Here's a sample story:
I hadn’t been a bookseller long when I got my first certified wacko. We tended to see the type more often at the downtown store than when I later worked in malls.
One busy afternoon this woman came in, nicely dressed, 40ish maybe, but with long brown hair. I was working the floor and she approached me to ask, “Where are your green books?”
I said, “Do you mean, like, environmental books? Earth-related?”
She said, “I don’t know. Maybe?”
I queried her, “Well, what specifically are you looking for?”
“Oh, you know,” was her response. As she spoke, she reached onto the shelf next to where we were standing and pulled out a book with a green spine. “Green books.”
I got Larry, my Manager. He followed the same line of questioning and got the same answer. “Green books.”
So we both walked her around the store, pulling every book with green binding out for her to look at. She would say a noncommittal “Hmm…” or “Okay” and then set the books on tables as we walked. I just knew I would be the one stuck with having to reshelve them all. After we had shown her a couple dozen books, Larry said, “I’m sorry, Ma’am. We just can’t figure out what exactly you’re loo…”
“I’ll take them,” she interrupted.
“Excuse me?” he and I both said, probably in unison.
“I’ll take them all. And any others you can find. I’m moving to a new house in Arizona and my decorator called me today and said I needed green books to fill the bookshelves in the main room. My husband and I don’t read so it doesn’t matter what they are.”
Larry and I looked at each other incredulously.
She left behind her charge card info and the address to ship the books to in Arizona and she breezed out the door. For the rest of that day, all of us working that afternoon found as many green books as we could and filled two large boxes to be shipped out. I had to write down all the sales info (no bar codes in those days) on a legal pad and the next day, Larry had to come in long before the store opened to ring up the entire sale as we had only a single cash register and couldn’t afford to tie it up when the store was open.
The total price—and if I remember correctly, we gave her some kind of discount even though the Waldenbooks Preferred Reader Card was still years in the future—was over $1000 in 1982 money.
All for green books…that would never be read.