My current job can be with some simplification described as finding the items people order in the store and bringing them for others to pack. This means you get some idea about which authors, films, albums &c sell better, which worse.

There are surprises too. I don’t mean the many best-selling people and things I’d never heard of before – after all, not having a TV and only listening to radio for the news, what would you expect? But I’d never believe books and films about vampires to be that popular or expect so many footballers feeling the need to publish an “autobiography”.

The biggest surprise for me though is the amount of cookbooks we sell. I’d read a lot about Britons being among the most obese nations. This is contrary to my own observations. In fact, having lived for the last two decades among South Bohemians, the average Strathclyder seems rather slim to me in comparison. (Okay, except for all those adolescent heavy-buttocked lasses.) But the number of cookbook authors and titles and the speed with which the latter are sold… anybody said anything about an economic crisis?

I know that when times get rough, people tend to spend their money mostly on things like booze, fags and food. But most of these books are no fantasy-novel paperbacks – they’re usually large, impressive-looking tomes, and I daresay they’re not being sold for peanuts either.

Or do people just like to look at the pictures of meals they’ll never be actually preparing?



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