• Follow us

Books

Rules for a Slow Sunday

Most weekend shifts at the shop simply fly by — there are presents to be wrapped, regulars dropping by to pick up “stuff we brought over from the warehouse” (because we NEVER say “Special Orders” at the Bookstore), and new customers drawn in by parties, costumed characters or author events. Last year, we added a Saturday story-and-art session to the mix for parents who can’t attend events with their kids during the work week, and in the summer we extend our Saturday evening hours to accommodate the patio diners at the restaurant next door, who linger in the pleasant Midwestern evenings with another glass of wine and an indulgent attitude for the kids who want “just a little something” next door at my shop. We staff accordingly for all of this activity, and typically have the most members of our team on the floor on the weekend than any other time.

This weekend was a bit soggy, though, with torrential rainstorms on Saturday, and our friends just to the south of us in Indiana faced tornadoes, damaging lightning and high winds. As we mopped up that evening, and I wrung out the loads of wet towels that we had used to soak up the rain driven under all our door frames, I told the crew to just relax and enjoy their Father’s Day at home with their families. The weather would still be iffy, we had no events scheduled, and I wasn’t expecting much traffic in the store on a day meant to celebrate Dads, not kids. I would be happy to staff the register solo, and I could always call for reinforcements if things picked up. Giddy with an unexpected free day, my staff grinned and high-fived, and I vowed to myself that no matter what happened, I would just handle it myself.

I wish that sentence was a transition to “….oh, I was SOOOOO wrong” and I could tell you an amusing little tale about the crazy bookselling day that was simply too busy for words, but we’re going to stay truthful here. It was painfully, horribly slow all day. There were hours that the door didn’t jingle AT ALL with opening and closing, and I checked the switch on the lighted OPEN sign not just once, but twice (OK, it was three times). I drank all my coffee in the first hour, raided the snack box for the good candy twice, and dusted all the fixtures. I pulled four different ARCs from the back room, but just couldn’t settle into anything, and after spot-checking three sections realized that today was finally the day that my entire store was completely alphabetized…. so I wrote notes to the staff praising their diligence, and it was still only 1:30 p.m. I went to the car to get my laptop, intending to pay some invoices and update the staff schedule for July…. only to realize that I had left it at home, and my family was at the movies, so there was no one to beg for a mercy delivery of a keyboard and maybe a slice of pizza. I was well and truly stuck, and the next few hours could be spent in quiet self reflection…. or, I could mop the party room and clean out the junk drawer. I decided, instead, to jot down a little list of “rules” about slow days in retail, so that we could commiserate together. Here’s my hard-and-fast list for hard-and-slow days:

You WILL have a few customers on very slow days, but they will all arrive and leave in the same 10 minute period. They will bustle into the shop, fire several questions at you at once, and generally fool you into thinking that it’s going to be a crazy, busy day. Then will all leave together, (with or without buying an item or two) and you will spend the rest of the day thinking of BETTER ANSWERS to their requests, and titles whose names and authors completely escaped you in the moment will jump from the shelves and beg to be recommended, next time. Out-of-town shopkeeping colleagues, who are traveling through your town on the way home from vacation or trade shows will only visit on incredibly slow days. They will text and message, wanting to just “stop in for a minute, because we KNOW how busy you are,” and drop by to see your lovely shop — only to witness empty aisles, and you forlornly straightening the plush rack, which is already perfect. Your first transactions on slow days will typically be returns, which you will handle cheerfully and efficiently, assuring the customer that it’s no problem at all” to return the gift that her son didn’t take to his classmate’s birthday party because they were halfway there and realized they had forgotten the present so they just grabbed a gift card at Target… and after she leaves you’ll cut the ribbon and untape your own wrapping paper and print another price label and take it back to the shelf, where you’ll notice that the shrink wrap on the box is ripped underneath. You’ll be so certain that the negative balance will be covered in the next few minutes that you won’t even check the register totals until several hours later, when you realize that you’re still not back to your starting point, cash-wise. Re-reading Yelp reviews, Google ratings, and social media comments praising your exceptional selection and customer service will help you feel better for a few minutes, as will several of those little miniature KitKat bars in the staff snack box. Beware, however, of obsessing about the less-than-glowing reviews, and no matter how sarcastic and funny and accurate your carefully composed responses to the online trolls might be, DON’T SEND THEM TODAY. You are operating from a weakened position, and the online predators can sense vulnerability. Do not get drawn into online battles over reputation and accuracy of customer feedback — just go dust something, instead. At least then you’ll be able to see the results, even if they only last a day or so, unlike online comments which are permanently etched into your soul. Your mother will call, bless her heart, and want to know why “you’re always working.”

