I have to blog about a situation that just occurred so I can shake off the experience. I don’t like writing about it but I have to. I guess so I can get past it. All about a customer confrontation. I generally don’t cross the line but I did today. Why? Because he laughed at me. That’s my trigger – laughing at me. Not with me but at me.
His comment to me as I was ringing up his purchase was, “You’re serious?” He didn’t like the cost of the book. A Vermont author signed first edition. His comeback was he was going to go online to make his purchase and take the book to the author to get him to sign it.
Generally I let comments roll right off me and don’t let them stick. What do they know about me and my store? Nothing. Do they even care? Nope! And why would they? I don’t know them. They don’t know me. I generally roll my eyes behind their back and let them just walk right out of the store and get back to my life and my store. As he was walking out I had to share with him that I pay rent, electricity… And he dared to say to me, “Oh! And those people don’t have to?” He stood there and I knew I had to stand-down. I was not going to continue. He was there for a bit more and then left.
So…my lesson? Shut-up! Know that I am doing well. I am a good person. I’ve rebuilt this store. I’m fitting into this location I’ve been enjoying for almost a year . I am proud of my accomplishments regarding this store. He was just one person who felt the need to belittle me for whatever his reasoning was. It’s his problem. Not mine. That’s all it was.
I am proud of myself that I would never, ever do that to anyone. Especially to someone trying to make a simple living owning and managing a little used bookstore.
One of the downsides of a used bookstore.
3 thoughts on “Simply Running A Used Bookstore”
I hope that for every bore that comes in the store that you find 100 grateful customers; like me. That should be the “upside” of owning a small book shop. Some time back I bought Bookbanning in America by William Noble (signed) for $16 from you. It’s available online for $18.95 plus shipping. But, who knows what it looks like until it arrives? The book on your shelf was available to preview and discern its value on the spot. And, the other books I found and bought that visit were also treasures of their own. Forget the bores. We are the real customers.
Thanks for your comments. You are so right about the 100 vs. 1. That was so evident that day but for some reason it was that one person who just stood out. Fortunately a rare one. Generally the used bookstore world is a great one for me with fabulous customers. And you know, I remember that book being in here. I was going to build a window display around it but didn’t have enough banned books to go with it. I remember thinking at the time was it because those books sell…? Again, thank you for your comments. You don’t know how much I appreciate them!
Haven’t been to Vermont in 40 years, might never go back (I was a little boy, and I’m born and bred Californian) but I’ve worked in 4 bookstores and managed 3 of them, and you get all kinds. I too have had the person come into the store, and tell me that they saw the book online cheaper, but they wanted to buy it from me instead. Typically there’s either some mention of the fact that they can get it now, as opposed to having to wait for Amazon or whoever to ship it to them, or there’s some pablum about how they wish to support local businesses–by buying the book from their local store at or below cost. It’s usually frustrating. Last time it happened to me, it was a young woman, and instead of laughing at me she simply wouldn’t understand that I wasn’t going to meet the price she saw online. She tried explaining the situation to me several times, and finally left, frustrated.
Sadly, bookstores here in the city are going the way of the dodo…