Saturday, August 18, 2007

You Never Know Whom You Might Meet in a Bookstore

Shopping in a bookstore demands a certain level of concentration and the ability to tune out the distractions created by your fellow shoppers. I like to lose myself in at least a couple of pages of any book that I'm considering for purchase and, if I can't find a nearby chair, I'll stand in place for however long it takes me to decide if a book is coming home with me or not. Once while browsing in London's Foyles Bookshop I even stood shoulder to shoulder with actor Michael Caine for at least five minutes before I glanced over and recognized exactly who was starting to crowd me.

But the experience that this Arizona bookstore customer had is one that really defies the odds. According to, it was a case of victim and thief meeting for the second time at the same bookstore.

A woman whose purse was stolen and the thief who took it inadvertently stood next to each other at a Prescott bookstore - she to complain about the unauthorized use of her credit card, he to get some cash.

The 59-year-old victim went to Hastings Books and Music on Tuesday to tell the store that someone had stolen her purse and used her credit card to buy $200 in DVDs.

Minutes later, while the woman was standing there, a man came up to the counter and tried to return eight DVDs in exchange for cash. The two didn't recognize each other, and the woman even politely made room for the man when he walked up.
I have a feeling that the thief, who obviously suffers from a stupidity problem, was the more surprised of the two. The good news is that police arrived quickly enough to catch up with the jerk as he tried to make his escape. No, you really never know just whom you might meet in a bookstore.


  1. That is awesome, Sam.
    Michael Caine. That would freak me right out.
    The nearest sort of thing that ever happened to me was that once, while on the escalator going up at Chapters [Canada's equivalent of a Borders Bookstore]... former Prime Minister Joe Clark was descending, right next to me.
    He glanced at me, and said "Hi."
    It was weird.
    I said "Hi."
    Then I realized.
    What the HELL?
    Was that the former Prime Minister of Canada?
    It was.

  2. :-) That was pretty much my reaction, Cip...after I blurted out "excuse me," he nodded, gave a tight little smile and said something that sounded to me like "sawright." No one in the building paid the least bit of attention to him, so I felt very American in my reaction.