Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Would You Like A Book With That?

Tonight was choir rehearsal night. If we are lucky, we do not have to come back to Denton to pick up the girls and then go back for rehearsal. Today we were lucky. So, in addition to some knitting time at the shop this afternoon and dinner out, we had time for a trip to Barnes and Noble while in Dallas. This is a favorite way to pass "unscheduled" time.

I got my cup of hot tea and brownie and sat down in the cafe to continue knitting on the bath mat that I started this afternoon. There were two gentlemen sitting at the table behind me. Usually I can tune out the conversations around me; however, this one caught my attention. I must confess that I spent the next few minutes eavesdropping.

These men were first trying to decipher all the different coffee drinks served in the cafe.
MAN 1: "Well, what is the difference between a cafe mocha and a mocha latte?"
MAN 2: "Maybe it is the amount of sugar. Or, how much espresso is in it.
MAN 1: "Does cafe mocha really have espresso?"
MAN 2: "I think so."
I don't think they were any more informed about the ingredients at the end than when they began their conversation. And, they never even got to the grande skinny mocha with a double.

Once they gave up on the coffee discussion, these guys turned to a sociological study of the people who frequent the bookstore. One of them said, "I think that people come in here, read the books, and then put them back on the shelves!" The other guy responded with amazement, "Really!" I thought, well, duh. In our family we refer to this as stealing words. Maybe so, but no one has ever been arrested for it as far as I know. I would hate to try and figure out the number of stolen words our "crime ring" has amassed. I don't feel too guilty though. I have paid for many books that are still on my shelf unread. So, I think we are even. Tonight I did buy the current issue of Spin Off - after thumbing through it first.

The next observation was that Barnes and Noble has free Wi-Fi. So, not only can people sit there and read books for free, they can surf the Internet at not cost as well. The gentlemen were quick to note that these people on the Internet don't even necessarily buy coffee.

All the data that these men collected led them to the conclusion that there is no way that Barnes and Noble could be a lucrative business - people don't buy the books, they don't order from the cafe, they just come in and take up space. They also observed that most of the people in the cafe at the time were men.

One of them finally came to the brilliant conclusion that Barnes and Noble must market primarily to women. The other agreed, "Yeah, I see women come in and buy stacks of fifteen books at once!" (I didn't realize I was being watched that closely) I am happy to believe that the female species is more well-read than their male counterparts, but I don't think that Barnes and Noble would be happy to know that they are perceived (by a few idiots) as a women's store. I guess I could consider it a compliment that these guys believe that women are more likely to read than men but, I know this is not true. The one man at my house is just as guilty of the stack of fifteen books at a time as I am. The only problem in our particular household is that there are three women so we outnumber his book buying 3 to 1.

I know that listening to the conversation of others is socially unacceptable, but this was just too entertaining. Maybe I am just easily amused. I hope that when people at the next table eavesdrop on our conversations that they find them a little more interesting and thought provoking.

I am fairly certain that the surrounding tables at the Mexican restaurant where our dinner conversation was initiated by my younger daughter asking, "If it is not OK for a girl to spend the night with her boyfriend but it is OK to spend the night with a girl friend, what are the rules if she is a lesbian?" Later in the meal she asked, "If you are bisexual, can you have a boyfriend and a girlfriend at the same time?" Be careful what you ask for Dr. Dobson. All those Republicans who think that the American family is disintegrating because families do not sit down together at the dinner table together should come share a meal with us. They might change their minds.

Right. This does assume that they have a mind to change. . . anothe topic that frequents our dinner table.