Friday, 6 January 2017

The Bookseller From Hell





There can’t be much going on in the world when a book shop in Hawes, a small Yorkshire town, hits the national news.  A secondhand bookshop owner who has received more than twenty complaints about his rudeness has admitted he was wrong to call a customer a “pain in the arse”. Apparently visitors to the shop got upset when he started charging 50 pence entry fee to browse (refunded if you bought a book).  The book shop owner was interviewed on BBC breakfast news before the camera switched to John Blackie, local councillor, who had branded him “the bookseller from hell”.  

When I lived in the Yorkshire Dales, Hawes was our nearest town and my mother used to visit the weekly market to buy cheap clothes (before she married her rich farmer).  Nowadays it is described as a delightful and picturesque market town but as a young teenager it always struck me as a rather drab and dismal place.  All that grey stone and dreary old shops.  Occasionally I would go to dances in the town hall.  Local bands Orange Glass and Mother’s Lament would painfully play their limited repertoire of songs; they compensated for their lack of talent by turning the speakers to the highest possible volume.  It’s no wonder I’m deaf now.  My friends and I would march out to the centre of the room wearing our hotpants and tank tops, fling our handbags onto the floor, and then dance our little hearts out.  Eventually the boys would stagger in from the local pubs, drunk enough now to approach the girls and ask that delightful question, “Now then lass, tha’ want t’dance?”


16 comments:

  1. Out of pure historical interest you understand, I wonder if you might post a photograph of yourself in said hotpants and tank top? If there are no old photos, a current re-enactment will suffice.

    “Now then lass, tha’ want t’dance?” - were these Paul's first words to you or was his approach more sophisticated/cunning?

    As for the bookseller, I like the fact that he's a non-corporate being, putting his own unique slant on the idea of customer service. I have known a couple of pub landladies like that, "If you don't ****ing like it, you can **** off!" Charming!

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    1. I'm sorry to disappoint you Mr Pudding but there are no photos, you will just have to use your imagination. Paul appeared on the scene over a decade later, I think his chat up line was "do you fancy a picnic in Bognor?".

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    2. "Picnic in Bognor"? The dirty beast! That's a well-known euphemism in men's changing rooms.

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  2. That's actually kind of funny about the bookstore keeper. (but probably not if it was happening to you). I'm surprised he has any business left.

    You made me think of dances in community centres we would go to. Ours were always licensed (sold alcohol) and were a big part of our lives. We would dress up in dresses and the guys would wear suits, or more often dress pants, button down shirt, maybe a vest. Ahhh, memories. -Jenn

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    1. I think he's got plenty of publicity out of it. People will be flocking to his shop expecting him to be rude to them and disappointed if he's not!

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  3. Hahaha! As a bookseller myself, that made me laugh. Have you every seen the BBC shoe "Black Books"? That's what I was reminded of.

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    1. I thought of you when I wrote this blog Jennifer. I haven't actually seen the show but there probably is a similarity.

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    2. *ever* and *show*...damn phone!

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    3. *ever* and *show*...damn phone!

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  4. Can you imagine something similar if it was possible - a "blogger from hell", charging us 50 pence for reading his/her posts and refunding us only if we leave a comment...!
    Greetings Maria x

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  5. I used to visit a pub' in Surrey where the landlord would turn the lights off if you ordered beer. "No profit in beer, and I'm not wasting electricity"; in his case it was all very light-hearted.

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    1. I love eccentric people and eccentric pubs.

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  6. A former husband (not lamented) visiting Glasgow asked for a pint of bitter and got thumped on the nose by another customer. I think it was beause he was English - it rather put me off Glasgow and Scotland. However, the landlord at our regular Yarkshire pub just used to lean slightly towards the bar and say 'Nar then'. Customer relations/care can be a bit iffy for newcomers here in France, but now after a few visits and esp. if The Dog is with us c'est bon! BTW I believe that I should say Bonne Année to you both.

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    1. "Nar then" (or now then) is a common form of greeting in Yorkshire, often abbreviated to just "Now?" Translated as "How are you?". Dogs always break the ice don't they? Bonne Année!

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  7. Love it. Very Fawlty Towers ! I imagine he's fed up with tourists cluttering up his shop, pulling all his books about and making them untidy, then wandering off. Dealing with the public can turn even an angel into a devil....and if he is interested in publicity he's succeeded there !

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