There will, of course, be relief on those painfully slow days, but it will arrive late. Just as you finish carrying out the trash (only one bag, and it wasn’t even full) and close the bathroom door after admiring the gleaming sink and the freshly mopped floor, and straighten the front table for the final time, a boisterous, large, extended family with six kids, two sets of parents, and a set of grandparents will arrive after their early dinner next door. Mayhem will ensue at the play tables as the preschoolers scatter toys and trains, the older kids will grab titles from the book spinners as Grandma wants to see what they’re reading “just to get birthday ideas, you know,” and dads will race the remote control cars around the party room. The moms will chat, oblivious to their kids’ multiple entreaties “MOM! This is that thing…. that thing that Trevor got for his birthday that you said I could have if I saved my allowance and I have enough money but it’s at home and can you buy it and I’ll pay you back…. MOM!” and spend the next 15 minutes (10 of these will be AFTER your closing time) extending their family celebration. Then they will leave. They will comment, kindly, “what a nice place you have,” as the kids argue over who gets to ride home with Grandma and Grandpa, and someone has a meltdown because they “never get anything” and Dad decides that it’s just time to go home RIGHT NOW as he hefts a tired wailing toddler over his shoulder and heads to the Suburban in the parking lot.

You’ll survey the mess, lock the front doors, leave a note for the opening staff that you’re “sorry about the clutter… it was a bit crazy today,” and go home. Some days require more than a KitKat, and we can all start another list tomorrow.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Books - The Huffington Post

Twitter Users Have Field Day With Sarah Huckabee 2019-07-02 06:41:02The former White House press secretary was taunted with suggested titles for her reported upcoming book about working for Donald Trump.

These Major Booksellers’ Description Of 'Mein Kampf' Sounds 2019-07-01 21:29:36Hitler’s manifesto was marketed on Amazon, Walmart, Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million as “what we must do if we want to survive as a pe

Where Are All The Black BookTubers? 2019-06-27 18:17:41There's something missing from YouTube's book blogging community: Black people and books by Black authors.

Nicholas Sparks Apologizes To LGBTQ Community 2019-06-17 14:44:43"The Notebook" author released a statement after emails surfaced appearing to back at least some allegations of racism and homophobia made against h

This Finance Book Just Might Change Your Life 2019-06-17 11:11:03The "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" title is polarizing, but the advice is on point.

Gloria Vanderbilt, American Fashion Icon, Has Died 2019-06-17 10:28:03After living her entire life in the public eye, Vanderbilt died from stomach cancer on Monday.

From The New Deal To The Green New 2019-06-09 11:14:42A historian delves into American liberalism's original Big Idea.

How I Got My Toddler Back On Books 2019-06-06 11:39:29I want my kid to treasure that magical reading time as much as I did growing up.

The Radical Empathy of Tim Murphy 2019-06-05 00:01:20The novelist drew upon his experience as a journalist and activist to create the sweeping, emotionally resonant novel "Correspondents."

Page-Turner

“Peony,” by C. L. O’Dell 2019-06-17 05:00:00Poetry by C. L. O’Dell: “I am ready for the next / thing.”

Where Are All the Books About Menopause?  2019-06-17 05:00:00For women, aging is framed as a series of losses—of fertility, of sexuality, of beauty. But it can also be a liberation, Sarah Manguso writes.&n

“Because,” by Ellen Bass 2019-06-17 05:00:00Poetry by Ellen Bass: “Because there’d been too many people / and then there was no one.”

