So it's come to this. I bought a car for the store. Up until now, I've been taking public transportation and bumming rides and setting up rentals. We got to the point where I was renting a car one week per month, and it became harder and harder for me to shoo all my offsites and deliveries into these one-week boxes. Here are some other funny don't-have-a-car moments of my first 663 days of Boswell:
1) I've taken the bus to at least two events, complete with boxes of books. The good news is that the 30 bus runs straight down Wisconsin Avenue, giving me good access to the Milwaukee Public Library, Marquette University, and several other destinations.
2) In my early days, I walked home from the Italian Community Center with a hand truck of books. For those who don't know, that was about 3.5 miles.
I looked at Zipcar, which has a station at UWM, but becomes very expensive if you use it regularly for more than a couple of hours at a time. The cars are often small, not having storage space for our boxes. I needed something with a decent amount of cargo space, but I still wanted a car frame that would give us reasonable gas mileage. I went almost fifty years without a car and I didn't want to blow my track record on a guzzler.
After a number of suggestions and some research, I wound up buying a Scion. I thought the older models were cuter (those boxy things you see all around the store) but they are almost too small for our needs, and turned out to be quite expensive used. High demand, apparently. It suprised me that the current model is far less iconic, but apparently it has better wind resistance. And I could also do a separate post on colors in the car industry, which are currently very blah. Many car lines follow the makeup industry, doing the equivalent of turquoise lipstick*, a limited edition in a crazy color that gets some press, but the cost of the crazy color (bright blue for 2011, a purplish blue for 2010, which they did have in stock) didn't warrant the extra cost for the store. The xb used to be on the Yaris body, but to my knowledge, the second generation is a Corolla in a fancy dress.
In a way, this car is a return to the wood-paneled station wagon that Schwartz used for stock transfer (before the van) and I used to get to my position managing the Mequon store in the mid 1990s. There's a pretty good story about one of my breakdowns, involving an exit ramp and a call from the police.
We're hoping that having the car will allow us to more easily do the offsite events and conferences we've been putting together. We already do some school deliveries, and I'm hoping to be able to step that up. And maybe to some other locations around town. I don't want to over-promise. For now, the car will help us get to Bethenny Frankel's event tonight (1/27, 8 pm) at the Pabst Theater. Tickets are still available.
My only regret is that I'd gotten rather friendly with the clerks at one of the rental counters, and had some nice book discussions. Not friendly enough that they shopped at Boswell, but I guess i would have had to become a super-deluxe gold customer to make that happen.
Are you kidding? I have plenty more regrets than that. I'm not crazy about driving, and have so far been taking the bus to work when I don't have any auto needs. I'm worried about my book reading--the bus offers 45 minutes of reading, often uninterrupted. Sometimes interrupted, but better since they turned off those awful televisions.
*I read an interesting book about the makeup industry once, but for the life of me, I can't remember its title.
Another Human of the Bookstore is up on Tumblr!
14 hours ago