Golden Days | Page 5 | Newberry

Golden Days

So I will have more to say about this in weeks to come, but we had a Book Fair last weekend, and it went very well. Thank you for coming–most of those who did–and as for the rest of you, what was so interesting about the Olympics? At our event, you could have seen Synchronized Shopping, the Overhand Book Toss, and truly international level Bargain Hunting.

I would like to award a few medals right away; I may, as I say, discuss these matters more in depth later on. But on to the awards.

A Gold medal to the customer who asked where to find a copy of In Cold Blood and later returned, book in hand, to thank me.

A medal of very heavy Lead to the customer who smuggled a postcard away from the Collectors Section because all he/she really wanted was the stamp. I found the postcard, with that corner ripped away, at the end of the fair. (Well, I was charging a WHOLE DOLLAR for the postcard.)

A Gold medal to the two kids I saw explaining, very patiently, to their grandmother that they did know what videocassettes are, and they did so have a VCR. This taught me the foolishness of making assumptions about people’s interests based on their age.

And a Gold medal along the way for Henry, a small boy who bought a 45 rpm record. I still wonder if he knew what it was, but these prejudices are obviously faulty.

A medal made of Poison Ivy for all those customers who began by saying, “These are in terrible condition and NOBODY was looking at them, so why not sell them all to me cheap?” if nobody was looking at them, you wouldn’t have found them, friend.

A Gold medal in the synchronized selling goes to the two women who convinced a third woman to buy a cookbook. Woman A said “That’s a great cookbook. My grandmother has that cookbook.” Woman B was Woman A’s grandmother, who said, “I’ll buy it if you don’t want it.” (The customer, impressed, bought the book.)

A Gold medal, with a side salad, goes to the groups who donated food for the volunteers this year: Bistro Zinc, Caffe Baci, Corner Bakery, D’Absolute Catering, Food Evolution, J&L Catering, Jewell Events Catering, Marcello’s Catering, Occasions Chicago catering, Simply Elegant, Tri-Star Catering, and Whole Foods Market. They kept us all alive so we could cope with the thousands of customers.

Like the fellow who gets a Medal of solid shellac for deciding he wanted to carry his books home in the box I was using for religious records. He jammed all the records into one of the Chicago boxes and walked off with it.

A Gold medal goes again to Potash Bros. Market for the thousands of plastic bags we forced on people so they could buy more books than they could carry in their arms.

A Gold medal also goes to Whole Foods Market for those heavy-duty bags which went to the first shoppers to arrive on Wednesday night.

A Medal of tin for general cluelessness to all those of you who donated books over the weekend. The big box of economics textbooks particularly made me wonder. Did you think in all the fuss and confusion we wouldn’t catch you bringing those in?

And medals of Gold for the volunteers who came to tidy, to scold, to sell, to guide, and to gently assist as all those customers came around and found prizes of their own. Many of these are solid gold, while others are, um, plated over recycled paperback books. But the books were published by the Gold Medal Company, so it all comes to the same thing, right?

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