Friday, 21 November 2014

The Book Shop (with apologies to Monty Python and their Cheese Shop sketch)


I have been very busy lately with solar panel paperwork lately, so here’s a bit of cheap satire about Christmas shopping at bookstores these days.  A few words of explanation:

·         Chapters is the big Canadian chain bookstore, rather like Barnes and Noble.

·         Whyte avenue is a trendy urban neighborhood in my home city of Edmonton, Canada, with plenty of buskers and other interesting city sights.

·         The Strathcona Farmer’s market has a great cheese selection, among other things, and is just a few blocks from Chapters.

·         Monty Python is one of the funniest TV shows ever done, and the Cheese Shop sketch is a classic.


The Book Shop (with apologies to Monty Python and their Cheese Shop sketch)
(a customer walks in the door)

Customer: Good Morning.

Clerk: Good morning, Sir. Welcome to Chapters Indigo!

Customer: Ah, thank you, my good man.

Clerk: What can I do for you, Sir?

Customer: Well, I was, uh, sitting in the cheese section of the Strathcona Farmer’s Market on Whyte Avenue just now, sampling the selection of Edams by Sylvan Star, and I suddenly came over all bookish.

Clerk: Bookish, sir?

Customer: Literary.

Clerk: Eh?

Customer:  I were all readerly-like!

Clerk: Ah, readerly!

Customer: In a nutshell. And I thought to myself, "a few inked-up paper folios will do the trick," so, I curtailed my cheesy activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some bookish consumables!

Clerk: Come again?

Customer: I want to buy some books.

Clerk: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the street buskers!

Customer: Oh, heaven forbid: I am one who delights in all manifestations of the Harmoncan muse!

Clerk: Sorry?

Customer: 'Oh, Ah like a nice tune, 'when I’m forced to!

Clerk: So he can go on playing, can he?

Customer: Most certainly! Now then, some books please, my good man.

Clerk: (lustily) Certainly, sir. What would you like?

Customer: Well, eh, how about a little literary fiction.

Clerk: I'm, a-fraid we're fresh out of literary fiction, sir. Perhaps a nice pillow.

Customer: Oh, never mind the pillows, how are you on mysteries?

Clerk: I'm afraid we never have that at the end of the week, sir, we get them fresh on Monday.

Customer: Tish tish. No matter. Well, stout yeoman, the final four volumes of Harry Potter, if you please.

Clerk: Ah! They’ve beeeen on order, sir, for two weeks. Was expecting it this morning.

Customer: 'T's Not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Bel Hooks?

Clerk: Sorry, sir.  How about a blanket?

Customer: I don’t want a blanket, I want a book.  Science Fiction?

Clerk: Normally, sir, yes. Today the van broke down.

Customer: Ah. History?

Clerk: Sorry.

Customer: Classics? Shakespeare?

Clerk: No.  A scented candle?  It sets the stage.

Customer: No.  Any Norwegian playwrights, Ibsen per chance?

Clerk: No.  Fresh out of Ibsen.  A DVD on Vikings?

Customer:  No, I want a book. Finance?

Clerk: No.  But we have a monopoly game.  It contains Reading Railroad.

Customer:  That’s not how you pronounce it.  And it’s not a book, is it?

Clerk: No, sir.  Not technically.  But is sounds like it could be.

Customer:   Biography?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Game of Thrones?

Clerk: Ah, no, but we have the game of chess.

Customer: Is that a book called The Game of Chess?

Clerk: Not as such sir. More of a chess set, really.

Customer: A travel book then - a Danish dictionary?

Clerk: No. No sir, but we have Danishes in the Starbucks.

Customer: Series?

Clerk: Yes, sir, I am very serious.

Customer: (rolling eyes) Horror?

Clerk: (Jumps) Where?

Customer: Well, not in this supposed bookshop, obviously.  Action and Adventure?

Clerk:  No, sir, the life of a bookstore clerk is pretty dull.

Customer: Drama, Self-help, Cookbooks, Religion, Anthologies, True Crime, Law, Poetry?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Camus, perhaps?

