And the winner is...
The death knell for fiction.

Amen, my retail brothers and sisters.

Wrong I'll say this for many of the contributing authors in the essay collection The Customer is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles, edited by Jeff Martin: they know their way around a first paragraph. Consider these openings:

"The first rule of retail is that everyone wants to check out at once. I can stand at my cash register for half an hour without a single customer. Suddenly, by some hidden signal, everyone in the bookstore will get in the checkout line."

"The bookstore I work at has been my laboratory for analyzing, diagnosing, and treating assholes of all shapes and sizes."

"Mine is the story of a man who hates ice cream and of the world that made him."

And, hands down, the winner:

"It's been my experience that people don't have the slightest idea what they want, and will stop at nothing to get it."*

The entire book is a series of essays about retail and customer service, and if you've worked in service, I'm pretty sure you'll like it. I was completely amused, although I thought the quality of the essays was a bit uneven. But do give it a try, and consider buying it--if only to help all of these authors to never have to work in retail again.

*That last one is by Michael Beaumier, who also wrote one of my favorite nonfiction books of all time, titled I Know You're Out There (about when he worked in the personal ad department of a small newspaper).