Mary Grimm on the Rituals and Stories of 2019-06-17 05:00:00Deborah Treisman interviews Mary Grimm about “Back Then,” her short story from the June 24, 2019, issue of The New Yorker.

Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds 2019-06-17 05:00:00A leading sci-fi writer takes stock of China’s global rise, Jiayang Fan writes.

“Back Then,” by Mary Grimm 2019-06-17 05:00:00Fiction by Mary Grimm: “I was thirteen, as I said, and something was going on with me, in my head or outside it.”

My Father’s Things, and My Own 2019-06-16 05:00:00Jane Brox writes on her father’s death, and the significance of the material things we leave behind.

The Strange Story of a Secret Literary Fellowship 2019-06-16 05:00:00Daniel A. Gross writes about what happened after he was offered ten thousand dollars as part of a new—and secretive—award for young writer

Sunday Reading: The Electrifying Critical Mind of Pauline 2019-06-16 05:00:00From The New Yorker’s archive, pieces by Pauline Kael on cinematic masterpieces: Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and "GoodFellas," Arthur P

The Invention of the “Beach Read” 2019-06-14 11:08:00Katy Waldman reviews “Books for Idle Hours,” a new history by the academic Donna Harrington-Lueker, which unpacks both the constructedness

“The Westing Game,” a Tribute to Labor That 2019-06-13 12:15:43Jia Tolentino writes about the children’s book “The Westing Game,” by Ellen Raskin.

What Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” Tells Us Now 2019-06-13 05:00:00Salman Rushdie on what the books “Slaughterhouse-Five,” by Kurt Vonnegut, “Catch-22,” by Joseph Heller, and others tell us abo

Christian Science Monitor |

His father was under F.B.I. surveillance. The family 2019-07-02 11:55:20In his book 'A Good American Family,' David Maraniss sorts through his parents' early communist sympathies and bears witness to the price they paid

E.B. White’s essays argue eloquently against extremism 2019-07-02 11:55:20E.B. White’s essays argue eloquently against extremism

Believing in the experiment of democracy, despite the 2019-07-02 11:55:20Believing in the experiment of democracy, despite the setbacks

Two early presidents raised warnings about the cult 2019-07-02 11:55:20Two early presidents raised warnings about the cult of personality

Why do birds migrate? Ask the man who’s 2019-07-02 11:55:20Kenn Kaufman, author of ‘A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration,’ talks about the wonder of migration and the effects

‘Charged’ examines the role of prosecutors in the 2019-07-02 11:55:20‘Charged’ examines the role of prosecutors in the U.S. justice system

Intimidated by verse? ‘Don’t Read Poetry’ explores how 2019-07-02 11:55:20Intimidated by verse? ‘Don’t Read Poetry’ explores how to enjoy poems.

Lee Krasner: abstract expressionist painter in her own 2019-07-02 11:55:20Lee Krasner: abstract expressionist painter in her own right

This summer’s buzziest book club read: The Mueller 2019-07-02 11:55:20The Mueller report can be intimidating. Book clubs have emerged to get Americans to read, and engage over, the divisive publication. 

‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’ opens up the author-illustrator’s world 2019-07-02 11:55:20‘Becoming Dr. Seuss’ opens up the author-illustrator’s world

A restless, kaleidoscopic view of an empire’s legacy 2019-07-02 11:55:20A restless, kaleidoscopic view of an empire’s legacy

‘Jurassic Park’ fans could learn a lot about 2019-07-02 11:55:20‘Jurassic Park’ fans could learn a lot about real dinosaurs in this book

The New York Review of Books

An Open Letter to the Director of the 2019-07-01 04:30:18By “unequivocally rejecting efforts to create analogies between the Holocaust and other events, whether historical or contemporary,” the U

The Driest Eye 2019-06-30 07:00:07Natalia Ginzburg’s work is so consistently surprising that reading it is something like being confronted with a brilliant child, innocent in the

Ronald Reagan’s Reel Life 2019-06-29 03:00:45Reagan was made by the movies—not just his career but his mentalité was made in Hollywood. As much as he had been a movie actor, Reagan w

