The bookstore’s been open for almost three months now. Last night I checked off the eighth visit from a particular breed of dolt who wanders through the front door, shambles through the various rooms, then returns to the counter and asks:

“So how does this work?”

“Sorry, I don’t know what you mean.”

“You lend these books out?”

“No, this is a store. We sell the books.”

“I thought this was like a lending library.”

“The library’s three blocks up the Avenue, turn left. This is a book store.”

“Huh.” At that point, the dolt heads out the door, knuckles bumping along the concrete steps.

Now, the vast majority of the people who come into the bookstore are perfectly pleasant folk who conduct themselves in a friendly, courteous manner. Even the handful of mutts I’ve had to deal with follow understandable patterns of behavior. Most of them want to come in, mooch the wi-fi for a couple of hours, then slither out without buying anything. Cheapskates and bums I can understand, though I have to say that anybody who balks at paying my low prices for used books is gunning for the gold medal in the Olympics of the Pathetic.

But these CroMags who think I’m running a library always knock me for a loop. Is my joint the first bookstore they’ve ever seen? Do they really think they can walk into Barnes and Noble and “borrow” books for a week or two? Most of them are middle-aged and even older. How do they tie their shoes without hanging themselves?

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3 thoughts on “Them

  1. Joseph Zitt says:

    At stores like mine with a liberal return policy, we do get people who effectively use us as a library, returning a stack of books that they got last week then “buying” the next stack. And these are often the aggressively well-heeled, known for their highly touted philanthropy.

  2. geoff says:

    It will get worse. Wait until someone brings your their MS and asks you to take it in the back, bind it, and sell it. Then try explaining to such a person how publishing works.

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