I sit here eating my lunch from Sendiks down the block--a turkey leg, stuffing, and mixed vegetables.. We're open until 6 but we're already lighter in traffic. Amie asked if I wanted to open at 9 instead of 10 and close at 5, but I told her that if I were opening, I didn't think I could make it by 9. It turns out that I was up until 12:30 last night, worrying about everything I did wrong for the season.
That said, I overordered reams last year, but at least two of them were finished by the 24th (pictured). Next year I get to order again. We ran out of packaged Christmas wrap, which hasn't happened in our first two years.
When folks come up to me, I worry that I might be complaining, and many have good reason. We accidentally sold the last copy of a book on hold to the wrong person, for example. Fortunately Conrad was able to find a copy elsewhere as a replacement. Another customer was promised a book that we didn't have--our books at the Gingrass Gallery always trip people up and I have to figure out a way to fix that for next year. Note to inventory software folks--it would be great if copies on hold (as these sort of were) would somehow be flaggable as unavailable.
But sometimes it turns out that they are coming to compliment us. They usually have to assure me, as a panic appears in my eyes. I had an interesting one this morning. A nice man came up to me and reminded me that a few weeks ago, he came in to the store and wanted to buy a hardcover that was full price. He asked if we'd match that infamous website's prices, or even come close. My bookseller said we were unable to do this (but note that if you came in for 100 copies, we might be able to work something out.)
But today he told me he changed his mind. He'd gotten such good service in his last two visits that he realized we wouldn't be able to give if we were focusing on price. In fact, he realized we'd probably be out of business. He admitted he wouldn't use us for everything, but at least now he understood the store's value. And he also understood the contract that's implicit when you visit a retail store and use their services. And for that I'm grateful.
Statesman Selects: S. by Doug Dorst
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