Viola Frey: Ceramic Sculptor of the Anthropocene 2019-06-28 07:38:20The first image in “Viola Frey: Center Stage,” supersized on an atrium wall of the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa, California

The Case of Yiyun Li 2019-06-27 10:00:17The effort of self-transformation is generally regarded as an improving journey, whatever its vicissitudes may have been. The writer Yiyun Li, who lef

The Road Taken 2019-06-27 08:30:41Pete Buttigieg’s campaign memoir, Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future, introduces the candidat

The Image America Shouldn’t Need 2019-06-27 08:10:53There is a common belief that immigration reporting humanizes immigrants or inspires empathy. But I’m beginning to wonder if we’re simply

Webster’s Acrobatics 2019-06-27 07:30:49To the Editors: In his review of Peter Martin’s The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight Over the English Language, neither Christopher Benfey no

The Pentagon’s Outsized Part in the Climate Fight 2019-06-27 03:00:35As giant a consumer as the Pentagon is, its use of energy pales next to that of the civilian population of some three-hundred million Americans—

America’s Indefensible Defense Budget 2019-06-26 08:30:46The sheer size of the military establishment and the habit of equating spending on it with patriotism make both sound management and serious oversight

Timeline of Deceit: From Trump’s Draft to Rosenstein’s 2019-06-26 02:00:55These new disclosures of what Trump said in the draft letter terminating James Comey as FBI director highlight the central parts played in the affair

The Cold, Dead Hand of the NRA 2019-06-24 10:35:55The NRA may repair its finances—dues did rebound in 2018, though the recent scandal seems likely to reverse that trend. The organization may als

Books

In 'The Gifted School,' Ripped-From-The-Headlines Parental Scheming 2019-07-02 07:00:23Bruce Holsinger's new novel — about overprivileged parents cheating to get their kids into a magnet school — is very topical, but the cha

Kids' Author Mo Willems Has A New Creative 2019-07-02 05:07:00The creator of the Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant & Piggie is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center. He says if you w

George Takei On Why America's Past Is Present 2019-07-01 11:30:30Takei is the co-author of a forthcoming graphic novel about his experience in a Japanese-American internment camp.

From Ansel Adams To Unica Zürn, 'Scrawl' Finds 2019-07-01 09:44:12Some might say these little works only acquire their auras through their creators' fame. But once you start pondering them, they start to seem like f

'Reviving Ophelia' Turns 25 2019-06-30 17:18:00The 1994 book Revivng Ophelia spotlighted the mental health of teenage girls. Years later, author Mary Pipher and her daughter Sara Pipher Gilliam hav

How The Advance Weather Forecast Got Good 2019-06-30 08:12:00Under the radar (so to speak), predictions have improved dramatically of late. In The Weather Machine, Andrew Blum writes that it's due to an interna

A Self-Sufficient Kid Finds An Unexpected Silver Lining 2019-06-30 07:00:11Lauren Morrill's new YA novel follows 17-year-old Maritza, who's used to taking care of herself. But when she lands with a foster mother who truly c

Not My Job: We Quiz Novelist Jennifer Weiner 2019-06-29 14:39:00Weiner will be quizzed on one whiner in particular — she'll have to figure out which negative review was actually written by host Peter Sagal'

'Three Women' Puts Female Desire At The Forefront 2019-06-29 08:03:00For her new book, Lisa Taddeo spent nearly a decade immersed in the sex lives of three women. She says desire is one of the things we think about the

Podcasts Are Providing A New Way Into Poetry 2019-06-29 07:00:09A poem on the page has its appeal — but poetry spoken aloud is a more intimate experience. And a new crop of podcasts are expanding poetry, givi

For Novelist John Green, OCD Is Like An 2019-06-28 13:22:00The Turtles All The Way Down author says OCD "starts out with one little thought, and then slowly that becomes the only thought that you're able to

3 Memoirs That Explore The Many Facets Of 2019-06-28 07:00:00One in five Americans have some experience with mental illness every year — and these three new memoirs dig into that experience, whether it's


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.