Clerk: Ah! We have Camus, yessir.

Customer: (suprised) You do! Excellent.

Clerk: Yessir. It's..ah,'s a bit dog eared...

Customer: Oh, I like dog eared existentialists.

Clerk: Well,.. It's very dog eared, actually, sir.

Customer: No matter. Fetch hither the livre de la Belle France! Mmmwah!

Clerk: I...think it's a bit more dog eared than you'll like it, sir.

Customer: I don't care how dog eared  it is. Hand it over with all speed.

Clerk: Oooooooooohhh........! (pause)

Customer: What now?

Clerk: The dog's eaten it.

Customer: (pause) Has he.

Clerk: She, sir.

Customer: (pause) Perhaps English existentialism, then.  The play about Godot?

Clerk: Afraid we’re still waiting for that one sir.

Customer: Naturally.  Western adventure?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Eastern philosophy?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Northern Exploration?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Southern Gothic?

Clerk: No, sir.  But we have a wide selection of maps and compasses.

Customer: *have* some books, don't you?

Clerk: (brightly) Of course, sir. It's a book shop, sir. We've got—

Customer: No, no... don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.

Clerk: Fair enough.

Customer: Uuuuuh, Children’s books.

Clerk: Yes?

Customer: Ah, well, I'll have some of those!

Clerk: Oh! I thought you were talking to me, sir. Mister Childrensbooks, that's my name.

Customer: (pause) And a most inappropriate one.  Greek drama?  Euripides?

Clerk: (looking down anxiously) I ripped my what sir?

Customer: Uuh, Economics?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Political Science,

Clerk: No.

Customer: Sociology,

Clerk: No.

Customer: Anthropology,

Clerk: No.

Customer: The Joy of Sex,

Clerk: Flattered, sir, but you’re not my type.

Customer: There doesn’t seem to be much type around here, especially of the printed variety.  Czech poetry,

Clerk: I already checked earlier, sir, there is no poetry.

Customer: Venezuelan astrophysical journals?

Clerk: Not *today*, sir, no.

Customer: (pause) Aah, how about the Bible?

Clerk: Well, we don't get much call for it around here, sir.

Customer: Not much ca-- it's the single most popular book in the world!

Clerk: Not 'round here, sir.

Customer: (slight pause) and what IS the most popular book 'round hyah?

Clerk: The Kama Sutra, sir.

Customer: IS it.

Clerk: Oh, yes, it's staggeringly popular in on this avenue, squire.

Customer: Is it.

Clerk: It's our number one best seller, sir!

Customer: I see. Uuh...'The Kama Sutra’, eh?

Clerk: Right, sir.

Customer: All right. Okay. 'Have you got it?' he asked, expecting the answer 'no'.

Clerk: I'll have a look, sir........nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno.

Customer: It's not much of a book shop, is it?

Clerk: Finest on the avenue!

Customer: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Clerk: Well, it's so clean, sir!

Customer: It's certainly uncontaminated by books....

Clerk: (brightly) You haven't asked me about thrillers, sir.

Customer: Would it be worth it?

Clerk: Could be....


Clerk: Told you sir....

Customer: (slowly) Have you got any thrillers?

Clerk: No.

Customer: Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me:

Clerk: Yessir?

Customer: (deliberately) Have you in fact got any books here at all.

Clerk: Yes, sir.

Customer: Really?


Clerk: No. Not really, sir.

Customer: You haven't.

Clerk: Nosir. Not a scrap.  It’s because of Amazon - we can’t match their prices. I was deliberately wasting your time, sir, hoping you would buy a $40 pillow or a $20 scented candle.

Customer: Well I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to shop on-line for a book now.

Clerk: Right-Oh, sir.

(The customer takes out an iPad and buys Nathan’s Adventure in the Other-Other Land from Amazon)

Customer: (shaking head)  What a *senseless* waste of time this bookstore visit was.  (smiles) Oh, well, this Amazon book looks like just the thing for my little nephew.
And here’s a vaguely related comic strip:

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