Friday, August 26, 2011

Liquidation Diary: The Signs Are Everywhere

I'm not a numbers gal. I like words. Although I work in a business that involves the taking of money and the giving of change, and I do it every day, still I've been known to count secretly on my fingers or to use a calculator for very simple calculations. But even I know how to look at a chart like the one to the left and determine how much something will cost based on the clearly marked price on it. Why do you suppose it's so hard for my customers?

You might reply that they don't have a copy of this handy chart, to which I reply:

The signs are everywhere. In every section. Stuck to random pillars and posts. Impeding access to the actual books (or baby blankets or handy 9-in-1 tools or highly scented candles). Everywhere.

So why, when they get to the register with their baskets piled high, do fully half of the customers ask, holding up one item after another, "How much is this? And this one? And this?" And then they discard the items which a fifty--or sixty, or seventy--percent discount just doesn't render cheap enough.

Funny how this kind of thing wears you down day after day. But hey--at least I have a job.

For now.

On the plus side, I've been using the charts and taking advantage of the discounts to buy stock for the Book Frog. But if it falls through, what am I going to do with ten copies each of Night, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Great Expectations, and A Separate Peace? Not to mention both the Oxford and the Penguin editions of Song of Roland and Democracy in America, among several hundred other titles.

I wonder if we could do a roaming book truck?


Anne Bennett said...

It must be so depressing to see people that have never come in the store before it was in financial trouble, now coming in and snapping up bargains.

I'm depressed.

My Head is Full of Books

dana_garcia said...

I like the idea of the roaming book truck, it's working for interesting food trucks. Maybe you can partner with someone who can cook up book related entrees, like penguin cupcakes or a separate peace.. of chicken...

Rebecca Glenn said...

@Anne: We've definitely been getting the People of Walmart in. I watched a woman open one of the blankets we now sell, spread it out on top of the other blankets, then lay her baby down on it while her other kids pulled books off the shelf in the kids section.

@Dana: Separate Peace of Chicken. Funny!

J.G. said...

What a cool idea! The food trucks are huge here in Central Florida. They do a round-up at the malls in the area, where all the trucks converge on a single night. It's very popular and people stand in line for hours.

Jacki said...

Here in Portland, we have a bookcart lady who roams through downtown and loans books to the homeless, etc. She's quite a remarkable woman!

I think your bookcart idea is a good one. As for a retail business, it's an idea to consider.

Sara said...

Shawn's wife here, chiming in: You should totally do the book truck thing. Up by where I work is food truck central, but there are also mobile manicure trucks, mobile pet grooming and even mobile jeans/fashion trucks. Books would be a nice change of pace. :-)

Rebecca Glenn said...

Well, who'd've thought the chorus would be so in favor of a bookmobile? Although it looks as though we're going to be going forward (just waiting for the lease), perhaps a seasonal sideline next year?...