As any retail or service worker will tell you, customers can be irrational, demanding, abusive, and brain-scramblingly, mind-bendingly strange
. They can also be kind, thoughtful, funny, and full of pathos. Something about the often-fraught interaction between customer and worker, with the dividing line of the counter between them, loosens inhibitions, and has a kind of hot-house effect on eccentricity.
In I Can't Remember the Title But the Cover is Blue,
veteran bookseller Elias Greig collects the best, worst and downright weirdest customer encounters from his years working as a Sydney bookseller. From ill-behaved children to nostalgic seniors and everything in between, this hilarious and unpredictable book is the perfect gift for anyone who's ever been on the wrong side of a counter.
About the Author
Elias Greig was born on the North Coast of New South Wales, and moved to Sydney for university, completing a BA, MA, and, recently, a PhD at the University of Sydney. All this study was funded and made possible by over a decade of retail work, first as a shoe salesman, and later as a bookseller, his current occupation. These long years on the wrong side of the counter have proved surprisingly helpful in Elias's other career as a casual tutor and sessional lecturer at the University of Sydney. Elias's writing has appeared in Hermes
(which he was proud to edit in 2010), Contrappasso
, The Conversation
, and, most recently, in Overland
, where he discussed the Fair Work Commission's decision to cut Sunday penalty rates as a symptom of the wider disregard for and invisibility of retail and service workers. He has made several appearances on ABC radio program Overnights
, discussing Romantic poetry, and the work of Stevie Smith.