Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Other Side of the Counter

"Checkout Girl, A Life Behind the Register" by Anna Sam Sterling Press 178 pages $14.95

Anna Sam is French and spent eight years as a checkout clerk. This book began as a blog titled "Les tribulations d'une caissiere." Today this slender book has been published in 21 countries and has sold more than 350,000 copies. The book also got her a new job -- employee advocate/supermarket consultant.

The 46 chapters are all short and designed to give the reader a backstage look at a supermarket's workings. She takes us through the job interview, first day working and then pell mell into adventures with customers -- the line jumpers, fat ladies hiding the ice cream under the celery, and more.

One exchange between a love-struck customer and Our Heroine:
He: "Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?"
She: "Do you need any cash back?"
He: "Yes, a quarter - so I can call my mother and tell her I've met the woman of my dreams."
Me: Ah, the French are such romantics -- 100 years ago.

There were some amusing, lighthearted moments like that, but mainly it was one long sarcastic snark. Sarcasm, used like a spice in a dish, can be wonderful, but not for 178 pages.

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