If you're feeling a bit weary of memoirs by poets, drug addicts, and people with extraordinarily unhappy childhoods, perhaps you're ready for a surprisingly successful new global genre: memoirs by cashiers.
A book by French grocery store clerk Anna Sam called "The Tribulations of a Cashier" ("Les tribulations d'une caissière") has become a surprise best seller in France and Germany (160,000 copies sold, along with the rights for translations into 16 languages), reports yesterday's Wall Street Journal.
But Sam is not alone. German cashier Carmela Narcisi has written "99 Faces in One Day" about her experiences behind a cash register in a German supermarket. A German flowershop employee has also authored a book called "Customer Rage." And in the US Kansas cashier Carrie Evans has published (in two volumes) "Letters From Your Friendly Cashier."
What is stoking reader hunger for vignettes of encounters with customers (many of which are unflattering to the customers)? "Such accounts are hitting a nerve in a recession-battered world that is also ravenous for reality fare across the media spectrum," speculates the Wall Street Journal.
"The supermarket is a simpler version of our overly complex world," Stephan Grünewald, managing director of the Rheingold Institute for Qualitative Market Research in Cologne, Germany, told the Journal. "People may not understand the financial crisis, but they understand greed and bad behavior at the store. In these books, it's very clear who the victim is and who the perpetrator."