This is not a code of conduct for customers. (We tried that one year, a la shopping malls, but the idea got axed at the last minute.) These are things we don’t really have rules about. They aren’t like running in the halls, stacking your books in the fire exit, and sliding books into your shorts as you stroll out the door. Please regard these as Friendly Suggestions (or just more Venting).
Backpacks: Could you check these in a locker, or leave them home, or something? I know some of you regard them as a part of your body, but this does worry some of our security-conscious volunteers. I don’t worry so much from that standpoint. What does drive me nuts is that two people with backpacks, standing back to back, can block any aisle I can create
Drinks: It’s hot outside; I know that. It’s just that, well, one spill from an open container can wipe out fifty bucks’ worth of merchandise, even in the low rent district. If you’re drinking from a bottle that has a cap, it still isn’t perfectly safe, because the bottle might drip condensation. Could you drink it in the lobby? At least don’t bring it into Room 3.
Flowers: Farmers’ Markets and Book Fairs seem natural matches to me. But volunteers worry about water and pollen dripping on the books, especially in the collectibles room (Room 3). You can check your gladioli in the lockers up front as well.
Cell phones: Honest, I’m working on these volunteers who hate cell phones. But you can’t hear very well in the book rooms anyway, so why not go out into the lobby, where the reception’s better and the phone haters can’t see you? (Some people like the window wells looking onto the parking lot. Or room 2 is nice and open.)
Strollers: We don’t have any place to park these for you, so unless they can be folded up in a locker, we’ll have to live with ‘em. They do block aisles, too, but I don’t have much against them. I’ve seen many a child carried over a shoulder while the stroller gets filled with books.
Blackberries: I don’t mind any electronic device you may use to help study books. The problem is Blackberry users who take a whole table’s worth of material and pull it off into a corner to go through it, leaving discards hither and yon. Honest, last year somebody did this to our CD section and kept the stuff until closing while she worked with her Blackberry. No one else was allowed to buy a single CD until she had checked them all. Not only is this just plain not polite, it cuts into our sales.
Screaming That Prices Have Gone Up: I expect this, but you don’t have to be loud. Prices HAVE gone up. The base price for paperback fiction has been fifty cents since about the time Ronald Reagan left office, and we’ve gradually been eliminating the fifty cent paperback over the last two years. But in the same amount of time the price of a new paperback has gone up to five or six bucks, so a dollar’s still a deal, isn’t it?
Screaming That Prices Have Not Gone Up Enough: Yes, I do get customers like this, as well. I’ve just about learned to keep that look off my face while they’re talking to me.