QFYA | Newberry


I have Questions For You Again.

Now, as I mentioned earlier in this week, you had a lot of questions for me during the fourth annual 25th anniversary Book Fair. I dealt with everything from “Where’s the Ladies’ Room?” to “Why do we grow old and die?”, to say nothing of, “Is there a good, cheap place to eat around here?”

So it’s really only fair to ask a few questions I had during that q&a marathon. I didn’t have time to inquire during the rush, so I will pass along my inquiries now.

What is with you people who shoved your Potash bags in your back pockets? We hand out these things so your purchase power isn’t limited by the length of your arm. But time after time I would hurry up to someone with an armload of books, offering a bag, only to have the customer point to their hip pocket. In almost every case, there was the pristine, untouched bag in that back pocket. (In the other cases, I am going to assume you just lost the bag somewhere along the line. If you were pointing at your backside for some other reason, I missed the hint.)

Um, we will be remembering your faces, those of you whom we did not realize until rather late were slipping back into that hiding place to change prices in the books. (Did you know there are some resale shops in Chicago where, if you are caught doing that, they photograph you and refuse to let you in afterward?) But I did want to ask the customer who left his pencil behind in the window well: was that just absent-mindedness, or a form of taunting? You still had at least half the eraser left on that thing, so you could have gone out and cheated other people with the same pencil.  You may go broke if you have to buy a new pencil for each sale.

I wanted to ask those of you who cleverly piled your books in strollers where you hid the kid. I had no reports that anybody squirrelled a baby in our squirrelling section. Did you give your spouse between carrying twenty pounds of infant or sixty pounds of books? Or is the kid sixteen now, buying books in the Transportation section, and you’ve preserved the stroller for just such uses?

Now, you know who you are but we don’t. We were wondering about whomever left six shiny new dust jackets from mystery novels. What was the point, exactly? Were the books lighter to carry that way?  Do you throw away so many dust jackets at home that your recyclers won’t take any more? Or do you leave banana peels behind when you do your grocery shopping?

I don’t want to scold those of you who wandered into the Volunteer Break Area and tried to buy some of the sandwiches that generous donors sent us. But I did wonder. Do you really think we’d let you spend money on food when you’re supposed to be out there buying books?

Have you been playing computer games so long that you have forgotten how to open a board game? Of the 1930s board games I had out for sale in the Collectors’ section, I found that three had been damaged by people who tried to break in through the side of the box. (And how did you manage NOT to break the boxes on the most expensive of them AND the least expensive? Was it an Olympics scoring thing?)

And doesn’t anybody read this blog? No matter how many times I’ve mentioned it, not ONE person asked me where to find that secondhand Kindle. I must say, that was quite the sweetest disappointment I’ve had all year long.


You might want to mention the older woman who begged for a place to sit and rest, and then proceeded to copy out several complete recipes from her several cook books, after which she purchased only one.
I had quite forgotten! Yes, Ma'am: you did take up a corner of a table for well over an hour. I could ask where you think this is a library or something, but I will not be so trite. My question for you would be: have you never thought of buying a cell phone? Some of the new ones have cameras so sharp you could have copied those recipes in a tenth the time b just snapping pictures of the pages.

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