Notes from an emergency room bookseller

19 Jun

Running a retail business in Hood River, especially that part of town that attracts a lot of leisure shoppers, can be a bit like operating a Kewpie Doll concession on the carnival midway.

A friend in the Willamette Valley, who worked for years in a book store, sent along this item submitted by Charlie Christensen, who with genial good humor supports his wife, Cynthia’s, dream of running The Book Stop in Hood River.

These are the actual journal notes by Charlie, who ran the shop during Cynthia’s two-week absence to pneumonia and laryngitis. Cynthia’s  back, and Charlie has retreated to the comforts of working with people who arrive at the E.R. This was published in the Pacific NW Bookseller’s Assn. newsletter.

Question: Do you recognize your own voice in here?

When My Husband Ran the Shop

A Simultaneous Rant and Ode to the Trade

I’m just browsing.

I’m just killing time.

Do you have a restroom? My son needs to poop.

Do you have this used in a paperback? (holds up a book just released in hardcover that day)

Where is the free parking?

Can I get change for the meter?

What do you sell here?

Do you have any free maps?

Can I use this water bowl over here for my dog?

Is this all you have for a Christian section? God!

I need a Band aid.

Can my kids stay here while I’m eating next door?

How do I know the price?

Is there a restroom here? (Many, many, many more times today.)

Do you have ________? (insert obscure, possibly fake book title (?) to look cool in front of friends with no chance of having to actually spend any money)

Can I make you a deal on this book?

Have you seen my wife?

Do you have maps? (looks at map, writes directions, incorrectly folds map, leaves it on the sofa)

Where is your Red Tail Hawk section? You know, the bird.

Where am I?

Can I bring my dog in your store?

Do you sell coffee?

Is this a library?

Was Abraham Lincoln really a vampire hunter?

Do you have “Under The Dome” in softcover?

Is my mommy there? I miss talking to her. (our daughter Laura)

How come this town has three book stores?

I can get it cheaper on Amazon?

Can you describe the lay of the land around here?

Will my car get towed if I leave it in front of your store all day?

I’m looking for a book that has the word “free” in the title.

Mom, I have to poop!

Do you have a chicken section? Goats?

Have you seen my children?

Do you carry newspapers? (I show him the Hood River News)

That’s not a newspaper.

Do you have any way so that I don’t have to pay these meters?

There’s a hair on this sofa.

Mom, can I have this Clifford book? No, Clifford gets on my nerves.

Are all these books donated to you, so I can I just take one?

Do you buy books? No, but we’ll take certain books in for store credit. So you buy books? No. Just trade for credit. I want money.

If I bring in some books can you tell me what they’re worth so I can sell them on eBay?

I never knew there was a library here. There is, but it’s on the next street over.  What is this? It’s a bookstore. Oh, I don’t read.

Can you watch my children while I eat at the bagel shop?

Are these books for sale, or do you just collect them?

Dad, look a bookstore! Let’s take a look. Why? It’s just books. Come on, it will just take a minute. No, reading is stupid.

Have you read all these books? When do you watch TV?

Are you hiring? No. I like books. So do I. I promise not to get in the way. I could just read or something.

Are you hiring? No. Good! Can I use your company’s name? Why? I have to tell the Unemployment Department I can’t find a job.

Do you have women in here?

I need quarters for your stupid parking machines.

Can I buy a stick of your gum (seeing my personal pack behind the counter)? No, that’s not for sale. But you can buy a book. No, I hate books.

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