I have shopped at (and may likely continue to) West Hollywood's long-running independent book store Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard--across from what used to be the flagship Tower
Records store for Los Angeles.
Sent this as an e-mail a few minutes ago:
Thought I'd put this into free verse:
A TRUE BOOK SOUP STORY
On the night of Tuesday, February 23rd
the author of this poem
went to the ubertrendy Book Soup in West Hollywood.
I've always noticed
that the people working the newstand outside
Inside, the customer
can receive a distinct chill--
the kind of "you aren't our preferred customer" freeze.
Currently at Book Soup,
there are miniature busts
of Charles Bukowski for sale.
I saw a young male Book Soup employee
look at one bust and then imitate Bukowski:
I'M DEAD! I CAN'T DRINK ANYMORE!!!
What could I say in response to the clueless employee?
I paid for my book purchase
and walked outside,
setting my plebian self free
from the tyranny of educated condescension.
P.S. I know all your employees aren't like the one above. But I do feel that sometimes they snap to attention and courtesy for, say, employees of the film and television industries, a bit more than they do for common folk.
[concluded with a sentence mentioning Orwell's now-familiar "some more equal than others" sentence from ANIMAL FARM]
UPDATE 3/7/10: I communicated with the store by e-mail and received assurances as to its commitment to ensuring professional behavior from employees.