I believe I have hinted from time to time that we meet all kinds of people at the Newberry Library Book Fair. Did I make it clear that we meet ALL kinds of people?
There are legitimate reasons for returning a book for a refund. As I mentioned, we once negotiated with some folks who had bought a $4,000 book only to get it home and find it was a very clever forgery. And we once issued a refund to a chap who bought what we all thought was an authentic Ronald Reagan autograph, only to be told at the Reagan Library that they not only knew this had been signed by a secretary: they knew which secretary. We do make mistakes from time to time, and we try not to sell you phonies unless we all know they’re phonies and let you know about it.
There are other reasons for returning books which I’m afraid we cannot honor. In fact, we occasionally giggle about you after your back is turned. Here are some of those:
I FOUND SOMEONE ELSE SELLING IT FOR LESS: I would applaud your ingenuity more if you had found that person BEFORE you bought that copy. The thing is, carrot cake, that we at the Newberry do not anywhere claim that we have the lowest prices in the universe. We try to keep prices reasonable, but this is the age of the Internet, apple dumpling. Somewhere, somebody is selling that book for a penny. We aren’t required to accept that person’s word for the value of ours.
I ALREADY HAVE A COPY: Isn’t that always the way? I do that all the time myself. You have two copies now? You have my sympathy. You also have no refund coming.
YOU SAID YOU TRY NOT TO SELL BOOKS WITH UNDERLINING IN THEM, AND SOMEBODY UNDERLINED A SENTENCE ON PAGE 101. The key word is “try”, sugarlump. We don’t say we succeed. See that bright light over there? It shines from the A. C. McClurg Bookstore. They will sigh with you, potato chip. They will sympathize. They will sell you an eraser.
I DIDN’T LIKE IT: Our volunteer recommended The Clue In the Old Code but you didn’t think it was interesting. Can you swap? The answer to this has only two letters. What if you didn’t like the one you swapped for? Would you be coming back every day to try another book? What do you think this is, a library?