I don't know what the total sales were today -- nothing extraordinary, I don't think, but my word--the place was filled almost the whole time I was there. At one point people were squeezing past each other to get to the other end of the aisle they were in. More people did not buy anything, but a lot did too, even though things were slow to start.
When I arrived, Ann said she had a very light morning. She had five sales and she said the place was nearly empty all morning. Unlike Sandy (who should be back from vacation soon), Ann is not a "chatter," so the changing of the guard does not include time to sit and schmooze, and I quickly settled in to the seat behind the cash register.
Before she had walked out the door, 3 customers had come in, the most notable of whom was a woman wearing a chartreuse shirt (you couldn't miss her!). She gave a cheery wave as she started her searching. But she didn't buy anything, nor did the three other people, two men together and one man alone.
I chose my book to read today, a book by Groucho Marx called "Memoir of a Mangy Lover." It's written in that unique Groucho style and has a lot of funny lines (like "the deep throated cough of a lesbian playing Camille") but that old vaudevillian style did start to wear thin after awhile.
There were lots of folks who either passed by the bargain tables, or stopped to look, but for the first hour I was there, none of them came in. (Even Ellen -- Shelly's wife -- walked by with a friend, but didn't glance in my direction...harumph).
A couple of student types, both in shorts, both carrying drinks came in and the guy settled on the floor in front of the literature section. I noted that his crew cut was longer than my hair. Another guy carrying a drink came in and shared the space at the literature section, but he didn't buy anything.
A mom came in pushing a toddler in a stroller. He was wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, and suspenders, looking like a baby lumberjack. She bought eight books, for $34, which was my first sale of the day, at 3 p.m. That one sale was more than Ann took in all morning.
The next customer was a girl who also spent time at the literature bookcase (a literate crowd today!). She bought a Henry James book and when offered a free bookmark, she chose an orange one to match the color of the cover of the book.
By now Crew Cut Guy was carrying two books and it looked like my second sale might be impending. Ultimately he bought three...a book of Edgar Allan Poe, a book of poetry, and a kids' book of stories and poems, for a grand total of $20.62. Things were definitely looking up!
I was already tiring of the Groucho book and saw a coffee table book by Ringo Starr called "Postcards from the Boys," Apparently whenever John, Paul or George went on a trip, they would send Ringo a postcard and this book is a collection of 51 of them, reproduced with the left page showing the card and the right page showing the written side, sometimes with messages (often illegible), sometimes with drawings. Very sweet. There are comments about what was going on in their lives at the time too.
But what I enjoyed was that one of the cards was one of Ashleigh Brilliant's "Pot Shots," written by John and Yoko to Ringo. I was so tickled I copied down the information and write a note to Ashleigh Brilliant (who lives in Santa Barbara) just in case 1,000 other fans hadn't already told him about the inclusion of his work in a book compiled by Ringo Starr.
Another crowd came in -- at least 10 people. There was an Asian Mutt and Jeff who were looking for a Goosebumps book (which we didn't have). A woman wanted to know what music was playing through the overhead speakers, but it was the radio and so I didn't know. A mom with two daughters wanted to know if we had a catalogue of our books (impossible!). Nobody bought anything, but then a man with white hair picked up a book on abalone and a book of California wildflowers.
A guy wearing a t-shirt advertising the Spanish Inquisition (I'm not sure why...I hear it's over now) bought a small book and handed me cash and I realized his hands were very sweaty (maybe he was nervous about the Spanish inquisition).
A bow legged very skinny woman in black tights with spiky hair and big earrings bought "The Story of Art." I'm not sure who was the more impressive -- her or the woman in the paisley tights, who came in shortly after.
Another wave of customers came in, the busiest time during the day. But most of them didn't buy anything.
A stooped guy with grey hair and a beard didn't take long to choose "Case Histories" from the contemporary fiction section.
It was 4:45 when Bruce came in, looking for a copy of "Dante's Inferno" (which we didn't have). In addition to his usual rumpled white attire and home-made cap, he also had some sort of glass drinking glass held in his armpit. But he didn't find Dante, so left.
My friend didn't arrive until 5 and he bought a book on Egyptian Art and another on toys from the Children's museum in Boston (something like "Toys in Grandma's attic" but it was a longer title than that).
A girl in short-short shorts with ragged hems, a red sweater and a bright orange backpack (ouch!) bought a book on the illustrated manuscripts of William Blake.
A tall woman who reminded me a lot of Peggy bought a book called "Female Equestrian"
As usually happened, someone came in trying to unload old textbooks. I suggested he try one of the bookstores on or near campus.
My final customer was an ambiguous gender person with very long hair tied in a pony tail who bought 3 Farside books and one book of poetry.
All in all a good day. I didn't get a lot of reading done, but it certainly was an interesting array of customers.