Monday, August 2, 2010

forgive me handsome sir...

I was shelving with about 60lbs worth of hardcovers in my arms when I saw a tall handsome fella browsing my section. As any red blooded American coward would do I weaseled over his way to feign shelving for that section. When I looked over his shoulder, I saw that he was reading from a Nook. You know, B&N's answer to the kindle. My heart skipped a beat and I thought to myself...."why is it always the pretty ones?" nah-- what I really thought was..."say something say something!" so I said something. This is how the conversation unfolded.

me- Oh hi! (bats eyelashes a little too ardently) are you browsing from our aisles and buying from them? (chin pointing to his device since hands are holding 60lbs of books)

handsome- uh, (long uncomfortable pause) I guess so...

me- so the thing is, we want you here and all, but if you don't buy from us it'll be hard to provide you with this browsing opportunity you seem to be getting a lot out of...

(ok I didn't say that)

I really said...

"if you only buy from them-- stores like this could go away"

handsome- (nods head a bit too rapidly, smiles (sigh)) and says --

yea, I know

And so I waited till he went downstairs (to presumably get away from me...) before I shuffled over to Paul to recount the affair (in 3 minutes or less Dana I swear)

Progress is good. Change is good. Technology is good.

Awareness is great.

Being aware of the people around you, how they are surviving, how they buy their food, keep themselves clothed---these are the details that we live. Your money is your vote.

thanks for your support.

(I promise my next post will be less commerce-y)


KarraCrow said...

in the next few minutes, i'm going to be unsubscribing from this blog, unfollowing you on twitter, and unsubscribing from your email newsletter. i find the trend you have taken in the past few months demonstrates an attitude towards your customers and other booksellers in the boston area that i cannot support, even passively. i used to enjoy your posts and tweets, and i imagine i will miss the "found thing of the week" from the ubc, but the recent trend seems to suggest less of an interest in books and talking about how good your store is than it does in lecturing your customers and running down the other guy. i suggest that this is not the way either to sell books to people already in your store or to draw more people in.

Katie said...

Hey Karra, really really sorry to hear that. We're taking what you say into deep consideration. You're right - that attitude can be unappealing and we'll have to work on that. I guess in our defense, we're up against the behemoths of discount online retailers, box stores, and e-readers. Some of our bloggers are trying to defend why we exist on here, and maybe we get a little, hm, aggressive because we are pretty passionate about what we do. I don't think they mean to condescend at all. But, yes, maybe we here need to think about approach in our online presentation. Hope you can forgive us.

Kate Robinson said...

Hi Karra- I wrote the blogs I believe you were alluding to- and I want you to know that my interest in earnest is to start conversations about choice in where we purchase anything...including books. I tend to have a my living depends on it. I love our customers, I love this town. If I seemed hard on the "handsome sir" it was because he was using our store as a showroom, then purchasing the same things from B&N. That is the equivalent of walking into a boutique, trying on a dress, and then finding and buying it online. While that is someone's choice ultimately, you can understand why I would want to at least have a discussion about the ramifications of those incremental descisions. I am one of 7 bloggers and there are many other veiws expressed herein. Take mine with a grain of salt. Thanks for reading this.