie star here)".

If a book deserved to be compared to Harry Potter, then it wouldn't bother me. But none of them do. They are poorly written and constructed, they have boring, simplified plotlines and flat, unoriginal characters that are extremely predictable. It's like a bad combover. The publishers try to give the appearance of hair (comparing the book to Potter), but really, the book is just bald (unable to do anything of merit on it's own, so it resorts to appealing to a phenomenon). It's ridiculous.

On a more positive note, Muggle Net has published the first picture of Tonks for Harry 5! I'm loving the purple hair.

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