I had a bit of time on my hands today so I decided to a little shopping. I had been meaning to read some Vonnegut for the longest time so my first stop was the Wangfujing Bookstore because of its supposedly myriad selection of English imports. To make a short story short, this is a lie. It has a decent selection I suppose but really only about a quarter of one floor is dedicated to English imports and about a third of that is fiction. Given the size of the building, that’s still a decent selection but unless you’re looking for something popular or videogame-based fiction, then chances are you won’t find it. This is in part due to the lackluster selection but moreso because they are not organized in any discernible fashion. Eugenides was found next to Brown, and later next to Rowling as well. You might be thinking “well Michael, they don’t use the alphabet!” but that’s where you’d be wrong. The English alphabet is necessary for typing in Chinese and all school children are taught it. Anyway, I was looking for Vonnegut but had no idea how to approach it so I asked one of the attendants. She yelled across the floor for another attendant who scoffed at me and told me to use the catalog.
I can’t really read anything beyond rudimentary Chinese so I entered “Vonnegut” into each of five separate search bars before the fifth and last one yielded results. This was frustratingly of no help at all to me. It spat out the titles along with some random numbers that were apparently related to its location but each of the titles had a different number that was nowhere close to any of the others which I could only assume meant that they weren’t grouped together. When I asked the attendant for help again, she just told me they were probably sold out of everything… At this point I had had more than enough, so I left. Needless to say, I won’t be going back and frankly, I suggest you don’t either. Should’ve could’ve just bought an e-book.