You may think that your old Uncle Blogsy is such a book guru that his least suggestion around this Book fair is law. There are people around here who don’t listen to such talk, because they broke three ribs laughing at it last time.
Of course, some of my suggestions—like the champagne brunch for preview shoppers—fall through because there just isn’t money enough in the till. We expect this kind of thing. (I still think that if you give them enough champagne, they’ll buy enough extra books to pay at least for the bucket and the ice, but no.)
And sometimes these things don’t come to pass because we don’t have the personnel. The idea was not original with me, and more than one person liked the idea of Personal Shoppers: someone who will rush around and buy books you need even though you have unwisely booked a vacation in Hawaii the last weekend in July. You would call up and say, “I need any books on adolescent psychology published after 2007.”
And the personal shopper will write that down and inquire, “Do you want Freuds with that?”
(He waits for the cheers and applause to die off, and then continues.) But we have barely enough volunteers to restock the stuff customers pick up and change their minds about. We don’t have people to do your hunting for you. (And, anyway, I suppose it’s more efficient these days to send your next door neighbor and just keep in touch through texting: sort of a Virtual Book Fair.)
For the Thirtieth Book Fair, I suggested a special time card. We’d have a time clock available for customers, and each one who got it punched to prove they had been at the Book Fair for at least 30 hours would get a free copy of The Da Vinci Code. The Book Fair currently lasts 36 hours, including that 4-hour preview, so it would be possible to get the card filled without joining the Associates and coming to the preview. It may have been that thought which killed the idea, or it may have been the thought of having to listen to that time clock ding every time it was punched.
(By the way, are we the last major selling operation in town with a checkout system that does NOT beep? We have so far resisted the temptation to affix bar codes to every book we sell, probably just as a matter of beep avoidance.)
Someone else suggested a prize for the customer who bought the millionth book. I pointed out that the book itself was prize enough and, anyhow, at the rate we sell, we sold our millionth item years ago. “Why not just take a picture of the person to buy the thirty millionth item, and post it online?” I suggested.
“But if you have no idea when the millionth book sold, how will we pick out the person with the thirty millionth?”
“Just pick someone who’d look good on the Website,” I said. “This would fit with the proposal to put our bookmarks out in tattoo parlors and the hostess desks at Hooters.”
Suggestions. I keep pitching ‘em, and people keep hittin’ ‘em foul.