• Ryanne Harper

Happy Birthday, LT! (and Jimmy Pat)


Today is my friend Lauren's birthday. And, hilariously, also James Patterson's birthday. One of them is the best kind of people, the other is James Patterson. I thought it would be fitting to do their happy birthdays together since, like me, Lauren worked at Books-A-Million so she also really dislikes James Patterson.

So, in honor of Lauren's birthday, I'm going to explain why no one likes Jimmy Pat. First of all, the guy releases one thousand books a year. Good for him. I imagine he is constantly Scrooge McDuckin' it in his giant piles of money. Except Scrooge McDuck is an adorable cartoon duck. James Patterson is not.

So, when you work at a book store, you, of course, have to reset the new releases every week. Every week we were forced to feature a new Jimmy Pat release. And, because he's such a huge deal, the buyers would send us roughly four hundred copies of each book. The thing is, his fans were still working their way through last week's release so they weren't coming in to buy the new one, which resulted in an overflow of Jimmy Pat. To make room for the newest new release, we would have to shift the entire fiction section to accommodate the old books. Ya' know, the ones that have been on the shelves for five days. For a quick solution, we would make fancy displays. By fancy displays, I mean we'd stack them on the floor because there was no room for them anywhere else and, frankly, we didn't make enough money to actually care that much. Plus, we were far too busy cleaning up bodily fluids and hiding from bats to worry about what to do with the Jimmy Pat overflow.

Before resorting to floor displays, I attempted, like a normal person, to send back the extra. But, some smarty pants at home office would send them all back PLUS ONE MORE the following week. At the time, I thought this person was a jerk but, in hindsight, that's pretty hilarious. Kudos to that person.

Back to floor displays. Like I said, they were literally stacks. The store manager decided Sarah and I were very creative so we were tasked with creating cool floor displays from then on. We made some pretty cool ones, but it was super time-consuming and, again, we made no money and were attacked by bats on the reg so we didn't care. To get the manager to back off, we made a giant pirate ship out of Jimmy Pat books in the middle of the hardback fiction aisle, making it impossible to actually shop the aisle. This served two purposes: we wasted so much company time and we could easily show the manager how ridiculous the Jimmy Pat problem was. And, he doesn't even write the books. He is essentially running a book factory. He pays other people (or sometimes doesn't) to write the books for him, slaps his name and picture on the covers, sells a gazillion copies, and then makes money angels in his living room. Probably. I think it bugs me so much because it's brilliant.

So that's why no one likes Jimmy Pat.

But, I like Lauren very much and I hope she has the best birthday ever!


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