Tomorrow is the final day for At Second Glance Books, a store that has been my second home for a dozen or so years. This past week we have been selling our stock at 10 for the price of 1. This automatically increases the traffic at the till but the increased customer count isn’t the only thing that has slowed down our normally efficient service. It’s the real book folks who just want to spend a few extra minutes chatting and finding out why we’re closing and telling us how sad it all is.
Book folks, real book folks, are a wonderful lot. I can probably count on one hand the number of growly customers I’ve served over the last 12 years. Real book folks like to chat, to laugh, and sometimes just hang out and browse. They bring you coffee and sometimes doughnuts. I joked with a woman who bought a book of pizza recipes. I told her that part of the obligation was that she bring us a sample so that we can verify that we’re selling quality books. That was one great pizza! I did the same with a girl, probably twelve, who bought a kids cookie recipe book. Two days later I had a big bag of really terrific chocolate chip cookies personally delivered with my name on it.
One fella, another regular customer who lives on a farm well out of town, bought my book White Wolf Moon a few weeks ago. He came straight to the counter and didn’t look around the store at all. He knows I usually only work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and he’d made a special trip into Kamloops just to shake my hand and to tell me how much he’d enjoyed the story.
The regulars probably number in the hundreds. They all pretty much know my name…I can remember most. They’re coming in and feeling guilty and sad that they’re taking advantage of the sale. I’m happy they are. I know the books are going to people who want them…the people I’m truly going to miss. We’ve had other regional used book store owners come in to beef up their inventory. That’s cool too, and we wish them well.
We have also seen a different type of customer lately. The bargain hunter…so many people I’ve never seen before. I recognize a couple of them that have dealer tables at the flea market so I’m pretty sure of where those books are going. One even admitted she was stocking up for her spring yard sale. 10 for the price of 1 is a bargain but we still have people asking if they can get a better deal if they buy 30. One lady figured I should be retro-active and give her a better deal because she came in and bought a lot of books when they were 4 for 1 and I should have told her that eventually they’d be 10 for 1. It’s a totally different mentality…vultures trying to pick the last ounce of flesh from the bones.
But the biggest difference with the real book people? Generally their questions center around what going to happen to us, the staff. What will we be doing when the store closes and the like. The bargain people and dealers want to know what we’re going to do with the books when the store closes…one even suggested that he could take them off our hands, at no charge of course. He was also one of the customers who felt that 10 for the price of 1 was unreasonable…they should be 10 for $1.00. He didn’t buy any.
Mostly the books have homes…schools will be getting them and local charities, who will sell them as fund-raisers. They’ll go to the right people.
As for me…I’ll retire, write my sequel, and try to keep up with this blog.
I’m working tomorrow. I don’t usually work Saturdays, mostly because I don’t like working Saturdays…but tomorrow I’ll be there for the last shift of the day…the last shift. For whatever reason I want to be the one that turns out the lights and locks those doors for the last time.
Goodnight…At Second Glance….