Wednesday, January 29, 2014

customer identification

A couple days before Dragonmeet in December, I enjoyed a ramble around the British Museum. I didn't have much time but I still found myself in the wonderful little museum bookstore that's off to the side of the exhibits, down a corridor long enough to give the impression that there must be interesting things happening on either side of the walls.

The only other people in the shop were two attractive young women wearing blazers that were associated with the museum somehow and a sharply dressed twenty-something guy working behind the counter. He had an Italian accent and as I rummaged through Osprey books and read the first few pages of a Norse history called The Hammer and the Cross, he told the two women the story of the coolest thing that had happened to him in the store recently.

A distinguished older man with a beard had spent a good deal of time looking through the books. He'd brought his purchases forward, then paid with a credit card that read UMBERTO ECO.

The bookstore clerk found himself blurting "Are you Umberto Eco?"

"Only metaphorically," he said, leaving no doubt.

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