Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

When you’re in retail you notice certain things, like when people do crazy things it’s because they’re crazy people but when I do crazy things it’s because I’m a victim of circumstance.

Take last Friday for example. The street was closed off and covered in a quarter inch of mud after city workers dug in the wrong place. I figured that it would cost more to clean my carpets than to open the store (that gives you an idea of why used bookstore owners don’t drive Jags) so I locked the door and since it was the holidays and well after noon I broke out the vodka. The first person to breach the rampart was a thirsty friend who vowed through the door that he had only walked on the sidewalks and was mud-free so I let him in and gave him a glass. Minutes later some fellow saw us through the window and tried to get in. He jabbed at the hours sign on the door and mouthed something indignant and I made sorry faces and mouthed something incoherent. Then a teenager tried to get in and I shouted through the door that it was the feast day of Saint Stolichnaya of the Three Olives and why the hell wasn’t he in church. I may have lost a customer there. My friend treasonously muttered ‘but you’re a store’ and I poured him another drink to shut him up but it got me thinking. I had to change tactics. An elderly lady tried the door next and courtesy demanded that I go out and speak with her so I asked her if her boots were clean. She said ‘what? Are you crazy? Let me in.’ Behind her two women appeared and also wanted to get in. It was the first time I had a line-up at the store but I had no time to savor it. ‘Ladies,’ I shouted, ‘I must first see the bottoms of your boots’. They just frowned at me so I said ‘Come on, come on, your bottoms!” Well, that was an unfortunate turn of phrase because they marched off. My former friend asked me if my business model was to alienate people and then buy shares in the competition. I gave up, unlocked the doors and had the best day of the month.


  1. Customers can't live with 'em, can't lock 'em in your trunk. Old salesman I knew once said, "if it weren't for customers I'd have no problems"...

  2. And you have to feed them when they're in the trunk. BTW, Larry, I found something for your collection.

  3. Fustus HuckamatucketJanuary 9, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    I must say I get many fine yuks reading your blog. Someday I will actually come into the store and maybe spend money on books. I'm thinking about it seriously.....