This event happened a couple of weeks ago. It took all this time for me to finally gather the strength to share this experience online. I have been a believer that books are not gender specific; there is no such thing as books only for girls or only for boys, so you will totally understand why I wanted to punch myself in the face after my despicable respond to a customer. Here it goes.
My name blared on the speaker of the store asking me to go to the information desk in the middle of the third floor. My coworkers never called me there unless a customer was searching for a YA book recommendation. I dropped all the books in my arms, promising I would come back for them (yes, I talk to books). I went straight to the information desk with haste on my shoes.
My coworker greeted me with a smile. “This gentleman over here wants to know what is a good teen romance book.”
She pointed to a boy who’s about thirteen to fifteen years old. He was holding a hardcover copy of The Night We Said Yes by miss Lauren Gibaldi.
I never just throw random popular titles. I love personalizing my book recommendations, so I started asking questions.
That’s when things started to fall down.
“Is it gonna be a gift?” I asked. “Is it for your girlfriend? Tell me what kind of romance books she loves to read.”
He was quiet for a few seconds. That’s when I noticed the kind of hurt plastered on his face that I knew so well. I already knew what his reply was going to be, but I let him talk.
“It’s actually for me,” he said.
I apologized a million times, and I gave him tons of recommendations. Even though my lips were saying book titles that night, my brain was praying that I could erase the hurt I had given him.
Even until now, I still hate myself for assuming that boy was looking for a YA romance book for his girlfriend when I, myself, enjoys YA romance a lot. But I have learned my lesson. I am a firm believer that books are not gender specific, so assuming a boy who wants YA romance recommendations is buying the books for his girlfriend, sister, or whatever is just plain wrong.