I started this blog way back when, to reflect on what it’s like owning a used bookstore. The good mixed in with the bad, the ins and outs, ups and downs, so the reader could learn – along with me – of what it’s like owning a used bookstore and what I’m faced with. Seriously it is 99% all good. According to me. I’m no authority. I’m just me. Just trying to make a go of owning a used bookstore and being the best used bookstore lady I can be. To myself and to my customers. And have fun!
So today I’m feeling I have to be honest – again – and share a story.
This story has been sticking with me so I feel a need to share. It will help readers to understand what we – in retail – have to deal with on a regular basis now. Because of the Internet. It is what it is. It is a factor that is part of the equation of retail in today’s market. How the general population purchases. The one thing that local retailer can do is offer THE best customer service as well as a host of others.
So a woman comes into the store. Very pleasant. Asks for a particular author and I show her the Fiction aisle and leave her to peruse. Shortly she comes up to the desk and explains that she will not make a purchase because she won’t pay my prices. $5 is too much for something she can buy online for $1. But, she proceeds to tell me, she wants to help my store be successful so she’s going to bring me all the books she has read so I can add to my inventory. Say WHAT? I thanked her and off she went. I was polite and respectful and I truly think she felt she was as well. Frankly lady, it isn’t the books I want or need, it is her buying the books in MY store. And I know my books aren’t overpriced. And she did offend me by saying she was going online to buy her books. From someone she’s never met, who doesn’t have a storefront, pay rent, or a business loan, or, or, or….
So I’ve been trying to turn the situation around into a positive one for me because that’s who I am. I’m stumped. I don’t want her books. If she does come back do I accept her books? I don’t want to but is that me being obstinate? Oh yea, big time, Barbara! Well, I’m not going to think about it anymore. There are too many other customers who are a joy and want to support the store and buy local. In fact, I have one gentleman who has built up a nice store credit but refuses to use it and will only pay cash for his purchases. AH! he off-sets her! It took my typing to find the positive end to the situation. Perfect. I’m stopping here. And yes, that did really just happen to me. Just now. I get it. Perfect!