‘It’s an excellent work of literature,’ she added

As I made a purchase at a Victoria Gardens bookstore Monday, a clerk, for the first time in my recollection, tried to upsell, as if we were at Applebee’s or something. Pointing to copies of a paperback novel displayed on the counter for impulse purchase, she asked, more or less: “Would you be interested in ‘A Reliable Wife‘?”

Insert your own punchline below.

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  • Doug Evans

    So… what did you buy? Oh, wait, that will be in next month’s update. ;-) Glad you’re feeling better, at least enough to get out and go shopping!

  • Bob Terry

    Some things are better left “unsaid.” Welcome back, firend. Speaking of books, my unreliable wife tried to throw a bunch of mystery/crime/whodunit books away from some well known authors and I wouldn’t let her, thinking we could sell or donate them. Any ideas from you or you legion of followers?

    [Easiest route for an RC fellow like yourself would be to donate them to the library's bookshop. Otherwise, you can revisit your downtown Pomona haunts of yore and try Magic Door books, or try the Book Rack in La Verne. -- DA]

  • Doug Evans

    PS: In your blog, you refer to “Monday,” as if that’s not today, and on top of that the entry is dated “January 12,” which is tomorrow. Are… are you blogging from the future? TOO COOL. And send back some information to make me rich!

    [Clearly I haven't entirely recovered -- I was debating whether to post the entry immediately or post it to show up Tuesday, got distracted and just hit "publish." P.S. Invest heavily in that great American manufacturer, Acme Corp. -- DA]

  • Ramona

    I’m glad to see that the virtual chicken soup did the trick.

    The punchlines are rolling around in my head like wheels on a slot machine. Is there a companion book about reliable husbands for us females? Oh, wait. That would be in the rare book section.

    [Ba-da-ba-bing. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    Sad that you can’t avoid the crass commercialism of the upsell and add-on sale even in a bookstore. Next, they’ll want you to “talk to my manager” to close the sale like on a car lot.

    Sad 2: Why would the clerk even bother to try to sell a bodice-ripping romance novel to a male customer?

    Sad 3: Why would the clerk call a romance novel “an excellent work of literature”? Even romance authors don’t claim their work is literature.

  • shirley wofford

    This reminds me of my high school finance class of yore — we had a section about suggestive selling.

    I am usually guarded about such, but admit I have fallen for a few things in the past — like letting the damage adjuster go ahead and clean my upholstery and paint my engine after the collision damage was fixed — my husband went ballistic. He never had a finance class in high school, and I charge that I have learned, with age over time, and he hasn’t.

    He always likes to start his restaurant meal with a glass of wine; he told the waitress who was pushing her feature wine at Olive Garden, “Sure I’ll have a glass.” I wanted to clock him when the check came — his pre-lunch glass of wine was $10. I suppose it is impolite to ask the price, when being presented with these little specials.

    I liked it better when we went to Macaroni Grill recently — the waiter presented his lovely new house wine with the usual spiel and added, “It’s only $4.99 a glass.”

    Perhaps the bookstore clerk could improve her suggestive selling technique, if she would say something like, “It was originally priced at $25, and it’s now marked down to $1.99.”

    [I'm wary of suggestive selling too but like you occasionally acquiesce in a weak moment. -- DA]

  • James Rodriguez

    Re: Shirley Wofford comment…”I wanted to CLOCK HIM,” I have used that term in the past, but where does the term come from and what does it mean? To throw a clock at his head?

    [I think of it more like the chimes of a grandfather clock going BONG, BONG, BONG ... but I haven't done any research on the phrase. -- DA]

  • judi

    I’ve always enjoyed learning the origins of interesting phrases (I know, I’m weird) so I was compelled to look this one up. According to http://www.phrases.org:

    Clocks have faces, so “clock” became slang for “face.” Thus, to “clock” someone is to hit him in the “clock.”

    If anyone wins money on “Jeopardy!” from this tidbit, please forward my commission.

    [Consider it forwarded. Your explanation makes perfect sense, as expressions go. -- DA]

  • Bob House

    “Clock”: also similar meaning — “clean his clock”

    Could it also perhaps have developed as a misguided euphemism for “coldcock,” which only sounds dirty and means a similar knockout punch?

  • shirley wofford

    I consider it verbal slang for “smack-down” but, on my part, it was just an expression of frustration that we allowed ourselves to be played. I would never smack anyone, let alone my husband, down.

    [Whew. -- DA]

  • Linda Frost

    Sorry for the belated welcome back, but welcome back all the same. I have not had the hard sell at Barnes & Noble yet, but business must be bad for booksellers, too. It is obvious that the clerk has no sales training. Even I have no use for such a potboiler. For a punch line, I am not even interested in a reliable husband, since such a fish is endangered specie and would take too long to find.

    [I don't blame the clerk; it was clear to me that based on the counter display and the floor display (not to mention the book's prominence on the chain's website), everyone was told to push it. Oh, and thanks for the welcome back! -- DA]

  • Dennis

    Hi David,

    I’m a little late, but here is my punchline.

    Clerk in bookstore: “Would you be interested in a reliable wife?”

    David Allen: “No, thank you. Because then I probably wouldn’t have time to read 94 books in one year. But then, on the other hand, I wouldn’t have to eat out at 100 restaurants a year.”

    [Rimshot. -- DA]

  • K

    Yeesh, unless you’re at a restaurant so fancy that it has separate menus with and without prices (for the person treating and the person being treated), I can’t imagine that it would be inappropriate to ask about prices. For that matter, it’s pretty bogus to *not* mention a price. I always appreciate it when servers are clear about this.

    Don’t get me started on up-selling, either at bookstores or restaurants….

    ['k. -- DA]

  • robert bunch

    this is for old guys like me but she should have pushed a good old shell scott mystery, him and his trusty 45 and zippo lighter.