Where's the rain? We had been promised a stormy day, but the weather could not have been more beautiful, warm and sunny. Peter was working at the desk when I arrived at Logos. Sandy, the new volunteer, had been unable to work that day, so he filled in for her. It looked like it had been a slow morning. He had only recorded 6 sales, amounting to about $50.
I didn't have a customer for about 15 minutes and then a short woman dressed in brown, with a blue sweater came in. She had white hair and a big bag slung over her shoulder. She browed for 8 minutes and then left without buying anything. Just before she left, another woman came in, walked to the travel books, looked, and left after 2 minutes also without buying anything.
At 2:30, I saw a couple browsing at the bargain books outside. They eventually came inside and the man started looking at one of the books on the display table in the window. Shortly after, another man dressed in green and wearing a Cal Poly cap and Birkinstocks came in. I noticed the he was standing with the woman of the original couple and wondered which man she was actually with. It turned out to be the second guy. The first guy bought an art book (my first sale, at 2:45) and left while the other two people stayed to browse.
The next woman who came in was dressed all in black, but her sweatshirt had what I first thought was some sort of rainbow theme on it, but it turned out to be a red/yellow/green surfboard from the Moondoggie Beach Club. She had black Nikes with a red check and blue shoelaces. She looked around for a long time and finally came to me and said that she wasn't buying anything, but she wanted to let me know that the store was "nicely executed."
By this time the guy from the couple who started outside had started to stack books on the check-out desk. One of his books traced the "history of canines" back to when they first made their connection to humans. Looked like an interesting book and I was looking through it when I found out that the Romanovs had a little dog named Jimmy who was also killed with the family when they were executed. Now I'm upset with the Bolsheviks.
In addition to the dog book, the guy bought a horse book, a book of paintings by Norman Rockwell and a book about bicycles. When he saw me looking through the dog book, he offered to have a bidding war with me. His total purchases came to $30.78 and was my second sale of the day, at 3 p.m. and brought the total sales for my first hour to $40. It was not looking to be a big day!
A dapper young guy with a sweater over his shirt came in and spent some time looking at the literature section and finally bought a book by O'Neill ("Moon for the Misbegotten") and one by Steinbeck ("Winter of our Discontent"). He left with his girlfriend, who must have come in and sat waiting for him because I never saw her the whole time he was browsing.
A young guy in a bright yellow shirt with a big bike messenger bag slung over his shoulder came in to check one of the books on display in the window, but didn't buy it. Instead he purchased two books from our "old book" section.
At 3:15, two women in black came in, each with cell phones in their hand. They looked around for while and finally bought two "touchy-feely" self help books.
While a middle-aged woman with grey hair was browsing the literature section, a tall, athletic woman wearing shorts came in and asked if we had "Sea Wolf" by Jack London. The middle-aged woman called out "here it is" and showed her where to find it. The athletic woman bought the book and left. She had been in the store less than 2 minutes!
A woman who said she was "downsizing" came in with a box of books to donate. We comiserated about the plight of book people and she said she just had a very hard time letting books go, a plight I understand much too well.
A mom and her son came in and the son went immediately to the children's room and came out with three books he wanted. He asked if we had any books about Zorro, but we couldn't find any. Instead started looking through the regular books and found a book that was almost as big as he was and stood there fanning the pages. Then he found a book about helicopters and was fascinated. He sat and looked through it while his mother shopped for her own books. She ended up with a stack of math workbooks. I noticed with some amusement, as I rang up her final sale, that her last name had 18 letters in it.
It was 4:45 when they left and "my friend" still hadn't come in (he never did), but another guy whom I have seen frequently came in, apparently just to show me a book he had purchased elsewhere. He had bought four "old" books last week (all published in the 1800s) and we had talked about that. Today in his pocket he had a small book, in French, that was published in 1690, which he had found at a book store just off I-80. He asked me, in French, if I understood French and I replied, in French, "a little." He said he understood a little too. Since he really didn't look at any other books, I assumed his only reason for coming in was to share his find with me. That was kind of nice.
A young guy found a thick Tom Brokaw book outside on the bargain table and couldn't believe it was only $1.00. He asked if I would take a credit card for it, but the girl with him said she'd pay for the book for him and he could pay her back. She ended up buying "Ender's Game," for herself and said that it "will be good for my new commitment to reading."
A guy in baggy, rumpled, stained clothes came in. It looked like he was either a painter or a homeless guy. He had a tractor applique on the back of his jacket and big paint splotches down the front of his pants, so I guess he was a painter. He bought a James Patterson book off the bargain table and I hoped it was one of Patterson's "good" books as opposed to the crap he's been turning out lately (but I didn't tell the customer that).
The final customer came in at 5:30 asking if we had books on tape, which we don't, so she left.
Susan came in shortly after 5:30 and we chatted about Governer Jan Brewer's decision to veto Arizona's "no service to gays" bill until Walt arrived after his Guinness at the Irish pub around the corner.
It was a kind of a slow day and I realized that I hadn't had a single conversation with any customer all day except the guy with the 1690 book and the guy who wanted to have a bidding war for the dog book. I read my current book, "40 Years of Chez Panisse" all day and have just about finished it--in time for Saturday's book club meeting.
For some reason I was very tired and went to sleep at 9:30, getting up at 2:30 to write this!