20 April 2010

Secret Shopper Assignment

I was somewhat limited on this one... I live in a very small town that is outside a decent sized town. Since I don't actually live in the decent sized town, I can't check anything out... and for this assignment, I wanted to go to a library where I'd actually be able to check something out. So, I was sort of stuck with "Smalltown Public Library" (obviously not the real name).

I went into the tiny library, and saw a tiny gray-haired woman near the desk. I needed to get my card renewed, so I asked to have that done first. It took her quite some time to do this, so I looked around. I noticed that she started doing other things, and wondered if she was done with my card since she hadn't bothered to tell me... she was. I then asked her if she could recommend something for me... she asked, "Well, what do you like?" I told her that I had recently read a couple of Houdini biographies that I enjoyed (true), but that my next read didn't have to be a biography. What did I like about it? ...the "magician" aspect... fiction or non-fiction would be fine.

She then pulled a draw from the card catalog, and started looking through the "magic" subject-headings... not much there (it really is a small library). She found one called "Magical Thinking: True Stories" by Augusten Burroughs. The cover had a "magical" photo, and a quick glance made it look interesting, so I told her I'd try it out. She also took me to the biography section, to look for another book on Houdini... I didn't really want another book on Houdini, maybe she was looking for other illusionists. She didn't really have anything else to offer on the "magic" subject apparently. Finally, she asked me if I liked "crime books." I'm not sure how she made that connection, but I told her "No," I don't mind crime in fiction, but I don't want to read about the real stuff. ...and that was that. She stamped a card for the one book and told me that if it wasn't quite what I was looking for to come back. She was nice enough, but I didn't think she was terribly helpful. Then again, the tiny library doesn't give her much to work with.

So, I get out to my car and start really flipping through the book... This is not what I wanted at all. One of the first pages defines "magical thinking" as: "A schizotypal personality disorder attributing to one's own actions something that had nothing to do with him or her and thus assuming that one has a greater influence over events than is actually the case." This coupled with a look over the table of contents told me that this is not a book that I have much interest in reading... and really no interest in reading now. I looked through some of the stories, and I'm still not sure what this book is really supposed to be about. It seems like it's a bunch of little stories about people with obssessive-compulsive disorder.

Again, she probably did the best she could with what was available... but the (apparantly) only book in the library that would fit for me (from what I told her) just didn't really work for me.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I see your point about the limited resources but folks in small towns need good reads too!