Bookstore Adventures

, by Zoë Gulliksen

Hey guys!

It's been over a week since I last posted because my schedule quickly went from doing nothing to working seven days a week. As most of your know, I'm interning at the New York Public Library (NYPL) and working at a bookstore by my apartment. In the first week I've worked at the bookstore I've encountered many off beat and quirky customers, which I would like to document here for you all. Ironically enough, I work in the eReader department of the bookstore. This is ironic because for years and years I have been strongly against reading eBooks. The first eBook I bought was Fifty Shades of Grey because I did not want to be seen in public reading these books. And so, here are the highlights of my first week working there:

4.) European Prince

On my second night of working I was held late after closing and was told not to go home yet. There were about 20 men dressed rather intimidatingly standing about the store, but I did not think much of it. Perhaps this was how to closing protocol went at this store. A half hour later however the manager gathered all the employees around and told us a prince of a country somewhere near Scandanivia just left the store and as a thank you for staying late he gave everyone $50 cash. I went home with more rent money and feeling lucky.

3.) The People Who Don't Know How to Use the Internet

The majority of my job is not selling eReaders but explaining to technology impaired customers how the internet works. Most people do not understand the concept of WiFi and how there is not jut free internet everywhere. Children are better at understanding how a device works than a grown up. Overall my tolerance and patience for people have improved significantly.

2.) The Man Who Knows Everything About Turkey

There is an older gentleman who has come in three days in the past week and likes to talk to me about the lengthy history of the Turkish government. His lectures can be excessive but he's friendly and I like the enthusiast company so I don't mind listening. I know now quite a bit about the Ottoman Empire oddly enough. However, he is not as entertaining as the older asian woman who asked for a book about "these", where she then began to grope her breasts. Turns out she was looking for a book titled "Big Breast and Wide Hips" by Mo Yen.

1.) Karen Allen

I don't think I shall ever get over the moment Karen Allen walked right into the store and asked for me help with finding a book. Allen, if you aren't familiar with her, is the actress who played Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ask, the first Indiana Jones film. Allen has always been one of my favorite actresses and I could hardly keep my cool when she approached me. 

I had met Allen in September when she appeared at the Indiana Jones marathon to do a Q&A. She wasn't allowed to talk with anyone afterwards but I ran after her and asked to shake her hand real quick, explaining how much of a fan I was. And then less than two months later she walks into this huge store, approaches me of all people and asks to find "Hallucinations" by Oliver Sacks. Even though it wasn't my department I jumped at the chance to show her around to find her book. Even after she left the store she ran back in, walked straight to me once again and asked where the bathroom was. My inner fangirl was squealing but I was able to stay calm. Besides, if Karen Allen is a regular I want to become her friend, not known as that employee who turns into a blubbering mess around her. I do regret not mentioning that I knew who she was or that I had met her before, but hopefully there will be other chances.

In an odd way, I've come to think of her as my good luck charm or patron saint of New York City. When I first moved here and met her at the movie theater, I was having a hard time adjusting to my life, plus I had a really awful cold, and I had just gotten over the stomach flu. Needless to say I was not doing too well, but meeting her by chance reminded me of all the crazy and wonderful things that happen in this city.

When I met her last week I was also having a rough day. I had just had some sort of anxiety episode as soon as I got to work and had to settle myself down in the bathroom. Still reeling from that I was not fairing too well and yet in comes Karen Allen looking adorable as ever. It sounds rather silly, I know. but once again she reminded me of how crazy and surprising this city can be.

And that is all within the first week of working here. I'm not sure if I'll come across any more crazy incidents but who knows? Apparently Matt Damon and Chris Rock are regulars as well in this store. I can only hope that perhaps one day fate will bring Robert Downey Jr. into my life and I can die fulfilled. 

Until then,


  1. Glad things are looking good for you this week. I am still being forced to take the bus in every day cause my train line is not running still, but when my schedule clears up it'd be great to catch up.

    Keep doing well,


    1. I'd love to catch up! I haven't seen you or Leah in ages. Every time I walk past the Apple store I think of you guys, hope you're doing well<3

  2. That's awesome that you got to meet Karen Allen again! Also, as someone who works in an electronics department of a retail store, I completely empathize with you about explaining things to tech-illiterate customers.

    Hope things continue to go well for you--You deserve it! :-)

    1. Thanks Matt =) I hope your week is going well too!