Back in the bad old days when I worked at that wretched hive of scum and humorlessness, Barnes and Noble, I invented a game. You see, we were located directly across from Michigan State University’s campus, and every summer as the students returned, we were inundated with wave after wave of clueless students, who expected us to receive their needs via a secret magical pipeline. Bear in mind that this was 2003, and everyone was confidently predicting that Amazon was going to tank, just like the rest of ebusiness had. So, no. No magic pipeline. Anyway, one summer, bracing myself for the inevitable waves of inane inquiries, I came up with the following Scavenger Hunt for my fellow booksellers. It got me in trouble, because my boss had agreed to the excision of her soul in exchange for her lordly title of Store Manager. So I reproduce it for you, in memory of days well gone by, and in reminder to treat the retail workers extra well this year:
I can pretty much swear I got asked every one of these questions.
Student Scavenger Hunt
Good between 8/20 and 9/20, all employees may play. This game depends on the honor system; lying to get high point totals makes you a loser. Count up the number of times you hear each phrase from a student and add points according to value.
. . .Barnes & Noble? (+1)
. . .Borders? (+2)
. . .The Student Book Store? (+3)
Do you carry textbooks? (+1)
. . .pens? (+1)
. . .posters? (+1)
. . .class schedules? (+2)
. . .art supplies? (+3)
. . .T-Shirts? (+5)
. . .basketballs? (+7)
. . .refrigerators? (+15)
Why don’t you carry textbooks? (+3)
But my professor said you carried textbooks. (+5)
But my professor said you carried this textbook. (+5)
But my professor said all we had to do was mention his/her name and you’d be holding copies for us. (+6)
Do you have maps of campus? (+1)
. . .that show where all the bars are? (+3)
. . .that show where all the frat houses are? (+5)
Where can I find books for (particular course number)? (+1)
But none of the other bookstores have it either. (+2)
But on the internet it said you had it. (+4)
Can you order it? (+1)
How long will it take to get here? (+1)
Why does it take so long? (+2)
But I need it tomorrow. (+2)
What am I supposed to do now? (+5)
How much is this?
. . .when there is no price on the book (+1)
. . .when the price is visible only in the bar code (+1)
. . .when the price is in small print on the back or inside cover (+2)
. . .when the price is in large print on the back or inside cover (+3)
. . .when the price is in large white print on the blue back cover of Test Yourself IQ Tests (+35)
Do you have. . .
. . .Hamlet? (+1)
. . .Walden? (+1)
. . .On The Road? (+1)
. . .The Great Gatsby? (+1)
. . .Enchiladas, Rice and Beans? (+1)
. . .I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? (+1)
. . .Structural Dynamics of Thermonuclear Exchange Systems? (+2)
How come you ran out of. . .
. . .Walden?
. . .The Great Gatsby?
. . .Structural Dynamics of Thermonuclear Exchange Systems?
(+1 x number of words in the title)
Can’t you look it up by. . .
. . .the course number? (+3)
. . .my professor’s name? (+5)
. . .my name? (+15)
BONUS: Most hilariously wrong title requested (e.g. Good Gatsby, or Why Don’t Caged Birds Sing?): +50